As one of the hottest battlegrounds during the Cold War, modern Vietnam has many historical places for students of history. Indeed, the American phase of the Vietnam War alone lasted 19 years and six months, not including the French phase and the resistance to Japanese occupation during World War II. As a result, you won’t run out of landmarks, monuments, and historically significant buildings to visit if you’re there. To make it easier to decide, we’ve narrowed it down to the most important cities. Here are the five must-visit Vietnamese cities for history buffs.
If you’re touring the country to visit places of interest from the Vietnam War, you might want to start where US involvement officially began. Indeed, the beaches of Da Nang were the first to feel the weight of American boots, with US Marines landing on its shores in 1965.
These days, Da Nang has become a relaxed coastal resort town. It’s made effective use of its fabulous beaches, verdant mountains, and collection of religious relics to fuel a booming tourist industry. Indeed, you can pretty much visit places like My Khe Beach, the Marble Mountains, and the My Son Sanctuary within a single trip to the city. What’s more, Da Nang is also near Hoi Ann Village, which is a UNESCO World Heritage site.
Fortunately, you won’t have any trouble finding places to stay in Da Nang. Simply go to your preferred search engine and look for “Hotels in Da Nang,” or simply go to your preferred search engine if you are local, then easy to check on Traveloka application for such trustworthy hotels. Afterward, Traveloka is friendly to advise you on a map to see your picked hotel that is nearest to the places you’ll visit. Afterward, you should pick out a hotel that’s nearest to the places you’ll visit.
As the chosen capital of the last royal Vietnamese Dynasty, the Nguyen, Hue has a specifically established Complex of Hue Monuments—which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The city’s greater importance would begin in 1802 at the dynasty’s beginning and would arguably remain throughout the French colonial period.
During the Vietnam War, the old imperial capital would see one of the conflict’s bloodiest single battles. As the main pivot point of the Tet Offensive of 1968, the grueling Battle of Hue would also be immortalized in Stanley Kubrick’s film, “Full Metal Jacket.” In real life, the battle would heavily damage the Old Imperial Palace and the Citadel. But today, the old palace complex remains an important tourist spot after much renovation. However, some parts of the structures still show the scars of war in the form of scattered bullet holes.
Along the banks of the Red River, Hanoi has had a rich history that dates back to the year 1010. This was when the first Ly Dynasty ruler moved his capital to the auspicious spot and named it the Thang Long, or “City of the Soaring Dragon.”
In the last century, however, the city has seen the foreign occupation of French, Japanese, and American forces in different periods. But since the country’s reunification, Hanoi has developed into a must-visit city for tourists, thanks to its many historical sites that date back centuries. But one of the most important places you can visit will have to be the Hoa Lo Prison. It’s been renovated and restored to look less like a place to house American prisoners of war, but many signs of its past remain. Most notably, the prison was the long-term home of US pilots captured during the Vietnam War—including the late US Senator John McCain.
As Vietnam’s capital, looking for a place to stay will also be easy in Hanoi. This should make it a breeze to find a convenient starting point throughout your stay.
After the initial division of Vietnam, Quang Tri had initially served as a temporary border for the two halves of the country. As a result, many skirmishes have occurred within this town’s borders—the biggest of which was the Battle of Quang Tri in 1968. You can even visit the Hien Luong Bridge over the Ben Hai River, which was the starting point of the demilitarized zone established by the Geneva Accords of 1954. This zone stretches 5 kilometers from both sides of the river.
As a district-level town, Quang Tri may not have a wealth of hotels to offer compared to bigger Vietnamese cities. If you’re looking for accommodation options for a visit to Quang Tri, you might also want to widen your search to include hotels in the nearby city of Dong Ha.
Ho Chi Minh City
Formerly the Southern Vietnamese capital of Saigon, this city was renamed after the famous hero, leader, and Father of Vietnam. Affectionately called, “Uncle Ho,” by his compatriots, Ho Chi Minh had led the resistance against the Japanese, French, and American forces. However, he would not live long enough to see the country reunified. As a symbol of reverence, the conquering North Vietnamese government would rename the city in his name after reunification.
Some of the most important places you can visit in the city include the Cu Chi Tunnels, the War Remnants Museum, and the Reunification Palace. Originally South Vietnam’s capitol building, the Reunification Palace stands out as a vital must-visit for people visiting Ho Chi Minh City. It was where Operation Frequent Wind occurred, which is considered the largest evacuation via helicopter in history. It would airlift as many servicemen, officials, and citizens of the collapsing regimes until the North Vietnamese would finally capture the building.
After decades of conflict that began during the Japanese occupation and ended with American withdrawal, Vietnam has a sizeable collection of historical sites. This makes visiting the country a fun, enlightening, and educational endeavor that’s sure to make your trip memorable.