Plain of Reeds

The Plain of Reeds, known locally as Đồng Tháp Mười, is a vast area in the northern parts of the Mekong Delta.   The area has a long and distinguished history.  Twice ruled by the Khmers (with a few hundred year hiatus in the middle) the area now falls under the Long An and Dong Thap provinces.

The area saw action during the American war but in the 20th century it was a hotbed of revolutionaries.   First the Viet Minh then the Viet Cong. The area was a natural fortress with it’s swampy wet terrain giving any pursuing enemy a most difficult task.

During the 1940’s and 1950’s the famous rebel leader, Ba Cut made his home in the Plain of Reeds. Ba Cut was the leader of the Hoa Hao religious group and fought against most other forces including Viet Minh, Cao Dai and the then Vietnamese National Army.  He was eventually captured and executed in 1955.

Another noteworthy event in the area during this era was the Battle of Go Quan Cung.  Further details on this battle is covered on our other page (insert link). The 1959 battle like so many others was a great precursor to what was to come in the subsequent decades for US and allied forces.  The northern forces used the terrain to continual conceal large and well defended base areas. The advantage would always be with the defenders and without other arms corps such as artillery these defenders always had the upper hand.

The largest and most well known action during the American war was during the first week of 1966.  The U.S. Army’s 173rd Airborne with the embedded 1st Battalion of the Royal Australian Regiment,  and elements of the US 1st Infantry division took on the 267th and 506th VC Main Force Battalions.   This was the allies first foray into this area and it was to yield success.   131 VC were killed and over 300 captured.  It decimated the 267th and 506th battalions for the time being.  With what was to become typical of the way operations were conducted in Vietnam, the area was left and both VC battalions.reformed and would go on to be a continual nemesis of the US 9th Infantry Division.

Any military historical tourist traveling to the IV Corp would be amiss not to visit this area.  Although no large U.S. or ARVN base were ever established here small traces of the war can still be found such as period military bridges. The area offers more than just war history with it’s wetland beauty and other hidden treasures such as the Tram Chim bird sanctuary that also once was a V.C. hideout!

 

How to get there

The Plain of Reeds is within a couple of hours drive from Saigon..  The more interesting areas are further west towards Cao Lanh which also hosts a great museum. It is possible to make a day visit, but for the full experience we recommend an overnight stay in Cao Lanh.  We recommend the Huang Sen Hotel.  Of course like everywhere in Vietnam it can be accessed via motorbike but for a more comfortable and A/C experience a rental car with a driver is easy to organize through most Saigon hotels.

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