The legendary Ho Chi Minh Trail runs through the Truong Son mountain range and is a complex system of 1,600 kilometres of paths, roads and rivers. This supply route connected North Vietnam with South Vietnam during the Vietnam War, via neighbouring Laos and Cambodia. The trail was put into operation in 1959. Through the supply route, the Viet Cong (VC) in the South were supplied with ammunition and manpower by the North Vietnamese Army (NVA). The support was badly needed in the fight against the Amy of the Republic of Vietnam (ARVN), which was trained and closely affiliated with the United States.
Ho Chi Minh Trail vs. Ho Chi Minh Road
Currently, it is possible to drive parts of the Ho Chi Minh Trail, via the Ho Chi Minh Road (Duong Ho Chi Minh). Although large parts of the original Ho Chi Minh Trail have been reclaimed by tropical nature, more than a thousand kilometres of the route have merged into the Ho Chi Minh Road, which runs from Hanoi to Kon Tum. Along the way you’ll pass the war-drenched Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) and cross the beautiful Central Highlands of Vietnam. Different ethnic minorities live in the surrounding jungle according to their own customs and traditions.
Explore the Ho Chi Minh Trail by Motorbike
To enjoy the beautiful landscape and authenticity of Vietnam to the fullest, the best way to explore the Ho Chi Minh Trail is with an Easy Rider: a local guide on a motorbike. Riding a motorbike gives you the freedom that you won’t have during a group tour or when using public transport (which is pretty basic in this part of the country). During a tour you get the opportunity to walk parts of the original Ho Chi Minh Trail.
In North Vietnam, you can be driving the Ho Chi Minh Trail from Phong Nha in no time. Starting from Hoi An, Quy Nhon or Dalat, you will also cross the Central Highlands.