The Demilitarized Zone, better known as DMZ, is one of the top destinations in Hue, the former capital of Vietnam separating the North and the South regions of the country. The DMZ starts five kilometers South and five kilometers North from the Ben Hai River, which geographically separates the two regions, and was the “cease-fire” zone during the Vietnam-American War.
The war-affected areas in Hue always draw a lot of foreign visitors. And why not? The Vietnam War was one of the most significant wars in history and was followed not just by world leaders but also by the citizens of other countries. Indeed, whatever political leanings you may have, wars have always touched and changed our lives and the sites that marked these changes will continue to arouse interest, curiosity and fascination with people years after the wars have concluded.
If you have a passion for history, you should definitely visit Hue’s DMZ. The area includes the Ben Hai River, Hien Luong Bridge, Vinh Moc Tunnel, Khe Sanh Combat, Ho Chi Minh Trail, Dong Ha Town, and the Rock Pile. Some of the most interesting sites include Camp Carroll, one of the largest bases of US Marine Corps; and the Truong Son National Cemetery, which is the official cemetery for the Vietnam soldiers who died during the war.
There are many other sites that are worth getting a look at. The American soldiers did not bring all their weapons back with them, so it is possible to see century-old artillery tanks and petrified artifacts of the war.
The most interesting site of all is the Vinh Moc Tunnels where the entire village was said to have waited out the war. Flanked by the battling forces in the North and South, the villagers decided to move their houses underground and build a three-level tunnel beneath the Earth. They lived within the confines of these tunnels for over two years. Imagine how three hundred people managed to live underground for years as you go through these tunnels. The tunnels are still mostly unchanged and undestroyed so it’s easy to visualize the past life of the people of Vinh Mac during the war.
If you are claustrophobic, though, this is a part of the trip that you may want to avoid. And unless you’re very knowledgeable about the Vietnam War following the World War II, the best way to see the area is by joining a guided tour or getting a private tour guide yourself. You will not be able to appreciate the site without learning a few facts about it that make the area truly interesting.
The DMZ is really an interesting place to visit. If you love history and get a good high from seeing and observing tiniest details that made history, you will surely enjoy a trip to the DMZ of Vietnam. And if the history of world wars intrigues you, there’s probably no place else in Vietnam that will satisfy your curiosity than the DMZ in Hue. So if you’re ever in Vietnam, be sure to see the famous Demilitarized Zone.