Mekong Delta update – Saigon February 2020
Just back in Saigon after a couple of days on the road, as always a bit exhausted from the heat and the intense traffic. It was the first time Stephen and Jonas got to ride together and we sure had a good time. It turned out that we liked to drive about the same pace and we are both open to explore new and unexpected places that we pass on along the road.
This was the case as we, on our way to Cai Be, saw a signpost about a battle at Ba Rai. Of course we followed the road down and as we had negotiated our way through a couple of villages and crossed a small bridge we came to a large monument incorporating a sculpture of an American boat. As so often in Vietnam, there was very little information available about what had taken place here so we started searching online and found out what the place was all about. A story with more details about the site and the battle will be posted within a week or so.
Before Ba Rai we had already re-visited the Ap Bac battlefield and gotten ourselves some new picture material that we will add to the Ap Bac article and possibly some new video.
The first day continued after lunch in Cai Be to Vinh Long where we decided to call it a day. In Vinh Long we drove around the old airfield there and shot some pictures. We also discovered a bunker and one of the gate poles where the main gate used to be. This was certainly a very nice find.
In the evening we enjoyed a seafood hot pot dinner and a few beverages at a local restaurant in Vinh Long. How nice it is to be back on the roads of Vietnam again.
The second day we had a lot to cover, as it turned out, our plan for the day was overly ambitious which does happen sometimes. However, we started out the day going to the old MACV compound in Sa Dec. We had hopes of getting on the grounds and see which of the old buildings are still around. Unfortunately the site was walled in. We had to settle with finding the old water tower just across the canal.
As we continued our drive we realized we needed to modify our plan for the day. Cutting it short without leaving out the main objective which was the old Moc Hoa Special Forces Camp right on the Cambodian border in the northern Plain of Reeds.
On the way there we visited the old runway in Cao Lanh to document it. It isn’t much left of it, but it’s there and waiting for you to visit. It was also clear that there will be a lot to find in the ground there as the site is more or less deserted. A few hours digging around should be very rewarding.
Driving from Cao Lanh to Moc Hoa means driving through the Plain of Reeds. It is flat landscapes over a vast area that has been used over the decades by both the Viet Minh and Viet Cong as a sanctuary. Fiercely defending the area, the Viet Cong made life very difficult for any US or ARVN troops trying to search them out.
As we finally reached Moc Hoa very near the Cambodian border in the Parrot’s Beak area, we looked forward to drive down the runway and search the old camp area for remnants. With the runway still there we didn’t leave empty handed and we got a feel for the place. Very remote and exposed right on the canal and only a few kilometers away from Cambodia, the troops here must have felt very lonely sometimes. We also found some time to visit the war cemetery in town to pay our respects for the fallen.
The drive back to Saigon was as so often a grueling three hour ride in very intense afternoon traffic. We were very happy to arrive safely just before the sun set.
Make sure to check back in for the articles we will post about these destinations over the next coming weeks. Have a great traveling year!