The band of peaks to the west of Highway 14 en route to Pleiku, and the rugged terrain buttressing them, constituted one of the American War’s major combat theatres. It was an NVA (North Vietnamese Army) attack on Pleiku, in February 1965, that elicited the “Rolling Thunder” campaign; the war’s first conventional battle of any size was fought in the Ia Drang Valley, southwest of Pleiku, eight months later. Hundreds of Americans died at Ia Drang, but many times more Communists perished, spurring America to claim victory by dint of a higher body count. A decade later, in March 1975, Pleiku was abandoned when NVA troops overran Buon Ma Thuot. As the South’s commanding officers flew by helicopter to safety, two hundred thousand Southern soldiers and civilians were left to make their own way down to the coast, hounded at every step by NVA shells.

Book through Rough Guides’ trusted travel partners

Vietnam features

The latest articles, galleries, quizzes and videos.

Motorbiking through Vietnam: a nation at a crossroads

Motorbiking through Vietnam: a nation at a crossroads

Vietnam is at a crossroads. A country where gleaming megacities in the making are encased in a countryside of cascading rice paddies and hill tribe villages. N…

03 Jan 2018 • Neil McQuillian local_activity Special feature
7 places to get off the tourist trail in Vietnam

7 places to get off the tourist trail in Vietnam

The verdant limestone stacks of Ha Long Bay and the bustling streets of Hanoi are well established (and essential) stops along Vietnam’s tourist trail. But th…

02 Nov 2017 • Rachel Mills insert_drive_file Article
The best aerial views in the world

The best aerial views in the world

Got a head for heights? If you're craving a new perspective on your travels, the best thing to do is get up high. From mountain-top panoramas to cityscapes, her…

17 Oct 2017 • Olivia Rawes camera_alt Gallery
View more featureschevron_right