Quang Tri in North Central Vietnam is a province through which people on a Vietnam tour package will travel whether travelling north-south or in the opposite direction. Its western boundary is Laos with the South China Sea to the east. It may not be a province where you will stay overnight during your Vietnam holiday but it is worth some of your time before you move on. There are excellent road and rail connections between north and south and there is no reason not to enjoy the Province for a few hours.
It was a region heavily involved in both the struggles against the French and subsequently the Vietnam War and Doc Mieu was a base that the Americans used during that time. It is close to the town of Dong Ha and though a rusty Sherman Tank is about all you will see these days, it is worth a photograph.
The Truong Son Mountains dominate the west with the terrain gradually sloping down to the coast. The rivers are fairly short yet fast flowing downwards to the sea with fishing being an important contributor to the economy; mackerel, tuna and squid lead the way. You will also see rural life when travelling in this region with villagers keeping livestock as well as growing crops.
There are several things to see including the lovely natural environment:
• Tram Tra Loc
• Ru Linh
• Klu hot Springs
• O Waterfall
• Dakrong in the mountainous west has a river and bridge of the same name
• The Beaches of Cua Tung, Cua Viet, My Thuy and Vinh Thai
• Con Co island
The story of Quang Tri is told in other places:
• The Vinh Moc Tunnels are 2 kilometres long on 3 floors are were essential to the Viet Cong during the Vietnam War. They took 2 years to build and it involved excavating 6,000 square metres of earth. There were up to 100 families living inside at one time. The museum nearby tells more of the story.
• Quang Tri Citadel from the 19th Century has a circumference of 2 kilometres, thick walls 4 metres high and 4 gates facing in 4 different directions.
• Truong Son Martyrs' Cemetery is the largest military cemetery in Vietnam with over 10,000 tombs and a central white monument.
• Hien Luong Bridge on Highway 1 crosses the Ben Hai River and marked the dividing line between North and South that was agreed after the departure of the French. It remained in place until unification at the end of the Vietnam War.
There are several folk festivals so if you are lucky to be on your Vietnam tour when one of them is happening, stay a little longer. Tet (New Year), Reunification Day (30th April) and War Invalids and Martyrs Day (27th July) stand out. Ask your Vietnam travel agent when you are deciding on when to travel.
Even if you just stop on Highway 1 to photograph the historical border between North and South, you will take home memories of Quang Tri Province.