Expect plenty of of time in a van
Published/Last edited or updated: 21st July, 2019
One of the more popular long day tours to do from Hue is a DMZ tour, which takes in some of the historic battlefield sites related to the American War.
As most of the sites are well north of Hue, doing a tour from the city will involve plenty of time in a (most likely crammed) minibus as you shuttle up the coast. If you have the time, you are far better off to do the tour from Dong Ha, the capital of the province which includes most of the points of interest, and we cover the DMZ sites in detail in our Dong Ha section. However if you don’t have the time or inclination to base yourself there, Hue is your next best option.
Tours leave Hue early in the morning and return in the evening, so it is very much a full day tour. It is also important to note that some of the sites will really hold limited interest to those who have just a passing interest in the War, so be honest with yourself and your timeline when deciding if the tour is for you. Thuan An beach or the Elephant Springs can just as easily make for a comfortable holiday from a holiday.
A typical tour will include The Rockpile, Khae Sanh Marine Base and the museum on site, a bridge which includes a section of what was once the Ho Chi Minh Trail (now the Ho Chi Minh Highway), the Ben Hai River (once the demarcation point between North and South, now just a river) and, what is easily the highlight, the Vinh Moc Tunnels.
In between, expect long stretches in a minibus and breakfast and lunch (which may or may not be included in the price depending on the operator). All tours will include a guide, but standards vary tremendously and the experience can be very scripted, often with a put on Texan drawl.
The area can also be visited independently, in which case we would suggest only Khe Sanh and Vinh Moc as being really worth the effort, but it still makes for a lot of riding or driving time from Hue.
If you have a serious interest in the area and the period of the American War, make the time and use Dong Ha as a base. If you do, in the past we had a very good experience with Nguyen Thanh Duy from DMZ Tours and Tam’s Cafe also gets consistently good reviews.
From Hue a full day DMZ tour will set you back $15 to $20 per person depending on the tour and what is included. Tours can also be booked online beforehand, though prices tend to skew a little higher to the $30 to $40 mark.
Admission: $15-$20 per person
Stuart McDonald co-founded Travelfish.org with Samantha Brown in 2004. He has lived in Thailand, Cambodia and Indonesia, where he worked as an under-paid, under-skilled language teacher, an embassy staffer, a newspaper web-site developer, freelancing and various other stuff. His favourite read is The Art of Travel by Alain de Botton.
These tours are provided by Travelfish partner GetYourGuide.
Our top 8 other sights and activities in and around Hue