Thuan picked me up at my guest house early in the morning. My backpack and bag were strapped to the bike securely with thick rubber bands and we were on my way. We dropped by a market near outside of Hue for a quick breakfast and headed towards Khe Sanh and the mountains via the Vinh Moc Tunnels, first along the Tam Giang lagoon.
The Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) was established as a border between North and South Vietnam during the First Indochina War, and later served as a battleground demarcation during the Vietnam War (or American War as they say in Vietnam...). The DMZ followed the Ben Hai River from Laos in the West to the sea in the East.
At the western end, near the border with Laos was the US military base at Khe Sanh, the site of a prolonged battle. The base was under heavy attack for 5 months and 18 days, the Americans dropped more than 100.000 tons of bombs and shot an estimated 8 artillery shells per North Vietnamese soldier during this period and the relentless attacks may have distracted the Americans from the buildup of Viet Cong in the south leading to the Tet Offensive.