Historical Battle Sites in Vietnam

Historical Battle Sites in Vietnam

Old Battle Sites to Visit for History Buffs

Henley Dam Henley Dam | Published Jan 15, 2021

Vietnam has long been famous for the patriotism tradition and our reputation to have won every single enemy to protect our little country. If you happen to be a veteran, or just a person who is into history, then you might find it really interesting to find out about Vietnam history through visiting our most popular Historical Battle Sites in Vietnam.

1. Cu Chi Tunnels


Cu Chi Tunnels are one of the most famous and important battle sites of Vietnam where all the evidence of Vietnamese perseverance is shown and kept. It is an immense network of connecting tunnels, and also a part of a much larger network that underlies the whole country. At its peak, Cu Chi Tunnels consisted of more than 250 kilometres of tunnels, parts of which were even three-level deep. The tunnels were the location of several military campaigns during the Vietnam War, and were the Viet Cong’s base of operations for the Tet Offensive in 1968.

The tunnels included living areas, command centres, kitchens, weapons factories and field hospitals. It was used by Viet Cong soldiers as hiding spots during combat, as well as serving as communication and supply routes for numerous North Vietnamese fighters. Since the tunnels were so long and had a complicated system, it was one of the factors that mainly supported the Viet Cong in their resistance to American forces, and helped to counter the growing American military effort.

Usually, a relative of a Viet Cong soldier would lead the tours to Cu Chi Tunnel. Not only will you be able to explore the tunnels, you will be shown some of the hidden entrances and grass-covered trap doors above the ground. The tour guides would tell you some insights about the wars and the tunnels, as well as their personal experience from the fighters.

Warning: If you have claustrophobia, it’s not suitable to dig in the tunnels.

2. Hue Imperial Citadel


If you are into Vietnamese history, you would know that the romantic city of Hue used to be the capital of Vietnam for over a century under the Nguyen Dynasty. Being the capital, it was also the site of one of the most notorious battles of the Vietnam War – Tet Offensive 1968 (Or Tong tien cong Tet Mau Than 1968 in Vietnamese).

Early in the morning of January 31st, 1968, during the Lunar New Year, the Vietnamese People’s Army and the South Vietnamese Liberation Army simultaneously attacked many cities and localities in South Vietnam – which included Saigon and Hue. After the initial success, they were gradually defeated everywhere, except for in Hue. With the aim of seizing sovereignty in Hue, the 28-day battle took place and resulted in the destruction of 40% of the city, 116000 homeless people. Many historic buildings were destroyed and around 10,000 people died before the city was liberated by the Americans.

Today, you can see a lot of large empty spaces among these buildings in Hue Imperial City, which demonstrates the tremendous loss during the war. A large number of buildings still have bullet holes from the war, and you’ll find the artillery and old US tanks outside the Citadel as well.

3. The Reunification Palace


The Reunification Palace in Saigon, formerly known as the Independence Palace, was the finishing point of the Vietnam War. The origin of Reunification Palace dates back to 1858, when the French colonists began to attack Da Nang, starting the war of aggression against Vietnam. In 1868, the French government started to design and build a mansion as a residence for the Governor of Cochinchina in the center of Ho Chi Minh City

At 9AM on April 30th, 1975, exactly 3 hours after the last US helicopter left the embassy, General Tran Van Tra sent the Liberation army to enter Saigon from five directions. They proceeded without encountering any obstacle from the enemies.

At 10:45AM, the T-54 tank number 843 rammed the side gate of the Independence Palace and was trapped there. Lieutenant of the South Vietnamese Liberation Army, Bui Quang Than, jumped down from the tank and took the flag of the Liberation Front and jogged in the building. After that, more and more armored tanks and the Liberation army pulled into the palace.

At 11:30PM. Lieutenant Bui Quang Than lowered the yellow three red lines flag of South Vietnam on the roof of the palace and then pulled up the flag of the National Front for the Liberation of South Vietnam. The longing war finally ended.

Nowadays, you can book a tour to visit around the Reunification Palace and learn about its history and the importance of the events that happened here. In the bunker, you can still see maps with final troop positions.

4. Hoa Lo Prison in Hanoi


Hoa Lo Prison is undoubtedly one of the most notorious stops for travelers interested in war history due to the horrors inside the prison. The name “Hỏa Lò” (which means “fiery furnace” or “Hell’s hole”) originated from the street name due to the concentration of stores selling wood stoves and coal-fire stoves along the street in pre-colonial times.

The prison was built in Hanoi by the French when Vietnam was still part of French Indochina.The prison was called Maison Centrale or ‘Central House’ – the kind of prisons for dangerous or long sentence detainees in France. At first, it was intended to hold Vietnamese prisoners, particularly political prisoners who were often subject to torture and execution.

Later then, during the Vietnam War, Hoa Lo Prison was used by the North Vietnamese Army to house, torture and interrogate captured servicemen, mostly American pilots shot down during bombing raids. Although well-hidden, severe torture methods were employed here, such as rope bindings, irons, beatings, and prolonged solitary confinement. When prisoners of war began to be released from Hoa Lo Prison and other North Vietnamese prisons, the widespread and systematic abuse of prisoners of war was revealed by the testimonies.

Nowadays, Hoa Lo Prison is open for tours, both in the morning and at night. Part of the tour would include burning incense sticks and paying tributes to the prisoners that died here. The tour is not recommended for children under 16 and people with cardiovascular diseases.

5. The Demilitarized Zone (DMZ)


The 17th parallel demilitarized zone (known internationally as the Vietnam Demilitarized Zone, English: Vietnamese Demilitarized Zone – V-DMZ) is a demilitarized zone along two banks of the Ben Hai River. Founded in 1954 under the Geneva Agreement on Indochina, the original purpose of the DMZ is to be a temporary military frontier to prevent the gathering area between the forces of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam and the French army and allied forces.

In principle, the demilitarized zone is 1.6 km (one mile) wide from the banks of the Ben Hai River, starting from the Vietnam-Laos border to the South China Sea coast. It is expected that the temporary line will be removed after the general election 2 years later. However, it practically became a border separating 2 sides of Vietnam during the war. On July 2, 1976, the National Assembly of Vietnam officially eliminated the existence of the 17th parallel demilitarized zone when it established the Socialist Republic of Vietnam under the absolute leadership of the Communist Party of Vietnam.

The DMZ marked the pain of being divided of the nation, and now it has become a symbol of the joy of reunification, the desire for peace of the times. This place is now open for tours.

These 5 places above are the most famous Historical Battle Sites in Vietnam that you should visist. However, there are of course many other sites that might intrigue you, and each place has its own history, its own meaning that contributes to the patriotism tradition of Vietnamese. If you are into World’s history, Vietnam is definitely the right place for you to go and explore!


Where Do You Want to Go?