Day 1 & 2: (Sunday - Monday , 12 13 Sept) Enroute
Report to Los Angeles International Terminal. Depart Los Angeles on our flight to Taipei. We lose one day crossing the International Dateline.
Day 3: (Tuesday, 14 Sept) Ha Noi
After a short layover in Taipei, we depart for Vietnam. Arriving at Ha Nois Noi Bai Airfield (heavily bombed during the war) we proceed through immigration, retrieve our bags, clear customs, board our motorcoach, and cross the Red River and its dikes to explore the Ha Noi environs. After lunch, we visit the fascinating War Museum, the Hoa Lo Prison (Hanoi Hilton), and the John McCain Monument. This evening we enjoy a visit (mission permitting) to the Marine House, home of the U.S. Marine Corps Security Guard responsible for the protection and defense of the U.S. Ambassador and the American Embassy. Tonight we enjoy our Welcome Dinner.
Meals: B (in flight) /L/D Hotel: Thang Long Opera
Day 4: (Wednesday, 15 Sept) Ha Noi to Hue
This morning we take a pre-dawn walk to Hoan Kiem Lake and watch the city awaken - a truly magical experience. After breakfast, we visit the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum; Ho Chi Minh House and the One Pillar Pagoda. Continuing on to Noi Bai Airfield, we catch our flight to Hue - Phu Bai Airport. Once in Hue (the old Imperial Capital of Vietnam) we will walk the south side of the Perfume River and study the 1968 Tet Offensive battles for the New City. We follow the actions of 1/1 and 2/5, covering among others, the former MACV Compound, Tran Cao Van Street, Girl's High School, the ARVN BOQ, Hue University, Treasury, Provincial Capital Building, and the Church of the Redemptress. After dinner you can roam the fascinating shops on Le Loi Street.
Meals: B/L/D Hotel: Huong Giang
Day 5: (Thursday, 16 Sept) Hue to Lao Bao
Today we drive west to Special Forces Camp A Loui. We then proceed north through the A Shau and Da Krong Valleys to the Da Krong Bridge where we turn west on Route 9. After lunching in Khe Sanh village, we spend ample time exploring Khe Sanh Combat Base. Our last stop is the Lang Vei Special Forces Camp, overrun in the first-ever NVA tank assault. Co Roc Mountain soars to the heavens just across the border. Finally, we arrive at the Laotian border where we spend the night.
Meals: B/L/D Hotel: Sepon
Day 6: (Friday, 17 Sept) Lao Bao to Hue
This morning we head east on Route 9, pointing out sites of interest along the way that were of military importance during the war, including the Hairpin, Ca Lu, Vandergrift Combat Base (LZ Stud), the Khe Gio Bridge, and the Razorback. At Highway 1, we turn north to the Peace Bridge over the Song Ben Hai, the river that was the only true physical demarcation between the North and the South during the war. Continuing to the old NVA artillery base at Vinh Moc, we explore the tunnels of this underground village where civilians and soldiers lived for six long years. After the tunnels, we stop at the Bridge at Dong Ha (destroyed by John Ripley which stopped the initial massive NVA advance during the 1972 Easter Offensive). We return to Hue for the evening.
Meals: B/L/D Hotel: Huong Giang
Day 7: (Saturday, 18 Sept) Hue to Hoi An
This morning we take a relaxing Dragon Boat cruise up the beautiful Perfume River to the Thien Mu Pagoda and the Nguyen Dynasty Tu Duc Tombs. Afterwards, we head south on Highway 1 towards Da Nang. We stop at interesting sites along the way before heading up and over the Hai Van (Sea Clouds) Pass with a stop at the top to explore old French bunkers and take in a view of Da Nang Bay. Continuing down the Hai Van, we visit Nam O Bridge and Red Beach 2 (where the Marines first landed in 1965). Finally we pass through Dog Patch as we enter Da Nang City. We continue on to Marble Mountain where we visit a marble carving shop and climb Marble Mountain to explore the VC hospital area located deep within. We then travel on to Hoi An where we will spend the evening.
Meals: B/L/D Hotel: Hoi An Trails
Day 8: (Sunday, 19 Sept) Hoi An
Today we make a special visit to the My Son Holyland located deep in the foothills of the Que Son Mountains. My Son is the site of Trakieu, the ancient capital of the Cham Kingdom and contains ruins dating back to the 5th Century. Little is known about this advanced civilization. Currently, their descendants are numbered in the dozens. Returning east along the south side of the Thu Bon River, we follow parallel to the southern edge of infamous Go Noi Island, until heading north on Highway 1 and then west on Thunder Road. We arrive at Thuong Duc and climb the hill to the Special Forces Camp. We return to Hoi An where we tour a silk and wood-carving factory before returning to our hotel.
Meals: B/L/_ Hotel: Hoi An Trails
Day 9: (Monday, 20 Sept) Hoi An
Today is a free day in Hoi An for sleeping in late, shopping, relaxing on the beach, or for personal exploration. Lunch and Dinner is on our own.
Meals: B/_/_ Hotel: Hoi An Pacific
Day 10: (Tuesday, 21 Sept) Hoi An to Quang Ngai
Departing very early we venture along back roads through vast mountain ranges, until we come to Highway 14 which we take south to the old French fort, airfield, and Special Forces Forward Base Camp at Ngok Tavak. Here we will take time to remember those Americans who paid the ultimate price. Backtracking north, we stop at the airfield and Special Forces Camp at Kham Duc, where again we memorialize those we lost. We then return to the coast, turning south at Tam Ky. Our final stop will be Chu Lai Base before we retire to our hotel in Quang Ngai City.
Meals: B/L/D Hotel: Central
Day 11: (Wednesday, 22 Sept) Quang Ngai to Qui Nhon
Today we head south on Highway 1 to Qui Nhon. Along the way we will point out LZ Snoppy, Duc Pho, LZ English and Bong Son. Arriving in Qui Nhon, we will visit the site of the 85th Evac Hospital.
Meals: B/L/D Hotel: Saigon Quy Nhon
Day 12: (Thursday, 23 Sept) Qui Nhon to Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon)
Early this morning we fly to Ho Chi Minh City arriving at 09:20 a.m.
Leaving Tan Son Nhat Airport, we will point out the old locations of MACV HQ and the 3rd Field Hospital. We then will head northeast to Long Binh to visit the former location of the 24th Evacuation Hospital. We then head around to the southwest side of HCMC to visit the location where Captain Vesa Alakulppi was KIA on May 14, 1968. From here, we travel through the Cholon District on our way back into the center of Saigon where we will began a half day tour of the city to include Cha Cham Church; Reunification Hall (Old Presidential Palace); Norte Dame and the former US Embassy which now houses the new US Consulate. Afterwards you will have the rest of the day free to explore the shops of famed Old Tu Do Street (now Dong Khoi Street) and other shopping areas. Dinner will be on your own tonight.
Meals: B/L/_ Hotel: Asian Ruby
Day 13: (Friday, 24 Sept) Ho Chi Minh City
This morning we will head northwest to visit sites in and around Tay Ninh Province which will include the Cao Dai Holy See (Temple) for the Noon Ceremony and view Ba Den Mountain (Black Virgin Mountain) in the distance. After visiting the Cu Chi Tunnels, we pass through the Iron Triangle and Hobo Woods on our way back to HCMC. Tonight all hands gather for a very special Farewell Dinner.
Meals: B/L/D Hotel: Asian Ruby
Day 14: (Saturday, 25 Sept) RETURN to CONUS
After breakfast, those heading home transfer to Tan Son Nhut Airfield for the flight to Taipei. Departing from Taipei, we gain a day enroute to the continental United States by re-crossing the International Dateline, arriving in Los Angeles at approximately mid-afternoon this same day.
Meals: B/L/D (in flight)