In search of a POW camp

It was not so long ago that there were movies Such ad the Rambo and Missing in Action flicks that depicted POS’s still in Vietnam. Even in the 90’s when I was here, some of the local people still believed that there were some remaining, I am sure that those that remained did so because of the beauty and the friendliness of the people. Anyway… One day when I was riding my eye was caught by a guard tower off in the distance. I skidded to a stop and pulled into a driveway where I could get a view. Sure enough, It was a tower exactly like you would expect to see in one of those movies. Around it was some evidence of structures that may have been buildings and even a grave. I forgot about it until we had one of out

See the tower?

 adventures to the Citadel. On the way home I pointed it out to my ex military friend and a new adventure was born. It was now on our list of things to discover and today was the day we made the attempt.

The day started with an invitation for lunch. The gals from the smoothie store that we normally stop had invited us and who can turn down a free lunch from two nice gals? We san and watched Ha and Ut prepare lunch on a

Cuties

tiny stove in the corner of the smoothie store. We ate rolling squid in rice paper with vegetables. Mmm Mmm… delicious. After we downed our usual smoothie and was abut to go on out quest when we were asked by another expat to look at some bikes to see if the deal being offered was a good one. Sorry Charlie, not a good deal and the guesthouse stairs we had to climb to see them left me feeling a bit dirty. How could anybody stay there. The brief glances of the hallways and the room

another angle

 entrances made me think of a prison. The only other place I have been similar to this was the hotel/brothel I did the story on while in Saigon. After that bit of business was done, it was off to discover the secret of the tower.

trying to find access

We rediscovered the tower from a fenced area along the highway on the way into tow. We studied the surrounding landscape tiring to determine our best approach. From what we could see, the area was flooded with rice paddies and areas of brackish water. Some of the small lanes ended up at small stinky farms Every where we went we encountered people that said there was no way to get out there. Eventually, one small farm we accidently invaded was able to give us some more information. The man and woman we spoke with talked with me in Vietnamese without batting an eye of surprise that I had spoken to them. We are able to glean that it was in fact a former camp, but not for POW’s. When the north took control, hundreds of thousands of men were interned and re-educated. Many of them also were held for years because of their involvement with the Yanks. In the distance to the west is a small settlement that we were told was the main

how to get there?

 headquarters of the new powers and where many people were interviewed before ending up in the wet swampish camp. I noticed the possibility of a small path leading from the old settlement, so I will be back to see if it is possible to get to the prison site. For now, here are a few photo’s of the day

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Owee

Tour designer and Guide specializing in off the beaten track tours of Vietnam

5 thoughts on “In search of a POW camp

  1. Greetings from the USA,

    I recently found your blog but waited to say hi until I read all of the postings and that took me about a week or 2 🙂
    Just wanted to say I really enjoy your blog and I wished you and your hotel was there on my first trip to VN last summer!
    Hopefully one day, I will come visit VN again and be able to stay at your place!
    Keep it up!

  2. Oh one more thing , I found a pic of Nha Trang in 1969.
    I tryed to send it to you , but it did not work sorry.
    Maybe you have found it allready if not let me know how I can send it to you.

    Rusty

  3. OMG!!!! Typing in the website did not help, but doing the same web search got me there and the maps he has are incredible. There is no indication of the camp I found, but the maps may open up a whole new adventure. I see roads that I have been that are not on any map I have seen so far. The maps even give locaitions of dangerous coral beds and other things that only a person that lives here ( or perhaps served here) can understand.
    Thank you…. Thank you…. thank you…. http://www.rjsmith.com/Nha_Trang_Complete_01.html

  4. Well here I sit in my Office at work , its 2.20am (Aussie Time )in the morning.Was thinking of what to do until I finish work at 5.00am.After reading this I decided to surf the net ( its my office so I can do what I like )lol.
    Anyway I put in nha trang pow camps and came up with all sorts of stuff very interesting.
    I found a site rjsmith.com all with maps on it , scroll about half way and find the map of nha trang it may help you but then again it might not.
    Anyway good luck with your search.

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