Photo: On the road to Hamburger Hill.


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Located 60 kilometres west-southwest of Hue, A Luoi is a mountainous district sandwiched between the A Shau Valley and the border with Salavan and Sekong provinces, Laos. Vietnam War veterans and historians will be familiar with the name, as it was the location of several US military bases that saw fierce battles, including Asho Airport and Hamburger Hill, immortalised in a 1987 film. The district encompasses 100 kilometres of the historic Ho Chi Minh Trail.

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For the average traveller, A Luoi will probably not be worth going out of the way for, unless you want to get off-the-beaten track in a short amount of time. It is less than two hours from the provincial capital Hue and it can be done as a day trip, best with your own transport. If you find yourself passing through, perhaps on a pan-Vietnam motorbike trip following the historic road, it’s definitely worth stopping for a few hours to check out the area’s natural attractions. You’re guaranteed to have pretty waterfalls and the beautiful ridges and valleys of the greater Annamite mountain range all to yourself.

Figure on a dilapidated, abandoned Rong house. Photo taken in or around A Luoi, Vietnam by Cindy Fan.

Figure on a dilapidated, abandoned Rong house. Photo: Cindy Fan

A Luoi had been primed for tourism success. It was included in a “GMS Sustainable Tourism Development Project” from 2009 to 2013, funded by Asian Development Bank – glossy brochures were made, attractive trekking itineraries were created, ethnic villages were put on maps and cultural tours were lined up. The brochures extolled the natural wonders, weaving demonstrations and lively festivals to be seen.

But the project ended and no one knew to come, leaving shelves full of dusty brochures at the big Tourist Information Centre. Built in 2013, it includes a park and replica of an ethnic minority community house. If you need directions to a sight or are just in need of inspiration on what to do, it’s worth stopping in for an English brochure and to look at the wall map with every possible sight of interest marked. The centre is on Ho Chi Minh Highway/QL14 across from the post office; look for the giant blue gate and the grandiose drive leading up the hill. The centre “Trung Tam Thong Tin Du Lich A Luoi” is open Monday to Friday, 07:30-16:30. Not a lick of ... Travelfish members only (Around 1,600 more words) ... please log in to read the rest of this story.

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