Tunnels, pickpockets, explosions and FOOD!!
Trip Start Sep 01, 2010
142Trip End Jun 18, 2011
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Our day tour started with a visit to a local handicrafts market where victims of the Vietnam War were making pottery and glass souvenirs. Afterwards we arrived at the Cu-Chi Tunnels and were led by our tour guide to watch an interesting (albeit massively propaganda-ish) video about how lovely and peaceful Vientnam was until the American troupes turned up and flattened the whole country; there was an American tourist behind us who was getting quite antsy during the video, however we thought he really needed to take the video with a pinch of salt, after all what was he expecting by coming to Vietnam?! The video included original footage from the war and, as we have come to expect, very hard-hitting and explicit. After this we were shown some of the entrances to the tunnels; they were so well camoflagued that we actually walked right over the top of many of them without even noticing! We were led to a patch of leaves and grass and were all staring at the floor wondering what was going on when suddenly the leaves started to move and a man's head popped up through a tiny trap door concealed under the leaves! It proved to us exactly why the Cu-Chi Tunnels were such a good fortress during the Vietnam War, they are almost invisible
The final part of our day took us to a section of the tunnels which you can actually climb inside and crawl along for 100 meters. This section of the tunnels has been widen twice so that tourists can go inside, however it is still extremely tight and there are emergency exits every 25 meters incase you need to leave. It just goes to show how malnutritioned the Vietnamese soldiers were that they could fit in and maneuver inside the original tunnels which were only 50 centimeters by 70 high. The entrance looked kind of like a bunker and once we were down inside there was a small opening in the wall into the tunnel. We were all lining up to go inside and I was getting ready to climb in when the girl in front of me (who had just entered the tunnel) came reversing out, bum first, saying she couldn’t do it
We spent the remainder of our time in Saigon relaxing and enjoying the local food, which is actually turning out to be some of the best food we’ve had during our travels. On our final day we visited the city museum and spent some time in the local park updating our food-journal with all the new dishes we’ve tried. While we were in the park Tom ended up being pickpocketed… by a 4 year old girl! A mother was walking through the path with two little girls and when they passed us the elder girl came over to see what we were writing, she was really cute and we ended up talking to her and asking her what her name was. Unbeknownst to us her little sister had snuck around behind Tom, unzipped his shorts pocket and taken some money out. We really had no idea she was there until she started giggling and when we noticed her we thought she was hiding behind Tom to play hide-and-seek with her sister. They both went skipping off and I saw the little one pass something to the elder sister and when Tom noticed his pocket was undone it all made sense. She only actually took 20,000 Dong, which is about 60p, and in all honesty we were quite happy for her to have it; considering what a bloody good pickpocket she was for a 4 year old we figured that they probably need it more than we do. As we were leaving the park we stumbled across a group of about 20 hotel staff being given a fire-safety class in the middle of the street: 3 firemen were lighting a barrel of petrol with a blowtorch and then the hotel staff would take it in turns coming up and trying to put the flames out with a fire extinguisher
That evening we boarded our first Vietnamese sleeper bus to a small seaside town called Nha Trang. Throughout Southeast Asia Vietnam is renowned as being a really easy place to travel and transport is supposed to be very simple for backpackers. We have bought ourselves long-haul bus tickets between southern and northern Vietnam which include three stops along the way and we were really curious to see how the Vietnamese buses were going to compare to the other sleepers we’ve been on. Well I can tell you that they are bloody amazing!! The buses actually have full length beds in them which are comfy, warm and include a pillow and blanket. For pity’s sake, we didn’t even get fully reclining seats when we were in Australia; we’ve had to come all the way to Vietnam to find some really good transport! We slept really well and the next morning we arrived in Nha Trang. This town is a seaside resort but to be honest we only stopped here to break up what would have otherwise been a 24 hour bus journey. Our hotel in Nha Trang was lovely and we spent two days there relaxing but not doing anything of any interest. However we did have some AMAZING food there and I would probably go back there again just for the seafood.