Current time in Vietnam:
November 23, 2012
Vietnam travel guide

War as a Tourist Attraction: Vietnam

The remnants of the Vietnam War are now a significant source of tourist dollars. The landscape of Vietnam remains scarred by barbed wire, aircraft hangars, and rusting tanks. Centuries of war waged on Vietnamese soil ties tourists from not only the United States, but France, Russia, and Chinese visitors as well. It is the rare Vietnamese city that bears no reminder of some sort of colonialist war.

These tourist attractions are a significant source of income for Vietnamese citizens who are likely owed the money as reparation for the millions of Vietnamese who have perished during these international conflicts. Tourists are now flooding sites that once served as prisons, escape routes, and major battlefields. As history buffs hunger for more information and a firsthand experience of this war-torn land, the popularity of these attractions belie the horrors that took place there and are fresh enough to be painful memories for many native Vietnamese citizens.

Vietnam’s place as a tourist destination has been the result of an increasing friendliness to foreign visitors. Certainly, Vietnam has a cultural history equally as rich of its Asian neighbors, including historical palaces and picturesque backdrops, but the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) tours remain the most popular destinations for tourists. These tours include bouncing along dusty roads in search of abandoned battlefields where American tanks, guns, and skeletal structures destroyed by bombs are found. The surrounding fields even still hide unexploded land mines that occasionally claim another local life.

The Vietnamese themselves, wracked by centuries of warfare, appear to be far too accepting of the flooding of tourists mainly interested in their national misery. Perhaps this is because International tourism, as morbid as it seems, is good for the Vietnamese economy. The Vietnamese have even adopted an attitude of enhancing the war tourism industry by preserving these reminders of death and war for viewing by their international visitors. One of the most popular destinations is the former Museum of American War Crimes in Ho Chi Minh city which has been renamed the War Remnants Museum where gory representations of torture and execution have been staged using life-like mannequins and bleak prison scenes.

The renaming of such attractions is highly representative of the Vietnamese willingness to make the best of their history. Certainly fewer tourists are as inflamed by the name War Remnants as they would likely be by the War Crimes reference. Representations of war have even become politically correct in Vietnam. The Vietnamese have also collected and preserved hundreds of war remnants that include tanks, bombs, shells, and the twisted wreckages of many a downed war aircraft, in addition to such memorabilia as soda cans, dogtags, cigarette lighters, and other discarded possessions. The Vietnamese have even made an industry out of selling copies of these “antique” items.

Of course, the Vietnamese war insults didn’t start with the Americans. The Vietnamese have also chosen to showcase their long history of revolutionary conflict by preserving war memorabilia that dates all the way back to the early 19th century. It is possible that the Vietnamese are displaying a highly adaptive behavior by marketing their war-torn history. Certainly they are entrepreneurial enough to realize that a market definitely exists for their product.

YOU MIGHT BE INTERESTED

According to the artifacts collected in the recent excavation drives around Van Mieu (Temple of Literature) in Hanoi, the special architecture features of Khue Van Cac is belonged to the …

The Huc Bridge is a beautiful construction built to connect the Ngoc Son Temple located in the heart of Hoan Kiem Lake and the lake bank. Being an indispensable part …

Located at No.10 Ngo Gach, Dong Xuan Ward in Hoan Kiem District of Hanoi, Thanh Ha Communal House was seen as the oldest extant stele in Hanoi. Built in 1430, …

The Revolution Museum was established in August 1959. Originally, this museum consists of two floors and is a used building which was the former headquarters of the Trade Department. After …

Location: Vietnam Museum of Ethnology is located on Nguyen Van Huyen Street, Cau Giay District, Hanoi. Characteristic: this museum is displaying about more than 10,000 objects, 15,000 black and white …

Location : Đoan Môn (main gate): 19 Hoàng Diệu, Quận Ba Đình, Hà Nội, Việt Nam Opening hours: 8am-11.30am, 2pm-4.30pm daily Little now remains of the former royal citadel of …

Location : Văn miếu-Quốc tử giám, Văn Miếu, Quận Ba Đình, Hà Nội, Việt Nam Opening hours: 8am-5pm daily Hà Nội’s largest and most important temple complex was founded in …

Location : Đường Láng, Quận Đống Đa, Hà Nội, Việt Nam Opening hours: 6am-5pm daily Lang (chieu Thien) Pagoda was built during the reign of King Ly Anh Tong (1148 …

Location : 1 Hỏa Lò, Quận Hoàn Kiếm, Hà Nội, Việt Nam Opening hours: 8am-11.30am, 1.30pm-4.30pm Tue-Sun, closed Mon Established by the French colonial government in 1896, Hoa Lo Prison …

Visit this link on mobile
Only from 6 USD/pp
Risky Free:
We charge service fee when your visa application is processed successfully.
Hassle-Free:
No passport send-off. No embassy queuing.
Fast:
Within 48 hours processing time.
Accessible:
100% online. Send and receive by email.
APPLY FOR VISA ON ARRIVAL VIETNAM
VietnamImmigration.com is a commercial website providing service for visa Vietnam and charge service fee. We are neither government website nor affiliated with embassy therefore our fee is higher than official fee from government.