War Museum & Ho Chi Minh Trail Site

Central Laos

Twenty kilometres east of Sepon, Ban Dong (Dong Village) was on one of the major thoroughfares of the Ho Chi Minh Trail, and was the site of the only Lao–Vietnamese military collaboration during the war. Most of what was previously scattered around the area has been gathered into the gated front lawn of the so-called War Museum (the official name is 'Museum of Lao-Vietnam Legacy of Joined Victory Battle on the Road 9 Area').

These include two American-built tanks used during Operation Lam Son 719, a disastrous Army of the Republic of Vietnam (ARVN) assault on the Ho Chi Minh Trail in February 1971. Despite support from US combat aircraft, the ARVN troops retreated across the border at Lao Bao after being routed by seasoned North Vietnamese Army (NVA) troops at Ban Dong. To see the tanks, part of a plane, guns and other scrap, as well as photos and displays, the museum is at the eastern edge of Ban Dong and is bordered by a baby-blue-and-pink fence.

The dirt road that borders the War Museum was one of the main branches of the Ho Chi Minh Trail, and is today one of the most accessible points. Elsewhere you'll need a guide.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Central Laos attractions

1. Sepon Kao

13.09 MILES

On the banks of the Se Pon, Sepon Kao was bombed almost into the Stone Age during the war. Although a handful of villagers have since moved back, they…

2. Khe Sanh Combat Base

19.63 MILES

The site of the most famous siege of the American War, the USA’s Khe Sanh Combat Base was never overrun, but it saw the bloodiest battle of the war. About…

3. Dakrong Bridge

25.78 MILES

Crossing the Dakrong River 13km east of the Khe Sanh bus station, this bridge was rebuilt in 2001 and bears a marker hailing its importance as a conduit…

4. Muang Phin

27.81 MILES

An imposing Vietnamese-built monument to Lao-Vietnamese cooperation during the Indochina wars stands in Muang Phin, 155km east of Savannakhet and 34km…

5. Rockpile

29.85 MILES

Visible from Hwy 9, this 230m-high karst outcrop once had a US Marine Corps lookout on top and a base for American long-range artillery nearby. The…