This is the ninth year that Viet Nam's Hoa Binh (Peace) Chapter 160 of Veterans For Peace has hosted a two-week custom tour of Viet Nam, the place that resonates with most of us vets as an unforgettable part of our lives. For many, the memories are painful; for others, not terribly unpleasant but the experience is not one we’d want to repeat. Others – spouses, friends, anti-war activists, ordinary citizens – have experienced Viet Nam in their own formative ways as well. Viet Nam is part of us.
This year we have also been invited to participate in a unique conference based on the Waging Peace exhibit and book, and related touring events that have been held in the U.S. in recent months. The topic, The Outcome of the American War in Viet Nam: American and Vietnamese Perspectives -- A Conference of Historians and Peace and Conflict Scholars, will feature a number or distinguished professors and researchers, historians, veterans, students, and journalists. It will explore how the United States and the Saigon government, despite superior military power and weapons technology, were unable to defeat the Vietnamese liberation forces or achieve political control over the south of the country. The date is 3 October, the day before our tour ends.
VFP Chapter 160 addresses the legacies of America’s war. We help veterans and their families struggling to keep safe from unexploded ordnance (UXO), recovering from UXO injuries, and dealing with the tragedy of Agent Orange/Dioxin.
One purpose of our annual tours is to make a tangible financial contribution to VFP 160’s mission. Each tour member is asked to donate at least $1,000 to be pooled at the end of the trip. Participants will decide how to disburse the funds – for bomb clearance, to help Agent Orange victims, to support hospitals, orphanages, schools, and other community needs.
The $1,000 donation is mandatory. Some participants raise additional funds from their extended families, communities and neighbors, which we encourage. During the past eight years, some $300,000 has been donated by tour participants and distributed to projects supported by VFP 160 throughout Viet Nam.
2020 TOUR DATES: Most tour participants depart San Francisco late Thursday, 17 September (actually around 1 am, 18 September), and arrive back in the U.S. on Sunday afternoon, 4 October. East coast and folks from other routes will have other flight dates—as long as all get to Hanoi by midday September 19 (Vietnam time).
DAY 01 | SAT SEP 19 Arrive Ha Noi, relax, enjoy Old Quarter, stroll around Hoan Kiem Lake.
DAY 02 | SUN SEP 20 Visit Ho Chi Minh’s Mausoleum, tour Ha Noi capital, visit Hanoi Hilton Prison.
DAY 03 | MON SEP 21 Visit Friendship Village for Agent Orange / dioxin kids and vets. Afternoon policy round-table, open dialogue with vets, VUFO, VAVA, expats, and media.
DAY 04 | TUE SEP 22 Drive to Ha Long Bay, board chartered luxury junk for overnight cruise of this World Heritage Site.
DAY 05 | WED SEP 23 Fly to Da Nang. Check-in at riverside hotel in Hoi An.
DAY 06 | THU SEP 24 Tour and Shop in Old Town Hoi An, visit Marble Mountain, enjoy sun and sand at China Beach.
DAY 07 | FRI SEP 25 Meet association of veterans in Da Nang, VUFO, see DAVA Center or AO victims. Dinner with David and Ushi.
DAY 08 | SAT SEP 26 Drive across Hai Van Pass to Hue City. Visit Citadel, tombs of Emperors, Thien Mu Pagoda.
DAY 09 | SUN SEP 27 Meet HUFO, visit Chua Duc Son Buddhist orphanage.
DAY 10 | MON SEP 28 Drive to Quang Tri and DMZ for UXO and AO briefing at Project RENEW. Visit tunnels at Vinh Moc.
DAY 11 | TUE SEP 29 Visit AO families helped by VFP; tour Khe Sanh base, Rock Pile, Truong Son National Cemetery, La Vang Church. Late flight to HCM City.
DAY 12 | WED SEP 30 HCMC/Saigon. Free time for relaxing and shopping, tour guide available.
DAY 13 | THU OCT 1 Optional trip to Cu Chi Tunnels, Cao Dai Temple. In-town sights and shopping.
DAY 14 | FRI OCT 2 Morning visit to Tu Du Hospital AO facility.
DAY 15 | SAT OCT 3 Conference, topic: “Outcome of the American War in Viet Nam: American and Vietnamese Perspectives.” This conference of historians and peace and conflict scholars is an extension of the Waging Peace exhibit, book, and public events over the past three years. The VFP delegation are special guests.
DAY 16 | SUN OCT 4 Morning vote on disbursing tour funds. Afternoon hotel check-out, and transport to Tan Son Nhat airport for flight to USA.
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION, CONTACT:
U.S. Tour Coordinator
Viet Nam Tour Coordinator
|Paul Cox||Chuck Searcy|
Board Member, VFP Chapter 160
President, VFP Chapter 160
- Tour Fee: $2,950 USD, which covers all in-country Viet Nam travel (domestic flights, trains, buses, boats, but not tire sandals); single occupancy hotel accommodations; food and drink (alcohol not included); event tickets.
- Donation: $1,000 required minimum charitable donation.
- Airfare: less than $1,000 (from San Francisco; currently coach fares are $728.75 and premium economy $1388.75 with China Air), plus airfare from your home to our departure point at SFO. You can, of course, arrange your own direct flight to Viet Nam as long as you are in Ha Noi when the group arrives September 15.
- Visa: $80 USD for a 30-day, one-entry tourist visa. Multiple entry or 90-day visas cost more.
Note: VFP organizers and in-country hosts receive no compensation. The Hanoi travel company which handles in-country logistics, Viet Dreamland Travel Co., Ltd., has always given us generous discounts and sometimes separate donations to allow the maximum amount possible to go to VFP 160’s beneficiaries.
PAYMENTS, DEPOSITS, AND DONATIONS:
To reserve your booking for this tour, an initial (refundable) deposit of $300 must be submitted by Thursday, April 30th to:
5519 Plumas Avenue
Richmond, CA 94804
IMPORTANT: Make checks payable to Veterans for Peace, San Francisco Chapter 69 (or VFP 69) with Viet Nam Tour 2020 on the memo line!
*FOR CREDIT CARD PAYMENTS: Contact Paul Cox. Because our tour fee has no slack in it, and the credit card company takes their bite, there will be a 3.5% surcharge for credit card payments (or an additional $138.45. i.e. ($2,950 + $1,000 )+ $138.40 = $4,088.40.
DEPOSIT DEADLINE: April 31st
FINAL PAYMENT (Tour Fee + Donation): due Thursday, July 9.