Day 5 of the Tour of the Central Highlands of Vietnam – Kon Tum to Hoi An
Kon Tum had been our favourite town so far and we could easily have spent another couple of days just hanging around. Instead we proceeded with the final day of our tour departing at 7am en route to Hoi An.
Our first stop was at Dak To which had seen intense fighting shortly before the US withdrawal from Vietnam. We visited a war memorial which receives visits from American war veterans. A little further on we stopped at what was a major runway for US planes during the war which is today used as a stretch of land for drying sweet potato and coffee beans. In the distance Phu pointed out Charlie Hill where the South Vietnamese had held strong for six weeks during the war before the VC finally destroyed them on their march towards Saigon.
As we drove through a section of motorway construction it was strange to see workers carrying metal detectors which are still necessary in the likely event that they come across any of the 15 million tonnes of bombs that were dropped on Vietnam during the war.
The scenery soon became quite stunning with lush, green vegetation and mountains rising in the distance. We joined the Ho Chi Minh Trail which had served as a supply route during the war which the VC used to send soldiers and arms to the south.
At Phuoc Son we stopped for our final lunch of the tour again enjoying some excellent Vietnamese dishes. The scenery became even more spectacular after lunch as waterfalls appeared and the rural landscape provided new driving hazards as buffalo, cows and chickens treated the roads as their own.
Around 3.30pm we arrived in Hoi An where the number of western faces walking the streets was quite alarming. Our adventure through the Central Highlands of Vietnam had come to and end and we were now back on the well trodden coastal route where tourism has inevitably corrupted the innocence of the locals as they seek to earn the tourist dollars.