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Marty's World Journal

Hue to Khe Sanh

VIETNAM | Thursday, 26 July 2012 | Views [2442]

Hue is the most civilized Vietnamese City that I would visit and marks the halfway point up Vietnam’s coast. The Citadel (impressive) and tombs (which to me, are vulgar and would be the worst place to spend eternity) it merited no more than two days stay. Hue is close(ish) to Phong Nha, one of the main things that brought me to Vietnam, so I was keen to keep moving. Getting back to the Trail I took the road south west. While not in good condition, it runs along a mountain ridge for 3 hours of scenic riding to Phu Loc.

Pressing on from Phu Loc, I make it to Dong Ha before dark. Based on advice from people in Phong Nha I stop in at Tam’s Café to get some food and information about the road north to Phong Nha. Tam tells me that if I head up the coast the next morning I can see the Demilitarised Zone (DMZ) and the Vinh Moc Tunnel, and that so long as im back in Dong Ha by 11am I'll make it to Phong Nha by 4pm. Tam also advises me that there is a festival in town and that I should check it out’tonight. Wanting to get an early night, I head out to the market and festival for a bit. There’s a show and dancing outside the newly constructed museum, but its hard to tell if this is the rehearsal or the main event. Heading back to the hotel I grab a drink of Sinh To (chunks of fruit that you mash up with a spoon and then add crushed ice) which is a very nice local dish.

Getting up early on Thursday I jump on the bike and head north to the DMZ and Vinh Moc Tunnels. Approaching the DMZ the landscape radically changes as you pass thought the old north/south divide. Due to the extent of pollution not much grows. Passing over the bridge and pass the firebases that formed the north/south divide it’s not far to the Vinh Moc Tunnels where whole villages lived underground for the duration of the war. The Tunnel formation is more impressive than the Chu Chi Tunnels outside of Siagon, and save for a Vietnamese family, im the only visitor. A handicapped local guy shows me around the tunnels.

Back in Dong Ha earlier than Tam advised I make my way along the road I traveled the day before towards Khe Sanh. Coming past the Rock Pile for the second time, im stopped as they are blasting it for mining. Arriving in Khe Sanh I’m well advanced on Tam’s advised schedule and decide to make a quick detour to visit the former airbase, now turned museum. There’s some military remnants including a Huey, Chinook, tanks, and exploded ordinance shrapnel. Keeping on schedule I get back on Ho Chi Mihn West Trail and look forward to the ride to Phong Nha.

 

Tags: dmz, dong ha, hue, khe sanh, phu loc, vinh moc

 

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