Insight to a Veteran’s Vietnam Experience


Visit historic war sites and iconic battle scenes relating to the Vietnam War with an American war veteran as your expert host.

Chuck Searcy
Chuck Searcy is a US Army Veteran of the Vietnam War who has knowledge of the history of wars in Vietnam and two decades experience living there. After first returning to Vietnam in 1992 as a tourist, then working for several American Veterans organisations since 1995, Mr. Searcy is now an International Advisor to Project RENEW in Quang Tri Province.

Hanoi – Hue – A Luoi – Quang Tri – Hoi An – Qui Nhon – Pleiku – Saigon

US$2,891

24 SEP 2018 - 5 OCT 2018

Hanoi – Hue – A Luoi – Quang Tri – Hoi An – Qui Nhon – Pleiku – Saigon

US$2,891

24 SEP 2018 - 5 OCT 2018

ITINERARY HIGHLIGHTS

  • Take a briefing at Project RENEW, learning about present-day clearance of UXO’s
  • Visit key battle sites, base camps and airfields along the DMZ
  • Engage with a South Vietnam Veteran who fought in the infamous ‘Battle of Hue’
  • Explore the Cu Chi Tunnels with a Viet Cong veteran who lived there
  • Day 1: Hanoi | Orientation

    Located in the north, Vietnam’s capital city, Hanoi, is a rapidly developing metropolis, yet still retains much of its ancient heritage and cultural traditions. Meet your expert host and guide, Mr. Chuck Searcy. A resident in Vietnam for two decades-plus, Chuck Searcy is a US Army veteran of the Vietnam War (1966 to 1969) and Vice President of the Vietnam Chapter of Veterans for Peace. He has been awarded Vietnam’s highest foreign honour, The Friendship Medal. With in-depth personal knowledge of the country and Vietnam War, Chuck is able to share rare historical insight and experiences.

  • Day 2: Hanoi | Discovering Wartime Legacies

    Hanoi has experienced more than a millennium of momentous history and still bears its wartime legacies – of which we explore today. A meeting with a North Vietnamese veteran lends an insightful perspective into the Vietnam War, especially, taking place within Hoa Lo Prison, dubbed ‘Hanoi Hilton’ by US PoWs incarcerated here.  A small section now remains, preserved as a museum. The wreckage of an American B-52 Bomber still lies semi-submerged in Huu Tiep Lake, shot down during the infamous ‘Christmas Bombing’ Campaign. From December 18th and 29th, 1972, U.S. air forces bombed Hanoi  and other North Vietnam strategic locations, the  heaviest  US bombardment since the end of World War II. We visit Kham Thien Street, Hanoi’s most heavily bombed area during the Christmas Bombing campaign.

  • Day 3: Hanoi – Hue | Retracing the 1968 Tet Offensive

    Vietnam’s former royal capital, Hue, played a pivotal role  in the 1968 Tet Offensive, one of the largest military campaigns and most important events of the Vietnam War. Launched on January 30 1968, the Tet Offensive was a  well-coordinated campaign of attacks led by the Viet Cong and North Vietnamese People’s Army of Vietnam (NVA)  against the South Vietnamese Army of the Republic of Vietnam (ARVN), U.S and allied forces. Lasting more than a month, the ‘Battle of Huế,’ was one of the war’s longest and bloodiest battles, with eighty percent of the city destroyed and 5,000-plus civilians killed. We follow traces of the so-called ‘Siege of Hue’ and the ferocious hand-to-hand fighting, including in the walled Citadel. A meeting with one of the survivors of this Battle of Hue, allows us to share first-hand experiences of the Tet Offensive.

  • Day 4: Hue – A Luoi | Military Bases & Hamburger Hill

    Drive to A Luoi District, a scenic area backed by rugged, jungle-shrouded mountains,  which reveals many points of historic significance from the Vietnam War. We stop off at Binh Dien and Bastogne Military Bases, used by US forces and their Allies to protect Hue against North Vietnamese Army (NVA) attacks. Continuing onto A Shau Valley, we reach the 937m-high (3,074ft) , steeply sloped, Ap Bia Mountain, 1.2 miles (1.9 km) from the Laotian border. This is also dubbed ‘Hamburger Hill’ by US forces – a name originating from the relentless heavy bombardment and shelling here, resulting in severe casualties on all sides. The Battle of Hamburger Hill took place between May 10 to 20,1969 on a site, ironically, of little strategic value.

  • Day 5: A Luoi – The DMZ | Combat Zones & Project RENEW

    During the Vietnam War, the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) was the battleground demarcation separating North from South Vietnamese territories. This buffer zone runs through Quang Tri province, where  some of the most intense, violent fighting  of the entire Vietnam War. The DMZ still bears the scars of massive bombardments and  remnants of US combat bases and airfields built along the DMZ’s ‘Route 9.’ Stops here include Khe Sanh, Rockpile and Vinh Moc Tunnels, a secret complex of  deep shelters built to shelter civilians from intense bombing raids. We stop for a briefing at Quang Tri Provincial Mine Action Centre at Project RENEW, which Chuck Searcy helped co-found and is their International Advisor. RENEW helps clean-up unexploded ordnances (UXO) in Quang Tri Province and provides care for UXO victims.

  • Day 6-7: Quang Tri – My Lai – Quy Nhon | Unspeakable Atrocities

    Hoi An is a major ‘Silk Road’ trading port from the 16th to 19th centuries and a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Site. En-route we stop at several battle sites, including Hai River, Hien Luong Bridge and Seventeenth Parallel. Driving through picturesque rice paddy scenery, we reach My Lai Village, the scene of one of the Vietnam War’s most shocking atrocities. On March 16 1968, US troops slaughtered 500 unarmed Vietnamese civilians in two hamlets. A tour of the village  reveals the burnt-out shells of homes. The somber My Lai Museum documents the horrific massacre and its aftermath. We participate in a workshop here with local veterans.

  • Day 8: Quy Nhon – An Khe – Pleiku | Highway 19 & Mang Yang Pass

    We drive along Highway 19 (or National Route 19), the main supply route between Quy Nhon, the region’s major port and the highlands running across Vietnam. Highway 19 became a vital supply artery for ARVN bases and the North Vietnamese Viet Cong and People’s Army of Vietnam (PAVN) conducted frequent ambushes along here. After a drive through An Nhon town, we stop at Mang Yang Pass, where the French Groupment Mobile 100 (BR 252 483) were caught in a devastating ambush. This narrow and steep pass was the main ‘choke point’ along Highway 19 for passing convoys supplying US and ARVN bases at Pleiku and An Khe and regularly came under attack by the Viet Cong.

  • Day 9: Pleiku – Ho Chi Minh City | Historic War Buildings

    During the Vietnam War, Saigon (renamed Ho Chi Minh City in 1976), largely escaped warfare, despite being the base of US military operations. Lunch is a bowl of Pho (rice noodle soup) at  Pho Binh restaurant, the clandestine headquarter of Viet Cong Commanders, who met in secret  to plot the strategic 1968 Tet Offensive. We head to the former CIA building (accessible outside), where, as Communist troops advanced from April 29 to 30, 1975, US helicopters airlifted out the last remaining US citizens. The defining moment in Saigon’s fall took place at Independence Palace (Reunification Palace), formerly the South Vietnamese Government’s HQ, when NVA tanks crashed through the gates on April 30, 1975. We take a guided tour of this historic relic-museum.

  • Day 10: Ho Chi Minh City – Cu Chi | Exploring War Tunnels with a Veteran

    A private speedboat takes us northwest to the Cu Chi Tunnels, one of Vietnam’s proudest wartime achievements. This immense network of secret underground tunnels, used by the Viet Cong against US air and ground sweeps, was a major supply route, linking communities and support bases. Tunnels up to 10m (32 feet) deep contained kitchens, field hospitals, command centres, living quarters and weapons caches. We explore this underground complex accompanied by a Viet Cong veteran who actually lived here. Speaking with him, we can understand more the almost unbearable living conditions and Vietnamese resilience during combat.

  • Day 11: Mekong Delta – Ho Chi Minh City | Forays into the ‘Delta & Veteran Workshop

    The Mekong Delta is a vast southern region of lush agricultural landscapes totally dominated by – and dependent on – the Mekong River and its many waterways and tributaries.   As the nation’s most fertile region, the Delta was of huge strategic importance for all sides in the War, and witnessed savage fighting, including widespread chemical defoliant attacks. We take a motorboat deep into tranquil, idyllic countryside, which we explore by bicycle and horse drawn cart, stopping off at villages and private orchards. A sampan ride along one of the Mekong’s slender canals overhung with foliage is evocative of wartime river patrols. In Saigon, at the restored residential villa of the US Ambassador to South Vietnam in the 1960s, we participate in a workshop with local veterans, followed by a farewell dinner.

  • Day 12: Departure

    Transfer to airport for your onward flight.

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