Hien Luong Bridge – Ben Hai River

Hien Luong Bridge-Ben Hai River- Hoi An Private Taxi

General Introduction

Hien Luong Bridge and Ben Hai River are located in the cluster of relics at DMZ of Vietnam. The Hien Luong – Ben Hai river banks cluster is at the intersection of National Highway 1A and the Ben Hai River. The North belongs to the management of Hien Luong village, Vinh Thanh commune, Vinh Linh district.

Hien Luong Bridge-Ben Hai River- Hoi An Private Taxi
Hien Luong Bridge-Ben Hai River in Vietnam DMZ- Hoi An Private Taxi

Otherwise, the South belongs to Xuan Hoa village, Trung Hai commune, Do Linh district, Quang Tri province. These two “historical witnesses” brought the pain of dividing Vietnam into North and South for more than 21 years at the 17th parallel.

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Historical relic cluster Hien Luong bridge – Ben Hai river in DMZ of Vietnam at night

The Democratic Republic of Vietnam administered the North. On the other hand, the Vietnamese National side managed the South. After that, there was the Republic of Vietnam, and then the Republic of South Vietnam, administered from 1954 to 1976.

Hien Luong Bridge – Ben Hai River’s History

Ben Hai river

The Ben Hai River is a river flowing in the Vinh Linh and Gio Linh districts of Quang Tri province in central Vietnam. This river originates from Dong Chan mountain in the Truong Son range. Plus, it flows along the 17° North parallel from west to east and empties into the sea at Cua Tung.

Ben Hai River- Hoi An Private Taxi

In the downstream area, the Ben Hai River connects with the Thach Han river – the largest river in Quang Tri province. Moreover, the Thach Han river is also a river associated with the history of the battle of Quang Tri citadel.

Hien Luong Bridge-Ben Hai River- Hoi An Private Taxi
The monument of aspiration to unify the country in the south bank of the Ben Hai river

The river has a total length of about 100 km. The most expansive place is about 200 m, is the boundary between Vinh Linh and Gio Linh districts of Quang Tri province.

Hien Luong bridge

The Vinh Linh government built the first Hien Luong Bridge in 1928, mobilizing people in the area to contribute. This bridge is made of wood, and iron poles, 2m wide. Hence, the tonnage is only enough for pedestrians.

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In 1950, due to military needs, France rebuilt the bridge with reinforced concrete, 162m long, 3.6m wide, and with a tonnage of 10 tons. After two years, Viet Minh guerrillas destroyed it to prevent the French attack.

hien luong bridge and ben hai river-Hoi An Private Taxi
The Hien Luong bridge destroyed during the Vietnam war

In May 1952, France rebuilt a new bridge with 7 spans, 178m long, reinforced concrete pillars, and steel girders. Plus, it has a pine wood paved surface, 4m wide, and 1.2m high barriers on both sides. Thus, the maximum tonnage of the bridge is 18 tons.

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Moreover, the bridge is divided into two parts; each side is 89 m long and painted in two different colors. The north bank consists of 450 decking boards, and the south bank has 444 decking boards.

Hien Luong Bridge-Ben Hai River- Hoi An Private Taxi

The dividing line in the middle of the bridge is a white painted line 1cm wide as the boundary between the two regions. Every day, the police of the two regions are on guard, changing turns to return in a combined mode.

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In 2001, the iron bridge in 1952 – historical evidence of the country’s division was restored to its original design according to the design of the old Hien Luong bridge that was destroyed by US bombs in 1967.

Ben Hai River-Hien Luong Bridge today- Hoi An Private Taxi

On May 18, 2003, Quang Tri province held the inauguration ceremony of the restoration work of the Hien Luong bridge spanning the Ben Hai river. They built the bridge again in April 2002 with a total investment of 6.5 billion VND. It has 182,97m long, including 7 spans and an ironwood surface.

The historical witnesses during the Vietnam war

In 1954, after losing the decisive strategic battle of Dien Bien Phu, France agreed to return Vietnam’s independence under the Geneva Agreement.

hien luong bridge museum-Hoi An Private Taxi
Hien Luong flag patcher inside the museum house at Hien Luong-Ben Hai

They chose the Ben Hai River at the 17th parallel as the boundary dividing Vietnam into two temporary military concentration zones. It is also called the demilitarized zone. According to the Agreement, the Army of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam retreated to the North. Conversely, the army of the French Union retreated to the South.

Hien Luong Bridge-Ben Hai River- Hoi An Private Taxi

According to the agreement, the demarcation line between North and South Vietnam will be valid for 2 years. However, in 1956, Ngo Dinh Diem – president of the Republic of Vietnam, refused to participate in the general election. Therefore, the Ben Hai River continued to divide the country and separate many families in the two regions of Vietnam for nearly 22 years.

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The museum house

The US and the Saigon government actively painted the southern half bridge blue to emphasize an image of dividing Vietnam. However, with the intention of “unifying the nation”, after the enemy finished painting the bridge during the day. Right that night, our police painted half of the bridge on the North bank in blue aim to it has only one color.

Hien Luong bridge-Hoi An Private Taxi

Later, the enemy repainted the southern bridge with brown color. Thus, Hien Luong Bridge consistently changes color in this way. Whenever the enemy paints a different color to create two opposing colors, our side immediately repaints it in the same color.

hien luong bridge and ben hai river-Hoi An Private Taxi

Furthermore, there have been many fights in this cluster of monuments. Most prominently, the flagpole fighting and the sound fighting with a high-powered speaker system.

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After the Geneva Agreement, to educate and strongly encourage to struggle for national reunification. We have built a loudspeaker system with a total capacity of 7,000W. When this speaker system works in the wind direction, the speaker’s sound can travel more than 10km.

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Loudspeaker system between the North and South

The “battle of words” between the two sides through the loudspeaker system is political propaganda criticizing the other. Every day, the loudspeaker broadcast lasts 14-15 hours, sometimes they start from 1a.m to 2 a.m. They open maximum volume so that everyone on both sides can hear it.

What To Visit At Hien Luong Bridge- Ben Hai River Today?

The cluster of relics on the two banks of Hien Luong includes the Hien Luong Bridge, Ben Hai River, the flagpole on the North bank, the police station, the monument cluster “Aspirations for unity” on the south bank, the Museum house of the 17th Parallel…

Hien Luong bridge-Hoi An Private Taxi

Museum house

The exhibition house “The 17th parallel and the aspiration for reunification” at Vinh Thanh commune consists of 2 rooms. The Khanh Tiet room is where they put the statue of the Ho Chi Minh President.

hien luong bridge museum-Hoi An Private Taxi

On the other side, the exhibition room has 53 documents and artifacts. They are proof of the fight of Quang Tri’s army and people on the banks of Hien Luong – Ben Hai. Those proofs represent the tenacious and heroic fighting spirit in the resistance war against America for national salvation.

hien luong bridge museum-Hoi An Private Taxi

Moreover, the documents and artifacts are classified under 4 themes. Firstly, it is the Geneva Agreement and the provisional military demarcation. Secondly, the unyielding spirit of Vinh Linh people and the fight to protect the front line. Thirdly, people in the South of the 17th parallel with the struggle for the aspiration to unify the country. Lastly, the 17th parallel after the liberation of Quang Tri in 1972.

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The flagpole

In the wars that took place at Hien Luong, perhaps the “flagpole fighting” was the fiercest battle that took place during 14 years. Since the demarcation line was demarcated, the height of the flagpole was constantly raised.

After raising the flagpole many times, the fighting began to turn to the fiercest stage in 1965, when the US imperialists waged war to destroy the North. Enemy bombs caused many flags to be torn, and flagpoles toppled.

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Flagpoles of the two regions

From May 19, 1956, to October 8, 1967, Quang Tri flew all 267 flags of all sizes. In particular, in 1967, there were 11 changes of flagpoles and 42 times of changing flags. This is because American bombs, artillery, and the airforce of Ngo Dinh Diem destroyed it.

hien luong bridge-ben hai river in vietnam dmz- Hoi An Private Taxi
The flagpole today

Two flagpoles with different heights existed parallel on the demarcation line until August 2, 1967. At that time, the US mobilized a large force of artillery, air force and navy to break the flagpole. On the same night, a soldier bravely carried an explosive to the river to destroy the enemy’s flagpole.

hien luong bridge-ben hai river in vietnam dmz- Hoi An Private Taxi

On August 3, 1967, people in Hien Luong police station erected a new wooden flagpole. For many years, after each battle, the flagpole was broken, and bombs and shells tore the flag. They replaced a new flagpole and a new flag.

In order to protect and maintain the national flag in the border area, while the enemy was always trying to knock down the flagpole. Many soldiers of the Hien Luong police station fought more than 300 big and small battles. Many soldiers and citizens bravely sacrificed themselves to protect the flag.

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Another difference when coming to the Hien Luong border flagpole is that you can also see with your own eyes the Truong Sa sovereignty stones. They placed all of the stones around the flagpole monument on the north bank of the Ben Hai River.

hien luong bridge and ben hai river-Hoi An Private Taxi

A total of 21 stones represent the 21 islands belonging to our country’s sovereignty in the Truong Sa archipelago, placed next to the border flagpole. In addition, each stone is engraved with the names of the islands in the Truong Sa archipelago. It was like an unshakably loyal promise of Vietnamese soldiers and people to protect the country.

hien luong bridge and ben hai river-Hoi An Private Taxi
The flagpole at the North bank today

You will better understand the flag’s meaning when you come to the cluster of relics of the Hien Luong bridge – Ben Hai river. In addition, there were the pain and loss that the Vietnamese army and people had to exchange to protect the flagpole during the war.

Boundry police station

According to the Geneva Agreement, along the temporary military demarcation line riverbanks, there are 4 police stations: Hien Luong, Cua Tung (North bank), Xuan Hoa and Cat Son (South bank).

hien luong bridge and ben hai river-Hoi An Private Taxi

The Hien Luong police station is located next to the North Bridge, consisting of 3 buildings: A, B, and C, forming the letter V. They built house A in 1955, and this is where the headquarter of the North Coast police.

Each house is used for a different purpose. House B is the place to live and live for frontline police officers. House C is a logistics warehouse.

Other relics

What else in the clusster of Hien Luong bridge and Ben Hai river? Besides the relics mentioned above, there are also other relics. For instance, the Union house, loudspeaker system, and Unified Aspiration monument cluster on the South bank.

Hien Luong Bridge-Ben Hai River- Hoi An Private Taxi
The monument of aspiration to unify the country on the south bank

On the whole, the cluster of relics at Hien Luong Bridge – Ben Hai River has become a destination that domestic and international tourists cannot miss in the DMZ of Vietnam travel itinerary.

hien luong bridge-ben hai river in vietnam dmz- Hoi An Private Taxi
Union House

Therefore, visitors often follow the Vietnam DMZ private tour to learn about the history of separating Vietnam. In addition, travelers also understand the power of a people who earnestly love peace. Plus, it is a will and aspiration to gain independence and freedom, to have a beautiful Vietnam like today.

Hien Luong Bridge-Ben Hai River- Hoi An Private Taxi

How To Get To The Hien Luong – Ben Hai River Banks?

If you stay in Hue city and would like to have a day trip to explore other relics in Vietnam DMZ, such as Vinh Moc tunnels, La Vang holy land,… you can book our Vietnam DMZ tour from Hue. In contrast, if you stay in Da Nang or Hoi An, you also can visit Hien Luong Bridge – Ben Hai River by booking Danang to DMZ by private car, or Hoi An to Vinh Moc tunnels by private car.

Hien Luong Bridge-Ben Hai River- Hoi An Private Taxi

Last but not least, if you are traveling in Hue Imperial city and would like to experience new things. You can consider booking our jeep tour from Hue to Hoi AnAlong the way, you will admire the unlimited beauty of Lang Co bay Hue, Tam Giang – Cau Hai Lagoon.

hien luong bridge in vietnam dmz-Hoi An Private Taxi

Most especially, the paradise of the dead- An Bang cemetery Hue– the most luxurious and unique cemetery in the world, and more. Hence, Let Hoi An Private Taxi helps you experience the best services!

3 thoughts on “Hien Luong Bridge – Ben Hai River

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