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Vietnam Past & Present Tour - 2019

DEPARTS: 24th November 2019

$3147
12 Days
  • Price: per person, twin share
  • Single Supplement: $750
  • Deposit: 30%
Walk in the footsteps of 50,000 Australians and 3000 New Zealanders who served during the Vietnam War, gaining insight into the country’s turbulent past as well as discovering the modern Vietnam.

Vietnam Past & Present Tour - 2019

Tour Info

Itinerary

Tour Includes

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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 to appeal to first time visitors to Vietnam who wish to discover the modern Vietnam while also gaining insight into its turbulent past.

Itinerary

Day 1 > Arrive Ho Chi Minh City

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.

Day 2 > Ho Chi Minh City

This morning we visit the Reunification Palace 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. Discover a secret chamber that was once used by the Viet Cong (VC) as a place to hide, store supplies and important documents during the war. We head to a historic venue for a lunch. The small restaurant used to be the headquarters of VC Commanders where they gathered to plan for the 1968 Tet Offensive. We then visit the War Remnants Museum. Explore the history of the war through photographs and relics as your guide delivers a briefing on the Australian headquarters system and how they acted as a liaison with Vietnamese and American headquarters during the war. After that, visit the 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. (B, L, D)

STAR INCLUSIONS  Reunification Palace   War Remnants Museum   Ben Thanh Market   Welcome dinner

Day 3 > Cu Chi Tunnels

Once the scene of countless battles during war time, Cu Chi is now famous for its rubber plantations and rice paddies. Depart Ho Chi Minh City for a two 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 American War. 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. After, drive to the home of a former VC soldier where you 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. Return to Saigon. (B, L)

STAR INCLUSIONS  Cu Chi Tunnels   Home cooked meal with former VC soldier

Day 4 > Ho Chi Minh City - Vung Tau

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. 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

Day 5 > Vung Tau - Minh Dam

This morning we will enjoy a sightseeing tour of Vung Tau, including Back Beach (the former site of an Australian logistics group) and the site of the Peter Badcoe Club. The area is now a public beach and houses a massive VC war memorial to honour the Vietnamese soldiers killed in the area. We will walk to the top of the memorial and overlook the Badcoe area. We will also visit Front Beach, White Palace and the airport area. Spend time in the bustling town centre and the market area where the large antenna on Radar Hill is still visible. After lunch we will stop at Ap My An to learn about Australian actions during Operation Bribie which was fought in 1967. We will visit the Long Hai hills (also called ‘Minh Dam secret zone’), a major Viet Cong base during the war, and the scene of desperate Australian fighting. The many caves in the area served as a natural shelter, medical care and headquarters for Vietnamese troops. We will also visit a memorial which commemorates more than 2000 Vietnamese soldiers who were killed in this area, mostly in operations against Australian troops. (B, L)

STAR INCLUSIONS  Sightseeing tour of Vung Tau   Front Beach   White Palace  Long Hai Hills

Day 6 > Binh Ba - Bui Le - Ho Chi Minh City

After breakfast, check out and drive to Binh Ba to visit the memorial of 33 NVA (North Vietnamese Army) Regiment located where a big battle between Australian soldiers and the NVA took place on 6th June 1966. 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 and also where your tour leader will reveal why he was awarded the last Military Cross for an Australian. Have a picnic lunch at local coffee shop and enjoy local beer, coffee or a fresh coconut. Drive back to Ho Chi Minh City. (B, L)

STAR INCLUSIONS  Memorial of 33 NVA Regiment   Nui Le battle site explained by a veteran

Day 7 > Saigon - Hue

Transfer to the airport for your early flight to Hue. Upon arrival, transfer to the hotel. 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. Depart on 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. Drive to 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. After exploring the pagoda, return to your hotel. (B, L, D)

STAR INCLUSIONS  Imperial Citadel   Thien Mu Pagoda

Day 8 > Hue - Hoi An

Follow the traces of the 1968 Tet Offensive, a battle for control of the city, including 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, you will meet Mr. Nguyen Dac Xuan, a culture researcher and survivor from this bloody battle. Transfer to Mr. Xuan’s house to participate in a 45-minute discussion with him to gain a deeper understanding of this battle. Learn from his first-hand encounters as he is willing to share with you the history and what he saw with his own eyes many years ago. Transfer from Hue to Hoi An over the Hai Van pass. Upon arrival, transfer to your hotel. (B, L, D)

STAR INCLUSIONS  Former MACV Compound   Visit a Tet Offensive veteran in his Vietnamese home

Day 9 > Hoi An - Walking Tour

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, which can be turned into fashionable garments within a day or two. After your guide had shown you around, you will have the afternoon and evening at leisure to explore. (B)

STAR INCLUSIONS  Hoi An Walking Tour

Day 10 > Hoi An - Danang - Hanoi

Transfer to the airport for a mid-morning flight to Hanoi. Upon arrival, commence your touring. 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. Finally, visit the extensive Army Museum. This repository of Vietnam’s military history includes rooms full of war propaganda, photographs and documents from Chinese, French and US wars. (B, L, D)

STAR INCLUSIONS  Thang Long Royal Citadel   Underground war bunker   Army Museum

Day 11 > Hanoi

Today, you will start with a visit to see the One Pillar Pagoda, the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum and Presidential Palace. Continue to Hanoi Hilton where American POWs were kept and then head to Truc Bach and Huu Tiep Lakes in Ngoc Ha village where many B52 planes were shot down. This afternoon you are free to explore the Old Quarter and the charming streetscapes of Hanoi. 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 glimpse the future of Vietnam and receive some warm hospitality before the tour comes to an end. (B, D)

STAR INCLUSIONS    One Pillar Pagoda   Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum   Presidential Palace   Hanoi Hilton   Farewell dinner

Day 12 > Hanoi Departure
Sadly our tour is over and it is time to check-out of our Hanoi hotel after breakfast. (B)

Your Tour Includes

  • Services of our expert Australian Historian and a Vietnamese tour escort
  • All excursions, scenic drives and sightseeing as described in the itinerary
  • Commemorative Service at the Long Tan Cross Memorial, and opportunities to meet a former VC soldier and a Tet Offensive Veteran
  • 11 nights’ accommodation
  • Flights from Ho Chi Minh City to Hue, and Danang to Hanoi
  • Travel by comfortable air-conditioned coach
  • Breakfast daily, 8 lunches and 6 dinners incl. a welcome dinner at the residence of the former US Ambassador to Saigon
  • All entrance fees as per the itinerary
  • All tipping
  • Copy of Gary McKay's book, 'Australia's Battlefields in Viet Nam'

Book Now

Contact our reservations team on 1300 880 340 or click on the enquiry button above and leave your details.

Ask about our airfare, hotel and car hire deals, which offer great discounts when booked in conjunction with our tours.

Full terms and conditions click here

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.

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Additional information

Tour Dates

15 August 2019, 24 November 2019

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