Multi-Day Tour | Escorted, Group

Insight into a Veteran's Vietnam Experience (12 days)

Trails of Indochina - Vietnam

Hanoi, Vietnam To Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

Valid for Departures: 24 Sep 2018 - 05 Oct 2018

Itinerary

DAY LOCATION(S) HOTEL MEALS DESCRIPTION
Day 1
24 Sep 2018
Hanoi, Vietnam
Hilton Hanoi Opera hotel None

The capital Hanoi, located in Vietnam’s north, is the second most populous city in the country with approximately 11 million people. Compared to Ho Chi Minh City, Hanoi is more traditional and refined. Today it is best known for its thriving contemporary arts scene and French architecture, reflected in many colonial villas and some notable public buildings scattered throughout the city. While it is rapidly developing, the city has retained many of its architectural features and cultural traditions.

AIRPORT ARRIVAL ASSISTANCE SERVICE (INTERNATIONL)

As soon as you deplane, our Immigration Officer will meet you at the end of the jet bridge (or at the entrance of the terminal if there is no jet bridge), holding a signboard with your name(s) on it. The officer will assist you with immigration procedures. For those who already have their Vietnam visa, the estimated time to clear immigration is approximately 15-20 minutes per person.

For those applying for a visa on arrival, the estimated wait time for the visa is usually 30 minutes, depending on the number of guests in the queue. (FYI, there is only one visa-on-arrival counter at Noi Bai Airport.)

After clearing immigration, our Immigration Officer will escort you to the baggage claim to collect your luggage and introduce you to your guide who will be waiting outside the terminal.

Meet with your host, Mr. Chuck Searcy, for a short briefing about your tour schedule over the following days. The rest of the day enjoy your leisure at the hotel’s facilities or wander the neighborhood and soak up the local sights and sounds.

Day 2
25 Sep 2018
Hanoi, Vietnam
Hilton Hanoi Opera hotel Breakfast, Dinner

Hanoi has experienced more than 1,000 years of colorful history and survived many ups and downs which have contributed to the capital city’s charms and unique attractions. Today, you will explore and discover remnants and memories of the wars, and meet a Vietnamese veteran who was a soldier during the American war from 1970-1975, to get a glimpse of this history and his authentic experience.

0930: Start with the Hanoi Hilton where American POWs were imprisoned. Then head to Truc Bach and Huu Tiep Lakes in Ngoc Ha village where the wreckage of a B-52 which was shot down lies partially immersed in a lotus pond. Afterwards drive to Thang Long Royal Citadel (closed on Mondays). In that compound visit the deep underground war bunker which played an important role in the American war, especially in the 12 days and nights of the Ha Noi - Dien Bien Phu air battle during Christmas 1972.

Lunch is at a local restaurant at your own expense.

In the afternoon, continue your visit to the extensive Army Museum. (Closed on Mondays and Fridays). This repository of Vietnam's military history includes rooms full of war propaganda, photographs, and historical documents from Viet Nam’s wars defending the nation against China, France, and the US.

End afternoon with a short stroll around Kham Thien Street, which was a main target of American carpet bombing and was seriously damaged during the 12 days and nights of the “Dien Bien Phu of the Air” battle in 1972.

This evening, enjoy a dinner hosted by a local veteran who will share with you his experiences and his life during and after the war.

Day 3
26 Sep 2018
Hue, Vietnam
Saigon Morin Hotel Breakfast

Transfer from your hotel to the airport for the flight to Hue.

The imperial capital of the Nguyen Lords from the 17th to the 19th centuries, Hue’s splendid emperors’ tombs, ancient pagodas, and the remains of the Citadel contribute to its undeniable royal charm.

Follow the traces of the 1968 Tet Offensive battle for control of this southern city, including the old Shell Gas Station, the former MACV Compound, Tran Cao Van Street, Girl's High School, Hue University, Treasury, Public Health Building, Provincial Capital Building area, and the Church of the Redemptress. We then enter the Citadel, with its ramparts and towers, and visit sites specific to the northern battle, including the Chuck Meadows and Dong Ba Gates where you will meet Mr. Nguyen Dac Xuan, a culture researcher, one of a survivors from this Battle. Transfer to Mr. Xuan’s house to participate in a 45-minute interaction with him. to understand deeply this battle. He is willing to share with you the history of the battle and what saw with his own eyes in the past.

Day 4
27 Sep 2018
Hue, Vietnam
Do Thanh hotel Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Drive to rural A Luoi District with stops at the strategic Binh Dien and Bastogne Military Bases, used by the Americans to protect Hue against North Vietnamese attacks during the War. Enjoy the fantastic scenery along the way with rolling green hills, crystal-clear streams, and a bridge perching on the rugged banks of a small brook that winds its way through scattered big rocks. Visit A Shau Valley and 937m (3,074ft) high Ap Bia Mountain, dubbed “Hamburger Hill” by the GIs. The name came from the heavy bombardment and shelling there which resulted in severe casualties on all sides in the battle – North Vietnamese Army (NVA), US GIs, and the South Vietnamese Army (ARVN).

This evening, enjoy a gong show performed by local hill tribe people, together with an outdoor dinner with the local people.

Day 5
28 Sep 2018
A Luoi, Vietnam
Muong Thanh Quang Tri Breakfast, Lunch

Depart for the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ), a 5km (3mi) strip of land on either side of the Ben Hai River. Established after the first Indochina War, the zone functioned as the dividing line between North and South Vietnam during the Vietnam War. Stop at places of military significance just south of the DMZ including the former American military base at Khe Sanh, the Rockpile, Camp Carroll, Dakrong suspension bridge, Lang Vay Special Forces Camp and more. Explore the Vinh Moc Tunnels where a village was constructed underground to avoid bombing. In the afternoon, stop at the Quang Tri Provincial Mine Action Center for a briefing at Project RENEW. You will learn about the cleanup operations conducted by explosive ordnance disposal teams that have destroyed more than 50,000 bombs throughout Quang Tri Province in the last three years, reducing accidents nearly to zero, keeping today’s children and adults safe. Visit the Old Citadel of Quang Tri, the site of a bloody battle during the Easter Offensive in 1972.

Day 6
29 Sep 2018
Quang Tri, Vietnam
Anantara Hoi An Breakfast, Lunch

After breakfast, head to Hoi An. En route stop at a number of different battle sites to see Hai River, Hien Luong Bridge, and Seventeenth Parallel.

Day 7
30 Sep 2018
Quy Nhon, Vietnam
Hoi An, Vietnam
Avani Qui Nhon Breakfast, Lunch

Drive 2.5 hours through beautiful countryside featuring rice paddies, vegetable gardens and cassava patches to My Lai, the site of one of the most horrific crimes of the Vietnam War. Pay tribute at the somber Son My Memorial centered on a stone sculpture of an elderly woman, arms carrying a dead child, fist raised in defiance. Explore the small museum on site and view the photographic displays of the massacre and its aftermath, including images of soldiers who protected a group of villagers and those who exposed the atrocities. Tour the village where burnt-out shells of homes remain. On a more hopeful note, see how the local people have rebuilt their lives since that fateful morning of March 16, 1968. Drive south to Quy Nhon, stopping at the Bong Son area to explore the former area of operations of the 1st Cavalry and 173rd Brigade and the former US Army Base of LZ English.

Possible workshop at My Lai Museum with local Veterans. Suggested topic: “My Lai before and after war.”

Day 8
01 Oct 2018
Quang Tri, Vietnam
An Khê, Vietnam
Darkruco Hotel Breakfast, Lunch

Drive 3 hours along HW19 through An Nhon town with a stop where the French Groupment Mobile 100 (BR 252 483) at Mang Yang Pass were caught in a devastating ambush. Stop at An Khe, site of the former US Army base of Camp Radcliff. Continue to Hon Kon Mountain, the former base camp of the 1st Calvary. Hear to Dak To for a visit to the Dak To Airfields 1 and 2, followed by viewing of Hill 875.

Day 9
02 Oct 2018
Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
Pleiku, Vietnam
Majestic hotel Breakfast, Lunch

You will be transferred to the Pleiku airport for the flight to Saigon.

Upon arrival in Saigon at lunch time, meet and transfer to Pho Binh for a late lunch of pho (noodle soup), the wartime headquarters where Viet Cong commanders gathered to plan the 1968 Tet Offensive.

After lunch, head to a secret weapons chamber used by the Viet Cong and then visit a shrine to US Embassy guards killed in the 1968 Tet Offensive, outside today’s US Consulate. Continue to the former CIA building (outside visit only), where helicopters evacuated the last remaining US citizens in April 1975. Visit the Reunification Palace for a guided tour of the former headquarters of the South Vietnamese Government and presidential residence.

Then head to the rooftop café of the iconic Rex Hotel, for a drink and a spectacular view of downtown Saigon as your guide explains the hotel’s place in history.

Day 10
03 Oct 2018
Cu Chi, Vietnam
Majestic hotel Breakfast, Lunch

This morning, board the private speed boat for cruising to Cu Chi tunnel. The ingenious Cu Chi tunnel complex is an immense network of connecting underground tunnels used by the Viet Cong as hiding spots during combat. Originally dug in 1948 as refuge from French air and ground sweeps, the tunnels also served as living quarters, communication and supply routes, and housed hospitals, food and weapons caches throughout the American War. Visit the underground villages with a VC veteran who once lived there, for a better understanding of the tunnels’ history, the hardships of life in the tunnels, and Vietnamese resilience during combat. With the help of your translator-guide, listen as the veteran recalls how he survived the living conditions of the subterranean hamlets where lack of air, food and water made conditions almost unbearable.

After lunch, head to Tay Ninh province. Visit Phuoc Vinh (XT 967 490), Quan Loi Airfield (XT 816 907), and An Loc (XT 760 893) and (XT 780 990). Drive back to Saigon at the end of the day.

Day 11
04 Oct 2018
Mekong Delta, Vietnam
Majestic hotel Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Early morning departures leave from Saigon for a 1.5hr drive to Ben Tre, the gateway to the Mekong Delta. Escape the high-energy city for a day of exploring sprawling rice paddies and colorful fruit farms.

Arrive at the quaint An Khanh hamlet, where travelers will visit a small home factory that makes the traditional dish of sticky rice covered by coconut leaves. Meet with the owner and her hard-working team who will teach you about how they use century-old traditional methods to make this special and tasty cake.

Continue this rural journey of discovery with a short drive to meet a local family in Quoi Son village. After wandering though the lush gardens of this village, a motorboat awaits your arrival to begin a thirty-minute excursion passing peaceful scenes of countryside living. Disembark at a local ship building workshop and meet the owner who has perfected his craft, learning it from three generations of river boat-makers before him. With passion, he is devoted to preserving the traditional craft and supporting the local community.

Trade boat for bicycle and enjoy a relaxing 3 km ride over easy, level terrain as you travel through narrow village lanes lined with fruit orchards and customary cottages. When you arrive at your destination, sample exotic fresh fruits on the orchard of a local fruit farmer. Here you can also choose to ride on either a horse-drawn cart or tri-motorcycle through the lush surroundings of the fruit farms before boarding a sampan for a ride along the narrow canals of the Mekong.

End your excursion at a 100 year-old ancient house or local farmer's house where a lunch of Mekong Delta specialties will be served before driving back to Saigon.

Follow a lane dotted with colonial-era mansions until you reach a gate, behind which lies a truly enchanting villa. Home to Henry Cabot Lodge, the US Ambassador to South Vietnam in the 1960s, the villa is now a private residence and has been fully restored to its former glory, a beautiful mix of Vietnamese, French and American architecture.

Take part in a 1.5 hour workshop with the local veterans. Topic suggested “Vietnam before and after the war. The American-Vietnam war through veterans’ eyes.”

After the workshop, a fusion of traditional Vietnamese and western cuisine will be served in the magnificent dining room accompanied by live music, creating a uniquely memorable atmosphere.

Day 12
05 Oct 2018
Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
None Breakfast

Free at leisure until transfer to the airport for flight back home or connect to the next destinations.

Tour Features

Experience(s)

  • Culture, History & Arts
  • Sightseeing

Description

Join a veteran of the Vietnam-American War on an educational expedition to the sites, memorials and museums associated with this infamous conflict. After returning to Vietnam in 1992, our expert guide is now Chairman of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund, which works on projects to eradicate hunger, alleviate poverty and clean up unexploded ordnances left from the war along the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ). This trip will offer history-buffs a first-hand opportunity to tour to the former bases and venture to the battlefields from the Vietnam-American War.

About Us

Trails of Indochina had its humble beginnings in 1999 as a boutique inbound tour operator. Headquartered in Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon), and now with more than 250 employees throughout the region, Trails of Indochina has grown to be a full-service Destination Management Company and tour operation across Indochina. At Trails of Indochina, our personal relationships can make anything possible. We invite you to experience our part of the world where you will uncover the hidden gems and see a different perspectives of Southeast Asia.

Insider Tip

Vietnam is a top destination for foodies with its cuisine differing greatly from north to south. We suggest a combination offood experiences including food tours, cooking classes and craft beer tours.

Terms & Conditions

To read our Booking Terms and Conditions, please click here.



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Friendly Service

By: Andy37


Reviewed on: 02 Sep 2015

Overall, our experience was a great one. The drivers, tour guides, etc were all there to pick us up and get us to where we were going and everyone was extremely friendly and outgoing. We did have a minor issue with a few additional charges that we were given and we were not told (at all) that any of them would have been an extra charge. Additionally, our tour guide in Bali seemed to be really pushing us to sign on to additional tours with him on days that we had chosen to be on our own. Our experience on Lombok was top-notch, however in Bali, the tour guides were much more chatty with what seemed their prescribed talk and not so attentive to specific questions that we had. Additionally, when we were picked up for our bike tour, the guide asked to see our itinerary, as he had no idea what we were supposed to be doing. We ended up not doing a number of activities outlined on the itinerary and instead just did what the guide wanted to do. We had a great time, but these were concerns.
Travel Advisor:  Sari Greene

Very informative

By: Jandm42


Reviewed on: 21 Nov 2015

They made the arrivals and departures very easy. All guides were personable and very well informed. They added greatly to our travel experience.
Travel Advisor:  Judy Perl

Recent trip

By: Fletch


Reviewed on: 31 Jan 2017

Our experience was excellent. The organization proved to be very professional and reliable
Travel Advisor:  Cheryl Everhart

Southeast Asia

By: David Nixon


Reviewed on: 19 Feb 2017

The tour, with a few exceptions, we well organized. We saw most of what there was to see. The hotels and guides were excellent.
Travel Advisor:  Roxanne Girard