Mat McLachlan Battlefield Tours

Vietnam Past & Present Tour 2023

Group Tour

Departs 12 March 2023 from Ho Chi Minh City

$ 3599
12 Days
  • PRICE: per person, twin share
  • SINGLE SUPPLEMENT: $800
  • DEPOSIT: $1000 per person
A 12-day emotional journey to the former battlefields of Vietnam taking in both South and North Vietnam, including Vietnam war sites and the country’s cultural treasures.

Visit beautiful Vietnam and join us to walk in the footsteps of more than 50,000 Australians who served during the Vietnam War on this emotional journey to the former battlefields. Our tour takes in all the key Australian 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.

Day 1 > Sunday 12 March 2023 | Arrive Ho Chi Minh City

Welcome to our very special tour! Transfer from the airport to our centrally located Ho Chi Minh City hotel. This evening is at leisure to soak up the hustle and bustle of this vibrant city.

Day 2 > Monday 13 March 2023 | Ho Chi Minh 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 we 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 sumptuous Vietnamese 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  Lunch at a historic local restaurant

War Remnants Museum  Ben Thanh Market  Welcome dinner

Day 3 > Tuesday 14 March 2023 | Cu Chi Tunnels

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. After lunch, we will return to Ho Chi Minh City and enjoy an evening at leisure. (B, L)

STAR INCLUSION

★  Cu Chi tunnels

Day 4 > Wednesday 15 March 2023 | Long Tan

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. 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

Nui Dat  SAS Hill  Luscombe Airfield  Long Tan battlefield  Long Tan Cross  the Horseshoe

Day 5 > Thursday 16 March 2023 | Vung Tau to Minh Dam

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 Memorial and overlook the Badcoe area. We will also visit Front Beach areas, Bao Dai Summer House 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 in the 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

Vung Tau  Bao Dai Summer House  Long Hai hill  Minh Dam Secret Zone  VC Memorial

Day 6 > Friday 17 March 2023 | Minh Ba to Nui Le to Ho Chi Minh City

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 6-8 June 1969. 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

Binh Ba  Memorial of 33 NVA  Nui Le (Le Mountain)

Day 7 > Saturday 18 March 2023 | Ho Chi Minh City to Hue

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

Hue  Imperial Citadel  Thien Mu Pagoda

Day 8 > Sunday 19 March 2023 | Hue to Hoi An

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. We then transfer from Hue over the Hai Van Pass before checking into our central Hoi An hotel. (B, L, D)

STAR INCLUSIONS

1968 Tet Offensive  Former MACV Compound  Tran Cao Van Street

Hue University  Treasury  Public Health Building  Provincial Capital Building

Day 9 > Monday 20 March 2023 | Hoi An

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.  The afternoon and evening are at leisure to explore. (B)

STAR INCLUSIONS

Hoi An  The 400-year-old Japanese Covered Bridge  Assembly Hall of the Chaozhou Chinese Congregation

Day 10 > Tuesday 21 March 2023 | Hoi An to Danang to Hanoi

Today we will transfer to Danang airport for a early 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

Hanoi  Thang Long Royal Citadel  Underground war bunker  Hanoi Old Quarter

Day 11 > Wednesday 22 March 2023 | Hanoi

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 have a glimpse at the future of Vietnam and receive some warm hospitality. (B, D)

STAR INCLUSIONS

One Pillar Pagoda  Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum  Presidential Palace

Ngoc Ha village  Truc Bach  Huu Tiep Lakes  Farewell dinner

Day 12 > Thursday 23 March 2023 | Depart Hanoi

Sadly, today our tour comes to an end after breakfast. The day is at leisure to meet onward travel arrangements. (B)

★  Services of our expert Vietnam Historian
★  All excursions, scenic drives and sightseeing as described in the itinerary
★  11 nights’ 3-star to 4-star accommodation
★  Travel by comfortable air-conditioned vehicle
★  Domestic economy airfare Ho Chi Minh City to Hue / Danang to Hanoi with Vietnam Airlines.
★  Return airport transfers
★  Breakfast daily, 8 lunches and 6 dinners
★  Welcome dinner in Ho Chi Minh City and a special farewell dinner in Hanoi
★  All entrance fees as per the itinerary

 

Booking


For bookings of three or more people click here

To read our booking terms and conditions please click here

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

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.

Don't forget to Like & Subscribe

Visit beautiful Vietnam and join us to walk in the footsteps of more than 50,000 Australians who served during the Vietnam War on this emotional journey to the former battlefields. Our tour takes in all the key Australian 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.

Group Tour

19th September 2022

$ 3599
12 Days
  • PRICE: per person, twin share
  • SINGLE SUPPLEMENT: 800
  • DEPOSIT: $1000 per person

Booking Enquiry - Trek Kokoda

To read our booking terms and conditions please click here

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

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.

Don't forget to Like & Subscribe

Booking Enquiry

To read our booking terms and conditions please click here

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

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.

Don't forget to Like & Subscribe

Group Tour

GROUP BOOKINGS