One of the most interesting and popular day trips from Ho Chi Minh City former Saigon is the excursion to the Cu Chi Tunnels that where used in the Vietnam war to surprise the enemy from underground. The invisible enemy of the Us troops who used all kind of traps as a resistance in this bloody war. When falling down one of these traps, you were in for a horrible dead.
At the site they demonstrate how these traps work and groups of visitors listen how the guide explains the working of these different traps.
The tunnels where the Vietcong was hiding was a very genieous system with ventilation holes inside termite mouds.
The GI’s tried to find the tunnels with help of german shepherds, but the Vietcong putted pepper at the ventilation holes to mislead the dogs as it made the dogs sneeze.
Other things that theyused where parts of Amlerican uniforms that they took from the soldiers they killed and put that to the holes, so when the dogs comes sniffing it doesn’t get the smell of the Vietcongs hiding under the ground.
The Tunnels are very small and only for skinny vietcong possible to get inside and out.
Now these tunnels are a little bit widened for tourists to go inside and take a picture.
You can also crawl in the tunnels and choose yourself if you only want to crawl 20 meters, 50 meters or 100 meters, as some parts get really narrow and some people can be a bit claustrophobic, there is a choice in distance you want to crawl.
Many people when visiting Vietnam’s capital Hanoi opt for a day trip or a 2 day trip to Halong Bay. It’s famous for its rock formations that dominate the landscape.
After arriving at Chai Port in the city of Halong, I got to my boat were a great Vietnamese traditional dishes were being served. While eating the boat was sailing towards the rock formations.
After I finished my meal I went on the deck to make some first pictures and on the top deck of the boat to make some more pictures from different sides.
Once arrived you could book at extra charge a kayaking trip or a motor boat to make your way between the rocks.
Next on the program was a stop to the Thien Cung Caves.
The stalactites and stalagmites in different shapes together with the outside light shining in from holes in the surface, make this cave very attractive to its visitors.
In the late afternoon it was time to go back to Hanoi, and that’s how a daytrip to Halong Bay looks like :
Some people say to go and stay longer but for me it was enough, how many rocks can you stare at ? I enjoyed my trip and that was the most important for me.
The capital of Vietnam Hanoi was the first city I visited in Vietnam. It was my starting point for my short trip to Vietnam.
I stayed in the old quarter of Hanoi close to Hoan Kiem Lake. The streets around are full of shops, bars, disco’s, restaurants, massage rooms, streetfood stands.
As a former French colonial city, the French influences are still very present, mostly the architecture of some of the houses of which most are now turned into hotels with French names. Restaurants and bars also using French names etc,…
However we are in Vietname and the Typical Vietnamese places is what I as a European came to see and not so much the French as I live close to France and I have the feeling I could go there anytime I want, and still I don’t :).
So what did I visit ?
The Ngoc Son Temple and the Tran Quoc pagoda are one of the nicest places to visit in Hanoi and was included in a day trip that I booked with a local agency.
Covering in the morning the Ho Chi Minh complex with Ho Chi Minh’s mausoleum, the Ho Chi Minh’s stilt house and the one Pilar pagoda.
I think the most impressing was the mausoleum with the embalmed body of Ho Chi Minh guarded by the military, made me think about the mausoleum that I visited in Pyongyang where I saw the embalmed bodies of Kim il Sung and Kim Jong ill, the room where the body was in, was also heavily guarded.
Tran Quoc Pagoda
The One Pilar Pagoda
Ho Chi Minh’s Stilt house
Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum
In the afternoon I got to see the Temple of Literature and the Tran Quoc pagoda at Westlake and the Ngoc Son Temple at Hoan Kiem Lake near my hotel to end the city trip. I was happy the tour ended just 2 streets from where my hotel was situated, so I didn’t have to go in the car again to be dropped off like the other people, driving around town in the crazy city traffic of Hanoi with all these motorbikes.
These are so far the most interesting places to see in Hanoi, not my favorite city in Southeast Asia.