Join us for a journey through the history of Vietnam conflicts.


The Ho Chi Minh Trail
ho chi minh trail
NVA trucks were moving on the rail under the defoliated jungle

The network of wilderness routes - named after Vietnam's nationalist hero - Ho Chi Minh - carried Comunist equipment, supplies and troops to fight in South Vietnam. The trail was opened in May 1959, started just above the demilitarized zone ( The DMZ ), the separating line between North and South Vietnam, but was mainly outside Vietnam. The main trail wound into Laos, while another branch run through Cambodia. Many branches led into the South. Long sections passed through jungles that sheltered the trail from the US bombing attacks. Supplies moved mainly by foot, bicycle, and even horse and elephant and anti-aircraft guns were positioned along the way. In 1964, the North Vietnamese launched a huge project to upgrade the trail for use by trucks. They used Chinese and Soviet machinery to build roads and bridges and established elaborate way stations, complete with  underground barracks, hospitals, workshops, and storage areas for munitions and fuel. The network grew to some 20,000km of trails and roads. Much ot it was paved for truck traffic. Later in the war, some 5,000km of pipeline carried fuel over mountains and under rivers, and shipped over 270,000 tons of petrol. Sections of the pipeline were still in use in the 1990s  By 1969, at the peak of the war, over 20,000 tons of supplies and some 5,000 NVA troops moved on the trail to the South every month.
Today Vietnam began building the Ho Chi Minh Highway from Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh City, formerly Saigon. It is a needed addition to the nation’s road system, but it also is billed as running “along the historic Ho Chi Minh Trail” and commemorating the famous route. It will eventually be over 1,700km long. So far, about 1,300 km are open to traffic.