The Vietnam War

The Vietnam War

From Defeat at Dien Bien Phu to the Fall of Saigon

Battlefield

6th - 19th January 2020
(14 Days)

Guide : Dr Gregory Daddis

Tour price: £3,995

click here to book

The Vietnam War

From Defeat at Dien Bien Phu to the Fall of Saigon

Battlefield

Your Holiday Essentials

6th - 19th January 2020
(14 Days)

Return flights from London, 3 and 4 star hotels, buffet breakfast, lunches, 3-course dinner with drinks each evening, all entrance fees and expert guide throughout

Activity Level: 2

Guide: Dr Gregory Daddis

Tour price: £3,995

Single supplement: £435
Deposit: £395
Price without flights: £3,345

Booking open

click here to book

Tour Introduction

Appealing to history and culture enthusiasts alike, this tour combines the key locations of the Vietnam war, with the stunning highlights of that country. Vietnam offers a rich culture and history, combined with delicious local cuisine with a French twist. Hanoi, with its leafy tree lined avenues, plays host to fascinating, thought provoking museums and military sites. Further north we explore the battlefield of Dien Bien Phu, which signalled the end of French Colonial rule and savour the breathtaking vistas of Ha Long Bay. We continue our journey south to the former DMZ, visiting the Citadel in Hue where some of the fiercest fighting took place during the 1968 Tet Offensive. Enjoy some ‘R&R’ at China beach, cruise the Mekong Delta in the wake of the U.S. Brown Water Navy and explore the incredible Cu Chi tunnels, all in the company of our expert guide. Finally, relax with a drink in the rooftop bar at the Rex Hotel in Saigon, famous hangout of war correspondents and senior US military officials.

Led by leading Vietnam War historian and author Dr Gregory Daddis, described as the expert’s expert on the Vietnam War, a retired US Army Colonel who served in both Operation Desert Storm and Iraqi Freedom and is a former Chief of the American History Division at USMA West Point.

Background

On the 7th of May 1954, the Viet Minh were victorious at the battle of Dien Bien Phu, thus ending French involvement in Indochina. The ensuing Geneva Conference in November of that year divided the country in two along the 17th parallel. North Vietnam continued the fight as an extension of their desire for independence against colonial rule, supported by China and the Soviet Union. The United States and her allies, who feared the rise of communism in Southeast Asia, sided with the South and thus ushered in a new war. American involvement began in earnest in the spring of 1965 when 3,500 US Marines landed near Da Nang; the number of US ground troops then rose rapidly to 200,000 by December of the same year. By this time the North Vietnamese Army and insurgent National Liberation Front (otherwise known as the Viet Cong) controlled large portions of the rural South. The Tet Offensive of 1968 saw the beginnings of a shift to fighting in more urban areas, with the major cities of Hue and Saigon enduring fierce fighting with regiment sized forces opposing each other. Urban areas increasingly became the focus of later operations conducted by the North, such as the Easter Offensive of 1972 and their final Spring Offensive of 1975. Numerous atrocities were committed by both sides, including the use of chemical and biological weapons such as Napalm and Agent Orange. By the end of the war on 30th April 1975, more than 58,000 Americans and an estimated 1.5 million Vietnamese soldiers and civilians had lost their lives.The Tet Offensive of 1968 saw the beginnings of a shift to fighting in more urban areas, with the major cities of Hue and Saigon enduring fierce fighting with regiment sized forces opposing each other. Urban areas increasingly became the focus of later operations conducted by North, such as the Easter Offensive of 1972 and their final Spring Offensive of 1975. Numerous atrocities were committed by both sides, including the use of chemical and biological weapons such as Napalm and Agent Orange. By the end of the war on 30th April 1975, more than 58,000 Americans and an estimated 1.5 million Vietnamese soldiers and civilians had lost their lives.

Highlights

  • With historian & author Dr Gregory Daddis
  • Visit the Site of the Battle of Dien Bien Phu
  • Explore Hanoi & Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City)
  • Luxury Junk cruise in Ha Long Bay
  • Epic sightseeing in the DMZ & Cu Chi tunnels

Itinerary

Day 1 - Depart

Depart London on your overnight flight to Hanoi.

Day 2 - Arrive Hanoi

On arrival transfer to your hotel. After lunch we visit the fascinating Ho Chi Minh Trail Museum dedicated to the system of trails with displays of American weaponry and though provoking photographic displays. We then explore the War Remnants museum which provides a graphic account of the horrors of the Vietnam war.

Day 3 - Hanoi

Today we begin with a visit to the Ho Chi Minh Complex, comprising of the imposing marble Mausoleum, the Presidential Palace, Ho Chi Minh’s wooden stilt house and the nearby One Pillar Pagoda. After lunch we continue to the Vietnam Military History Museum housing an interesting collection documenting the period between 1954 and 1975 including aircraft along with French, American, Chinese and Soviet military equipment. We visit the small museum at Hỏa Lò Prison better known as the Hanoi Hilton, before exploring the bunker of the General Command Headquarters of the North Vietnamese Government during the war.

Day 4 - Hanoi – Dien Bien Phu

A late morning check out before transferring to the airport for your flight to Dien Bien Phu. On arrival check in to our hotel for 2 nights.

Day 5 - The Battle of Dien Bien Phu 1954

After breakfast enjoy a full day exploring the battle site of Dien Bien Phu, much of which is well preserved. Starting at the Muong Phang tunnels and bunker system of the Viet Minh commander General Vo Nguyen Giap. Driving to the top of Pu Ca Hill gives us a panoramic view of the battlefield looking down on the French positions showing how hopeless and indefensible they were from artillery in the hills surrounding them. After lunch we see the French trenches and command post of the French commander General Christian de Castries.

Day 6 - Dien Bien Phu – Hanoi

We check out of the hotel and visit the French war memorial and cemetery and the recently rebuilt Dien Bien Phu Victory Museum. The Museum houses an eclectic collection commemorating the 1954 battle, including photographs, weaponry, the bath tub of General de Castries and a bicycle that could carry 330kg of ordnance. We return to the hotel for lunch before transferring to the airport for our return flight to Hanoi. On arrival in Hanoi we transfer to our hotel for dinner and overnight.

Day 7 - Hanoi – Ha Long Bay

After breakfast we drive to Ha Long bay, a UNESCO World Natural Heritage Site recognised for its biodiversity and geology. The stunning scenic rock formations of 1,969 limestone islands set in emerald water jutting imposingly skywards is a must do when visiting Vietnam. Join our traditionally styled luxury junk for an overnight cruise. Once onboard, enjoy lunch while you set sail into the myriad of islands, visit Thien Canh Son cave, go Kayaking or simply relax onboard and enjoy the constantly changing scenery. Dinner and overnight onboard.

Day 8 - Ha Long Bay – Fly Hue

Enjoy the morning cruising through the islands, visit a floating fishing village or explore an island. After lunch disembark and transfer back to Hanoi Airport for your flight to the old imperial city Hue. On arrival in Hue you will be transferred to your hotel for a 2-night stay.

Day 9 - The Demilitarized Zone

An early start for a full day tour of the DMZ where some of the fiercest fighting of the entire war took place. We drive to Quang Tri Province and visit the former Marine base at Khe San, where one of the longest and deadliest battles of the Vietnam War was fought. Travelling on Road 9, originally part of the Ho Chi Minh Trail linking the DMZ to the neighbouring country Laos, we see historic war sites such as The Rockpile and Ta Con Airfield. A visit to the amazing Vinh Moc tunnel complex offers an authentic insight into the life of Viet Cong and villagers of Vinh Linh during the war. We have lunch in Dong Ha, which also saw heavy fighting, and stop at Quang Tri Citadel site of an epic 81-day battle in 1972. Dinner and overnight in Hue.

Day 10 - The Battle for Hue 1968

This morning we explore Hue Citadel and focus on the fighting that took place here in during the 1968 Tet Offensive. 11 battalions of the Army of the republic of south Vietnam (ARVN), 4 US Army battalions and 3 US Marine Corps battalions fought a vicious house to house battle with 10 battalions of the People’s Army of Vietnam and Viet Cong. In the afternoon we drive to Danang Airport via Red Beach 2 where the US Marines first landed and China beach, site of R&R for US troops. Fly Danang to Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon), on arrival you will be met and transferred to your hotel.

Day 11 - The Cu Chi Tunnels

The incredible Cu Chi tunnel complex north of Ho Chi Minh City is an immense network of connecting tunnels used by Viet Cong troops. As well as being used in combat they also served as communication and supply routes, hospitals, food and weapons caches and living quarters. We get to explore inside the tunnels and imagine the conditions. The tunnels were often booby trapped, and examples of the traps used are on display. The tunnels allowed the Viet Cong to move freely and control where battles would be fought.

Day 12 - Mekong Delta – My Tho and Ap Bac

This morning we drive to My Tho on the Mekong Delta. During the war it was a centre of operations for US and Australian troops. We have a walking tour of the town, then head out on the waterways to explore the Mekong Delta by boat to learn more about the US Brown Water Navy. After lunch we visit a floating fishing village before driving to Ap Bac where a pivotal moment of the Vietnam War and a potent for the eventual failure in South Vietnam happened.

Day 13 - The Fall of Saigon & flight home

Discover the history of the Reunification Palace where, in 1975, a North Vietnamese Army tank crashed through the main gates, effectively ending the Vietnam war. We make a stop at the site of the US Embassy and visit the War Remnants Museum, containing exhibits from the French Indo-China War and the Vietnam war. Lunch will be followed by time to explore Ben Than market in central Saigon. Built in 1870, it is the largest market in the city and the most authentic. A late afternoon transfer to the airport for our return overnight flight to London.

Day 14 - Early morning arrival in London

Recommended Reading List

Your Holiday Essentials

6th - 19th January 2020
(14 Days)

Return flights from London, 3 and 4 star hotels, buffet breakfast, lunches, 3-course dinner with drinks each evening, all entrance fees and expert guide throughout

Activity Level: 2

Guide: Dr Gregory Daddis

Tour price: £3,995

Single supplement: £435
Deposit: £395
Price without flights: £3,345

Booking open

click here to book

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