Here at Journeys Within, we especially enjoy working with returning veterans of the Vietnam War who are planning a trip back to Vietnam to revisit the areas where they served and to see Vietnam as it is today.
These tours are very meaningful to us and we take great pride in tailoring each tour to the veteran’s specific experiences, needs and desires. For those who are interested, we often incorporate meetings with Vietnamese veterans in the spirit of reconciliation and healing.
Our returning veterans always give us very positive feedback and we are proud to offer 10% discounts to all active duty and retired members of the armed forces planning a trip with us.
Read on for links to further resources and an example itinerary from one of our past clients…
Vietnam War Tours
- Remembering the Vietnam War Tour: Inspired by the recent Ken Burns/Lynn Novick documentary on “The Vietnam War” which aired on PBS, this 10-day itinerary explores many of the places that feature in the film as well as other cultural highlights of Vietnam along the way. Details…
- Backstage Pass to Vietnam Tour: Not specifically a Vietnam War tour, this incredible journey through modern-day Vietnam stops off at many of the important sites of the Vietnam conflict while also taking guests underground in amazing caves, through the Mekong delta, and into the back alleys of the major cities for a true taste of the culture of this fascinating country. Details…
One Vet’s story
Journeys Within was honored to work with Fred A., who traveled with us in 2018 to revisit some of the sites he was deployed to during his time with the U.S. Army in Vietnam. While on his trip, Fred wrote a travelogue featuring blog posts and insights from his return.
In Fred’s own words: “This is the travelogue of my return to Vietnam, 47 years after my Army tour there. I was drafted in 1969 and served in Vietnam at the end of my 2-year hitch: 1970-71. Vietnam was one of the most beautiful places I’d ever seen–then or since. But like more than 2.5 million other young Americans, I experienced Vietnam in a mostly horrid way. Yet, even then, I suspected Vietnam, absent a war, would someday be a travel mecca.”
Sample Returning Veteran’s Itinerary
Day 1 Hoi An: Arrival
Arrive on your flight. Your guide will meet you at Danang Airport for your private transfer of about 45 minutes to your hotel in Hoi An for check in.
Day 2 Hoi An: Wander the Ancient Town
Your guide will meet you at your hotel at 8am and together you will head out on a walking tour of Hoi An for a few hours. Visit the Ancient Town, which is home to the beautiful Chua Cau, (roofed bridge), as well as Hoi Quan, the ancient meeting places, some ancestral family homes and some of the lovely hidden pagodas. Time permitting, you have the option to head outside the Ancient Town and learn more about the Hoi An of today. In the spirit of tradition, you’ll also have the chance to enjoy the famous cuisine of Central Vietnam in a local restaurant in the old part of town. You have up to 4 hours to explore with your guide today.
Day 3 Hoi An to Tam Ky and Chu Lai: Military Historical Customized Tour
Your guide will meet you at your hotel reception at 8am. We will have a “then and now” file prepared for you to refer to together as you make your trip down memory lane over the next few days. Your days are at your pace and your experience will depend on the locations you choose to visit and the people you will interact with along the way. Some of the times in transport may be longer than we would normally prefer, and so please feel welcome to request your guide for additional stops whenever you need them, and we will also have cushions in your road transport for added comfort.
We recommend that you will visit the Tam Ky area first before making your way Chu Lai and then to Tam Hoa Dock for your speedboat to your resort for check-in. Your road journey today south from Hoi An to Tam Ky will take around 2 hours, with an additional hour’s drive from Tam Ky to Chu Lai, your furthest point southwards.
Hieu will discuss plans with you in advance for your first military historical day highlights in Tam Ky and Chu Lai. Options include: Chu Lai Airport, the Martyr Cemetery (for Vietnamese guerilla soldiers), Ky Anh Tunnels (completed around 1967 for moving medical supplies and rescue assistance for the guerilla resistance), Tam Ky City, and Chu Lai Airfield (All that remains is a landscape of bomb craters and airstrips, although in the far distance you can still make out some old airplane hangars to the east of the airstrip). Chu Lai Airfield is located south of Highway 1 near the city of Tam Ky and was of critical importance during the Vietnam War for the American military for reconnaissance and security missions. Chu Lai was not a Vietnamese town, as many thought. It was named after the Marine general officer Krulak’s Chinese Mandarin pronunciation of his initials. Approval to build Chu Lai was worked out in March-April 1965 by Defense Secretary McNamara. Chu Lai was an important base for the American Army, Navy and Air Force during the war, and one which was heavily bombed by the North Vietnamese towards the end of the war. Uncle Ba Lai would also like to welcome you both to his home to join him for a drink and discuss the past, present and future (he joined the guerilla resistance when he was 17).
Although not related to the war, you may also be interested in visiting: Nuoc Mam Fish Sauce Factory, Khong Mieu (Confuscism Temple), Caodaism Temple, Bich Hoa Village (a former fishing village turned art village), and Khuong My Champa Temple.
Day 4 Tam Ky: Military Historical Customized Tour
Meet your guide in your resort reception area at your agreed time. Today will be a big day as you will visit Fire Support Bases and Landing Zones LZ Baldy and LZ Ross, which were based along route 611, and performed daily clearing and securing of route 535 from ambush and mines with the aim to enable the movement of supplies and personnel along the route. LZ Ross was also a refueling point between LZ Baldy and the Hiep Duc area. In 1965, the Killer Kane operation in Hiep Duc valley saw a high proportion of “radio men” lose their lives. Often anyone near an antenna was shot by NVA snipers. Following the operation, the valley earned the nickname “Antenna Valley” in honor of the casualties. Antenna Valley runs from the Thu Bon River to the Que Son Pass. Hiep Duc Valley connects with Que Son Valley. The area was a free fire zone and reconnaissance in the area brought in artillery or air-strikes as needed to secure the area from enemy forces. Antenna Valley is also sometimes known as Dragon Valley, and is quite hard to identify today, but take your time to explore with your guide as the main base changed location from time to time during the war between Hiep Duc and Que Son and you may discover more together with local support and your guide Hieu’s interpreting help today. At LZ Baldy – There is still some existing evidence such as the Vietnam Army Base (former LZ Baldy US base), and you’ll have the chance to visit Provincial Road No.611, Huong An Town (the area around LZ Baldy), Vung Che Bridge, and LZ Ross which is now a strip of low mountains with a large monument to the Cam Doi area to one side.
Day 5 Tam Ky: Military Historical Customized Tour
Today you have a guide and driver with you to continue to explore the surrounding region. This day has been built in to revisit places you wanted to spend more time, or to catch places you missed in the previous two days. Discuss with your guide what you would like to do today.
Day 6 Tam Ky to Hoi An: Military Historical Customized Tour
Today you will be met by your guide and driver will be transferred back to Hoi An.
Day 7 Hoi An: Departure
Your guide will meet you at your hotel for your private transfer of about 45 minutes to the airport in Danang and will ensure that you arrive in time for your onward flight.