Ho Chi Minh City & Cu Chi Tunnels

During our 3 nights in Phenom Pehn we asked the staff at our hostel to organise our Vietnamese  visas for us as you can’t buy them at the border. It took 2 days, a photograph and $60 each.

We decided to catch the morning bus from Phenom Pehn to Ho Chi Minh City as it was a pretty epic drive. We scored front seats which ended up being the scariest thing ever as the bus driver was crazy!

We had to catch a ferry over to where the boarder was, which was a nice way to stretch our legs.

ferry

When we got to the boarder we were quite quickly stamped out of Cambodia, but took about 45 mins to be stamped into Vietnam.

welcome to vietnam

When we arrived into HCM City we couldn’t believe how busy it was, there were cars and scooters coming from every direction and there seemed to be only one road rule – smaller vehicles yield to bigger vehicles – ’twas madness. The bus dropped us in District 5, so we walked to a Burger King bought a sundae and used their wifi. The backpacker part of town was in District 1, so we needed to catch a taxi which cost 45,000 dong (sounds so expensive).

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When we arrived in District 1 we walked around until we found accommodation in our budget. We ended up with a nice little hotel called ‘Hai Hi’ for $13 a night, private bedroom, bathroom and balcony, was quite nice 🙂 then we wondered around the markets, had a lovely feed from a side restaurant and bought a couple souvineer singlets.

view from balcony

On our way back we stopped off at a tourism place and booked in for a tour of the ‘Cuchi Tunnels’ for tomorrow morning, before watching a movie and falling asleep.

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Tim went and bought some bakery goods for breakfast and lunch (cost $5.50) there was so much food, but we were now set for the day.

The bus came and picked us up and we started the 2.5 hour journey towards the Cuchi Tunnels. Along the way we stopped off at a latex forest where we were informed about how latex was made. The sap from the trees can only be collected at night but using a tap like object which they hammer into the trunk of the tree. Was rather interesting.

latex tree

When we arrived at the Cu Chi Tunnels the tour group all sat in a room and watched a couple videos about the war and the underground tunnels we were about to go see. It was sad but at the same time interesting to hear about what the Vietnamese people went through during the war days, how thy survived underground, how they had 3 different levels of tunnels that they used depending on how close an attacker or bomb was. The food that they ate to survive and how well they could camouflage death traps. It was rather scary!

We were then taken by a guide and shown the traps and how they worked and entrances to the tunnels, they were tiny!!

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This is one of the entrance ways to the underground tunnels

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This weapon hung on the door, so when an attacker opened the door they were greeted with a nail covered slab of wood to the face and body.

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Inside one of the more open tunnels, every 100m there is a stairway where you can exit, but these tunnels go on for kilometers.

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We spent a good few hours here, there were options to shoot big machine guns, play around in the tunnels, observe many different styles of traps, eat the food that the Vietnamese lived off (a type of root, tasted sort of like raw potato).

After we had completed the tour of the Cu Chi Tunnels we hopped back onto the bus and drove back towards town. We asked if we could please be dropped off at the war museum, as we wanted to read more about the war.

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The museum was full of 4 stories of interesting, but yet upsetting information. We spent a good couple of hours walking around before we decided it was time to start to head back and grab some dinner.

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