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How To Visit The Major Vietnam War Sites


Modified: December 27, 2023

by Tersina Runge



Vietnam is a country steeped in history, with one of the most significant chapters being the Vietnam War. For those interested in exploring this tumultuous period, visiting the major Vietnam War sites is a must. These sites provide a glimpse into the past and offer a profound understanding of the impact of the war on the country and its people.


From the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum to the Cu Chi Tunnels, and from the War Remnants Museum to the My Lai Massacre Memorial Site, each location tells a unique and haunting story. Whether you are a history buff or simply curious about this era, these destinations offer a powerful and educational experience.


This comprehensive guide will take you on a virtual journey through the major Vietnam War sites, shedding light on their historical significance and providing practical tips for visitors. So, let’s delve into the rich history of Vietnam and discover the stories embedded within these important landmarks.


Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum

The Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum is a revered landmark in Hanoi, housing the preserved body of Vietnam’s beloved leader, Ho Chi Minh. This grand structure serves as a tribute to his significant role in the country’s struggle for independence and reunification.


The mausoleum is situated in Ba Dinh Square, where Ho Chi Minh read the Declaration of Independence in 1945. It is a symbol of respect and admiration for the father of modern Vietnam and attracts locals and tourists alike.


Visitors can enter the mausoleum and pay their respects to Ho Chi Minh, observing his embalmed body as it lies in state. The experience is solemn and dignified, with strict rules of conduct that must be followed. Keep in mind that appropriate attire is required, and photography inside the mausoleum is strictly prohibited.


Adjacent to the mausoleum is the Ho Chi Minh Museum, which provides further insight into Ho Chi Minh’s life and the history of Vietnam. Exhibits include photographs, artifacts, and personal belongings that offer a glimpse into the leader’s struggles and achievements.


A visit to the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum is a truly remarkable and reverential experience. It allows visitors to pay their respects to a great leader who played a pivotal role in shaping the nation of Vietnam.


Cu Chi Tunnels

The Cu Chi Tunnels are an extraordinary network of underground tunnels located in the Cu Chi district, just outside of Ho Chi Minh City. This intricate system served as a significant stronghold for the Viet Cong during the Vietnam War.


The Cu Chi Tunnels are a testament to the resilience and ingenuity of the Vietnamese people. Spanning over 250 kilometers, these tunnels provided a means of communication, supply routes, and shelter for soldiers during the war.


Visitors to the Cu Chi Tunnels can explore a reconstructed section of the tunnels, offering a glimpse into the harsh conditions and daily life of the Viet Cong fighters. Crawling through the narrow passages and witnessing the various traps and hiding spots gives a chilling sense of the challenges faced by the soldiers during the war.


The site also features displays and exhibits that provide a comprehensive understanding of the tunnels’ historical and strategic significance. Visitors can view weaponry and equipment used during the war, as well as learn about the innovative tactics employed by the Viet Cong.


A trip to the Cu Chi Tunnels is a truly eye-opening experience, offering a unique perspective on the Vietnam War. It allows visitors to gain a deeper understanding of the conflict and appreciate the resilience and resourcefulness of the Vietnamese people.


War Remnants Museum

The War Remnants Museum, located in Ho Chi Minh City, is a stark and poignant reminder of the atrocities and human suffering endured during the Vietnam War. Formerly known as the Museum of American War Crimes, it showcases the harsh realities of the conflict from a Vietnamese perspective.


Visitors to the museum are presented with a collection of photographs, artifacts, and exhibits that document the war’s consequences. The displays provide a deeply emotional and thought-provoking experience, highlighting the devastating impact of the war on the Vietnamese people and the world at large.


The museum features several thematic galleries, including exhibits on the effects of Agent Orange, the role of war photographers, and the stories of Vietnamese individuals who were affected by the war. It also houses a collection of war machinery and vehicles, including tanks and helicopters, further emphasizing the scale and magnitude of the conflict.


While the museum focuses on the horrors of war, it also showcases the resilience and determination of the Vietnamese people in the face of adversity. The exhibits highlight the efforts made to rebuild and heal the wounds inflicted by the war, promoting a message of peace and reconciliation.


A visit to the War Remnants Museum is a somber and reflective experience, offering a profound understanding of the Vietnam War and its impact. It serves as a reminder of the importance of peace, understanding, and the preservation of human dignity in times of conflict.


Hanoi Hilton Prison

The Hanoi Hilton, officially known as Hoa Lo Prison, is a historic landmark located in the heart of Hanoi. During the Vietnam War, it served as a detention facility for both Vietnamese revolutionaries and American prisoners of war.


The prison’s nickname, “Hanoi Hilton,” was sarcastically given by American POWs as a way to mock the poor conditions and treatment they endured during their captivity. Today, the Hanoi Hilton stands as a sobering reminder of the inhumanity and hardships faced by those imprisoned within its walls.


Visitors to the Hanoi Hilton can explore the prison’s preserved sections, gaining insight into the living conditions and torture methods employed by the captors. The exhibits display the tiny cells, shackles, and other brutal instruments used to interrogate and punish the prisoners.


One of the notable exhibits at the Hanoi Hilton is dedicated to the experiences of American POWs, providing a glimpse into their daily lives and their resilience in the face of adversity. Visitors can also view photographs and hear personal accounts from former prisoners, offering a deeper understanding of the challenges they faced.


Despite its dark history, the Hanoi Hilton has undergone significant renovations, including the addition of a museum area that focuses on the prison’s role during the French colonial period. This provides visitors with a broader perspective on the prison’s historical significance beyond the Vietnam War.


A visit to the Hanoi Hilton is a sobering experience, offering a chance to reflect on the hardships endured by those held captive within its walls. It serves as a reminder of the importance of human rights, empathy, and the pursuit of peace in a world marred by conflict.


My Lai Massacre Memorial Site

The My Lai Massacre Memorial Site is a significant historical landmark located in the village of My Lai in central Vietnam. It serves as a memorial to the tragic events that unfolded on March 16, 1968, when American soldiers brutally killed over 500 unarmed Vietnamese civilians, including women, children, and elderly individuals.


Visiting the My Lai Massacre Memorial Site offers a solemn and reflective experience, allowing visitors to pay homage to the victims and reflect on the horrors of war. The site includes a museum that provides a detailed account of the events leading up to the massacre and the aftermath.


Inside the museum, visitors can view photographs, artifacts, and personal stories that humanize the victims and bring attention to the profound impact of the massacre on the local community. The exhibits aim to educate visitors about the atrocity that occurred and the importance of remembering and learning from such dark chapters in history.


Within the memorial site, there is also a monument dedicated to the victims of the massacre. The monument stands as a reminder of the innocent lives lost and serves as a symbol of hope and healing.


Visiting the My Lai Massacre Memorial Site is a humbling experience that encourages reflection on the consequences of war and the importance of valuing human life. It serves as a reminder of the need for empathy, understanding, and a commitment to justice in order to prevent such tragedies from reoccurring in the future.


The DMZ (Demilitarized Zone)

The DMZ, or Demilitarized Zone, is a region located in central Vietnam that served as a buffer zone between North and South Vietnam during the Vietnam War. It holds significant historical importance and offers visitors a chance to explore the remnants of war and learn about the country’s divided past.


Stretching along the Ben Hai River, the DMZ was a heavily fortified area during the war. Today, visitors can explore various sites within the DMZ, each offering unique insights into the conflict and its aftermath.


One of the key destinations within the DMZ is the Vinh Moc Tunnels. These tunnels were used by North Vietnamese villagers as a shelter from intense bombings and served as a strategic point for carrying out attacks on American forces. Exploring the tunnels provides a glimpse into the daily lives of the Vietnamese people during the war.


Another notable site is the Khe Sanh Combat Base, a former U.S. Marine Corps base. This area witnessed intense battles and was the site of one of the longest and deadliest sieges of the war. Visitors can walk through the old base and see remnants of the war, including aircraft wreckage and artillery.


In addition, the DMZ offers the opportunity to visit the famous Hien Luong Bridge, which once divided North and South Vietnam. The bridge stands as a powerful symbol of the country’s reunification, having been rebuilt after the war as a sign of unity and peace.


A visit to the DMZ allows visitors to understand the impact of the war on both sides and gain a deeper appreciation for the resilience and determination of the Vietnamese people. It represents a significant chapter in the nation’s history and provides a chance to reflect on the importance of peace and reconciliation.


Long Tan Cross Memorial

The Long Tan Cross Memorial is a poignant tribute to the Australian soldiers who fought in the Battle of Long Tan during the Vietnam War. This memorial site, located in the Phuoc Tuy Province, Vietnam, commemorates the bravery and sacrifice of the Australian troops.


The Battle of Long Tan took place on August 18, 1966, when a small Australian infantry force engaged in a fierce battle against a much larger Viet Cong force. Despite being heavily outnumbered, the Australians managed to hold their ground and emerge victorious. However, the battle came at a great cost, with 18 Australian soldiers losing their lives.


The memorial site includes a cross that marks the location where the battle took place. It stands as a solemn reminder of the courage and sacrifice of the soldiers who fought and fell during the battle. Surrounding the cross is a beautifully landscaped area, providing a serene and peaceful atmosphere for reflection and remembrance.


Visitors to the Long Tan Cross Memorial can learn about the events leading up to the battle and the significance of the Australian involvement in the Vietnam War. The memorial site also features information panels that provide historical context and personal stories of the soldiers involved.


The Long Tan Cross Memorial is a significant destination for Australians, who often visit to pay their respects to their fallen comrades. It serves as a place of commemoration, honoring the soldiers who made the ultimate sacrifice in the pursuit of peace and freedom.


Visiting the Long Tan Cross Memorial is a deeply moving experience, allowing visitors to reflect on the true cost of war and the valor displayed by those who fought. It is a testament to the enduring bond between Australia and Vietnam, reminding us of the importance of remembering and honoring the sacrifices made by those who served.


Vinh Moc Tunnels

The Vinh Moc Tunnels are a remarkable underground network of tunnels located in the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) in central Vietnam. These tunnels were constructed by the Vietnamese during the Vietnam War and served as a shelter for local villagers from intense bombings.


Unlike the Cu Chi Tunnels near Ho Chi Minh City, which were primarily used by guerilla fighters, the Vinh Moc Tunnels were created to protect the civilian population. The tunnels were home to an entire village, with multiple levels and chambers providing housing, schools, hospitals, and even a maternity ward.


Visiting the Vinh Moc Tunnels allows visitors to explore a reconstructed section of the tunnels, providing a glimpse into the living conditions and resilience of the villagers during the war. While the tunnels are now enlarged to accommodate tourists, they still retain their original narrow dimensions, requiring visitors to stoop and crawl through certain sections.


The guided tours through the tunnels offer a comprehensive understanding of how the community survived and thrived in such harsh conditions. Visitors can see displays of the various rooms, including sleeping quarters, meeting halls, and even a well for access to water.


The Vinh Moc Tunnels offer a unique perspective on the human side of the Vietnam War, showcasing the resourcefulness and determination of the Vietnamese people. It is a poignant reminder of the sacrifices made by ordinary civilians caught in the midst of a devastating conflict.


A visit to the Vinh Moc Tunnels offers a profound insight into the realities of war and the strength of the human spirit. It is a testament to the resilience and courage of the Vietnamese people and provides a deeper appreciation for their struggle for survival during one of the darkest periods in their history.


Khe Sanh Combat Base

The Khe Sanh Combat Base is a historical site located near the village of Khe Sanh in the Quảng Trị Province of Vietnam. It played a significant role during the Vietnam War as a major combat base for the United States Marine Corps.


The combat base is particularly renowned for the intense Battle of Khe Sanh, which lasted for 77 days from January to April 1968. This battle was one of the longest and most intense of the war, with the base under siege by North Vietnamese forces.


Visiting the Khe Sanh Combat Base allows visitors to explore the remnants of the military installation and gain a deeper understanding of the strategies and challenges faced by American forces during the war. The site features preserved bunkers, trenches, and artillery positions that provide a glimpse into the harsh conditions and relentless fighting that characterized the Battle of Khe Sanh.


A museum at the combat base further enhances the visitor experience, showcasing exhibits and artifacts related to the battle and the overall war effort. The museum presents a comprehensive overview of the battle’s significance and also pays tribute to the soldiers who fought there.


While the Khe Sanh Combat Base is a somber reminder of the brutality and sacrifices of war, it also serves as a symbol of the resilience and bravery displayed by those involved. It stands as a testament to the indomitable spirit of the soldiers who fought in one of the most pivotal battles of the Vietnam War.


Visiting the Khe Sanh Combat Base provides a unique opportunity to learn about the history of the United States’ involvement in the war and the experiences of those who served. It allows visitors to reflect on the costs of war and the extraordinary efforts made by soldiers in the pursuit of their objectives.


Con Dao Prison

Con Dao Prison, also known as Phu Hai Camp, is a haunting historical site located on Con Dao Island, off the southern coast of Vietnam. It served as a notorious prison complex during the French colonial period and later during the Vietnam War.


The prison was initially built by the French colonial administration in the 19th century to house political prisoners. It gained further infamy during the Vietnam War when it was used by the South Vietnamese government to imprison political dissidents and suspected Viet Cong sympathizers.


Visiting Con Dao Prison offers a solemn and thought-provoking experience, allowing visitors to gain insight into the harsh conditions and human rights abuses that occurred within its walls. The prison complex is divided into various sections, including cells, punishment areas, and isolation chambers.


While touring the site, visitors can view the small, cramped cells where prisoners were confined and subjected to torture and brutal treatment. Exhibits and displays provide further information about the prisoners’ living conditions and the stories of those who suffered within the prison’s walls.


Con Dao Prison also features a memorial cemetery known as Hang Duong Cemetery, where the remains of thousands of prisoners who died at the prison are interred. The cemetery serves as a chilling reminder of the extensive human suffering that took place in the complex.


Today, Con Dao Prison stands as a symbol of the resilience and strength of the Vietnamese people in the face of oppression. It serves as a haunting reminder of the importance of human rights, justice, and the fight against tyranny.


A visit to Con Dao Prison offers a sobering experience, providing a deeper understanding of the struggles endured by political prisoners and prisoners of war. It serves as a reminder of the importance of learning from the past and promoting a future rooted in compassion, understanding, and respect for human dignity.



Exploring the major Vietnam War sites is not only an opportunity to delve into the tumultuous history of Vietnam but also a chance to gain a deeper understanding of the human impact of war. From the solemn Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum to the harrowing My Lai Massacre Memorial Site, each destination offers a unique perspective on the Vietnam War and its enduring effects.


The sites provide a tangible connection to the past, allowing visitors to witness firsthand the resilience, sacrifice, and determination displayed by both the Vietnamese and international forces during this era. By immersing ourselves in these historical landmarks, we can pay homage to the lives lost, reflect on the horrors of war, and find hope in the pursuit of peace.


Furthermore, these sites serve as reminders of the importance of empathy, understanding, and reconciliation in order to heal wounds and prevent future conflicts. Through learning about the past, we can foster a more harmonious and compassionate future, both within Vietnam and on a global scale.


Whether you are a history enthusiast or simply looking to expand your knowledge of Vietnam, visiting these major war sites is an experience that will leave a lasting impression. Engage with the stories and exhibits, interact with local guides, and take the time to reflect on the significance of each destination.


As we explore these sites, let us honor the past, acknowledge the sacrifices made, and strive for a future where peace and understanding prevail. By embracing the lessons of history, we can work towards a world where the horrors of war are replaced with compassion, harmony, and respect for all humanity.