War tourism in Vietnam: what to see?

Sadly, most people still remember Vietnam because of the Vietnam war. This is understandable, it was an iconic war that had a lot of influence on American society. Because the United States is the biggest power in the world, it also impacted the whole world. Not only that, the war has also been the theme of a lot of very famous Hollywood movies.

So, it is not that strange that most people know this country because of the war. However, Vietnam has a lot to offer. It has a unique culture that everybody should experience. Still, we understand that a lot of people think that the war is really interesting as well. If you come to the country, there is a lot you can see with regard to the war. In this article you can read about the most interesting war remnants and war museums.

This is just a short list. In reality there are a lot more interesting things to see than the ones you can read about here. The war was on such an epic scale, and so much of the country was affected, that it is impossible to describe everything in one article. Keep on reading this website if you want to learn more!

Saigon, the capital in the war

Saigon was the capital of the southern government. It is a very unique city, with a very interesting history. If you are visiting Vietnam, you should definitely go to Saigon. Of course, the fall of Saigon is the most important and rememberable event that took place in this city during the war. There are a lot of tours you can take that will take you around the city and show you the most important events and places. You can also go of the grid, and do some research yourself. It is up to you. Everywhere you go, you will find little things that remember you of the war.

The famous Rex Hotel

One of the most famous places in Saigon is the world-famous Rex Hotel. Originally, it was destined to be a garage and an auto dealership. Just before the war, it was changed in a hotel. In the war, the hotel welcomed a lot of high-ranking American officers. They were drinking here, while sitting on the rooftop and watching out over the city. That must have been an iconic image!   

Today, there is still a hotel at this place. Although now, there is also a huge shopping center where you can buy a lot of different goods. Of course, it is also possible to go to the roof and have some drinks yourself.

The Independence Palace

The southern Vietnam government operated from this palace. It is a building with a long and rich history. This history goes back to the colonial era. However, it is most famous for the role that it had during the Vietnam war. It is still clear today, when you see the building, that it had a facilitating and coordinating role in the war. There are still a lot of tunnels, and telecommunication equipment.

The palace is well known for the storming that happened at the end of the war. The North Vietnamese army was rapidly approaching. A tank of the northern army crushed the gates. This iconic image signaled that the war was over, the north was victorious.

The evacuation site

Of course, there is one image that is even more iconic. This is one of the things, someone thinks automatically of when you think of the Vietnam war. This is the chaotic evacuation of the American personal, that took place during the fall of Saigon.

A Dutch photographer captured it on film. He, Hubert van Es, took pictures of the las CIA helicopter that was picking op evacuees. Especially the scene on what is today 22 Ly Tu Trong Street, is famous worldwide. You can visit this place even today. And you can see the place where the helicopter landed, that many years ago!

Cu Chi tunnels

Another great place that you can visit are the famous Cu Chi tunnels. These tunnels were one of the strengths of the southern Vietnam army. It is a highly complicated complex, where you can hide from the enemy with ease. This made the tunnels so effective and useful. However, it was still not enough to bring the victory to the south Vietnamese army.

Con Dao Prison, Con Son Island

Near Saigon, there is a very famous island, one that you absolutely got to visit. It’s called Con Son Island. Here you can find the Con Dao Prison. The French colonists used it to get rid of enemies of colonialism. The island is very isolated.

During the Vietnam war, the American army took over. They used the prison to torture prisoners during the 60ties and 70ties. Tom Harkin documented this abuse. Not only the history is great, the nature on the island is also very interesting.

Places outside of Saigon

As you can read in the paragraphs above, there are a lot of interesting things that you can see and do in Saigon. However, Saigon is not the only interesting place of course. In central Vietnam, for example, you can also find a lot of remnants of the war. Actually, central Vietnam was the place were most of the battles were fought. This is logical, because it is right between South and North Vietnam. These were of course the two parties that were at war with each other.

The beaches

You should definitely visit Nam O Beach. This is the place were the first American soldiers landed, it were 3.500 of them. So, you could think of this place as the starting point of the war, for the American soldiers. It is really interesting to think about this when you look at the beach. It is such a beautiful place, but it has such a bloody history.  

It is also possible to go to the north of Vietnam, and to see what kind of remnants of the war you can find over there. This way you can also see the war trough the eyes of the other party, namely the North Vietnamese.