• Vietnam War: Top 10 Places in Vietnam to learn about the war

    Le CongNovember 16, 2022
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    Hanoi Hoa Lo

    Americans know this museum by its famous nickname: The Hanoi Hilton. The original prison held Vietnamese prisoners who were campaigning for independence from the colonial French. The name Hỏa Lò, commonly translated as “fiery furnace” or even “Hell’s hole”, also means “stove”. The name originated from the street name phố Hỏa Lò, due to the concentration of stores selling wood stoves and coal-fire stoves along the street in pre-colonial times.

    Later, during the war with the American-backed regime in Saigon, the north held prisoners of war here – most famously, American Senator John Sidney McCain III (read more: John McCain, Prisoner of War: A First-Person Account). Today, only the gatehouse remains, converted into a museum to show this site’s tortured past. If you enjoy learning history from stories, not from textbooks, you are very welcome to join our Vietnam War & French Influence in Vietnam Experiences.

    Hoa Lo prison

    Bảo tàng Hồ Chí Minh

    The life of Ho Chi Minh is the story of modern Vietnam. He is Uncle Ho, the revered figurehead of this country, and the face of national independence. This museum showcases his life, accomplishments, and some of the coolest Soviet-era art you’ll ever see. The museum consists of a collection of artifacts, miniatures, and various gifts gathered nationally and internationally. In addition to Vietnamese, the museum also provides descriptions written in English as well as French.

    Ho Chi Minh Museum

    Hồ Hữu Tiệp, Ba Đình, Hà Nội, Vietnam

    On the night of December 27, 1972, a US bomber B-52 was knocked out of the sky during a bombing raid on Hanoi, Vietnam (Read more about the Christmas bombings or Operation Linebacker II in Hanoi). A part of the wreckage came crashing down into a small lake in a crowded residential neighborhood, where it still lies today as a sort of war trophy of Vietnam’s victory over the dreaded B-52s. The twisted metal of the destroyed bomber rests half submerged in the algae-green waters. Next to the lake is an inscription applauding the “outstanding feat of the arm” that brought down the bomber of the “US imperialist.

    B52 Lake – Huu Tiep Lake

    Van Don Victory Memorial

    Van Don Victory Memorial in Hai Ba Trung District

    “Here, at 20:18 on December 22, 1972. Hoan Kien Self-Defense League damages Hai Ba Trung district, including 5 soldiers of the self in 3 units: Home, Quang Yen Mechanical Garment, Mobile Mechanical Targets, Group 42 Enterprise in Hanoi has arrived 1 F111A aircraft, stroke wing of the American Affairs: 19 bullets 14.5 mm air defense machine guns. Flying wrecks leaving down to Luong Son – Hoa Binh District. Two attackers were led to the troops to Phuong B for hard living.”

    Cu Chi Tunnel

    During the war, it could host even an army or be full of the village’s residents, which helped the Vietnamese protect their lives.

    The tunnels were not only used for combat and conflict, but they also hosted the factory’s numerous workers providing weapons, as well as war equipment. It contained stockpiles of firearms, ammunition, and explosives of all kinds, food and materials, battlefield facilities, smoke-free kitchens (Hoang Cam kitchen), hospitals for the wounded, and bedrooms and shelters for women, children, and the elderly. It can even be seen as a little city underground, not just a village.

    These tunnels are a visceral example of the kinds of sacrifices that people made during the war. You definitely won’t forget this experience.

    Cu Chi tunnel

    Vietnam Military History Museum

    The equipment on display at this little museum is fascinating, from tanks to old jet fighters and pretty much every gun ever fired in this country. The propaganda is a bit strong, but that’s to be expected. Finish your visit with a trip up the old tower for a fantastic view of the city. Join our Stories from Vietnam War at not-to-go-alone areas to learn and discover life under the planned economy, the fate(s) of the local people from both sides (the North and the South; and the story of the unification of Vietnam, a country once was divided between the communist and anti-communist, on the brink of the COLD WAR at a very unusual area of Hanoi.

    Vietnam Military History Museum

    The museum consists of various buildings. Eras of Vietnamese military history are showcased in different buildings on the complex. The Flag Tower of Hanoi is within the bounds of the complex as well. The museum also includes a display of decommissioned, captured or destroyed military equipment and vehicles used by French, Viet Minh, North Vietnam, South Vietnam and the United States during the First and Second Indochina Wars.

    Nam, December 13, 2019

    Independence Palace

    It was designed by architect Ngô Viết Thụ and was the home and workplace of the President of the Republic of (South) Vietnam. It was the site of the Fall of Saigon on 30 April 1975 that ended the Vietnam War, when a North Vietnamese Army tank crashed through its gates. And it has been remarkably well-maintained. You can see where foreign dignitaries were hosted, as well as the bomb bunker in the basement where the military leadership communicated with its forces.

    Independence Palace

    Reunification Palace was the former home of the president of South Vietnam during the Vietnam War. The building is also steeped in history as this is also the spot where the North Vietnamese invaded in 1975 and Ho Chi Minh City surrendered. The building looks much as it would have done in 1966 and you can take a free guided tour here which will fill you in on the cultural and historical significance of this monument to the Vietnam War.

    Lily
    September 15, 2022

    Khe Sanh Camp – Special Forces

    During the Tet Offensive in 1968, this combat base, located near the demilitarized zone north of Hue, was a name known around the world. It was a pivotal battle between American forces and troops from the north who slipped in through nearby Laos. Though much of the base has been lost to the jungle, there are still bunkers and part of the original airstrip to see, as well as some American military hardware. Since its abandonment, most of the base has become overgrown by wilderness or coffee and banana plants. A small museum on the site contains exhibits of historical pictures, weapons, and ubiquitous “impression books” common among battlefield and heritage museums in Vietnam.

    Khe Sanh Camp – Special Forces

    One of the most popular songs in Australia back in 1980s was: Khe Sanh by Cold Chisel.
    Lyrics:
    I left my heart to the sappers around Khe Sanh
    And the soul was sold with my cigarettes to the black market man
    I’ve had the Vietnam cold turkey
    From the ocean to the Silver City
    And it’s only other vets could understand

    Imperial City

    Standing the test of time as a royal palace, the Hue Imperial City is also a witness to the escalation of the Vietnam War.

    This peaceful city used to be the battle site in 1968 as the NVA and Viet Cong launched the Tet Offensive. Each side tried to reclaim control over Hue which was also their targeted focus. Thousands of men fought over the city and the battle lasted for weeks.

    Due to such harsh conflict between the sides, a majority of the royal buildings completely collapsed. Which only left behind a few ruins and now covered in moss and grass.

    Imperial City

    On the north bank of the Huong River (Perfume River), among the surrounding hills and mountains, Emperor Gia Long moved the country’s capital from Thang Long – Ha Noi. In 1805, The Citadel complex of Hue was constructed, comprising three circles of ramparts: Kinh Thanh (Capital Citadel), Hoang Thanh (Royal Citadel) and Tu Cam Thanh (Forbidden Citadel). From then on, Hue was the administrative and military center for 140 years until President Ho Chi Minh set up the new communist government in Hanoi. Nowadays, Hue citadel still retains many architectural works, temples, and palaces with outstanding cultural and architectural values. So, if you could stop by for one day, exploring the Hue ancient capital with a local expert from Inspitrip is a wise time-saving choice.

    Buda
    January 22, 2020

    Cầu Hiền Lương, Gio Linh, Quảng Trị, Vietnam

    An easy day trip from Hue will take you past the 17th parallel, the dividing line between North and South Vietnam. There are dozens of Vietnam War locations scattered in this region, from Khe San Base to the Marine outpost “Rockpile.” You’ll cross the Ben Hai River and Hien Luong Bridge, stopping to see plenty of Vietnam War sites along the way. Here you’ll really gain a deeper appreciation for what the soldiers and civilians endured during the war.

    Hien Luong

    Hanoi Train Station

    In 1895, French Indochina choose the Hang Co Market area to build the main station of Hanoi. The old name of this station is Hang Co railway station. Hanoi railway station was built by France and opened in 1902. At that time, Hanoi station had a Western-style design and It was designed by Henri Vildieu. Hanoi railway station is also one of the largest stations in South East Asia at that time. The building was damaged in the Vietnam War in 1972 and in 1976 the central hall was rebuilt in a modern style, preserving the historic side wings (only the middle was bombed).

    Photo: Hanoi train station in 1972

    Côn Đảo Prison

    Côn Đảo Prison (Vietnamese: Nhà tù Côn Đảo), also Côn Sơn Prison, is a prison on Côn Sơn Island (also known as Côn Lôn) the largest island of the Côn Đảo archipelago in southern Vietnam. These islands off the southern coast of Vietnam are some of the most beautiful places in the country, but they were also home to torture, abuse, and politically-motivated executions for much of the last century.

    The French were the first to build and use these prisons, but the American-backed regime in Saigon also used them to hold captured soldiers and other political prisoners. The most famous site in this prison are the “tiger cages” (chuồng cọp). The French tiger cages cover an area of 5.475 m2, within which each cell occupies 1.408 m2, solariums occupy 1.873 m2, and other spaces occupy 2.194 m2. The prison includes 120 cells. The prison was closed after the end of the Vietnam War and opened for visitors soon after.

    Con Dao Prison

    If you are a history lover, the Hanoi War Sites Experience and Stories from Vietnam War at not-to-go-alone areas should be on your must-see checklist. You’ll learn history from stories, not from textbooks! By the end of the experience, you’ll have a deep understanding of the roots of history from the perspectives of the young open-minded Vietnamese.

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