A Travellerspoint blog

Cu Chi Tunnels

On manoeuvres

Up at an unearthly hour for a holiday for a 7am departure to miss the worst of the Saigon rush hour. Our destination the Cu Chi tunnels to see first hand how the guerilla war was fought underground by the VC. Some of us dozed and some watched the hundreds of mopeds which clog the roads . Cars are too expensive for the majority of the population. An hour and a half later we arrived and entered the jungle, passing several bomb craters, to reach the visitor centre. After a short presentation we were invited to enter the tunnels. Not everyone in the group did, but we all managed to plunge into a small unlit hole and scramble through in crouching position. Many heads were banged and some had to resort to all fours! This was despite the tunnels having been significantly widened to accommodate the tourists! A local guide demonstrated how the soldiers had originally accessed the tunnels,leaving no sign of the entrance. He reappeared 20 yards away from another entrance and gave us quite a surprise!
At the end of the tour we were given refreshments. Boiled tapioca root which was pretty much all they had to eat. It was very bland,but starchy and sustaining. All in all a salutary experience.
A further hour on the coach saw us arrive at the temple of Cao Dai at Tay Ninh which embraces a unique approach to religion as all faiths worship together. We watched part of the ceremony and it seemed to lean toward budism with lots of chanting and incense. Very beautiful though. The heat today is stifling so didn't stay long and was happy to retreat to the air-conditioned bus.
After a simple lunch of local food we hit the road for the 2 hour drive back to the city for the last night.
We were all quite tired after the long day so opted for a more westernised local restaurant near the hotel for our supper.
A coffee on the roof terrace of our hotel ended another very full day.

Sorry no photos as uploading is impossible here :(

Posted by China reunited 16:30 Archived in Vietnam Comments (1)

A day in the City

Downtown Saigon

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The day began with a visit to the Presidential Palace with a posse of other tour buses. Absolute mayhem added to which a primary school group joined in and the noise was deafening. They were very cute though.
Then on to the Reunification Museum which we found very moving as it focused on the outcome of the Vietnam war. Brian met a visiting American and his Vietnamese wife who told him the all about being here 45 years ago and revisiting a bunker in the jungle, he then told him how he was going to visit the site of his brother, killed in action... He'd never spoken of it and was crying Brian hugged him, it brought the war into a very personal experience.

A Budhist temple and local market were squeezed in before lunch and we were peckish after such a full morning.

Lunch was a jolly affair in a modern Vietnamese restaurant "the Dining Room ". The food was wonderful and would not have bee out of place in the west end, so good was the quality.

The afternoon programme was equally busy, taking in the old colonial post office building, cathedral and a lacquer ware factory. The subsequent hard sell after the demonstration in the work shop was not as pushy as anticipated. No purchases made and we saw the same articles in souvenir shops near our hotel at a fraction of the "factory" price. No surprise there!

The evening was spent on a relaxing cruise down the river. Fine views of the city and the neon lit buildings floated past as we dined and were entertained by a quartet of local musicians and dancers. The highlight of the evening was our delightful waitress Mi, who was more than equal to the teasing and flirting from the boys. In the end JB got the girl much to the chagrin of the other 2!

As we had a 7 am start the next day it was back to the hotel for an early night again :(

Posted by China reunited 07:52 Comments (2)

Sleepless in Saigon

A long nights journey into day

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A8A66131A27C2C5A14F7656E52312076.jpegAfter 11 hours flying we landed at 5.30 am local time, 7 hours ahead of the U.K. Quite a challenge to hit the ground running.
First stop was breakfast in a local cafe where we were served chicken noodle soup. Not quite what I had in mind! This was followed by a cup of exceptionally strong coffee. Then off to the hotel where rooms were not available for 3 hours. Too tired to explore, we sat on the lovely roof terrace in the sun and had a couple of drinks. Soda for the girls and beer for the boys.

After a rest we were off to sample the delights of downtown Saigon and to find a good place for our evening meal. The Vietnam House did not disappoint with a variety of tasty local dishes.

Still a bit weary from the journey an early night was much needed for the full programme planned for the following day.

Posted by China reunited 07:26 Comments (2)

The prologue

Setting the scene

Once upon a time three couples had same idea to travel to China on a three week VJV tour, little did they realise that they would become very good friends and every year since they'd meet up for a holiday together... That was 10 years ago and to celebrate they decided to hit the trail again with VJV and explore Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos. This is their blog...

Posted by China reunited 10:17 Comments (0)

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