Khe Sanh and the DMZ

We’ll i’d better write this now before i forget about it completely. We’ve ridden literally half the length of Vietnam since then, and had a lot of pretty intense experiences along the way, so it seems quite a long time ago now!

But basically, we rode up to Khe Sanh (site of the famous siege) in one day, and the road was as amazing as usual in the Central Highlands (more of that later…). Khe Sanh town itself is on a high, pretty barren plateau, and is a bit of a hole to be honest, getting a cold beer was a major challenge. And then, we were rudely awakened at 6.30am as they were having some kind of official function across the road, so added to the blaring trucks rattling through town was the sound of a huge PA system and lots of shouting and general hubbub. Not quite the wake up i was hoping for. After that, we dragged ourselves out of bed and headed to the actual Combat Base, which i assumed would be on a hilltop,  but actually seems to be in a field.

The actual base consisted of a pile of unexploded ordinance, some (badly) reconstructed sandbag bunkers…

A Huey, a Chinook, and a load of bits of various crashed aircraft. There were also a couple of guys selling grisly mementos (bullet casings, dogtags, helmet badges), that were in any case of dubious veracity. We were the only people there at the time though, so despite our protests they literally followed us around the whole frigging time.

Apparently, the Chinook has a feature where, in an emergency, you can deploy a Hindu shopkeeper, presumable to dispense snacks and magazines.

After that slightly disappointing experience, we headed off following the road that more or less follows the DMZ, the old line of demarcation between the 2 countries. Cue more gorgeous views.

We had grand plans about what we’d get to see, since there is a load of stuff along the DMZ, but we only actually managed one other thing, partially because we were held up by a massive line of Vietnamese troops crossing the road. They were all, with a total lack of military discipline, laughing and joking and messing with us as they went past, even the officers. See above.

The other place we got to was the National Martyrs Cemetary, which is where all the North Vietnamese troops who got killed along the DMZ are buried. Its huge, this pic only shows a tiny section. Sobering. But also extremely peaceful, and they had one of those peace bells again, so that was fun.

After that we headed back to Khe Sanh for the night, and then tried to make it across the border to Laos the next day. When that didnt work out, we new we didnt want to stay in Khe Sanh another night, so we high-tailed it back to Hue for some serious thinking about what we were going to do next. And after some soul searching, and a discussion with Rhys and Steff that involved the use of arcane and mystical decision making tools, we decided to ride the bikes to Saigon via a 2 day break at Mui Ne, sell them, then head into Cambodia and Laos. Looked easy on paper…

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~ by zendog888 on 07/12/2010.

3 Responses to “Khe Sanh and the DMZ”

  1. Nice to see the big gay bear there in a pic. Very cool and groovy, be sure to check the perimeter regularly as thats where they will be for sure!

  2. So THATS where I left my Huey.

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