HO CHI MINH TRAIL AND INDOCHINA WAR
The Ho Chi Minh Trail was used by the North Vietnamese forces during the Vietnam War in the 1960’s and 1970’s to send supplies and personnel around the de-militarized zone (DMZ) separating North and South Vietnam. Rather than one long road, the Trail was a multitude of crisscrossing trails that passed through forests and rivers. The trail started near Vinh, North Vietnam and passed through Khammouane’s Mu Gia Pass and lesser passes such as Ban Karai and Ban Raving before penetrating into southern Laos through Savannakhet, Salavanh, Sekong and Attapeu provinces. The Trail re-entered Vietnam at various points and even crossed into the Cambodian border. It took approximately 100 days for a North Vietnamese recruit to march from Vinh to South Vietnam.
Due to Khammouane’s mountainous landscape, most of the traffic on the Trail in this area was concentrated between the steep escarpment of the Nakai Plateau (Phu Ak Rang) and the rugged Limestone Karst landscape of what is now included in the Hin Namno National Protected Area. This area was known by the French as the Mu Gia Pass and is referred to by Lao people as Kiu Mu Ya. An excellent view of the Mu Gia Pass can be seen at the end of Route 12 near the present-day border crossing at Na Phao.