Quang Ngai

Quang Ngai

Home to the My Lai massacre

When we visit a city off the tourist trail, we try hard to uncover what makes the spot unique and worthwhile in its own right. But when it comes to the provincial capital Quang Ngai, after decades we’re still looking.

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There are no attractions whatsoever inside the city. Though Quang Ngai has a few features that would usually make a city enjoyable such as the river, it’s all sprawling, bland, impersonal and missing a cohesive centre. It also grievously lacks good accommodation—there are plenty of places to stay, just not any you’d want to. All this creates a formidable case for avoiding an overnight, lingering for no more than a night if need be before hurrying on to where you are trying to get to. Those places are likely the My Son museum and memorial (site of the My Lai Massacre) and Ly Son island.

Bridge and river views are about as good as it gets. : Cindy Fan.
Bridge and river views are about as good as it gets. Photo: Cindy Fan

During the Vietnam War, Quang Ngai province was intensely contested and it suffered some of the worst fighting and bombing of the war. It was considered a Viet Cong stronghold, which is why in the early hours of March 16, 1968, a group of young American troops helicoptered into My Lai hamlet with the mission to root out Viet Cong fighters. They expected to face off with the 48th Vietcong infantry battalion. But the intelligence they had was incorrect—the Viet Cong were 150 miles away. What they found were peasant farmers, mostly women, children and the elderly eating breakfast about to start the day. In less than five hours, 504 innocent, unarmed civilians would be slaughtered, a brutal killing spree known as the My Lai Massacre. The event was covered up for over a year before news finally broke. It remains one of the most horrifying incidences in American military history of ... Travelfish members only (Full text is around 700 words.)

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