Saturday, August 24, 2013

Ho Chi Minh City Day 5: Cu Chi Tunnel & Cao Dai Temple

Date of Visit: 5th April 2012

Besides the One Day Mekong Delta Tour package, we also bought along a day trip to Cu Chi Tunnel from STA Travel. It cost 180,000 Vietnamese dong or USD$8 per person (aprox. to RM24) which includes pick-up and drop-off from where you stayed and English speaking tour guide. However, admission fee and lunch is not provided and we have to bear on our own.

The tour started at 7.30am where they picked us up in front of our hotel and the journey from city center to Cu Chi Tunnel took almost 1 and half hour. The tour package that we took included a visit to Cao Dai Temple. Hence, a short visit here before we reach the Cu Chi Tunnel.

Cu Chi Tunnel 01
#1: Cao Dai Temple

Cao Dai Temple is located in the city of Tay Ninh, a province 95km away on the south east of Ho Chi Minh City and it's very close to Cambodia border. Figuratively, Cao Dai means that highest spiritual place where God reigns. CaoDaiists believe that, before God existed, there was the Tao which was nameless, formless, and unchanging.

Cu Chi Tunnel 02
#2: Cao Dai followers worshipping inside the temple.

The Cao Dai Temple is like a Walt Disney fantasia of the East. Its exterior is decorated with multi coloured dragons of all shapes and sizes competing for space with a number of swastikas. The interior is just an engaging as statues of Jesus Christ, Buddha and the Hindu God, Brahma, stand side by side. After spend less than half an hour around this temple, we left for lunch break.

Cu Chi Tunnel 03 - Lunch Sweet & Sour Pork Rice
#3: Sweet and sour pork rice

As I mentioned earlier, lunch is not included in the tour fee and we have to pay ourselves. There are plenty of choices to choose from but I believed, it's non-halal. So for those Muslims traveller, it is advisable to pack along your own foods.

We reached Cu Chi Tunnel before 2pm local time and each of us have to queue up to purchase the admission fee - 80,000 Vietnamese dong per person. Strategically located behind the ticket counter, there is a huge tree with lots of jackfruits and I saw many foreigner travellers especially were curious what type of fruit is that. I was even being asked by some of them how it looks like, taste like and so on. I'm glad that we live in a tropical country blessed with different kind of fruits and even they can't grow naturally like kiwi, blueberries and more, we can grabbed them from the supermarket.

IMG_9056
#4: The tree with so many jackfruits

Now a brief history of Cu Chi Tunnel. Cu Chi used to be a bitter battleground for many years during the Vietnam War. It somehow likes an underground village with indiricate network of over 200km of tunnels at Ben Dinh, which is 50km away from Ho Chi Minh City. This incredible labyrinthine tunnel network was used as a shelter, hospital, weapons cache and supply route during that devastating war against the American forces.

Cu Chi Tunnel 04
#5: The entrance and our tour started with watching the video of the Vietnam War

Cu Chi Tunnel 05
#6:  Be careful! It's a booby trap with bamboo spikes at the bottom.

Cu Chi Tunnel 07
#7: Our English speaking tour guide explained how this tunnel was made

Cu Chi Tunnel 08
#8: One of Cu Chi tunnels entrance hole where it was so small that an American soldier unable to enter

Cu Chi Tunnel 09
#9: This is how the soldiers wore during the war

Cu Chi Tunnel 11
#10: A war tank in the middle of the jungle

Cu Chi Tunnel 10
#11: The most fun part - time to enter into the tunnel

We're were given an opportunity to enter into the tunnel, but not everyone can enter into this tunnel as it need to depends on your body size. For your information, this tunnel has been made wider and taller to accommodate the visitors. In some part inside this tunnel, there is no light and completely dark and all we can do were touching the tunnel wall. We were even crawling underneath and at some point, we had to based on our instinct to jump down. There is no stairs, no light and we're unsure how deep it was but to be frank, it was really fun and adventurous. Because my friends and I were consider quite small if compare to the Westerner, we came out from the tunnel more faster than the rest. This is one of the thing you must do when visit Cu Chi Tunnel unless if you are big in size, sorry to say that.

Cu Chi Tunnel 12
#12: Self-made weapon gallery

Cu Chi Tunnel 13
#13: Visitors can fire a variety of Vietnam War era weapons at the shooting range. It is chargeable, not free of charge.

While waiting for the rest to do their shooting activities, we went and had a look at the souvenirs store. If you are thirsty and hot, grab some drinks or even ice-cream at the small tiny cafe besides the souvenir store. I didn't buy any of these souvenirs cause I had bought quite a few in Ben Thanh Market. Plus, I found out the souvenirs were slightly expensive compare elsewhere.

Cu Chi Tunnel 14
#14: Souvenirs inside Cu Chi Tunnel

And that's how we spend our fifth day in Ho Chi Minh City. Cu Chi Tunnel is indeed a pleasant visit and offers more insights of this labyrinth of interlaces tunnels on how the Vietnamese cleverly designed the tunnels and the strategic use of trap doors making the 30 thousand American troops failed to conquered this are.

12 comments:

  1. That is a fabulous temple.

    Greetings,
    Filip

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  2. Gosh, I remember the Chi Chi Tunnel! I was almost suffocating inside as a Caucasian in front of me had a hard moving due to his size. It was an awesome experience!

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  3. I think I've seen this place on a tv program. It really is an awesome place. What attracts me the most is the jackfruit tree. Wow, I've never seen anything like that. Even our jackfruit tree only gives one fruit at a time. Hehe. And the trap is spooky.

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  4. did u try to enter the super small squarish hole that u can hold the cover? i did! super small! i dont think i can fit it in now...pfft!

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  5. that tunnel... will never fit me in hahahaa :P

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  7. Hei...first visit and like to visit more often. Just like you, loves travelling and photography and is great to meet someone with the same passion. Loves the pictures as well. Been to this place a long time ago, even before I got serious with photography or blogging...hence, no pictures and no writeup but I remembered crawling into those dark tunnels and was so glad to come out the other end asap. You are welcome to visit my photography and travelling blog as well at http://mynikonni.blogspot.com. I also have a FB page with pictures while I am in China. It's Laowai In China. Looking forward to your visits. Cheers and have a good day ahead.

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  8. bookmark this page! wait i go ho chi minh will take this as reference! =D

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  9. great blog! what time do you arrive back to the city after the trip?

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  10. Travel Cu Chi Tunnels was an interesting experience. you will know the life during the war and the human being endurance

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  12. your photos are very nice. can I use some of the your images put in my website : http://www.deluxegrouptours.com.

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