Day 1 & 2: (Sunday - Monday, 9 - 10 March) – Enroute
Report to Los Angeles International Terminal by 8:30 p.m. and proceed to ticketing counter. Depart for Taipei and lose one day crossing the International Dateline.
Day 3: (Tuesday, 11 March) – Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon)
After a short layover in Taipei, we depart for Vietnam. We arrive at Ho Chi Minh City's Tan Son Nhut Airfield and proceed through immigration, retrieve our bags, and clear customs. As we depart the airport, we will pass by the old MACV HQ, the U.S. Army's 3rd Field Hospital, and the ARVN HQ, and head into the center of the city (still called Saigon by most Vietnamese). We begin our tour of Saigon visiting the War Remnants Museum; Reunification Hall (Old Presidential Palace); Norte Dame Cathedral, the Old Post Office. We also take a look at the former US Embassy area which now houses the new US Consulate. This evening we enjoy our Welcome Dinner.
Meals: B (in flight) /L/D Hotel: Palace Hotel Saigon
Day 4: (Wednesday, 12 March) – Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon)
Early today we drive east to Bien Hoa/Long Bien and get a view of the Bien Hoa Air Base. Backtracking, we head south through Tan An on our way to visit the town of My Tho in the Mekong Delta. We will take a boat trip on the Mekong River to visit Thoi Son Island (Coconut Island), local houses, and workshops. We return to Saigon for the evening.
Meals: B/L/D Hotel: Palace Hotel Saigon
Day 5: (Thursday, 13 March) – HCMC to Pleiku
After breakfast, we head to Tan Son Nhut Airfield for our flight to Pleiku. This afternoon we travel north on Highway 14 to Dak To for a visit to the airfield and a viewing of Hill 875 and the areas where vicious pre-Tet battles took place in November 1967. On our way back to Pleiku we visit the Wooden Church and Vinh Son Montagnard Orphanage in Kontum.
Meals: B/L/D Hotel: Hoang Anh Gia Lai
Day 6: (Friday, 14 March) – Pleiku to Qui Nhon
This morning we head east on Highway 19 towards An Khe. Our first stop is Mang Yang Pass where French Mobile Group 100 was ambushed and annihilated on June 24, 1954. We venture farther east until we cross over the An Khe Bridge and arrive in An Khe. From the An Khe Summit we begin our downhill run, passing through An Khe Pass. We continue to the coast and finally arrive in Qui Nhon where we will spend the evening.
Meals: B/L/D Hotel: Saigon Quy Nhon
Day 7: (Saturday, 15 March) – Qui Nhon to Nha Trang
After breakfast, we drive south on Highway 1. Along the way, we come upon Tuy Hoa North Airfield and Tuy Hoa Airbase. Time permitting we will visit the Cham Ruins (dating from the 3rd and 15th Centuries) and other interesting sites along the way. We continue south and check into our hotel in Nha Trang for the evening.
Meals: B/L/D Hotel: Michelia
Day 8: (Sunday, 16 March) – Nha Trang to Hoi An
We grab an early breakfast and begin our journey south to Cam Ranh Bay. We will briefly visit and view the former site of the 22nd Replacement Battalion, and the site of the 6th Convalescent Center on the beach. We then report to the airport in Cam Ranh for our flight to Da Nang. After lunch, we drive through the old MMAF (Marble Mountain Air Facility) and stop at a marble carving shop before climbing Marble Mountain to explore the VC hospital area located within. When we reach Hoi An, our last stop will be a silk factory.
Meals: B/L/D Hotel: Hoi An Trails
Day 9: (Monday, 17 March) – Hoi An
Today is a well-deserved free day for relaxing by the pool, or to go to the beach, or for personal exploration. You can roam by yourselves the streets and shops of this ancient port city (formerly known as Faifo) where Dutch, Portuguese, Chinese, and Japanese traders once walked. There are literally hundreds of amazing little shops in this town. Shopping is excellent here and is one of the best places for tailor-made clothing. Lunch and dinner are on our own to sample the many restaurants and night spots.
Meals: B/_/_ Hotel: Hoi An Trails
Day 10: (Tuesday, 18 March) – Hoi An to Hue
Departing early this morning, we make a photo stop at China Beach and then pass through Dog Patch as we depart Da Nang City. Today we make visits to Red Beach 2 (where the Marines made their amphibious landing in March 1965) and Nam O Bridge, before heading up the Hai Van with a stop at the Pass to explore old French and Chinese bunkers and take in a parting view of Da Nang and the bay. Continuing down the Hai Van, we make several interesting stops along the way north before reaching Phu Bai and Camp Eagle. Soon thereafter, we enter Hue (the old Imperial Capital of Vietnam) and begin our study of the 1968 Tet Offensive Battle for the southern 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, ARVN BOQ, Hue University, Treasury, Public Health Building, Provincial Capital Building area, and the Church of the Redemptress. We then arrive at our hotel on the southern bank of the Perfume River for a relaxing evening. After dinner, you can roam the fascinating shops on Le Loi Street until late at night.
Meals: B/L/D Hotel: Huong Giang
Day 11: (Wednesday, 19 March) – Hue to Lao Bao
Today we drive west along Highway 549 to the town of A Loui located in the middle of the A Shau Valley. On the way, time permitting, we may visit FSB Birmingham and FSB Bastogne. We will then investigate the site of the A Shau Special Forces Camp which was completely overrun in March 1966. Traveling north on Highway 14 we stop for a view of Hamburger Hill (Dong Ap Bia) in the mountains to the west and LZ Eagle's Nest (Hill 1497) and LZ Berchtesgaden (Hill 1030) in the mountains to the east. 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 town of Lao Bao where we spend the night in somewhat Spartan accommodations.
Meals: B/L/D Hotel: Sepon
Day 12: (Thursday, 20 March) – 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 LZ Hawk, Ca Lu, Vandergrift Combat Base (LZ Stud), the Rockpile, Razorback, Khe Gio Bridge, and the Camp Carroll artillery plateau. At Cam Lo we turn north and stop at the Cam Lo Bridge, then past Con Thien (the Hill of Angels), and then east to Gio Linh. We join Highway 1 north into the DMZ and cross the Peace Bridge over the Song Ben Hai (the river that was the only true physical demarcation between the North and South). After lunch in a beachside café on the Tonkin Gulf, we explore the tunnel complex in the artillery village of Vinh Moc. Taking the new beach road back we stop at the Bridge at Dong Ha (destroyed by John Ripley which stopped the initial massive NVA advance during the 1972 Easter Offensive). Today we have traversed the four quadrants of Leatherneck Square: Cam Lo, Con Thien, Gio Linh, and Dong Ha. After a few more stops and Camp Evans, we return to Hue for the evening.
Meals: B/L/D Hotel: Huong Giang
Day 13: (Friday, 21 March) – Hue
Today we take a relaxing Dragon Boat cruise up the beautiful Perfume River to the Thien Mu Pagoda and the Tu Duc Tombs. After lunch we visit the Citadel, with its ramparts and towers, and visit sites specific to the northern battle, including the Chuck Meadows and Dong Ba Gates and Phase Line Green. We finish at the Imperial Palace gate blown by 1/5, which allowed the ARVN to enter and lower the NVA flag that had flown from the main flagpole for 24 days. We then visit the Forbidden City, home to the ancient emperors. Tonight we enjoy a very special Farwell Dinner.
Meals: B/L/D Hotel: Huong Giang
Day 14: (Saturday, 22 March) – Hue to Ha Noi
After breakfast, we head to Phu Bai Airfield for our flight to Ha Noi. We arrive at Noi Bai Airfield (heavily bombed during the American war), board our motor coach, and cross the Red River and its dikes to explore the Ha Noi environs. We visit the Ho Chi Minh House, One Pillar Pagoda, Hoa Lo Prison (Hanoi Hilton), and the John McCain Monument. Before dinner tonight, we enjoy a visit (mission permitting) to the Marine House, home of the U.S. Marine Corps Security Guard responsible for the protection of the U.S. Ambassador and the American Embassy.
Meals: B/L/D Hotel: May De Ville
Day 15: (Sumday, 23 March) – Departure
After breakfast, those heading home transfer to Noi Bai 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 2:55 p.m. this same day.
Meals: B/L/D (in flight)