Travelling The Ho Chi Minh Trail
The Vietnam War has left traces all over Vietnam and beyond, both visible and more subtle. One of the more dramatic legacies of this troubling period is the Ho Chi Minh Trail.
This was the route used by Ho Chi Minh’s Communist forces to transport men, machines and supplies from the north to the guerrilla forces fighting the Americans in the south. There was never just one road following the route from north to south, but rather the Ho Chi Minh Trail was made up of an ever-evolving network of pathways and roads, sprawled across three countries.
What’s left of the original trail has diminished in recent decades, as time and development have taken their toll on the primitive roads. There are still several ways to experience the original historical trail, whether you are looking for the full experience, or just to dip in and out. The bulk of the route is found in Laos, and traces remain all over the country, ready to be discovered as part of your tailor-made tour.
In the year 2000 a new road was built from the Chinese border in the north down to the Mekong Delta in the south, cutting through the previously underdeveloped interior of Vietnam, to become the ‘Ho Chi Minh Highway’. Travelling this road takes a curious traveller through some of the most interesting and beautiful parts of Vietnam. A recent trip to Vietnam took two members of our team along a part of this very route.
From Hanoi the road runs south to Quang Binh Province, where North Vietnamese fighters hid in the networks of caves hidden beneath the stunning karst mountains. From here you can travel down through the centre of the country, where the fighting was most intense. Here you can make detours to visit the DMZ, the Vinh Moc Tunnels (a lesser visited alternative to the Cu Chi Tunnels near Saigon), the moving Truong Son National Cemetery, and the notorious Khe Sanh Military Base. Evidence of the conflict is ever present in this area, and the region is still littered with unexploded ordnance. The road then winds south, past Danang and through Dalat and the central highlands before reaching Saigon, now Ho Chi Minh City. A fascinating journey through Vietnam’s turbulent history, and a testament to how far the country has come in the years since.
Get in touch to speak with a member of our team to see how you can plan a trip on this historic trail yourself.