Hue and the DMZ
Hue Travel Blog› entry 7 of 12 › view all entries
We made the fairly short journey (4 hours) from Hoi An to Hue on another unbelieveably uncomfortable bus (the Chinese might have invented water torture but their neighbours Vietnam REALLY know how to punish their victims!) and got in to Hue to a dreadful downpour. We hung around for about 15 minutes while they waited for the road to flood so we could start to unload our bags(!).
Our hotel was excellent again (we've been on a great run of staying in nice places in Vietnam!), although it was a while before we could wander round the city of Hue. Hue was taken by the NVA (North Vietnamese Army) and VC during the 1968 Tet Offensive for about 3 weeks and was "controlled" again by the South Vietnamese and US Army only after the loss of about 10,000 people (mainly civilians) during bitter house-to-house fighting.
We took a guide and a driver for a trip to the DMZ (Demilitarised Zone), which was a strip of no-mans's land used to divide North and South Vietnam as part of the Paris Agreement (initially for only 2 years until there was a general election which would re-unify Vietnam as an independant state, but this never took place). It became one of the most heavily bombed places on earth over the period of the conflict of the 60's and 70's, there was much US activity to try and prevent the NVA from heading over the DMZ and supplies from reaching the Viet Cong in the South (via the Ho Chi Minh Trail) and some huge concentrations of US military personnel.
The whole DMZ tour was done with a really balanced approach, there seemed to be no bitterness from the guide towards the American soldiers, who she said were "just doing their job" and were also victims of the conflict. Indeed, there are a great many US veterans that return to the area, 10 are due to go camping there next month of a week - all for the first time since they completed their tours nearly 40 years ago.
We didn't really take to Hue like we did to Hoi An, it was a bigger, busier city without the same charm. We didn't really feel too sad to be moving-on to Hanoi.