Viet Nam

DMZ Vietnam

DMZ Vietnam

The Vietnamese Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) was established as a dividing line between North and South Vietnam after the Geneva Agreement of 1954, a result of the First Indochina War.

During the Second Indochina War, the DMZ became a crucial battleground demarcation, separating North Vietnamese territory from South Vietnamese territory.

The Vietnamese Demilitarized Zone stretched from east to west near the center of present-day Vietnam, several kilometers wide. Most of its length ran along the Ben Hai River, and an island nearby was controlled by North Vietnamese forces during the Vietnam War. Although nominally described as being at "the 17th parallel," almost the entire zone lies south of this parallel, with only a small portion near the eastern coastline actually encompassing the parallel.

The Geneva Agreement reflected the military situation at that time. The northern part of Vietnam, mostly under Viet Minh control, became the Democratic Republic of Vietnam under Communist leader Ho Chi Minh. The southern part of Vietnam, where the Viet Minh controlled relatively small and remote areas, became the independent State of Vietnam under Bảo Đại, the last emperor of the old Vietnamese imperial dynasty. The State of Vietnam later became the Republic of Vietnam.

The boundary between these two zones was established at the Ben Hai River, which empties into the East Sea at 17 degrees 0 minutes 54 seconds north latitude. The boundary followed the Ben Hai to its headwaters, about 55 km southwest, and then to the Laotian border.

The area within 5 km on either side of the riverbank was declared a demilitarized zone. Troops from both governments were prohibited from entering this area.

Today, tourists can easily explore the DMZ by joining one of the daily organized DMZ tours departing from Huế. Alongside a local guide, visitors can explore the most famous war sites, such as Khe Sanh Combat Base, The Rockpile, Ho Chi Minh Trail, Doc Mieu Station, or the Vinh Moc tunnels on a full-day trip. On the route from Doc Mieu to Vinh Moc on Highway 1A, you will cross the Ben Hai River next to a bridge that was frequently bombed during the Vietnam War but still stands today.

Despite the Vietnam War ending decades ago, walking outside marked paths can still be dangerous due to the presence of numerous unexploded ordnance devices.

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