Deep beneath the dark earth, hidden from screeching bombers and harbouring desperate soldiers, the people of Vinh Linh, Quang Tri lived for many years in the now famous Vinh Moc Tunnel. As time goes by, it has become both a historical evidence and a tourist destination for discovering a heroic period of Vietnam’s history.
The DMZ (a tunnel complex of Vietnam), lies on the south of China Sea, north of Ben Hai River. Within this complex, Vinh Moc tunnel is located in Vinh Moc, Vinh Thach Commune, Vinh Linh District, Quang Tri Province. The complex in Vinh Linh has as many as more than 60 tunnels such as Tan My, Mu Giai, Tan Ly tunnels, among which Vinh Moc is the most solid and firm village tunnel, with 3 floors and round staircase, still remaining as in its past days.
Those known of Vietnam’s heroic historical war must have some understanding of the tunnel network in Quang Tri citadel – a witness of the severe war. The Vinh Moc spectacular tunnel network within the zone stands as a testament to the endurance, wisdom and bravery of the local people in their fight for independence.
The Vinh Moc tunnel complex was built to shelter the people of Son Trung and Son Ha communes in Vinh Linh county of Quang Tri Province. It was constructed in several stages, beginning in 1966 and coming into use until 1971. The complex grew to consist of wells, kitchens, rooms for each family and clinics. Around 60 families lived in the tunnels; as many as 17 children were born inside the tunnels as well. Finally, the tunnels were a success and no villagers lost their lives thanks to them. The only direct hit was from a bomb that failed to explode, the resulting hole was utilized as a ventilation shaft.
Historical Name. "Their real name is Son Vinh Tunnels," one designer witnessing this said, "From the very beginning we called it Son Vinh tunnels. Son means mountain and Vinh not only refers to Vinh Moc, but to the Vinh Linh people. The people of Son Trung and Son Ha communes and the men of border-post also helped build the tunnels."
When the underground channels were designed, the designers had the foresight to consider their protection as well as their construction. They must be well against damage long, tropical rains, and monsoon. Architects would like to visit this historical and solid shelter to figure out how their elders could succeed in constructing such a complex, huge, but firm and sufficient place of living. The tunnel is accurately a miniaturized image of a deep underground village with all necessary services (houses for all families, birthplace, health-stations, etc.), but can stand still firmly until now. The answer may be revealed in a heroic mentality and great endeavor of the people in that historical period.
How to get there
Vinh Moc tunnel is usually included in tour itinerary for DMZ tour from Hue city at most travel agencies. As the local transportation from Hue to this area is not very easy for foreigners to navigate, it is recommended that tourists planning to visit this area book a tour. There are a lot of day tours from Hue to DMZ area in Quang Tri for tourists to choose from. Look at some itineraries offered and pick one that is most suitable for your time-frame and liking. Some itineraries for reference can be found here: day tour from Hue