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I-Corps * Emphasis on Northern I-Corps

Tour Reference: VN-09031

14 Days

08 March - 21 March 2009

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Daily Itinerary

Day 1 & 2: (Sunday — Monday, 8 – 9 March) – 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, 10 March) – Ha Noi

After a short layover in Taipei, we depart for Vietnam.  Arriving at Ha Noi’s 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.  We visit the Ho Chi Minh House, the One Pillar Pagoda, the John McCain Monument, Hoa Lo Prison (Hanoi Hilton) and the fascinating War Museum.  Tonight we enjoy our Welcome Dinner.
Meals: B (in flight) /L/D          Hotel: Star View

Day 4: (Wednesday, 11 Marchy) – Ha Noi to Hue

On the way to the airport we visit the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum.  We fly from Noi Bai Airfield to Phu Bai Airfield and then drive north on Highway 1 to Hue (the old Imperial Capital of Vietnam).  After lunch we will study the 1968 Tet Offensive battles for Hue by walking the southern battle areas.   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 relax by the pool or roam the fascinating shops on Le Loi Street until late night.
Meals: B/L/D          Hotel: Huong Giang

Day 5: (Thursday, 12 March) – Hue to Dong Ha

This morning we take a relaxing cruise up the beautiful Perfume River to the Thien Mu Pagoda and the Nguyen Dynasty Tu Duc Tombs.  After lunch we visit the Citadel with its ramparts and towers, and walk sites specific to the northern battle, including the Chuck Meadows and Dong Ba Gates.  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 also visit the Forbidden City, home to the ancient emperors.  We then depart for the DMZ, stopping at sites along the way, such as Quang Tri City, Ai Tu Airfield, and the Lew Puller School.
Meals: B/L/D          Hotel: Hieu Giang

Day 6: (Friday, 13 March) – Dong Ha

Early this morning we depart for Leatherneck Square.  We head west on Route 9.  Turning north from Cam Lo, our first stop will be the Cam Lo Bridge.  We then embark on a trek to Hill 70, site of the Battle of Getlin’s Corner.  Next is Con Thien (the Hill of Angels), after which we will trace part of Operation Buffalo in the Square.  Then comes Gio Linh FSB Forward (Alpha 2) and the Peace Bridge over the Song Ben Hai, the river that was the only true physical demarcation between the North and South.  Heading northeast, we brave the Tunnels of Vinh Moc.  Returning south, we visit Dai Do to recall this vicious 1968 battle.  Our final stop will be the Bridge at Dong Ha (destroyed by John Ripley which stopped the initial NVA advance during the 1972 Easter Offensive).
Meals: B/L/D          Hotel: Hieu Giang

Day 7: (Saturday, 14 March) – Dong Ha to Lao Bao

After breakfast we head west on Route 9.  Our first stop is Camp Carroll, the Marine artillery plateau.  We continue on to the Rockpile and Razorback.  Along the way we will come upon other sites that were of military importance during the war, including the Four Gates to Hell, the Khe Gia Bridge, Vandergrift Combat Base (LZ Stud), Ca Lu, the Da Krong Bridge, and the Hairpin.  As we enter Khe Sanh village, we head north to the Khe Sanh Combat Base where we will spend ample time exploring.  After lunch, we climb Hill 700, Hill 861A, and Hill 861.  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.  Tonight we stay in village of Lao Bao on the Lao border.
Meals: B/L/D          Hotel: Sepon

Day 8: (Sunday, 08 February) – Lao Bao to Hue

Today we will split into two groups, those who wish to climb Hill 881 South and those who don’t.

Group 1 - For those climbing Hill 881 South, we gear up with plenty of water and provisions.  We take our time, traversing two mountains and streams, before arriving at the summit of Hill 881 South with its spectacular views of Hill 881 North and the surrounding countryside.  Taking ample time for careful exploration, we remember the Marines, Corpsmen, and helicopter crews who braved the extreme dangers of this essential FSB and outpost.  Coming off the mountains, we are met by our motorcoach.  After stopping for dinner in Dong Ha, we are reunited with our group in Hue.
Meals: B/L/D          Hotel: Huong Giang

Group 2 - For those NOT climbing Hill 881 South, we will leave Lao Bao and travel east to the Da Krong Bridge then south on Highway 14 (part of the Ho Chi Minh trail) through parts of the Da Krong River Valley and the A Shau Valley.  As we approach A Loui, we will pass such notable Army battle sites as “Bloody Ridge” (Dong A Tay) and “Hamburger Hill” (Dong Ap Bia).  After lunch in A Loui, we visit the A Shau Special Forces Camp.  Finally, we turn east through the mountains and return to Hue.  Tonight we are on our own for dinner.
Meals: B/L/_          Hotel: Huong Giang

Day 9: (Monday, 16 March) – Hue to Da Nang

We are free this morning until lunch, then we drive south on Highway 1 to Da Nang.  We will stop at interesting sites along the way, including Elephant Pass and the Lang Co Bridge, 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, Red Beach 2 (where the Marines first landed in 1965) and the Big Buddha.  Tonight we are on our own to sample the local restaurants and night spots offered in the Da Nang area.
Meals: B/L/_          Hotel: Green Plaza

Day 10: (Tuesday, 17 March) – Da Nang

Departing early this morning, we stop at China Beach on the South China Sea and pass through the old Marble Mountain Air Facility (MMAF).  We then visit a marble carving shop and climb Marble Mountain to explore the VC hospital area located deep within.  We then head west on Thunder Road (Route 4) to Hill 55, Liberty Bridge (north), Hill 65, Hill 25 and Hill 52.  Tonight we gather for our Farewell Dinner at Da Nang’s most famous restaurant, the Kim Do.
Meals: B/L/D          Hotel: Green Plaza

Day 11: (Wednesday, 18 March) – Da Nang - or - Da Nang to Ho Chi Minh City

Today we have a Breakaway Tour going to Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon)

Main Group - Today we venture down Highway 1, this time to the south side of the Song Tu Bon.  We follow parallel to the southern edge of Go Noi Island west, until we arrive at Liberty Bridge (south).  Next is An Hoa Regimental Combat Base and then 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.  Tonight, we are on our own for dinner.
Meals: B/L/_          Hotel: Green Plaza

Breakaway Group - Upon arriving in Ho Chi Minh City we will visit the location of the 3rd Field Hospital and get a view of the old MACV HQ.  We then proceed to our hotel, check in and freshen up.  After lunch we begin our half day tour of Saigon visiting the Cha Cham Church, Reunification Hall (Old Presidential Palace), Norte Dame, and the former US Embassy which now houses the new US Consulate.  After dinner, we can explore the shops of famed Old Tu Do Street (now Dong Khoi Street) and other shopping areas.
Meals: B/L/D          Hotel: Vien Dong

Day 12: (Thursday, 19 March) – Da Nang - or - Ho Chi Minh City

Main Group - Vietnam Battlefield Tours has allotted this day as free time for you to decompress, relax, shop, or for personal exploration.  Visit the beaches, Monkey Mountain, Marble Mountain, or head west again to areas of interest on your own.
Meals: B/_/_          Hotel: Green Plaza

Breakaway Group - 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 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.
Meals: B/L/D          Hotel: Vien Dong

Day 13: (Friday, 20 March) – Da Nang to Ha Noi - or - Ho Chi Minh City

Main Group - After breakfast, we head to Da Nang Airfield for our early flight to Hanoi.  Arriving at Noi Bai Airfield and mission permitting, we head to JPAC (Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command) for a command briefing on their efforts.  After lunch, we prepare for the journey home and more last-minute shopping.  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 of the U.S. Ambassador and the American Embassy.
Meals: B/L/D          Hotel: Star View

Breakaway Group - Today we will drive south on Highway 1 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, local houses, and workshops.
Meals: B/L/D          Hotel: Vien Dong

Day 14: (Saturday, 21 March) – RETURN to CONUS

Main Group - After breakfast, we transfer to Noi Bai Airfield for our short 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 3:25pm this same day.
Meals: B/L/D (in flight)

Breakaway Group - After breakfast, we transfer to Ton Son Nhut Airport for our short flight to Taipei where we will meet up with the main tour group.  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 3:25pm this same day.
Meals: B/L/D (in flight)

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