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1st RECON

Tour Reference: VN-14034

15 Days

9 March - 23 March 2014

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Daily Itinerary

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) – Ha Noi

After a short layover in Taipei, we depart for Vietnam. At Ha Noi's Noi Bai Airfield, we proceed through immigration, retrieve our bags, clear customs.  We then board our awaiting motorcoach and cross the Red River and its dikes to explore the Ha Noi environs.  We visit the fascinating War Museum, the Hoa Lo Prison (Hanoi Hilton), and the John McCain Monument.  This evening we enjoy our Welcome Dinner.
Meals: B (in flight) /L/D          Hotel: May De Ville

Day 4: (Wednesday, 12 March) – Ha Noi

Our visits today include the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, the Ho Chi Minh House, and the One Pillar Pagoda.  Mission-permitting, we stop at US MIA Office of JPAC DET 2 HQ (Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command) for a command briefing on their efforts.  Before dinner this evening (again mission-permitting) we enjoy a few drinks at 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 5: (Thursday, 13 March) – Ha Noi to Chu Lai to Hoi An

After a leisurely breakfast, we head back to Noi Bai to catch our flight to Chu Lai Airfield.  Here we explore the base area to include Crescent Beach, Ky Ha, Hill 43, and Hy Hoa Island.  We then head north on Highway 1 to the ancient port city of Hoi An.
Meals: B/L/D           Hotel: Green Heaven Hoi An Resort and Spa

Day 6: (Friday, 14 March) – Hoi An

Today we venture southeast of Hoi An, turning off Highway 1 onto Route 534 to view Hill 407 (Nui Chap Chai) and Hill 352 (Nui Hoac).  Heading north, we drive up to Que Son Pass where we view LZ Ryder before heading down into Antenna Valley.  We take Route 535 to return and visit LZ Ross and stop by LZ Baldy.  Our last stop of the day will be a silk and wood factory back in Hoi An.
Meals: B/L/D           Hotel: Green Heaven Hoi An Resort and Spa

Day 7: (Saturday, 15 March) – Hoi An

This morning our band of intrepid travelers splits into two groups.  One group will make the brutal climb up Hill 488 (Nui Vu).  We gear up with plenty of water in our packs and begin our arduous pilgrimage to the top of this famous mountain.  Tonight dinner is on your own.
Meals: B/L/_           Hotel: Green Heaven Hoi An Resort and Spa

Those who have chosen not to climb will enjoy a free day in Hoi An.  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.  Shopping is excellent here and is one of the best places for tailor-made clothing.  There are literally hundreds of amazing little shops in this town.  Lunch and dinner are on your own to sample the many restaurants and night spots.
Meals: B/_/_           Hotel: Green Heaven Hoi An Resort and Spa

Day 8: (Sunday, 16 March) – Hoi An

Today we travel west and parallel to the southern edge of Go Noi Island, walking across the railroad tracks to explore the island.  Next we arrive at Hill 119.  Although our bodies are still aching from yesterday’s climb, we hike to the top of this 1st Recon outpost.  We then stop at Liberty Bridge (south) before making 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.  Our last stop of the day is An Hoa Combat Base.
Meals: B/L/D           Hotel: Green Heaven Hoi An Resort and Spa

Day 9: (Monday, 17 March) – Hoi An to Da Nang

This morning we head northwest of Hoi An.  Our first stop is Hill 65, followed by Thuong Duc Special Forces Camp.  We then stop at Hill 55 before making our way to Camp Reasoner located at Freedom Hill (Hill 327).  After lunch we make a quick photo stop at China Beach on the South China Sea.  We then drive through the MMAF (Marble Mountain Air Facility) area, visit a marble carving shop, and climb Marble Mountain to explore the VC hospital area located within.
Meals: B/L/D           Hotel: Green Plaza

Day 10: (Tuesday, 18 March) – Da Nang

Today we commandeer local rice boats and cruise west on Song Cu De (Nam O River) into Elephant Valley passing Hill 190.  Dong Den looms forbidding to our south.  After a jungle hike in the valley, we return to Da Nang.  For those who opt out of today’s activities, lunch will be on your own.
Meals: B/L/D           Hotel: Green Plaza

Day 11: (Wednesday, 19 March) – Da Nang

Today we take a cable car to the top of Hill 1467, the Ba Na Mountain Recon Radio Relay outpost.  (Today the mountain is known as the Ba Na Hills Resort.  The cable car, at a length of 19,032 feet, holds the Guinness World Record of being the longest non-stop single track cable car in the world.)  Next we stop at Hill 124 before returning to Da Nang.
Meals: B/L/D           Hotel: Green Plaza

Day 12: (Thursday, 20 March) – Da Nang to Hue

Our first stop today is Red Beach 2 where the Marines made their amphibious landing in March 1965.  We then head up the Hai Van with a stop at the Pass of the Clouds to explore old French and Chinese bunkers and take in a parting view of Da Nang and the bay.  Continuing down the Hai Van to sea level, we pass through Lang Co and stop at Elephant Pass.  When we arrive in Hue City (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, Joan of Arc 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 the 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 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

Very early this morning we head north on Highway 1.  Our first stop will be the Dong Ha Bridge (destroyed by Capt. John Ripley, USMC which stopped the initial NVA advance during the 1972 Easter Offensive).  Next we head west on Route 9 to the Camp Carroll Artillery Plateau.  Continuing west we stop at the Rockpile for a short hike to the Razorbback.  Next we pass Vandergrift Combat Base (LZ Stud), Ca Lu, the Da Krong Bridge (the entrance heading south to the Da Krong and A Shau Valleys), and the Hairpin.  After lunch in Khe Sanh Village, we head north to the Khe Sanh Combat Base where we will spend ample time exploring.  If time allows, we visit the Lang Vei Special Forces Camp, overrun in the first ever NVA tank assault.  Co Roc Mountain soars to the heavens just across the Laotian border.  We return east on Route 9 to its terminus at Dong Ha and turn south on Highway 1.  We stop at Bo De School and Long Hung Church in Quang Tri City to gain a sense of the utter devastation that took place here during the 1972 Easter Offensive.  We continue south to Hue and then Phu Bai Airfield for our late flight to Ha Noi.
Meals: B/L/D          Hotel: Airport View

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)

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