Anzac Day in Vietnam
DEPARTS: 22nd April 2020
- Price: per person, twin share
- Single Supplement: $750
- Deposit: 750
Discover the modern Vietnam while also gaining insight into its turbulent past on this special Anzac Day tour.
Anzac Day in Vietnam
Visit beautiful Vietnam and join us on this special Anzac Day departure to walk in the footsteps of more than 50,000 Australians and 3000 New Zealanders who served during the Vietnam War on this emotional journey to the former battlefields. Our tour takes in all the key Anzac sites, plus some American sites as well as allowing you to discover many of Vietnam’s cultural treasures and experiencing its vibrant culture and mouth-watering cuisine. Gary McKay, who served as a platoon leader in Vietnam and was awarded the Military Cross during Australia’s last battle of the war, will be your guide. This tour is designed for first time visitors to Vietnam who wish to discover the modern Vietnam while also gaining insight into its turbulent past.
Please make your own way to our centrally located Ho Chi Minh City hotel. This evening is at your leisure to soak up the hustle and bustle of this vibrant city.
This morning, we will visit the Reunification Palace for a guided tour of the former headquarters of the South Vietnamese Government and residence of the presidents. The history of Ho Chi Minh City lies hidden within its colourful maze of small alleys. We will discover a secret chamber that was once used by the VC as a place to hide, store medicine, money, and important documents during the war. Housed in what used to be a street-food restaurant that supported the VC, we will enjoy a cup of coffee with the owner and learn more about the site’s intriguing past and walk in the footsteps of the VC as you explore the small corners of the chamber – a first-hand look at how they were able to escape the American soldiers. We will enjoy lunch at a historic local restaurant followed by a sombre visit to the War Remnants Museum. This afternoon we will visit the famous Ben Thanh Market. Tonight we will enjoy a welcome dinner at the former residence of the US Ambassador of South Vietnam. In the early 1960s, Mr. Henry C. Lodge aided in conducting a mission to overthrow the South Vietnamese Government. While here we will also enjoy a sumptuous Vietnamese dinner. (B, L, D)
STAR INCLUSIONS ★ Reunification Palace ★ War Remnants Museum ★ Ben Thanh Market ★ Welcome dinner
This morning, we depart Ho Chi Minh City for a 2-hour drive northwest to the Cu Chi tunnels, an immense network of connecting underground tunnels used by the VC as hiding spots during combat. Originally dug in 1948 for the guerrillas to shelter from French air and ground sweeps, the tunnels also served as living quarters, communication and supply routes, and housed hospitals, food and weapons caches throughout the Vietnam War. We will visit the underground villages for a better understanding of the tunnels’ history, the hardship of life in the tunnels and the Vietnamese resilience during combat. We will then drive to the home of a former VC soldier (now a farmer) where we will join him and his family for a home cooked meal. After lunch, walk with him through his garden and listen to his stories of life during and after the war. (B, L)
STAR INCLUSIONS ★ Cu Chi Tunnels ★ Home cooked meal with former VC soldier
Today we will travel to Long Tan, the site of Australia’s most costly battle of the Vietnam War. Our first stop is Nui Dat, Australia’s main combat base in Vietnam from 1966 to 1971. While here we will explore the old bunkers, Kangaroo helicopter pad, SAS Hill and Luscombe Airfield. We will then head to nearby Long Tan village to see the Long Tan Cross, the memorial erected by Australian troops in 1966 to remember their fallen comrades. Marvel in the panoramas of rubber plantations that flank the battleground and imagine the rich and troubled history still tangible on these grounds. We will hold a private and discreet commemorative service at Nui Dat or Long Tan to acknowledge Anzac Day. The journey continues at the Horseshoe, a former Australian Fire Support Base. We will then continue to Vung Tau, a major rest and support area for Australian troops during the war, where we will enjoy a local meal together. (B, L, D)
STAR INCLUSIONS ★ Long Tan ★ Nui Dat ★ SAS Hill ★ Luscombe Airfield
IMPORTANT NOTE: Due to cultural sensitivities, holding a private commemorative service will be subject to approval from local authorities and therefore cannot be guaranteed.
This morning we will explore the sights of Vung Tau, including Back Beach – the former site of an Australian logistics group and the Peter Badcoe Club. The area is now a public beach and houses a massive war memorial to honour its past. Walk up to the top of the VG Memorial and overlook the Badcoe area. We will also visit Front Beach areas, White Palace and the airport area. Many will remember it as the home of ‘Wallaby Airlines’ and our ‘hueys.’ We will have the opportunity to spend some time in the bustling town centre and the market area where the large antenna on “Radar Hill” is still visible. After lunch near Long Hai, we will stop at Ap My An and learn about the battle of Bribie. We will also visit Long Hai hill (also called ‘Minh Dam secret zone’), the main base of Viet Minh and VC during the French and American wars. The many caves served as a natural shelter, medical care and head quarter for the troops. We will also visit the VC memorial to commemorate where more than 2,000 soldiers died during the war. (B, L)
STAR INCLUSIONS ★ Sightseeing tour of Vung Tau ★ Front Beach ★ White Palace ★ Long Hai hills
This morning we will drive to Binh Ba to visit the memorial of 33 NVA (North Vietnamese Army) Regiment located where a big battle between Australian soldiers and NVA took place on 6 June 1966. It was a famous battle after the battle of Long Tan. The last stop is the site of Nui Le (Le Mountain), where the last battle between Australian soldiers in Vietnam took place, before returning to Australia. We will enjoy lunch at local coffee shop before returning to Ho Chi Minh City this afternoon. (B, L)
STAR INCLUSIONS ★ Memorial of 33 NVA Regiment ★ Nui Le battle site explained by a veteran
This morning we will transfer to Saigon airport for an early morning flight to Hue. Once the imperial capital of the Nguyen Lords, from the 17th to the 19th centuries, Hue’s splendid emperors’ tombs, ancient pagodas and the remains of the Citadel contribute to its undeniable royal charm. We will take a short walk (weather permitting) to explore the Imperial Citadel at the centre of the Complex of Hue Monuments— inscribed by UNESCO as a World Heritage site. Enter through the towering main gate and appreciate the magnificent architecture and gardens while your guide explains the events and the intrigue surrounding the former royal court. Despite being bombed heavily during the Vietnam War, there are some incredibly well-preserved sections intact and others that are being carefully restored. Next we will visit the Thien Mu Pagoda, Hue’s best-preserved religious monument. Built in 1601, the seven-storied tower pagoda, perched on top of a hill overlooking the Perfume River, is one of Vietnam’s most recognisable icons. (B, L, D)
STAR INCLUSIONS ★ Imperial Citadel ★ Thien Mu Pagoda
Today we will follow the traces of the 1968 Tet Offensive, a battle for control of the city, including a visit to the old Shell Gas Station, the former MACV Compound, Tran Cao Van Street, Girl’s High School, Hue University, Treasury, Public Health Building, Provincial Capital Building area and the Church of the Redemptorist. We then pass by the Citadel, with its ramparts and towers, and visit sites specific to the northern battle. At Dong Ba Gates, we will meet Mr. Nguyen Dac Xuan, a culture researcher and one of a survivor from this bloody battle. We then transfer to Mr. Xuan’s house to participate in a 45-minute discussion with him to gain a deeper understanding of this battle. Here we can learn from his first-hand encounters as he is willing to share with us the history and what he saw with his own eyes many years ago. We then transfer from Hue over the Hai Van Pass before checking into our central Hoi An hotel. (B, L, D)
STAR INCLUSIONS ★ Former MACV Compound ★ Visit a Tet Offensive veteran in his Vietnamese home
Between the 15th and 19th centuries, Hoi An known then as ‘Faifo’, was a prosperous trading port, attracting Chinese, Japanese, Dutch, Portuguese and Spanish ships amongst others. Today, this World Heritage ancient town is recognised for its well-preserved architecture, pedestrian-only streets and distinctive local cuisine, allowing visitors a glimpse of its illustrious past. Hoi An’s narrow lanes are ideal for a guided walking tour of its many sights including: the old merchant houses with influences from Chinese, Japanese and Vietnamese architecture; the 400-year-old Japanese Covered Bridge, first built in the 1590s by the Japanese community to link them with the Chinese quarters across the stream; the Assembly Hall of the Chaozhou Chinese Congregation with its intricate woodcarvings; and the colourful market with stalls brimming with local specialties including silk. After our guide has shown us around, we will have the afternoon and evening free to explore at leisure. (B)
STAR INCLUSIONS ★ Hoi An Walking Tour
Today we will transfer to Danang airport for a mid-morning flight to Hanoi. Hanoi has over 1,000 years of history making the capital city charming with many tourist attractions. Start with a visit to Thang Long Royal Citadel (closed on Mondays). Visit the underground war bunker in the same compound that played an important role in the American war, especially during the 12 days and nights of the Hanoi – Dien Bien Phu air battle in 1972. This afternoon we have some time at leisure to explore the Old Quarter and the charming streetscapes of Hanoi. (B, L, D)
STAR INCLUSIONS ★ Thang Long Royal Citadel ★ Underground war bunker ★ Army Museum
Today, we will start with a visit to see the One Pillar Pagoda, the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum and Presidential Palace. We then continue to the Hanoi Hilton where American POWs were kept and then on to Truc Bach and Huu Tiep Lakes in Ngoc Ha village where many B52 planes were shot down. We will end the day with a visit to the extensive Army Museum. (Closed on Mondays and Fridays). This repository of Vietnam’s military history includes rooms full of war propaganda, photographs and documents from China, France, and the US wars. Tonight we will have a farewell dinner at KOTO restaurant, a social enterprise created by an Australian Vietnamese who has won an Order of Australia medal for his work in supporting disadvantaged youth. We will get a chance to have a glimpse at the future of Vietnam and receive some warm hospitality on our final night on tour. (B, D)
STAR INCLUSIONS ★ One Pillar Pagoda ★ Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum ★ Presidential Palace ★ Hanoi Hilton ★ Farewell dinner
Sadly, today our tour comes to an end after breakfast at our Hanoi hotel. (B)
Your Tour Includes
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Please note: Itineraries are subject to change due to operational reasons. In addition, your Historian may alter the sites visited on each day to suit local conditions. Any changes will be advised closer to the time of departure.