Josh and I decided we wanted to go down to the Vietnamese border and have a look at the Ho Chi Minh trail and an old battlefield called Leum 719. A tour costs anything between $80 - $140 but decided to see if we could rent a car and drive down ourselves. Eventually we managed to get this Vietnamese woman to rent us a jeep and her son to drive us down there for 3000 baht. We left at 7:30 am and got down there in about 2½ hours. We clambered about on some US made M48 tanks of the South Vietnamese army that had been destroyed in the battle and there was a 155mm howitzer and the usual bomb craters and unexploded shells. After this and lunch the driver and his mate suggested we go to a remote waterfall. Off we went down this track littered with unexploded shells and 1000lb bombs where the villagers in the fields carried metal detectors. About 20 minutes into the journey we got stuck in the mud. 3½ hours later we managed to extract ourselves and not 5 minutes later the driver manages to get us stuck in the mud again on the way back. Luckily we were about 20 metres from this village and as they probably had not seen too many Westerners before they all came at to look at us. With the help of the villagers who chopped down some bamboo and tied it to the jeep and we all pulled the jeep from the mud. On our way we went until we broke down several times but always managed to get going again quickly but then we ran out of gas twice and having done the math I knew he had not put enough in to get us back to Savannakhet. Before we could run out of gas we broke down again. By now I had had enough and got out followed by Josh and started walking. They then got it started again and back in we got and not 5 minutes later we broke down again. We now decided to desert the boys and flagged down a Vietnamese bus loaded with flour and just about everything else and got a lift back the remaining 100 Km.
The remains of the US supplied south Vietnamese army destroyed by the NVA at leum 719, the unsuccessful attempt to cut the Ho Chi Minh trail in two.
Kids on the Ho Chi Minh trail.
This little girl had about 6 of these all still alive for sale for 50 cents.
Stuck in the mud the first time for 3½ hours.
Unexploded shell laying at the side of the road.
The village that came to our rescue the second time we got stuck in the mud.
Steve's Big Trip. Ayutthava. Start. • Chaing Mai • Koh Lanta • Koh Samui • Koh Yao Noi • Angkor Temples • Battambang • Phnom Penh • Siem Reap • Sihanoukville • Champassak • Luang Prabang • Pak Beng • Pakse • Savannakhet • Vang Vieng • Vientiane • Xepon • Disaster. End.