Join YPT as we cross the whole of Vietnam in search of traces of the latest history of the country.
The Vietnam War marked the world’s imagination. Known as America’s Longest War, it profoundly marked the world when the first TV images of the bloodbath it caused were made available. The archetype of proxy wars of the Cold War, anyone who is interested in the history of the 20th century must make Vietnam one of their stops.
This year, YPT offers you to go follow the traces of this war firsthand and also witness how Vietnam rose up after this disaster to become one of Asia’s dragons. This tour will take you to all the main sites of the country related to the war and will provide insight into the current politics of one of the world’s last Communist countries.
The tour has us crossing the whole country by starting in Ho Chi Minh City – Saigon – to visit the Reunification Palace, the War Remnant Museum and then head south to see the Cu Chi war tunnels.
We’ll then head up the coast to Nha Trang and Hue to learn more about ancient Vietnamese cultures, but also, of course, enjoy a few drinks by the beach.
Our trip will end in Hanoi, the capital, to visit the mausoleum of Ho Chi Minh and the Museum of the Vietnamese Revolution. By then, we’ll have had an overall impression of the country and its distinct cultures (the division between South and North can still be felt) in a week’s time.
Just because we’ll focus on the history of Vietnam doesn’t mean we won’t have time to experience the country fully. With time by the beach, exploring fishing markets and climbing towers of old civilisations, this tour has it all for the budget traveller who wants to make the best out of Vietnam in a short time.
Arrive at your own leisure at Ho Chi Minh City – Saigon
Meet your YPT guide at our centrally located hotel at 2:00 pm
Head straight into history with a walk past South Vietnam’s Presidential Palace, now the Reunification Palace, to the War Remnants Museum, complete with scenes from the French occupation of Indochina, US military equipment from tanks to planes and vivid descriptions of the effects of Agent Orange and other leftovers from the war on Vietnam still today
Dinner of Vietnamese pho – rice noodles – and other dishes before we grab a cold Saigon beer, a plastic stool and sit on the street for some refreshment and people watching, before seeing where the night takes us!
Overnight in Saigon
Tuesday 16th October
Head out after breakfast to the Cu Chi Tunnels, where we see and experience the tunnel warfare carried out by the Viet Cong against the US military
Drive back into the city and into District 1 for some street food, we’re particularly fond of the famous banh mi thit pork sandwich!
Visit the Ho Chi Minh Museum
Head to the old American Embassy and see if we can climb up to “that place” where the last evacuations happened!
Check out the war surplus market. YPT does love a good Soviet market but we’ll make do with looking for Vietnam War trinkets!
Gather supplies for the train and get a quick dinner
Jump on the night train to Nha Trang and overnight on the train
Wednesday 17th October
Morning arrival in Nha Trang
After checking in to our hotel and breakfast, we go through a walk through the backstreets of Nha Trang – the best place to see the real city far from its beachfront – up to the Po Nagar Cham Towers, built in the Cham Civilisation between the 7th and 12th centuries and which is located on a hill with good views
Walk back through a traditional Vietnamese fishing village, and remind ourselves that fish definitely does smell like fish
After lunch walk past Nha Trang Cathedral and visit the Thanh Dien Khanh Fortress, an old citadel designed by a French officer in the late 18th century
Dinner and drinks — we might just head to Crazy Kim bar, because we like the place and the name!
Overnight in Nha Trang
Thursday 18th October
After a relatively late rise, we will head out on a short drive to Bai Dai beach, getting away from the city and into one of the best coastal areas of Vietnam.
Stop on the way for a jungle walk and a dip in a waterfall pool
Swim in the sea or relax on the beach with a cocktail or two
Head back to Nha Trang, grab supplies and dinner
Take the night train from Nha Trang to Hue and overnight
Friday 19th October
Morning arrival in Hue, the old imperial capital of Vietnam
After a bite to eat we head to Hue’s main attraction – the Imperial Citadel. It’s huge, and we’ll wander around the rooms and gardens for a few hours taking in different parts of ancient Vietnamese history
After lunch we head out for a slice of more modern history, hiring motorbikes and heading to Phu Bai Airport, built and garrisoned by the Americans in this key part of former South Vietnam
Grab our motorbikes again for some countryside exploration. It just wouldn’t be Vietnam without motorbikes and rice fields, and the countryside around Hue is some of the most beautiful in the country, and its people the most welcoming
Head back in Hue and go for dinner before seeing what goes for a Friday night in Central Vietnam!
Overnight in Hue
Saturday 20th October
Early rise and drive out to the old Demilitarised Zone (DMZ) between North and South Vietnam, at the 17th parallel
Visit the Hien Luong Bridge that was the official border crossing for much of the war, and then the Vinh Moc Tunnels and museum
See Khe Sanh Combat Base, Camp Carroll, and The Rockpile, former US military bases and outposts
Head back into Hue, grab supplies and dinner
Night train to Hanoi and overnight
Sunday 21st October
Morning arrival in Hanoi
Transfer to hotel and a super quick transfer to the highlight of our trip to Vietnam, by joining the hordes of people that line up daily to see the father of the nation, Ho Chi Minh, lying in state. People still take this very seriously, and it is a big deal
Head straight to the Ho Chi Minh Museum for an in-depth look at his life
Lunch of pho
Visit the Museum of the Vietnamese Revolution, detailing history going right back to the struggle against the French
We head to Lenin Park, complete with statue, before some people-watching on a Sunday afternoon
Dinner and drinks in the Old Quarter, our last Vietnamese night out!
Overnight in Hanoi
Monday 22nd October
Free morning to sleep in or go out for some last-minute shopping in Vietnam
Head out to Hoa Lo Prison, otherwise known as the Hanoi Hilton, where the French imprisoned and executed Vietnamese revolutionaries during the colonial period, and in which the US POWs captured by the North Vietnamese were kept, including a certain John McCain