Trip Start Jan 05, 2010
17Trip End Jan 25, 2010
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The following day (20th Jan) we visited the Cu Chi Tunnels (Mike really wanted to go handbag shopping but Kym talked him out of it). The Vietcong dug literally hundres of kilometres of tunnels during the Vietnam War to hide from the Americans. Part of the tunnel complex near the town of Cu Chi have been turned into a tourist destination. The tunnel entrances were incredibly well disguised, and the Vietnamese soldiers skilled in entering and leaving the tunnel system without being detected.
The Vietcong lived in the tunnels, and equipped them with kitchens, hospitals and meeting rooms. It was very interesting, and we saw first hand the primitive & gruesome weapons they used to capture and kill the Americans. Many were based on farm traps and built from empty shells found on the ground. They were inexpensive to make but very effective! We shared a round of bullets in an AK47 and Mike crawled through a tunnel that had been enlarged for tourists.
We retained our guide Johnny Chung to show us around Saigon (he's a great guide, has fantastic english and a great laugh too. We would highly recommend him to others looking for an english speaking guide. His number is 0906870276; email firstname.lastname@example.org). Saigon is much more developed then Hanoi, even though Hanoi is the capital, and has benefited from the French influence on their architecture (but don't mention the war....) We saw the General Post Office and Notre Dame Cathederal then walked up to Reunification Hall.
Reunification Hall, previously called the Presidential Palace, was destroyed in 1962 and rebuilt by President Diem.
We wound up the day with a visit to the Sheraton rooftop bar (yes more Singapore Sling's), dinner at Lemongrass and a stroll through the night markets. All I can say is beware of $15 watches.... we bought one each and one didn't survive 24 hrs!!