After its battles against the French , Vietnam was continued to face with a war happened from 1955 to 1975 which has covered the country with smoke and blood. Throughout these years, bombs dropped, bullets showered, toxic gas filled the air, and in the end, millions of lifeless bodies were left behind. These events had no doubt made Vietnam tourists destination dark and here are some of the dark attractions you should visit for your Vietnam tour.
1. Hoa Lo Prison (Hanoi)
The Hoa Lo prison was first built by the French in 1896 as “Maison Centrale”, destroying an entire village to make way for its building intended for political prisoners. More than 2000 prisoners were crammed here during the first half of the 1950s, living in poor conditions and brutality.
During the Vietnam War, the prison was used as a detention center for US pilots captured by the Vietnamese and it was jokingly called as the “Hanoi Hilton” by its American prisoners. The first ambassador of Vietnam, Douglas ‘Pete’ Peterson, and 2008 US presidential candidate John McCain were its most famous inmates.
In 1993, the prison building was demolished except for a wing which was preserved and turned into the Hoa Lo Prison Museum.
2. DMZ complex (Central Vietnam)
Vietnam’s Demilitarized Zone, or DMZ, is the area around the former border between North and South Vietnam. Historically it was a narrow band of terrain extending from the Laos border to the coast, five km on either side of the Ben Hai River, roughly on the 17th parallel north latitude.
During Vietnam-American War, the Ben Hai River was demarcation line between North and South Vietnam. This make a Demilitarized Zone of five km each from the river. However during the war, the Southern area of DMZ was one of the most bloodiest battlefield.
This Vietnam tour package will take you back to the war sites, including: Ben Hai River, Hien Luong Bridge, Vinh Moc Tunnel, Khe Sanh Combat, Ho Chi Minh Trail, Dong Ha Town, Rock Pile. Return back to your hotel late afternoon around 18:30.
3. Vinh Moc Tunnels (Quang Tri)
The village of Vinh Moc was part of the “free fire zones” during the war. This made living above ground like a normal community seems to be impossible that its people had to leave while the rest decided to live underground, creating Vinh Moc Tunnels. The tunnels weren’t only used as a place to stay, but also as a place to transport weapons and equipment from Con Co Island.
4. My Lai Massacre Site (Quang Ngai)
“Search and destroy” missions were common during the war. US soldiers burned down villages and massacred the locals. The village that caught most of the public’s attention is My Lai, even when the massacres also happened in other villages. Thanks to US Veteran Ron Ridenhour who pushed the issue to make the American public be more aware about these events and help develop the anti-war movement in the US.
When you are traveling with a Vietnam tour, you’ll see a sculpture of a woman with her fist up in the air while carrying a baby, with dead family members at her feet. Moreover, the museum has graphic photos of the massacre and different artifacts such as clothing and utensils, all torn by bullet holes.
5. Cu Chi Tunnels (Ho Chi Minh city)
Beware claustrophobics as Cu Chi Tunnels may get into your nerves. The tunnels which played an important role for the Vietcongs against the USA are now a major Vietnam tourist attraction.
The tunnels’ entrance holes are well-camouflaged that made it tough to notice. Go down and you’ll be in a network of nothing but darkness and tight space.
Besides the tunnels, the site’s reconstructed booby traps are a must-see. The simple yet deadly devices include rotating trapdoors with bamboo spikes at the bottom and a folding chair that can swap a leg.