Quang Tri – a land of war heroes

Tuesday - 18/07/2017 09:32
Long famous as the sight of a fierce battle during the Vietnam war and as a DMZ, Quang Tri is now emerging as an ideal ecotourism and beach destination.
Cua Viet Beach ( photo by Nguyen Hai Quang)
Cua Viet Beach ( photo by Nguyen Hai Quang)
A unique war museum
Quang Tri is a gentle land with benign, tolerant and warn-hearted people. The province was the dramatic theatre where many of the important scenes of the war against the US were staged, witnessing the great pain of the Vietnamese people in the 20th century, as told in the famous song :Melody from the Hien Luong river”. It was the sight of the North – South divide in the 1954-1975 war, with the Hien Luong river – Ben Hai bridge providing the historical evidence for that separation.
These days visitors to Quang Tri can visit the land of Vinh Linh and Ben Hai bridge to learn about the history of the war of national defense of the country and the true stories about the pain of separation from relatives of the people on both sides of the Hien Luong river at that time. Historical sites located on both banks of Hien Luong – Ben Hai have been recognised as national historical relics, and form an important part of tours of the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ), where visitors can gain an understanding of the Vietnamese people’s fierce but glorious struggles and their dreams of peace and national unity.
Visitors should head to Vinh Moc tunnels, a remarkable feat of construction by the people of Quang Tri during the war. The largest historical tunnel in the DMZ, Vinh Moc resembles a miniature underground village. The tunnels were built by the villagers of Vinh Moc as a shelter from bombs raining down on their village during the Vietnam war and served as a gathering place for transporting weapons, storing food for war invalids, and supplying food and ammunition to Con Co island.
Vinh Moc tunnels have been much admired by international military experts, who marvel at how the tunnel complex was created by man power during a time of war using only rudimentary tools. The tunnel network was created in 1965 and consists of many interconnected branches spread over three levels, with accommodation for households, halls, wells, kitchens, clinics and even a maternity area. Vinh Moc tunnels appeared in the documentary film “A worl beneath the war” directed by Janet Gardner.
Thành cổ Quảng Trị
Quang Tri Ancient Citadel (photo by Nguyen Hai Quang)
Quang Tri is also home to an ancient citadel standing in the heart of Quang Tri town. Quang Tri Ancient Citadel is the symbol of revolutionary ideology, the aspiration for independence and freedom and desire for peace and the revolutionary spirit of the Vietnamese people. It was the site of an 81-day battle which saw many sacrifices amongst the Vietnamese People’ Army, who fought for the freedom, independence, peace and unity of their country. Quang Tri Ancient Citadel is an important historic site and war museum. It is a special national relic where the younger generations and international tourists can learn about Vietnam’s patriotic tradition and glorious history.
Truong Son Martyr’s Cemetery is located to the side of the Ho Chi Minh trail and Route 9. The cemetery  is a resting place honouring thousands of heroic martyrs of the People’s Army of Vietnam who lost their lives during the war. Truong Son Martyr’s Cemetery is a place where family members and people from all over the country as well as foreign visitors can pay their respects to those who sacrificed their lives for Vietnam’s independence. It is also a place of worship, a shining symbol of revolutionary heroism. Quang Tri has several other important sites and landmarks belonging to the ancient battlefields including the Ho Chi Minh Trail, legendary Truong Son Road, Khe Ho, National Route 9, Ta Con Airport and Lao Bao prison.
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Legendary Truong Son Road (photo by Nguyen Hai Quang)
An ecotourism destination
Long associated with the historical remnants of war, Quang Tri has started to branch out, attracting tourists through ecotourism and beach relaxation products.
Visitors to Quang Tri are spoilt for choice, with an abundance of beautiful and pristine beaches offering ecotourism and beach relaxation holidays. The most popular amongst these are Cua Viet beach, Cua Tung beach, My Thuy beach Gia Dang beach, with Cua Viet viewed as the highlight tourism development in Quang Tri province, attracting many tourists with its beauty. Atriangle of beach – island tourism is being developed in Quang Tri, between Cua Tung port, Cua Viet port and Con Co island, forming a premium tourism destination on the East – West Economic Corridor. Cua Tung beach is located in Vinh Linh District and makes an ideal place for relaxation with its pretty beach and silky white sand. It is fast earning a reputation as one of the nation’s most beautiful beaches and one of Quang Tri ‘s top destinations. With its unique geological structure, Cua Tung beach is embraced by red basalt soil, with long stones that lead out to the sea meeting the smooth tree-lined sand to create the most beautiful romatic space.
Another highlight of Quang Tri is Con Co island. The island appears like a golden turtle peeking out of the water and is an unique feature of Quang Tri’s triangle of beach – island tourism. Offering wonderful unspoiled landscapes and rich diversity of natural marine seafood such as fresh lobter, the island makes the perfect relaxation destination.
con co
Con Co island (photo by Nguyen Hai Quang)
Nature lovers should head to Tram Tra Loc, where they will find a rich, diverse, pristine, ecosystem untouched by human hands. Clusters of forest surround a picturesque lake where mangroves and vines interlace overhead. Visitors can soak up the atmostphere of the forest, taking time to enjoy the peace and tranquility. Tra Loc also offers many delicious specialties dishes to satisfy the palate.
To explore the region’s nature offerings a visit to Dakrong Nature Reserve is a must. Dakrong features a diverse ecosystem that many rare animals and plants make their home. It is considered to be a typical ecosystem of the Truong Son mountain range.
A trip into the highlands is a must, visiting Pa Co and Van Kieu ethnic villages, and a pure hot mineral spring where temperatures reach over 80 celsius – a highlight is sampling eggs boiled right on the banks of the spring. The Van Kieu – Pa Co ethnic villagers are friendly and hospitable people. They still maintain many unique traditional artforms such as traditional handcrafted brocade weaving, and making wine and musical instruments, and visitors can participate in cultural food festivals and view traditional dances.
Continuing on the eco-tourism route, visitors will discover Brai Cave located just two kilometres east of the Vietnam-Laos border. The large, pristine cave features many triangular arches that visitors can pass through. Numberous large and beautiful stalacities and stalagmites in various shapes and colours make a spectacular sight. Many small streams flow through the cave. Nearby Ta Puong waterfall, a picturesque waterfall at the head of Se Bang Si River left as nature intended, is an acttractive new destination in the Quang Tri ecological tourism route.
Quang Tri – A spiritual land in the East – West economic corridor
Quang Tri is an immensely spiritual place with many symbols of Buddhism such as the Sac Tu Tinh Quang pagoda in Trieu Phong district. The pagoda houses the statue of Buddha Amitabha, a highly valued artefact. Here visitors can enjoy the solemn and peaceful scenery of the famous ancient pagoda and pray for sacred and noble things. La Vang pilgrimage centre is located in Hai Phu communeand the sight of a unique religious festival that attracts thousands of Catholics and domestic and foreign tourists.
Quang Tri holds many vibrant festivals that are polular with visitors. Each year on April 30, Vietnam’s Reunification Day, the annual Reunification Festival is held at the Hien Luong – Ben Hai historical relic. The Light-Flower-Night Festival is held annually on May 1 at Thach Han river to commemorate the liberation of Quang Tri Town. Other special celebrations include Independence Day on September 2, Remembrance Day to remember martyrs and wounded soldiers on July 27, ang Lunar New Year.
Quang Tri province is also the starting point on the Trans-Asia route linking Vietnam with other countries in the East – West Economic Corridor through the Lao Bao border gate. From here, travellers can venture on to Laos, Thailand and Myanmar. Thanks to this, Quang Tri is marketing a “one day in three countries” tour. Lao Bao Special Economic – Commercial Zone is one of the most important border gate economic zones where tax-free commodities are availabe. The East-West corridor is fast becoming a hot tourism brand on the ASEAN map.
Tan Quang
Timeout magazine

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