Quang Tri

During the 1954 Geneva Conference, the Demilitarized Zone (or the “DMZ”) was created to separate the two factions of North and South Vietnam. Originally, it served as a temporary line to divide the country into 2 states, however, many years passed before Vietnam reunified and removed the line. This zone is separated by a river and extends 3 miles (5km) outwards on each side.

Places of interest

This trail primarily served the North in their struggle to reunite the country and supported them in supplying troops in the South with proper ammunitions.  The trail spanned over 20,000km crossing high mountains exceeding 2500m and low valleys.  Currently, the trail serves to connect Northern and Southern Vietnam via highways. Although many parts of the trails remain operable, other sections have been invaded jungles.

The Ben Hai River is famous on a historic scale due to its involvement as a physical demarcation line post the Geneva Accords in 1954.  This zone extends 3 miles (5km) outwards on each side.  Centrally located, the river spans 100km long and sources from the mountains of Annamite Cordillera.  At its broadest region, it is 200m wide.Between 1954 and 1975, the historic Hien Luong Bridge served as a border gate between the two sides.  At this site, visitors shall be introduced to the border gate; some flagpoles; the Negotiation House and Demarcation Police Station on the northern bank; and a watchtower on the southern bank.

This citadel in Quang Tri was originally constructed in the 17th century.  Thereafter in 1809, the first king named Gia Long of the Nguyen dynasty decided to reconstruct the structure to fortify the northern approach to the capital located in Hue.  During King Minh Mang’s rule (1820-1840), the previous structure was then replaced by a 4-sided fortress according to Vauban architecture which featured 5m high walls; 4 gates with watchtowers; and a 20m wide moat.  In 1883 when King Ham Nghi briefly resisted against the French, he used this site as his base.

This underground tunnel complex represents the local people’s will power, courageousness, and resourcefulness in their struggle for unity.  This tunnel complex spans nearly 2km with 3 floors 13m, 15m, and 23m deep.  The inhabitants relocated and formed this village over a 2-year period using approximately 6,000m3 of slab and mud dug by hands.  The complex had 7 exits where 1 exit served as the ventilators and the other 6 exits were accessible to the sea.  Within the complex include a hospital, theatre, meeting rooms, kitchens and family wards.

Khe Sanh, located on the northwest corner of South Vietnam below the DMZ line, is a mountainous valley in Huong Hoa District of Quang Tri Province.  It is 63km west of Dong Ha Town and 16km from the Laotian border.  Around 1962, the existing old French airstrip was restored and used by US Special Forces as a base for intelligence gathering of the North Vietnamese Army (NVA) actions’ along the Ho Chi Minh Trails and limiting infiltration into the South.  It is also a famous for a siege simultaneous to the 1968 Tet Offensive.  Nowadays, the site does not offer much except a small museum at an end of an old runway which allows visitors to better understand its historic significance.

This is the largest cemetery in Vietnam which lies 17km south of Ben Hai River.  It contains countless numbers of white tombstones to commiserate tens of thousands of NVA soldiers and other military personnel who gracefully gave their lives in the surrounding areas.