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Demilitarised Zone

Most of the bases and bunkers have long vanished, but this 5km strip of land on either side of the Ben Hai River is still known by its American War moniker: the DMZ. From 1954 to 1975 it acted as a buffer between the North and the South. Ironically, the DMZ became one of the most militarised areas in the world, forming what Time magazine called ‘a running sore’.

The area just south of the DMZ was the scene of some of the bloodiest battles in America’s first televised war, turning Quang Tri, the Rockpile, Khe Sanh, Lang Vay and Hamburger Hill into household names.

Fast forward several decades and there’s not much left to see. Most sites have been cleared, the land reforested or planted with rubber and coffee. Only Ben Hai, Vinh Moc and Khe Sanh have small museums. Unless you’re a veteran or military buff, you might find it a little hard to appreciate the place – which is all the more reason to hire a knowledgeable guide.

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