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300km (186 miles) S of Hanoi; 370km (230 miles) N of Hue

An important bastion of revolutionary thought, the town of Vinh was the scene of a large-scale rebellion led by Le Hong Phong in the 1930s. Bombed beyond recognition during the war with the United States, Vinh was rebuilt with an East German flair, which means that large concrete-block compounds line broad boulevards. Drab and depressing, there isn't much for foreign tourists to see here. What attracts most, and mainly Vietnamese tourists, are the sites dedicated to the city's most famous inhabitant: Ho Chi Minh. Born here in 1890, Ho Chi Minh lived in a small village just 14km (8 3/4 miles) outside of the city center. A visit to Ho's birthplace in the adjoining village where his father was a local official, and to the large central square with his statue, are the only real sights. Nearby Cua Lo Beach is a popular local escape lined with minihotels and beachside coffee shops. Vinh is also a popular way station for those going to or coming from Laos.

Fast Facts -- Vietcombank has a branch at 9 Nguyen Sy Sach St. (tel. 038/384-4044) that's open daily from 8am to 5pm (closed for lunch 11:30am-1:30pm). They offer ATM service and can cash traveler's checks. There is reliable Internet service next to the post office. The main post office is at 2 Nguyen Thi Minh Khai St.