Vietnam War – History Tour

A Vietnam history tour can be a fascinating way to learn about the history and legacy of one of the most significant conflicts of the 20th century. Here are some key sites and experiences that can be built into the itinerary for you.

Ho Chi Minh City (formerly known as Saigon)

The War Remnants Museum

The largest city in Vietnam and the former capital of South Vietnam, Ho Chi Minh City has many historical sites related to the Vietnam War. The War Remnants Museum was originally opened in 1975 as the Exhibition House for US and Puppet Crimes and was later renamed the War Remnants Museum in 1990. Exhibits include photographs, artefacts, and personal stories of those affected by the war, documents, weapons, and other war relics.

Visitors can see displays that depict the various stages of the war, from the early days of French colonialism to the final days of the conflict in the 1970s.

The War Remnants Museum also includes exhibits that highlight the anti-war movement in the US and around the world, as well as the role of journalists and photographers in documenting the war. Visitors to the museum can learn about the history and legacy of the Vietnam War and gain a deeper understanding of the complex political and social issues that underpinned the conflict. The museum is significant in that it offers a Vietnamese perspective on the war, and challenges many of the myths and narratives that have been perpetuated by the American media and government. 

Independence Palace

The Independence Palace is located in the heart of Ho Chi Minh City, at 135 Nam Ky Khoi Nghia Street, District 1. The palace was built in 1868 as the residence of the French Governor-General of Indochina, and was known as the Norodom Palace. It was later renamed the Independence Palace, and was the home of the South Vietnamese president during the Vietnam War. On April 30, 1975, the palace was the site of the official handover of power from the South Vietnamese government to the North Vietnamese army, marking the end of the Vietnam War.

The Independence Palace is an impressive example of mid-century modernist architecture, with spacious rooms, and minimalist design. The building is surrounded by lush gardens and a moat and features a number of unique design elements, such as a helipad on the roof.

Now open to the public for tours led by knowledgeable guides who provide insight into the palace’s history and architecture. Visitors can explore the various rooms and halls of the palace, including the president’s office, the war room, and the banquet hall.

HCM Independence Palace
Independence Palace

Cu Chi Tunnels, Ho Chi Minh City.

The Cu Chi Tunnels are a network of underground tunnels (121 km) located in the Cu Chi district of Ho Chi Minh City in southern Vietnam. During the Vietnam War, the tunnels were used by the Viet Cong guerrillas as a base of operations, a hiding place from enemy attacks, and a means of transportation and communication. The tunnels were an important part of the Viet Cong’s strategy during the war, as they allowed the guerrillas to move around undetected and to launch surprise attacks on enemy forces. The tunnels were also used as storage areas for weapons and supplies, as well as living quarters for the guerrillas.

Today, visitors can take Cu Chi Tunnels tour and learn about the history and significance of the site during the Vietnam War. The tunnels have been preserved as a museum, with exhibits and displays that highlight the daily life of the guerrillas who lived and fought in them. Visitors can crawl through some of the narrow and cramped tunnels, which were designed to be too small for American soldiers to enter. They can also see the various traps and booby traps that the guerrillas used to defend the tunnels, as well as the ventilation and cooking areas that were hidden underground. 


The current capital of Vietnam, Hanoi has many historical sites that relate to the Vietnam War. The Hoa Lo Prison Museum (also known as the “Hanoi Hilton”) is a popular attraction that offers a glimpse into the lives of prisoners of war. The prison was built by the French colonial government in the late 19th century and was originally used to hold Vietnamese political prisoners. During the Vietnam War, the North Vietnamese government used the prison to hold US POWs, who were subjected to harsh treatment and torture by their captors. 

The Hoa Lo Prison Museum offers a unique perspective on the Vietnam War, as it was seen from the North Vietnamese point of view. It allows visitors to learn about the experiences of both Vietnamese and American prisoners during the war, and to gain a deeper understanding of the complex political and social issues that underpinned the conflict. 

hoa lo prison hanoi

DMZ (Demilitarized Zone), Quang Tri Province

Quang Tri Province DMZ (Demilitarised Zone) was a 5-kilometer-wide strip of land that separated North and South Vietnam during the Vietnam War. It ran along the 17th parallel, from the western border of Quang Tri Province to the eastern border of Thua Thien Province in central Vietnam. the DMZ was the site of heavy fighting during the Vietnam War. It was the site of several major battles and military operations, and many of its towns and villages were destroyed or damaged by the fighting. The province also served as a key supply route for the North Vietnamese Army, which used the Ho Chi Minh Trail to transport troops and supplies through the province and into South Vietnam. 

Today, visitors can explore the sites and landmarks that relate to the war in Quang Tri Province, including the DMZ itself, which is now a popular tourist attraction. Visitors can see remnants of the war, such as abandoned US military bases, bomb craters, and trenches. They can also visit museums and memorials that commemorate the soldiers and civilians who were affected by the conflict. 


One of the most popular sites in Quang Tri Province is the Vinh Moc Tunnel Complex, which is located near the coast in the DMZ area. The tunnel complex was built by the North Vietnamese Army and local villagers as a shelter from US bombing and shelling. Visitors can explore the tunnels and learn about the daily lives of the people who lived there during the war.

Vinh Moc Tunnels

Quang Tri Province and the DMZ area are also known for their natural beauty, with many beaches, forests, and mountains to explore. The province is home to several ethnic minority groups, who have their own unique cultures and traditions that visitors can experience. 

My Lai Massacre Site

My Lai Massacre Site The site of the infamous My Lai Massacre, where US soldiers killed at least 300 Vietnamese civilians (and perhaps as many as 500) at a small South Vietnamese sub-hamlet called My Lai, in Quang Ngai Province, central Vietnam. Today, it is a memorial to the victims of the massacre. The memorial includes a museum that tells the story of the massacre and its aftermath, as well as a monument that lists the names of the victims. Visitors can also see the remains of some of the destroyed buildings and homes in the village. 

Visiting the My Lai Massacre site can be a sombre and emotional experience. It serves as a reminder of the human cost of war and the importance of remembering and honouring the victims. It’s important to approach the site with sensitivity and respect for the people who were affected by the tragedy. 

My Lai

American troops murdered over 500 innocent women, old men, and children in the Vietnamese village of My Lai on March 16th, 1968. But for one very brave helicopter pilot: Hugh Thompson Jr, it could have been much worse. Hugh Thompson ordered his crew to turn the helicopter’s guns on their fellow Americans, after two failed attempts to end the slaughter peacefully and threatened to open fire on the soldiers if they did not stop. That day the killing stopped. Up to 20,000 lives were allegedly that day saved because the mission, if successful, was supposed to continue through to more villages for 4 full days, and there were up to 20,000 people living in those villages. But the mission was halted in just 4 hours thanks to the actions of Pilot Hugh Thompson and his crew.


Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park

During the Vietnam War, the park was strategically significant because it was used as a supply route by the North Vietnamese Army to transport troops and supplies along the Ho Chi Minh Trail, a network of roads and trails that ran through Laos and Cambodia and into South Vietnam. The park’s limestone caves, and karst formations also served as natural hiding places for the Viet Cong guerrillas and their weapons caches, making it difficult for the US military to track and destroy their positions. As a result, the park was heavily bombed by US forces to disrupt the supply route and flush out the guerrillas.

Visitors to Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park can learn about the park’s significance during the Vietnam War by visiting some of the historical sites and landmarks that relate to the conflict, such as the Ho Chi Minh Trail, the Truong Son National Cemetery, and the Khe Gat airfield, which was used by the US Air Force to bomb the park. They can also explore the park’s natural wonders, which provide a stark contrast to the destruction and violence of the war.


Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage site, home to some of the world’s largest and most impressive cave systems. Tourists and adventurers, who come to explore the park’s vast cave systems, trek through its forests and mountains, and experience its unique biodiversity. The park’s geological features and ecosystems have also attracted the attention of scientists and researchers from around the world.


Hue, the former imperial capital of Vietnam, was the site of heavy fighting during the Tet Offensive in 1968. The Tet Offensive was a series of surprise attacks by the North Vietnamese and Viet Cong forces against South Vietnamese and US military targets throughout the country, managed to take control of large parts of the city, including the Citadel, a fortified palace complex that was once home to the Vietnamese royal family. The battle for Hue lasted for several weeks, and some of the fiercest fighting of the war took place there.

The Communist forces were eventually defeated, and the city was retaken by the South Vietnamese and US military. However, the battle left the city heavily damaged, with many historical buildings and cultural treasures destroyed. Today, many of the damaged buildings have been restored, and Hue is recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site for its cultural and historical significance.

Visitors to Hue can visit the Citadel, which offers a glimpse into the history and culture of Vietnam, as well as several museums and historical sites that relate to the Vietnam War.

Hue in the war

Con Dao Islands

This group of islands off the coast of southern Vietnam was used as a prison during the war, and many political prisoners were held and tortured there. Visiting Con Dao prison can offer a deeper understanding of the impact of the Vietnam War and provide an opportunity to learn about Vietnam’s history and culture.

Phu quoc prison

Today, it is a popular tourist destination with a rich history and beautiful scenery.

These are just a few of the many places in Vietnam that offer insights into the Vietnam War. Depending on your interests and time available, you could customize your itinerary to include additional Vietnam historical sites, cultural attractions, and natural wonders.

It’s important to approach these sites with sensitivity and respect for the people who were affected by the war.

Written and Shared by Youin Travel Team


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