AnneMarie and Andrew

Annemarie and Andrew – Trekking Asia

Hue: Day Three

We both had high hopes for this day. We booked a full day tour, starting at 7am from our hotel and ending at about 7pm. We knew it involved plenty of driving, but we were heading north to visit the DMZ around the border between what was North and South Vietnam during the middle of the 20th century.

The tour started with a three hour drive to see a bridge crossing a river. On the way we were shown The Rockpile from the road; A high hill which the Americans controlled and have them a view of the surrounding area. The bridge (not far from the Laos border, but miles from our hotel) was on the Ho Chi Minh Tail, a vital supply route between the north and south to supply arms, food and people to fight the Americans. The bridge was re-built in 1999 but we did get some history about the trail. Not that great after 3 hours in a cramped mini bus.

We then drove to what was an American airbase named Ca Lu. There were American planes and helicopters and a few tanks, but nothing else to show that this had been a huge American base. The runway was gone and apart from the planes a few trenches remained around the site. Treasure hunters with metal detectors had surveyed the area and found coins, zippo lighters and as few other personal trinkets. They now run around the site chasing tourists asking them to buy American coins or dog tags.

We then had an hour drive back to a hotel for lunch.

After lunch we had a one hour drive to the Ving Moc tunnels. This was the highlight of the trip. We saw where up to 500 people had lived for 6 years and depths of up to 20m below the ground. While families had cramped little rooms to live in. There was one toilet and one kitchen, a maternity unit delivered 17 children underground, it must have been quite a tough life under there. It was quite hot and humid and the walls were dripping with condensation (I can only imagine what that was like in the summer heat).

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Then about an hour out so later we reached a cemetery for the dead Viet Cong soliders.

Then a two hour drive back to Hue.

It turned out to be a very long day, not seeing a lot, with huge amounts of driving between sites and ultimately not that good. We both wished we’d picked something else to see and do.

Posted from Quang Tri province, Vietnam.

2 Comments

  1. I wonder how many of those born underground thought that’s all the world was until they were old enough to ask questions. Must have been pretty surreal to walk out and see sky for the first time ever, assuming it wasn’t considered safe to take them to the shops etc…

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    • Andrew

      They were living in the DMZ, which ironically saw large amounts of fighting and bombing. No shops or houses above ground, just a cratered landscape. I assume people must have gone above ground to grow food.

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