Travel from Hanoi, Hue, and Da Nang to Ho Chi Minh City to meet with veterans of the war and explore sites relevant to the conflict—from major battlefields to underground networks of tunnels.

Starting at: $5,995 Make a Reservation Ask Us A Question or Call 855-330-1542
 Silver Rock lagoon in Hue. Credit: Pham Ty  Residence of Ho Chi Minh, Hanoi  Army Museum in Hanoi  Thien Mu Pagoda in Hue  Terraced rice fields in Vietnam. Credit: Hoang Long Ly  The Hai Van Pass near Da Nang  Da Nang Harbor  Modern Da Nang  Skyline of Ho Chi Minh City at dusk  Reunification Palace, Ho Chi Minh City  Underground in the Cu Chi Tunnels  Access to the tunnel system  M41 Walker Bulldog Tank at the War Remnants Museum in Ho Chi Minh City  American CH-47 Chinook Helicopter at the War Remnants Museum in Ho Chi Minh City

Tracing the War in Vietnam

14 days from $5,995

Travel from Hanoi, Hue, and Da Nang to Ho Chi Minh City to meet with veterans of the war and explore sites relevant to the conflict—from major battlefields to underground networks of tunnels.

or Call 855-330-1542

Overview

The American war in Vietnam was a watershed event for an entire generation and remains an indelible point of reference for many Americans. This program takes a comprehensive view of the war as you meet with veterans and explore sites relevant to the conflict—from Hanoi, Hué, and Da Nang to Ho Chi Minh City, formerly known as Saigon.

Highlights Include

  • Battlefields and Bases: Visit the sites of American bases such as Con Thien Military Base, Cam Lo Marine Base, and Camp Carrol, and stop at important battlefields, including Lang Vay and Ap Bia Mountain, dubbed “Hamburger Hill” by the GIs.
  • Former Demilitarized Zone: Explore the zone that functioned as the division line between North and South Vietnam, where some of the heaviest fighting took place.
  • Perspectives on the War: Gain new insights through meetings with Vietnamese historian Le Van Lan, the director of the Hué Monuments Conservation Center, monks at the ancient Ba La Mat pagoda, and members of a Vietnamese NGO dedicated to removing unexploded ordnance.
  • End of the War in Saigon: Visit the former headquarters of the South Vietnamese government, stop at the former CIA building, and take an evening cruise on the Saigon River. 

To see itinerary, please click on an option below.

Itinerary

Day 1 — Depart the U.S for Hanoi

Day 2 — Hanoi

Arrive in Hanoi and transfer to your hotel. (R,D)

Day 3 — Hanoi

Blending colonial architecture, lilting temples, and a vibrant modern culture, Hanoi is one of Southeast Asia’s most beautiful cities. Start the day with a discussion on the background leading up to the American war:  French colonialism, WWII and Japanese occupation, and the return and eventual defeat of the French. Then, the rest of the day is dedicated to exploring the city. Discover the simple stilt home of Ho Chi Minh and the lotus-shaped One Pillar Pagoda. Hop on a cyclo (rickshaw) for a ride through the winding lanes of the Old Quarter. Meet with Le Van Lan, a renowned Vietnamese historian who experienced the war from several different angles, for tonight’s welcome reception and dinner. (B,L,D) 

Day 4 — Hanoi

During the war, as the seat of the North Vietnamese government, Hanoi was a frequent target for American bombers in a bid to extract concessions from the Vietnamese at the Paris Peace Talks.  This area saw no American ground troops, but the city was vital to the Vietnamese war effort.  Begin the day with a discussion of North Vietnamese objectives in the conflict. Then, uncover traces of the war throughout the city, joined by a veteran of the conflict. Start with Hoa Lo Prison, a French colonial prison later known as the “Hanoi Hilton” where many American POWs were imprisoned, including a young airman named John McCain. Then head to Truc Bach and Huu Tiep Lakes in Ngoc Ha village where many B52 planes were shot down. Continue to Thang Long Citadel, a World Heritage site built in the 11th-century by the Ly Viet Dynasty. The ancient site was the political center of the country for 13 consecutive centuries and served as the capital of Vietnam for eight centuries. Visit the underground war bunker hidden in the Citadel. The bunker played an important role in the American war, especially during the 12 days and nights of the Hanoi – Dien Bien Phu air battle in 1972.  Finally make a visit to the extensive Army Museum. This repository of Vietnam's military history includes rooms full of war propaganda, photographs and documents from Vietnam’s wars with China, France, and the US.  End the day at a hidden Bia Hoi (beer hall), a popular meeting place for older Hanoi residents, especially veterans. (B,L)

Day 5 — Hanoi / Dong Hoi / Quang Tri

Fly to Dong Hoi in Central Vietnam. Here meet with Mr. Nguyen, who served as a special reconnaissance officer in the Tri Thien Command Unit. His unit fought throughout Central Vietnam. After the war, he worked as the Director of the Hue Monuments Conservation Center and was in charge of the application for Hue to be recognized as a World Heritage site. Mr. Nguyen will accompany the group for the next several days. Drive south to Quang Tri, just to the south of the demilitarized zone (DMZ). Upon arrival in Quang Tri, visit Project RENEW, a Vietnamese NGO dedicated to finding and clearing unexploded ordinance. Meet with members of the organization to learn about their efforts to educate and heal locals affected by leftover relics from the war. (B,L,D)

Day 6 — Quang Tri

Today we learn about American objectives in the war, from the bigger picture of how Vietnam fit into the rest of the world, to the military and political objectives on the ground. This morning, visit the former DMZ, established in 1954 at the end of the French Indochina War. The boundary between North and South Vietnam ran east to west, roughly at the 17th parallel and along the Ben Hai River; the DMZ extended 5 kilometers in both directions from that line, and neither country was to place its troops within the DMZ. During the American war, the area surrounding the DMZ saw some of the bloodiest battles of the war. Visit Hien Luong Bridge, which was frequently bombed to prevent North Vietnamese troops from coming south, and the Vinh Moc Tunnels, an underground village built to help locals escape American bombs. Then visit the Truong Son National Cemetery, a memorial to the North Vietnamese soldiers who died along the Ho Chi Minh Trail. After lunch at a local restaurant, visit Con Thien Military Base. Originally built as a Special Forces camp, it was taken over by the Marines in late 1966 and, together with other Marine bases in the area was part of the McNamara Line to prevent North Vietnamese Army infiltration across the DMZ. Back in Quang Tri, visit the old Citadel, the site of a bloody battle during the Eastertide in 1972. (B,L,D)

Day 7 — Khe Sanh

Today we learn about both American and Vietnamese tactics used to achieve their strategic goals.  Head into the mountains, visiting the sites of several American bases along the way. Learn about the advantages and disadvantages of each site and about the strategy the bases were meant to support.  En route, stop at Cam Lo Marine Base, the Rockpile, Camp Carrol and Khe Sanh Base. After lunch in the town of Khe Sanh, head further west, almost to the border with Laos, to visit the site of the Lang Vay Special Forces camp, the site of a brutal battle that marked the first successful use of North Vietnamese tanks in the war. (B,L,D)

Day 8 — Khe Sanh / Hue

Today we learn what it was like to be a soldier in Vietnam, both as an American and as Vietnamese. In the morning, drive along the Ho Chi Minh Trail and visit Binh Dien and Bastogne Military Bases to see how American built a strategic series of bases along this route to protect Hue against Vietcong’s attacks during the War. View the mountainous scenery along the road, the rolling green hills, and crystal-clear streams running hemmed in between verdant hillsides. There is a bridge perching on the rugged banks of a small brook winding through scattered big rocks. Visit Ashau Valley and Ap Bia Mountain, dubbed by the GI’s as Hamburger Hill to signify the carnage resulting from repeated efforts by both sides to take the high ground.  Arrive in Hue this afternoon and check into the hotel, a former governor’s residence on the banks of the Perfume River. (B,L,D)

Day 9 — Hue

Today we talk about some of the major offensives that took place in the war, including the Tet Offensive that largely took place in and around Hue. Hue served as an imperial capital to the Nguyen Lords, a feudal dynasty which reigned from the 17th- to 19th-centuries. With splendid emperors’ tombs, ancient pagodas and the remains of the Citadel, the city retains its Royal charm. The city was at the heart of heavy fighting during the Tet Offensive of 1967, and many historical buildings were badly damaged. 

Begin the day at the Imperial Citadel. Take a stroll to explore the history and architecture around the Capital Citadel, Royal Citadel, and the Forbidden Citadel (the royal family’s residence).  Enjoy a vegetarian lunch with the monks at the ancient Ba La Mat pagoda. In the afternoon, drive along the riverbank route to the Thien Mu pagoda, Hue’s most preserved religious monument standing on the riverbank with its seven-storey tower. The car that drove the monk whose self-immolation became an iconic photograph of the war is on display here. This evening, enjoy dinner in the restored home of a family descended from the royal Nguyen family. (B,L,D)

Day 10 — Hue / Danang

Embark on a scenic drive over Hai Van Pass where, weather permitting, a spectacular panorama of the central coastline can be viewed from the summit. Arrive in Danang and visit sites around town relevant to the war, including the grounds of the former U.S. Consulate and China Beach. Pay a visit to the DAVA Centre, dedicated to helping care for victims of Agent Orange and their families.  This evening, talk about the events that began to change American public opinion on the war, and how that affected the American war effort. (B,L)

Day 11 — Danang / Saigon

Today we talk about South Vietnamese society—who were the main players and what were the main drivers of political activity in the south. Early in the morning, fly to Ho Chi Minh City, still called Saigon by most Vietnamese. Visit the War Legacies Museum, which documents much of the French and American Wars from the Vietnamese perspective. After lunch, meet with a local historian to talk about what life was like for both Americans and Vietnamese living in Saigon in the 1960s. (B,L)

Day 12 — Tay Ninh / Cu Chi

Today we learn about the Viet Cong, the anti-South Vietnamese government rebels who, supported by the North, sought to overthrow the government and help unify the country. Drive through the typical southern Vietnamese countryside along Route 13 to Tay Ninh. It was along this route that the North Vietnamese army entered Saigon in 1975. Tay Ninh is the center of Vietnam’s homegrown religion, Cao Dai. Visit the Cao Dai Holy See, for insight into this eclectic religion and to learn about its role in the conflict. Then drive down toward the Parrot’s Beak, at the border between Vietnam and Cambodia, where U.S. forces invaded Cambodia in 1970. 

Continue on to Cu Chi District and explore the underground village built by Cu Chi guerrilla fighters, a network of tunnels built during the long years of war first against the French and then the Americans.Visit the underground complex and learn about the tunnels’ history and life within them. Return to Saigon in the afternoon. (B,L) 

Day 13 — Saigon

Today we talk about the end of the war. Begin the day with a visit the shrine outside of the U.S. Consulate then continue to the former CIA building, where helicopters evacuated the remaining U.S. citizens in 1975. Head to the rooftop café of the Rex hotel, a familiar landmark for Americans during the Vietnam War. Then visit the Reunification Palace for a guided tour of the former headquarters of the South Vietnamese Government. Afterwards drive to Pho Binh Restaurant for a simple lunch of noodle soup. The restaurant is situated in House Number 07 on Ly Chinh Thang Street, the former headquarters of Viet Cong Commanders, where they gathered to plan for the 1968 Tet Offensive. Take a walk upstairs to learn more about the history through the family’s photo collection. The rest of the day is at your leisure. This evening, enjoy a cruise on the Saigon River before a celebratory farewell dinner back on shore. (B,L,D)

Day 14 — Depart for the U.S.

The day is at leisure until your flight departs for home. (B)