A Jeep Thing
For us, the jeep has become a historic icon of strength and adventure, and indeed a lifestyle. In fact, we can now use Google to find information about our particular vehicles, dating all the way back to the First and Second World War.
Jeep in Vietnam
The jeep came to Vietnam during the War with the American troops. It was considered the king of the battlefield, carrying soldiers and wounded men, as well war supplies, through nearly every terrain. A popular sight at the time was when the jeep was seen driving through cities, battlefields, hospitals and jungles, and crossed streams and rivers, at their highest speed and with gunmen on them.
Putting the difficult war aside, the vehicle could indeed be imagined as the perfect vehicle for adventure lovers – being a symbol of fearlessness, bravery and open-mindedness, with a casual and down to earth feel
Once the war ended, the American troops left, but the jeep stayed – mainly in Southern Vietnam and in the neighboring country, Cambodia.
The jeep was used for multiple civil purposes: local bus to carry people and sometimes animals (even buffalos thanks to its 4DW) from city to city, to carry wood in the jungles together with elephants. They were also used at patrol vehicles for police and firemen.
Years after the opening up of the country, new car models started appearing in the streets of Vietnam and the Jeep eventually ended its mission both in military and civil tasks. As these Jeeps, with its original engine, could weigh hundreds of kilograms of steel – most of the vehicles slowly disappeared. They ended in the scrapyards as a welcoming income for struggling families, collecting a considerable amount. Soon they were seen used only by some police departments who actually also would have preferred a change to new patrol cars.
However – the beauty of the Jeep never dies (only some of the 30+-year-old engines sometimes yes). The image of Jeep as a lifestyle is once again appreciated by its lovers of all ages, genders, and occupations. It is seen again on streets of Saigon, Danang, Hanoi, Phnom Penh, Siem Reap and Angkor Wat. The restored military Jeep is seen carrying foreign travelers from all over the world.
What a Jeep trip stands for, maybe there more than one answer? Maybe a fun drive, or a little unconventional experience, the feeling of newfound freedom that many people have forgotten – youthful memories? Sitting in open air, safe above the rest of the crazy city traffic, watching and photographing the millions of mopeds carrying everything from live ducks to bonsai trees. You will not get a better viewpoint in this country feeling the wind in your hair and enjoying the ride – just feel it, as we do.
And if somewhere, when you happen to read this article, you might consider such an experience and need to contact the people who share the same passion. They may be helpful then.