Departure from Pilgrimage Village Resort and Spa, we were driving on national highway 49 from Hue city to A Luoi town. The road from Hue to A Luoi is very winding and has many steep slopes. We had to pass through 3 mountain passes named Kim Quy, Ta Luong and A Co before emerging out at Bot Do right at the T-junction with Ho Chi Minh trail and A Shau valley. On the way to A Luoi, we had drove past the Burmingham Firebase, Firebase Bastogne, Firebase Checkmate. Firebase Veghel, ... A Luoi is a district of Thua Thien Hue province inhabited mostly by the ethnic minority groups like Ta Oi, Co Tu and Bru - Van Kieu.
Turn left from Ho Chi Minh highway, we continued towards Dong Ap Bia where the famous battle of Hamburger Hill took place in May 1969 marking the beginning of the Vietnamization policy of President Richard Nixon. From afar, we could see the Hamburger Hill peak and the surrounding vegetation with banana trees and tapioca farm at the ravine. Going on a little bit more appears the A Shau valley.
We were driving on a very humid day in May 2017. This month of 48 years ago, May 1969, witnessed the battle of Hamburger Hill and also the pass-away of Uncle Ho - such a coincidence. The road going to Hamburger Hill was quite empty. At times we saw a herd of water buffalos blocking our way followed by herdswoman and of course we had to wait until they went away. They are King of the road. The water buffalos were big enough for labour force. We sighted a logger man were transporting a log from jungle passed our car on a scooter.