The Vietnam War was a major event in both the history of Vietnam and the United States. Decades on and there’s still evidence of the conflict scattered across the country. So if you’re looking to delve into this area of history, here are five war sites to visit in Vietnam.
Cu Chi Tunnels
Nowhere else is the perseverance of the Vietnamese more evident than in the Cu Chi Tunnels. At its peak, this network consisted of some 250 kilometres of tunnels, parts of which were three levels deep.
The tunnels included living areas, command centres, kitchens, weapons factories and field hospitals. Soldiers then used these underground routes to lay booby traps and launch surprise attacks.
Tours here are often led by a relative of a Viet Cong fighter. You not only explore the tunnels, but discover hidden entrances and grass-covered trapdoors above ground. Although be aware, this won’t be suitable if you’re claustrophobic.
Also known as Hoa Lo Prison, the Hanoi Hilton is found close to the French Quarter of Hanoi. As a former prison of Vietnamese revolutionaries and American Prisoners of War, it’s a building with a gruesome history which has been well documented by former inmates.
Interestingly, the prison held the former US Senator and military officer John Mccain for over five years after his plane was shot down over the city. A walk through the present-day Hanoi Hilton will inspire plenty of emotion, but nevertheless, it’s a must-visit for anyone following Vietnam’s war history trail.
Hue Imperial Citadel
Located midway between Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, Hue was the capital of Vietnam for over a century. It’s also the site of one of the most infamous battles of the Vietnam War, which was dramatised in the movie ‘Full Metal Jacket.’
During the 1968 Tet Offensive, the North Vietnamese launched a surprise attack and held Hue for a period of three weeks. Many historic buildings were destroyed and around 10,000 people died before the city was liberated by the Americans.
Today, large empty spaces demonstrate just how much was lost during the war. Many buildings still have bullet holes and outside of the Citadel walls you’ll find artillery and old US tanks.
War Remnants Museum
Once known as the ‘Museum of American War Crimes’, the War Remnants Museum first opened in Ho Chi Minh City in 1975. While it may not technically be a war site, its displays bring the conflict to life and offer an insight into the Vietnam War that few other museums can match.
Alongside military equipment and graphic photographs, you’ll find weapons American troops used against the Vietnamese. These include a tank, fighter plane and a helicopter with rocket launchers. There’s also a bomb that weighs 6,800 kilograms.
Quang Ngai is the site of the My Lai massacre memorial. This massacre was one of the most horrific events in the Vietnam War, with more than 500 unarmed civilians brutally killed in the village of Mai Lai.
It was also a significant turning point in the Vietnam War and a visit to the memorial is a moving experience for many. The site includes remnants of the village, monuments and a small museum commemorating the victims of the massacre.
If you’re interested in visiting Vietnam, why not check out our Southeast Asia group tours? Alongside Vietnam, we bring you the top sights in Thailand, Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar.