From Khe Sanh to Phong Nha

2017-10-25 at 12:50

Once again I drove from Khe Sanh to Phong Nha on this trip. I was lucky – no rain and mild weather. Checked in at the Mountain View Hotel again. Left my stuff and visited Trang at the Lemon Tree Spa. There I spend most of my time in the afternoon and evening.

Found another friend
Found another friend at a restaurant

Trang multitasking - as usual
Trang multitasking – as usual at the Spa in the evening

Beer with the Avengers in the Spa
Beer with the Avengers in the Spa. A nice place to chill with loud music after all the customers are gone

I have a baby cat
I have a baby cat to keep me warm – or the other way round

Nice cold refreshing G&T
Nice cold refreshing G&T – thank you Trang!

Todays Trip

Since it is the same road like last time I give you the same map as well 🙂
190 KM with the stop at the Khe Sanh Combat Base it took a bit more than 6 hours.

A Vietnamese Wedding

Traditional Vietnamese wedding procession
Traditional Vietnamese wedding procession. As you can see they bring 5 gifts – the big red packages. You can bring only uneven numbers of presents 3, 5 or 7 for example.

Wedding Day
On the wedding day, the procession of the groom's family is led in a traditional order. First the representative of the groom's house followed by the groom's father, the groom, then the rest of his family and close friends. They bring gifts to the bride’s house and get the final approval for the wedding.

More family
More family

Some more family members
Some more family members

Time for some refreshments and food
At the brides house – time for some refreshments and food

The happy couple
The happy couple and the parents

I was placed on a table full of beautiful girls
I was placed on a table full of beautiful girls

Slowly the other guests arrive
Slowly the other guests arrive. Food and beer as much as one can eat on the tables. And there is more and more coming.

Lots of talking
Lots of talking – and more loud music

The bride on the way to the stage
The bride on the way to the stage

The bride on the way to the stage
The bride on the way to the stage. They did the cutting of the cake and a champagne pyramid. After that everybody toasts with the couple. We left when the Karaoke started.

Quick visit at Ocean View Homestay

Trang had to look after her business down at the ocean. I drove her down since her bike did not work. A quick visit at the ocean and a few cuddles with Gummy 🙂 The next morning we drove back into the mountains again.

Gummy and Me
Gummy and Me

Visit at the beach
Visit at the beach

Mountain View Hotel in Phong Nha

My room at the Mountain View Hotel in Phong Nha was 8 US $ a night. It comes with 2 beds, Air-con, fan, TV, WiFi and a private bath room with hot shower. In the morning you get breakfast which is also included in the 8 US $. They have balconies toward the front and back of the hotel. Try to get the room on the top floor – the view is better.
Motorbike parking is in front of the hotel under a roof – so it is dry when it rains.
Here is the hotel link on booking.com

Room in the Mountain View Hotel Phong Nha

Room in the Mountain View Hotel Phong Nha

Bathroom in the Mountain View Hotel Phong Nha

 
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The Khe Sanh Combat Base

2017-10-23 at 17:31

The Beauty and the Beast
The Khe Sanh Combat Base was a United States Marine Corps outpost south of the Vietnamese Demilitarized Zone. Its main purpose was to keep watch on NVA infiltration along the border to Laos.

Fighting began there in late April 1967 but the most famous Battle started a few months later: The Battle of Keh Sanh. The Battle of Khe Sanh took place between January 21st and the 9th of July 1968. Two regiments of US Marines where defending Khe Sanh Combat Base.
They where supported by the US Army and the US Air Force as well as small number of South Vietnamese Army troops. The 1968 Battle of Khe Sanh was the longest, deadliest and most controversial of the Vietnam War, both sides claimed victory after it. The NVA never overrun the base but the US started to evacuate the base from June 19th. They destroyed most of the old base at the time.

On 30 January 1971, the ARVN and US forces launched Operation Dewey Canyon II which involved the re-opening of Route 9, securing the Khe Sanh area and re-occupying of Khe Sanh Combat Base. The base was abandoned once again on 6 April 1971.

You can see where the helicopters where parked on the right
You can see where the helicopters where parked on the right

Part of the old runway
Part of the old runway

A bunker in Khe Sanh
A recreated bunker in Khe Sanh

A bunker in Khe Sanh
A recreated bunker in Khe Sanh

A bunker in Khe Sanh
A recreated bunker in Khe Sanh

US M48 Patton Tank

US M48 Patton Tank

M113 Armored Personnel Carrier

M113 Armored Personnel Carrier

C-130 of the 56th Supply & Services Battalion
C-130 of the 56th Supply & Services Battalion. The C-130 is parked on a M8A1 steel landing mat

C-130 of the 56th Supply & Services Battalion
Detail from the C-130

Detail from the C-130
Detail from the C-130

Detail from the C-130
Detail from the C-130

Detail from the C-130
Detail from the C-130

C-130 from the back
C-130 from the back

Khe Sanh Command Post (recreated)
Khe Sanh Command Post (recreated)

US Army CH-47 Chinook helicopter
US Army CH-47 Chinook helicopter

Detail of the US Army CH-47 Chinook helicopter
Detail of the US Army CH-47 Chinook helicopter

Detail of the US Army CH-47 Chinook helicopter
Detail of the US Army CH-47 Chinook helicopter

UH-1 helicopter
UH-1 helicopter

UH-1 helicopter

Display at the museum
Display at the museum

A picture from the museum at the Khe Sanh Combat base
A picture from the museum

 
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The “Unified Memorial of Hope” and Hiền Lương Bridge

2017-10-02 at 20:00

Hiền Lương Bridge

Đài Tưởng niệm Khát Vọng Thống Nhất

Hiền Lương Bridge is a bridge over the Bến Hải River. The bridge is located at the 17th Parallel that divided Vietnam in two parts by the Geneva Accords of 1954. It formed part of the border between South Vietnam and North Vietnam from 1954 till the reunification. After the partition, the northern part of the bridge was painted red and the southern part yellow. Now the northern part is blue – guess they where out of red paint when they renovated the bridge. Today it is a major national monument with a museum and two memorials – one on each side of the river.

Hien Luong Bridge

The old bridge itself is a simple steel construction built by the French in 1950. On the southern side is the Reunification Memorial which for a change is quite modern compared to some of the other memorials I saw on my Vietnam trips.

Speakers
Guess they used the speakers to blast propaganda over the water. They do that still at the DMZ in Korea

Big Speaker
Does not look like this one delivers HIFI sound but judging by the size it is probably quite loud

Ho Chi Minh Monument
Monument at the North side of the bride. You see the bigger Reunification Memorial on the other side.

The Đài Tưởng niệm Khát Vọng Thống Nhất Memorial Park

Reunification Memorial
The centre piece with a woman and her daughter – in the back 6 feathers.

Reunification Memorial
The NVA is on the way down south on the Ho Chi Minh path along the border of Laos and inside Laos.

Reunification Memorial
Captured Vietnamese in prisons – the farmers pray for them.

Reunification Memorial
But the North is not only fighting on the battlefield – they also mining – man and woman together. While the US bombs their trucks. On the right you can see US soldiers – easy to spot with their fancy sunglasses!

Reunification Memorial
Fresh from the battle ship they march along. A spook on the right watches what is going on.

Reunification Memorial

NVA troops battle their way towards the South

Reunification Memorial
This way! This way!

Reunification Memorial
And in the middle of the war Uncle Ho gives some flowers to a guy. On the right the fighting continues!

Reunification Memorial
The battle is in its last days. Mortars, RPG’s and light weapons are in use, fire everywhere and big bombs drop. The man on the radio calls for instructions.

Reunification Memorial
Finally the war is over! Hill tribe girls, farmer and city girls unite and dance

Reunification Memorial

Vietnam is one
Vietnamese people are one
But what we need. Mountains can wear out.
But that truth never changes

That is what Google Translate gives me – hmmm

Next year I will be back – getting a picture of the flag pole and visit the museum – pictures will follow!

The DZM Memorial Site

 
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From Đồng Hới to Huế

2017-10-01 at 20:31

Good bye Ocean View Homestay

Slow drip coffee

It was blue and sunny! I had my slow drip Vietnamese Coffee in the garden of the Ocean View Homestay in Đồng Hới. It was a great day to drive down to Huế.

Good morning sweety
Good morning sweety – see you again 🙂 Hard to say Adios to this little fluffy ball of a dog.

Time to hit the Road

Told the Google Lady that I wanted to go along the ocean as much as possible. She had her own ideas but with some tweaking we where good to go! Thank you Trang for the discount!!

Monument in Đồng Hới
Monument in Đồng Hới at the beach

Monument in Đồng Hới
OK! Why like this?? Seals? In Vietnam?

Getting from the coast to the main road in Đồng Hới
Getting from the coast to the main road in Đồng Hới. I shall take another road next time. Google Lady was fine with it. I had to go super slow and fight with the red dust

At the QL1 outside of Gia Ninh
At the QL1 outside of Gia Ninh

Sport hall in Hồ Xá
Sport hall in Hồ Xá

Martyrs CemeteryOne of the many Martyrs Cemeteries along the road

Martyrs Cemetery

Soldier graveyard in Hải Chư
Soldier graveyard in Hải Chư

Every single one has a story
Every single one has a story

There are so many all over the country
There are so many all over the country

The beach at Quốc Phòng
The beach at Quốc Phòng

One of the many ruins along the coast road towards Giêm Hà
Another ruin along the coast road towards Giêm Hà. All over Vietnam along the coast I saw so many abandoned building projects. Not sure why they have so many of them here. They start the project and run out of money? Or was it not enough money to handle the local officials after they started to build? The other strange thing is that you see so many empty or almost empty hotels along the beach. Might be that I am not here for the season?

The coast road towards Giêm Hà
Somebody expected a lot of tourists here

Monument in Cửa Việt
Monument in Cửa Việt

They all look the same at the beach in Monument in Cửa Việt
They all look the same at the beach in Monument in Cửa Việt. How can you remember the one from the day before?? And how does that make you stand out?? STRANGE!!

War memorial in Cửa Việt
War memorial in Cửa Việt

Another War Memorial in Phú Hội
Another War Memorial in Phú Hội

Detail of the Memorial
Detail of the Memorial – A Russian tank comes out of the waves!

The Grave Road

Took a left from the DT64 to an unnamed small road that leads into the rice fields. Beautiful Chinese graves all over the place! Small ones and very big ones. I have to do this part again next year!

Rice Field in Triệu Trạch
Rice Field in Triệu Trạch

End of the road
End of the road – but a good spot for some pictures

Grave in the Rice Fields
Grave in the Rice Fields

Another Grave

Graves in a rice field
Graves in a rice field

War Cemetery in Triệu Trạch
War Cemetery in Triệu Trạch

War Cemetery in Triệu Trạch

Another one of those monuments along the road
Another one of those monuments along the road

And they getting more and more interesting
And they getting more and more interesting

Further down the road - a Duck pond
Further down the road – a Duck pond

Cycling home after work
Cycling home after work

A lot of Churches as well

Nhà Thờ Giáo Xứ Nhất Tây
Nhà Thờ Giáo Xứ Nhất Tây

Nhà Thờ Giáo Xứ Nhất Đông
Nhà Thờ Giáo Xứ Nhất Đông

Another Grave

Another Grave

A lot of Graves
A lot of Graves

A few more minutes till Huế
A few more minutes till Huế

Thanh An 2 Guesthouse in Huế

I was very happy to pick the Thanh An 2 Guesthouse in Hue. The owners are super friendly. The room was only 6$ and breakfast was an extra 1$. They made me vegetarian breakfast and the coffee was good. My room had no private bathroom – you have to go a few stairs down. But a super balcony. The hotel is in a small dead-end street all the way at the end. This way it is super quiet at day and night. And since the neighbours all have a lot of green on their balconies it is nice to sit and relax on the balcony.

My bed at the Thanh An 2 Guesthouse in Hue
My bed at the Thanh An 2 Guesthouse in Hue

My bed at the Thanh An 2 Guesthouse in Hue
I think the last swan I had on my bed was in Egypt a loooong time ago

My balcony at the Thanh An 2 Guesthouse in Hue
My balcony at the Thanh An 2 Guesthouse in Hue

It was a bit humid - so there was a mushroom growing out of the chair
It was a bit humid – so there was a mushroom growing out of the chair

At the French Cafè
At the French Cafè

German Beer??
German Beer?? I do not think so!

Comes with a soup for 1 €
Comes with a soup and it was only a $

Today’s Drive

205 Kilometres in 6 hours and 42 minutes with lots of photo stops as well as coffee and gas stops

Looks like I switched the tracker off – I do not remember doing so! Anyhow – you get the picture!

 
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