/ Alumni and Family Engagement

Vietnam: Highlights of Vietnam with Professor Dr. Fred Johnson III

From June 5–20, 2024, explore the history and beauty of Vietnam with Dr. Fred Johnson III, professor of history at Hope College.

Highlights include visiting Hoa Lo prison and museum, exploring the beauty of the Thung Nham Bird Garden, visiting one of Hanoi’s Buddhist temples, exploring Cat Cat Village and cooling off in the Cat Cat Waterfall, going to the beautiful landscapes of the Dong Van Geopark, experiencing the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ), visiting the My Lai Massacre site, exploring the Center for Agent Orange Victims, seeing the Cu Chi Tunnels, and many more historically significant sites. Space is limited, so register today!

Village in Vietnam

TOUR Highlights

This tour begins by exploring Hanoi. This includes a Cyclo trip (a carriage ride in the front of a bicycle), visiting Hoa Lo prison and museum, and learning about the Peace House Project.

Hanoi Vietnam, Railroad tracks through villageThe next stop is Ninh Binh province. This includes visiting Hoa Lu’ (the ancient capital of Vietnam between 968 and 1010) and Thung Nham Bird Garden. The next morning is a visit to one of Hanoi’s Buddhist temples, followed by Phu Tho Province and Lao Cai on the drive to Sapa.

Temple in VietnamNext is a visit to Cat Cat Village, home of the Black H’Mong people and the Cat Cat Waterfall. On the way to Dong Van, we will explore Yen Minh and the Vuong family house. Once we arrive at Dong Van, we enter the Dong Van Geopark — Vietnam’s first Global Geopark.

Waterfall, mountains in Vietnam
Next up are the highest mountains of Dong Van, where we see the Lung Cu Flag Tower Pole, a significant landmark for the Vietnamese people. This area is the northernmost point in the country. Then we drive back to Ha Giang city, stopping along the way to Ma Pi Leng as well as seeing H’Mong sites.

Mountain road in Vietnam
Next up is the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) and La Vang Holy Land, which has a cathedral and the battlefield of Khe Sanh on historic Route 9. We continue to the Khe Sanh combat base next. Khe Sanh is a base camp attacked by the North Vietnamese Army in 1968. 

We visit the My Lai Massacre site which sheds light on the horrific events of the Vietnam War. A sobering experience, we will see the Lai Massacre Memorial and Museum. The next day, we visit the Center for Agent Orange Victims in Da Nang before flying to Ho Chi Minh.

Rustic kitchen VietnamNext we head to Cu Chi Tunnels. We will get to spend time exploring the remaining tunnel system which includes living areas with kitchens and bedrooms. They even constructed weapon factories, field hospitals and command centers, showing how people were able to survive in the tunnels. 

After visiting Thao Dan Project Center, we explore the Reunification Palace and War Museum’s historically significant sites.

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Tour Leaders

Dr. Fred Johnson III

Dr. Fred L. Johnson III, Guy Vander Jagt ’53 Professor of History, has taught history at Hope College since 2000. His primary field is 19th century U.S. history, specifically the Civil War. His other areas of study include the U.S. in the 20th century, the U.S. military, foreign policy and African history. He is an award-winning public speaker, a member of Toastmasters International and the National Speakers Association. Along with teaching in the classroom, Fred has led many May Terms to Vietnam. He is looking forward to experiencing this country and this culture with you. Contact: 616.395.7592, johnson@hope.edu

Ian MacNeil

Ian MacNeil is the director of the Hope Academy of Senior Professionals (HASP) at Hope College. He is a lifelong learner, an avid birdwatcher and a huge movie fan. His college thesis was written on the use of popular music soundtracks in Vietnam War films, and he cannot wait to bird internationally for the first time. Ian is thrilled to meet you, humbled to experience the rich and difficult history of Vietnam with you, and ready to make this a trip you will never forget! Contact: 616.395.6250, macneil@hope.edu

Tour Fee

The program fee is $5,400 per person from Chicago, based on double occupancy. For single occupancy, the cost is $6,075.00.

Take Action

Register and make an initial deposit.

View the full itinerary, policies and resource document.

Map Vietnam