Published/Last edited or updated: 14th January, 2021
When we inquired about touring the sites related to the Vietnam War, Mr Huynh paused, visibly perplexed.
It’s true, there’s nothing to see in Kon Tum per se. Most of the war sites here have been returned to nature—as much as something can return to nature after being carpeted with Agent Orange. Kon Tum province was the site of one of the bloodiest and most definitive battles of the Vietnam War. By spring 1972, the US Army had already begun their withdrawal from ground involvement in the war. The outcome was teetering on an edge; who won control over the Central Highlands would win the war.
So why? We (us travellers in general, I mean) base a great deal of our travel on tangible experiences and photo opportunities. We plant a proverbial flag into the country we have travelled—I have seen this, I have done that—and the same is true for sites of dark tourism: I have crawled the Cu Chi Tunnels. I have seen the skulls at the Killing Fields. It’s easier for us to feel we have taken away something meaningful from the tragedy. But in Kon Tum, there’s nothing on display in careful glass boxes, no black and white photos to hammer home lessons of the past. Kon Tum is about ghosts and ... Travelfish members only (Full text is around 1,100 words.)
Cindy Fan is a Canadian writer/photographer and author of So Many Miles, a website that chronicles the love of adventure, food and culture. After falling in love with sticky rice and Mekong sunsets, in 2011 she uprooted her life in Toronto to live la vida Laos. She’s travelled to over 40 countries and harbours a deep affection for Africa and Southeast Asia. In between jaunts around the world, she calls Laos and Vietnam home where you’ll find her traipsing through rice paddies, standing beside broken-down buses and in villages laughing with the locals.