Friends asked me why would I go to Vietnam? I felt the need to see the country of Vietnam. Surely this war was over more than 35 years ago, but the people do not forget, neither Americans nor Vietnamese. The country was filled with war memorials in many cities and towns. The sights I saw in Cambodia were the Royal Palace, Wat Phnom, the birthplace of the Capital, the elegant National Museum and the Royal Palace with its adjacent Silver Pagoda wherewe viewed the spectacular Emerald Buddha. The Sunway Hotel was near the U.S. Embassy in Cambodia. InCambodia the beginning of sadness entered by first takingan optional journey to the Killing Fields. While I was thereI wanted to see what happened so long ago, but still sadly memorable. I didn’t know that the tour guide was also going to take us to the Museum of Genocide. I took many pictures knowing someday I will be using the them for our Vietnam Veterans.
Phnom Penh does have some modern sights for example, the Central Market, located in a distinctive domed Art Deco building. From Phnom Penh, the bus traveled to Siem Reap which was scenic, not only rice fields but watching the people working in this city, country andtown. The world famous temples of Angkor Wat, are among the “Seven Wonders of the World” and I could see why it would be! The temples are so exquisitely carved, they are considered to be an architectural masterpiece. After sightseeing the temples of Angkor Wat, we went to Angkor Thom and the Southern Gate of Bayon. Of course, we could
miss the beautiful sunset at the upper terraces of an ancient temple. Cambodia has fertileland and of course there are jungles, mountains, river and lakes, some of the well known names are Mekong River, Tonie Sap Lake, Southeast Asia’s largest lake. This lake runs into the Mekong by way of a river called Tonie Sap, the same name as the lake. Bordering Thailand are the mountains, in the west are Cardamon Mountains, Southwest the Elephant Mountains and the Dankret Mountain Range. The highest mountain in Cambodia is Phnom Aural in the Cardamon Range, with a height of 1813 meters. We did get a boat ride on the Tonie Sap Lake and visited a floating village.
After flying into Ho Chi Minh City, (Saigon) and again staying in another luxurious hotel, we were able to journey outside the city to visit none other but war remnants. The Museum was opened in 1995 and I will now quote “At present, it is a member of Vietnamese Museum System, of Museum for the World Peace, and the International Council of Museums. The Museum is specialized in research, collecting, preserving, and exhibiting the remnant proofs ofVietnam War Crimes and their consequences.Then to go to Cu Chi Tunnels and see more of this by their showcasing theiroutright success stories.By now I am taking hundreds of pictures to show people back home. We are not overwith this yet, more to come
Early the next morning we traveled to MekongDelta, the agricultural center of Vietnam. A boat took us along narrow canals, passing rice fields and orchards and giving us a feel for village life. Later that day we took a flight to Danang and then a bus ride to Hoi An a very nice town. Our city guide who lived in Hue, sounds like Hay, met us in Hoi An, a World Heritage Site, showed us the historic part of town and centuries old houses. We went by Trishaw (Cyclo) to see the Japanese Bridge, and the Thu Bon River and other parts of a quaint beautiful place. In the afternoon we had leisure time, so I spent hours walking. For dinner six of us got together and had the best pizza ever.Little Italy founded in 2002, their website is http://www.littleitalyhue.com/., what a town. Hue has a slogan, think green, go clean, go cyclo. Danang
was were China Beach is and again the remembrance of our troops being there, for R & R, and don’t forgetin 1969, we had a maximum of 543,000 men in Vietnam. Marble Mountains, consisted of five stone jagged crests that represent the elements of nature. In Danang, we went to the Cham Museum which housed sandstone carvings and sculptures, quite unusual and a must see.
The trip is now beginning to show the best side of Vietnam, starting with Hoi An. As we were driving through some spectacular scenery and heading for the Hair Van Pass, which was surprising because of the coastline views on route to Hue. Well in Hue, which is the old city and formerly the Imperial Capital of Vietnam, we visited the Citadel, Flag Tower, Ngo Mon Gate and the Forbidden Purple City, home to the Royal Family before 1945. After lunch we visited the revered Thien Mu Pagoda, the most famous monument in Hue and took a boat ride on the Perfume River. On our way back to the hotel we stopped at Dong Ba Market.
In the morning we flew into Hanoi and the bus picked us up. We drove through lush countryside to Halong, a vast mysterious bay with majestic scenery! Halong Bay excursion was a “5 star event”. We went on a four hour boat trip which included a cave trip lasting at least two hours, a delicious seafood lunch on the boat. Vietnam’s most special natural attraction is the three thousand small jagged limestone islands rising out of the South China Sea.
Lastly, I spent four nights in Hanoi and I have to admit it was stimulating to see the Water Puppets, really
thrilling, and never before seen. Each day we had a tour guide taking us to various city sights. Hanoi,
Vietnam’s capital lies on the banks of the Red River and dates back as far as the 3
conquered by a French expedition and a year later for the then uncolonized North of Vietnamese empire
to accept the status of a French protectorate. The French administratively divided the country into this colony Co Chin China in the South and protectorates Annam (Central Vietnam and Tonkin North Vietnam) as the St. Joseph Cathedral, in the historic old quarter.
After staying at the 4 Star Moevenpick Hotel and touring the city with the group and seeing Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, the One Pillar Pagoda, the Temple of Literature, which houses tablets belonging to Confucius, Hoan Kiem Lake, we went to see the infamous former prison “Hanoi Hilton”, which still is intact and we visited Ho Chi Minh’s house on stilts. The group departed after a farewell dinner, but I stayed another day at Indochina Hotel 1 in the French Quarter, close to the Cathedral. I did get to see another war museum. Vietnam Asian American war display in which bombs shot down the American tanks, planes, and helicopters. The only reason I went to this one alone, was because it had a Hanoi became
the capital of the protectorate Tonkin. The Vietnamese never accepted the French rule.
By 1930 the Vietnamese Nationalist Party staged the first significant armed uprising against the French. They didn’t fare to well so now that left a three way struggle to ensue, which included the communist party. The French military disaster at Dien Bien Phu in May, 1954 and the conference at Geneva marked the end of the eight year war and French Colonial rule in Indochina. In December of 1961, President of South Vietnam, Ngo Dinh Diem request assistance from the United States and President Kennedy sent military advisors to South Vietnam. Hanoi has a rich history with French influence such built in wall around the tower which was built in 1885 to protect Hanoi City. It had cannons, turrets, and was very antique. The
modern building housed all the information on all the wars, which started with China’s Han dynasty. They ruled Vietnam for a thousand years. So with all the invasions, I’m sure the inbred behavior comes from suspicion of the invaders and I guess they have a right to their behavior. If I sound like I am pro-military, I am. I am proud of each and every service person in all of the wars, even in the cold war. Village View Newspapers, Annette Dixon has a memorial brick at the Lansing Memorial and is a Lifetime Member of the Vietnam Veterans and the POW Organizations.