"New places in Vietnam, 1995" Vietnam by Nemorino
Vietnam Travel Guide: 12,413 reviews and 30,516 photos
On my other pages I have described the places that I got to know in the 1960s when I spent a year in Vietnam as a draftee in the American Army.
Thirty years later I re-visited three of these places as a tourist:
• Saigon, as it used to be called (now Ho Chi Minh City);
• Phước Vĩnh, where I spent several months working as a radio operator (posted under the current province name of Tinh Binh Duong); and
• Tân Ba, a beautiful place where I lived for several months in 1964/65 in a house right in the village with the local people, not fenced off in a compound (posted under the name of the nearest city, Biên Hòa).
Now on this Vietnam page I would like to take a look at some places that I was unable to visit in the 1960s but saw for the first time in 1995.
One of these new places was Cu Chi, where the tunnels are, though Cu Chi turned out to be only about thirty kilometers from Tân Ba. I think it's just as well that I didn't know this when I was living there.
Nearly all my travels around Vietnam in 1964/65 were by helicopter, which was exhilarating because there was lots of fresh air from the open doors on both sides.
Occasionally I also got to ride in a small plane like a Piper Apache, a plush little two-engine executive-type plane that can carry up to six-passengers, or a K-19, a very small one-engine plane that only holds two people, the pilot in front and one passenger behind, so I could stick both elbows out the open windows. I thoroughly enjoyed these flights, which was surprising since I am not at all a fan of conventional airline travel and try to avoid it if at all possible.
I never once got airsick in a helicopter or a small plane, though it did happen once or twice in the stuffy two-engine Caribou planes, which had no open doors and not even any windows in the freight compartment where we had to sit.
In those days we seldom went anywhere on the roads, which were insecure and subject to ambushes by the Viet Cong. So it was a real treat to be able to travel around Vietnam thirty years later by bus, by mini-van and by train -- and in Hanoi and Hué by bicycle.
Some of the buses in 1995 still looked very much like the one in my photo from the year 1964. They still put bicycles and all sorts of baggage up on the roof of the bus, and the windows still had no glass or at least couldn't be closed so we had plenty of fresh air but also got very wet when the rain poured down during a monsoon shower.
By the way, the man in white in my 1964 photo was a South Vietnamese policeman, known to the Americans as a White Mouse.
On this page I have made twenty-three General Tips (now called Favorites) about places in Vietnam that I visited for the first time in 1995, such as Da Lat, Nha Trang, Hoi An, Hanoi, Hue, the Cu Chi tunnels and the Mekong Delta. I suggest that you look at these tips in the order of our trip, starting with the city of Đà Lạt, a former French resort in the southern part of the Central Highlands of Vietnam.
Thanks to my older son Nick for taking the pictures during our travels through Vietnam in 1995 and for scanning my old photos from 1964/65.
-- On the way back from Tay Ninh to Saigon we stopped at the Cu Chi tunnels, a huge network of tunnels that were dug... more travel advice
-- On the third day of our Mekong Delta tour in 1995 we went to Can Tho, then had a boat trip at Phung Hiep and... more travel advice
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