Day 24 of riding - Chi Thanh to Dai Lanh

A small story today on the Ho Chi trail.

On the coast again today and some very scenic views along the way - for the next post tomorrow on my rest day ( stay tuned ). I reached a section on the East coast about 15 kms from here where I've ridden to before whilst riding from the South to the North about 3 years ago. A place called Vung Ro bay.

Vung Ro Bay ( 115 kms North of Nha Trang ) was a hidden secret of the Vietnam war as being the entry point from the ocean where the North secretly brought in arms, supplies, and manpower by camouflaged military boats out to sea, floated them further in to be picked up by fishing boats and infiltrated into Vung Ro bay.

The ocean route from Haiphong Harbour to Vung Ro bay was still classed as the Ho Chi Minh trail when on reaching Vung Ro bay manpower and supplies were further inserted inland on the Ho Chi Minh trail ( by land ) to Laos and Cambodia, and of course, the supplies mostly finding their way back into Vietnam further South.

Four years ago I had an opportunity to travel out country from Hanoi to a village 3 hours from the city to meet a National hero of the people ( Mr.Thanh ), who I had read about in the Hanoi newspapers. He had recently been awarded National hero status by the Vietnamese government for many heroic acts during the Vietnam War that resembles acts of bravery that one cannot imagine.

We had discussed many things about his time in the South and one of the things that came to mind was his stories of walking down the Ho Chi Minh trail which took 4 months. Now that I have ridden Vietnam close to 16,000 kms in total over the last few years including the TLRH, I can appreciate the hardness of the man walking the trail during the war which was an almighty task in itself. He also told me that he had stayed fighting in the South for 5 years after arriving there. We exchanged notes ( through a translator ) and looked at maps and summarised that we both had operated in the same jungles not very far from the Australian Task Force Combat base. His final claim to fame was that he was in charge of a small Special Forces unit which finally secured Tan Son Nhat airport at the fall of Saigon in 1975.

The Ho Chi Trail also known in Vietnam as the Truong Son Trail ( Chuon Sern = English pronunciation ) was a logistical system that ran from the Democratic Republic of Vietnam ( North Vietnam ) to the Republic of Vietnam ( South Vietnam ) through the neighbouring kingdoms of Laos and Cambodia . The system provided support in form of manpower and material to the National Front for the liberation for South Vietnam ( called the Vietcong or VC by its opponents ) and the People's Army of Vietnam ( PAVN ), or North Vietnamese Army ( NVA ), during the Vietnam War.

It was named by the Americans after North Vietnam President Ho Chi Minh. Although the trail was mostly in Laos, the communists called it the Truong Son Strategic Supply Route ( Duong Truong Son ) after the Vietnamese name for the Annamite Range mountains in Central Vietnam. According to the United States National Security Agency's official history of the war, the trail system was "one of the great achievements of military engineering of the 20th century"

It was known amongst the Aussie SAS soldiers that many NVA soldiers had tattoos inscribed on their arms or other parts of their body with the words: "Born in the North to die in the South" which shows you how dedicated our former enemy were during the Vietnam War and why we had the utmost respect for their fighting ability.

xin chao va tam biet