This is about a FREE service now available for wide audience who travel to Quang Tri Province and visit historic battle areas such as Quang Tri Citadel, La Van Church, Vinh Moc Tunnels, Khe Sanh Combat Base and the DMZ. At no charge to you, a newly opened Mine Action Visitor Center in Dong Ha Town will provide a fascinating look at history of war...more
The village of Vinh Moc is just north of the Ben Hai River mouth along the South China Sea coast. The town was just north of the DMZ and was an important supply point for Con Co Island some 28 km offshore. Heavy American aerial and artillery bombardment starting in 1966 drove the locals underground. Following some 18 months of construction by hand,...more
Highway 1 crosses the Ben Hai River 22 km north of Dong Ha. This was the old border between North and South Vietnam. An older bridge was painted half red - for the North - and half yellow - for the South, but this was destroyed in 1967. The small unused bridge was erected in 1975 as a symbol of reunification. It has been superseded by the present...more
Military cemeteries can be found in most districts of Vietnam. With the death totals in the hundreds of thousands, there are sadly no shortage of graves. Only the dead of the NVA and the NLF (Viet Cong) are laid to rest in these cemeteries. Those soldiers who died as a part of the efforts of the Republic of Vietnam are buried in private family...more
From Quang Tri - 13 km south from Dong Ha on Highway 1 and around 60 km north of Hue - a local road signposted for 'La Vang' takes off to the west on the south side of the Quang Tri River and leads west for some 4 km to the ruins of the La Vang Catholic Church. The church was and is an important pilgrimage site for Vietnamese Catholics. Here, in...more
Some 63 km west from Dong Ha along Highway 9 high in the Truong Son Mountains lies the little village of Khe Sanh. Lying 2 km north from the village and the large monument found on the highway is the former American combat base. The 75 day siege which started 21 January 1968 is probably the best known battle of the American experience in Vietnam....more
This suspension bridge carries Highway 14 south from Highway 9 following one of the main routes of the Ho Chi Minh trail that extended south up the Kakrong Valley into the A Shau Valley. Originally, the bridge had been built with Cuban help in 1976, but was rebuilt in subsequent years after that one collapsed. Following to the west of the Dakrong...more
Further west from the Rockpile just before the little village of Ca Lau was the site of another artillery firebase that also featured a short-length airstrip. The base and airstrip were developed along the last level stretch of valley before Highway 9 begins its climb up into the mountains around Khe Sanh. When the land connection to Khe Sanh was...more
A 230 meter high karst formation known locally as Tho Khe Tri some 26 km west of Dong Ha just off Highway 9 was the site of an important US Marine observation post. The site was manned in 1966 and supplied by helicopter. A large area could be seen from the top of the Rockpile and the observation post was responsible for directing artillery fire at...more
Highway 15 runs north from Highway 9 at the village of Cam Lo osm 10 km west of Dong Ha. Another 10 km north takes you past an unmarked dirt path that veers off into rubber plantations on the east side of the road. A 1.5 km walk takes you through the trees to the site of a forlorn French bunker that along iwth another such outpost at Gio Linh on...more
James J Carroll was a captain in the 3rd Battalion of the 4th Marines. He died leading his men in action on 5 October 1966 from a friendly fire incident. The region around the DMZ had become a hotpoint for the war in Vietnam in 1966 as the NVA moved in with large numbers to safeguard their supply lines in the west and to threaten the politically...more
Little remains of once was a vast supply and command center for the US/ARVN I Corps based along the southern edge of the DMZ. With the help of a local guide, we found one remaining concrete reinforced revetment that had probably been used by helicopter units. The revetment is totally surrounded by houses today - local woodworkers work inside. A...more
85% of the 86 million people living in Vietnam are Vietnamese. An additional 800,000 are Chinese with the remaining 11 million divided into some 52 other ethnic minority groups with most living in the mountains of the northern and central highlands. Here, west along Highway 9 past the Rockpile, you come into the homeland of the Bru Van-Kieu - some 56,000. Their stilted homes can be seen on either side of the road. Swidden farming - a more sedentary form of slash/burn agriculture - is in evidence with new fields being formed with local forest burns. The best former lands of the Bru - the plateau of Khe Sanh - has been declared a New Economic Zone. There the new coffee plantations are all farmed by Viets.
Favorite thing: You're in Dong Ha, it's 4am and outside the station it looks the countryside (completely dark). When the sun comes up, turn right and walk all the way alongside the railway line until the big bridge. This is (almost) the junction of the famous Highways 1 and 9. Highway 1 is running parallel to you, and is where the hotels are (most are government owned and expensive). People will obviously approach you asking if want rooms and one we spoke to was very pleasant (ex-US supporter). If you keep walking north on the Highway 1 you'll pass the market, cross the bridge and eventually come to the Dong Que restaurant/GH/travel info place. It's probably the best place in town (30 mins walk from the big junction).