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Military History

Mandarin Café

24 Tran Cao Van Street
Tel: 84 5 482 1281

Son My Site (My Lai)

Vietnam's insider take:

This central region, known as I Corps during the Vietnam War, suffered much of the conflict's heaviest fighting. In Hue, bullet holes from the 1968 Tet Offensive still scar the Citadel's brick walls, especially around east-side Dong Ba Gate. The bitter door-to-door fight lasted three weeks and left a bigger hole at the heart of the fortress, where much of the Forbidden Purple City was destroyed. The sites between Hue and the Ben Hai River, a natural boundary separating North and South Vietnam once known as the Demilitarized Zone (or DMZ), are a bloody roll call: The Rockpile, Khe Sanh, Camp Carroll. Several companies in Hue, including Mandarin Café, offer all-day "DMZ tours" that include transport, an English-speaking guide, and entrance fees.

Even more sobering is Son My Site, better known to Americans as My Lai, where U.S. Army soldiers massacred 504 civilians on March 16, 1968. Six miles east of the provincial capital of Quang Ngai and 60 miles south of Hoi An, this hamlet has been preserved as a war memorial, with manicured grounds, restored bunkers, and plaques listing the victims, who were mostly women, children, and the elderly. An on-site museum displays such haunting artifacts as children's toys and slippers, as well as searing pictures taken by an official U.S. Army photographer as the atrocity unfolded. Far from being one-sided propaganda, the exhibit notes the actions of several American soldiers who risked their own lives to protect Vietnamese peasants.

Son My Site open daily 7 am to 5 pm.

Information may have changed since the date of publication. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.