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HCMC Day 1 (Part 1) – Cu Chi Tunnel

First morning in Ho Chi Minh City we don’t know yet if we’ll transfer hotel or not. Some problem I’ve mentioned on my previous post when we checked-in.

Still we manage to smile 🙂

Our big group. 11 of us in total, Earl missing, he’s taking the photo.

Instead of booking tours we decided to eat first. Talk our plans over breakfast. It’s still early in the morning so not all establishments were open. We walked around until we found Trung Nguyen Coffee. It’s at the back of Diamond Plaza.

Their menu list is newspaper-like.

Fresh Coconut – 41,000 VND

I had banh mi op la voi giam bong va thit xong khoi (two eggs sunny side up, ham and bacon served with bread). Most of us order this.

59,000 VND

I also had this. Trying the Vietnam’s famous coffee.

sua nong sua da (hot/ice with milk) 79,000 VND

We went back to the hotel after this. Praying that Jessica Koh, who visited our office months before our trip, is already in the office and will be able to help us. She did promise there won’t be any extra person charge on the 3rd adult in the room. Extra person charge is higher than the actual rate of our room and of course we won’t let that. 🙂 It will be cheaper to transfer hotel. We noticed while walking that most of them were using motorcycle as mode of transportation, even seniors! It’s a bit scary crossing streets. You really have to look left and right just to make sure you’ll be able to cross the street safely.

Most of the riders were wearing face mask.

We passed by the “back” of the Notre Dame Cathedral. Just few minutes walk from our hotel.

Back at the hotel we met with Jessica and Pham. They guarantee us that there won’t be any extra person charge. Wheew. So no need to change hotel. 🙂 Vu Van also went down to meet us and showed us nice places to shop and dine. We originally plan to book our tours near Ben Thanh Market but since its almost lunch time and we haven’t achieved much we decided to book all the tours with the hotel concierge.

Cream-o, sitting on the concierge desk. IC’s concierge is using an iPad, shala. That’s Vu Van on the back ground teaching us how to navigate HCMC’s map.

payment for tours

We booked our tour for two days with the hotel. After securing our tour, all smiles. Souvenir picture with Pham and Jessica.

We went back to the hotel room. Freshened up. Waited for our tour bus to pick us up. Since there’s eleven of us we will have our Cu Chi Tunnel Tour private.

Our tour bus.

Long, our tour guide. Giving us trivia and information on establishments and places we pass by. Such a nice guy.

So many temples we passed by and far from the city there’s a lot of rubber trees. We enjoyed the view and landscapes we saw along the way.

And finally we’re in Cu Chi. It’s a half day tour. More or less two hours away from the city by bus. The tour was more of like visiting the underground villages to understand life in the tunnels and resilience and determination shown by the Vietnamese during the Vietnam War.

entrance to the underground tunnel complex

There’s a brief introduction of the tunnel’s history and we watched a short documentary.

Diaroma of the Cu Chi Tunnel

one of the booby traps

Tetch and Haze trying the camouflaged trap door

Only Asians will fit here. They had live underground for protection. Also to store food and weapons and to offer sheltered area for those who need medical attention.

Small holes for them to breathe and living underground possible.

Posing at the American Tank Corpse

more booby traps

Military Workshop

Slippers made of rubber trees. Noticed that either way you can wear this kind of slipper. Its’s sole was made the way enemies won’t be able to trace your foot prints. Smart huh?! They seeling it here for 70,000 VND.

We had a taste of being underground in the tunnels. We chose the shorter way or commonly known as the “short cut”. It’s dark underground by the way. It’s just my camera flash on the picture above. Our only light is the flash light by our guide. Some of my friends were panicking because aside from darkness there’s no enough air. I don’t recommend claustrophobic to try this you won’t like the feeling. Tunnels were made wider and taller to accommodate tourists.

Earl trying out shooting, this is just one of the activities you can do here.

After the tour, we were served pandan tea and boiled sweet potato (camote). Yumm.

My half Filipino – half Vietnamese friend Tey. So happy to see her long-lost parents. Lol

There’s some souvenir shops but we didn’t bother buying any. We’re saving it in the evening at the night market in Ben Thanh.

After our tour in Cu Chi we were to the Handicap Handicrafts Factory. Long told us all workers here are handicap. Their products are being exported.

at work

Their products:

With intricate details. Indeed Vietnamese has talented and artistic hands.

On our way to Cu Chi we saw a Jollibee chain so we asked Long to drop by there after our tour in Cu Chi. It’s a request of Janice and Silken who missed Jollibee so much since they don’t have it in Bangkok.

Hello, Jollibee! It’s so nice to see you on a foreign land. 🙂

Silken (second from left) and Jha (fourth from left) were delighted to see the famous Bee.

Meals were changed slightly probably to suit Vietnam’s culture. But they still call the chicken, “chicken Joy” 🙂

I ordered N2, spaghetti with 2 pcs chicken strips 60,000 VND (60 PHP)

Not the usual Filipino style spaghetti, here their version is a bit spicy but I love the mixture of sweet and spicy. And instead of gravy, it’s a sweet and chilli dip for the chicken strips. I regret to order just one meal. I want more. We  ate inside the bus. We’ll go back to the hotel to freshen up and then we’ll watch water puppet show and will have dinner cruise after.

Expenses VND PHP
Cu Chi Tunnel Tour Package  (price per person) 399,000 817.54
Breakfast 59000 120.89
Coffee (hot/ice with milk) 79000 161.86
Jollibee Spaghetti Meal 60000 122.93
Total 597,000 1223.22

***Price on the Cuchi Tunnel Tour is base on 11 persons.

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