HO CHI MINH / SAIGON
CU CHI TUNNELS
You can feel the difference in the heat over the past 2 days. The drive yesterday was beyond cold, even while wearing a fake North Face Jacket. But today was a complete contrast and when could only ever stop for a few minutes as we could feel ourselves burning! The breeze when driving is a godsend. If you ever get to Vietnam try the local (and I mean local) coffee, it was an absolute saviour for those long ass days, something we couldn’t have done without!
AFTER SEEING THE “REAL TUNNELS” I HAVE SOMEHOW FOUND EVEN MORE RESPECT FOR THE VIETNAMESE
But because we’ve been riding so long my ass is getting more numb and sore and Phil’s pretty much sitting on his luggage rack so it doesn’t fall off again. Only 1 more day we are telling ourselves but again we wouldn’t have it any other way!
WHERE IS HO CHI MINH?
Ho Chi Minh
Roads were pretty good but wasn’t easy going through Ho Chi Minh to find he tunnels. We stopped somewhere in the city and parked our bikes right beside this door. Then we realised it was a police checkpoint and the guy didn’t speak a word of English but continued to speak Vietnamese so we assumed he wanted us to put our shirts and then we just walked off.
Eventually made it and the tunnels were fun. Everyone else was walking around with a guide as part of a tour and we kept being asked if we were lost. Turns out we were walking around the wrong way. We found the shooting range and I never expected noise like it! There are all sorts of options, everything from small pistols to heavy machine guns mounted onto hummers!
DID YOU KNOW….?
- The network of tunnels are said to be over 250km
- There are larger tunnels made for westerners to travel through as an experience but are over twice the size as the original tunnels
Then it was to the tunnels. Getting into them I wasn’t so keen as there was a sign which said do not enter without a guide. I had no clue where we would end up but Phil was already on his way! The tunnel got smaller and smaller and in no time we were laughing our heads off because we really had no idea where we were going. We had to crawl the entire way as we had our backpacks.
After a good bit on our hands and knees we came to a fork but I think we just winged it, it must all lead out anyway. It wasn’t long until we came head on with another group, I’m not sure who was going the wrong way but they had a guide so I’m guessing us. Once out we noticed the real entrance to the original tunnels, it blew my mind and how people could navigate and feel safe. But I suppose it was the only place that was safe, quite ironic!
HO CHI MINH
From there it was a few hours down to Ho Chi Minh. We went through so many small towns and the traffic was complete chaos. Me and Phil still had our ‘taps aff’ and were still getting laughed at by every Vietnamese. Glad to see that they found it funny and not disrespectful. Especially seeing as his helmet was a US Army helmet.
We checked into Dong Hotel and obviously had to sample the nightlife of Saigon as it’s our second last night. We went to none other than the walking street which is where all the tourists go and where all the scams happen. We noticed a little eager beaver on his moped trying to get through the crowds but one fella took except to him and had a little word.
The guy on the bike however was straight off and into him but was put down 2 or 3 times. Each time the bigger fella thought he had learned his lesson and moved on but the little guy kept coming back for more. Eventually picking up a glass bottle and trying to smash it to presumably through it into him. He was taken from him and that was that until he returned with a knife and stabbed him through his cheek! It was peak time and we couldn’t believe what we were seeing just 3 feet in front of us!
THIEF GOING COMMANDO
Whilst all this was going on I noticed our kitty (beer money) dropped to the ground and quickly snatched by a homeless lady. As soon as i approached her she denied having it and rather than emptying her pockets she pulled out her bottoms. I was happy for her to have the money as long as I were to never see that again! Continued the night into the very early hours again.
SELLING THE BIKES
We both need to sell the bikes today but I had a terrible terrible hangover and couldn’t move until 2, something that is becoming all too common. Credit as Phil was able to pull himself together and google a place just around the corner that bought bikes from travellers and luckily enough they bought ours for more than anyone else was willing to pay. Even without a tail light and a broken luggage rack his was worth a lot more than mine! Just chilled the rest of the day, as we head to Hong Kong tomorrow.
What an absolute treat Vietnam was, read about all my thoughts in the Reflection post
Off to Hong Kong for a week where I say bye to Phil and hello to my suitcase again! Click to read.
SAFE TRAVELS, DS x
This post is part of the Vietnam Series, click to explore
- Have you been to the Cu Chi tunnels, did you go through them?
- Did you feel safe in Ho Chi Minh?
- What else did you do there?
- Any recommendations if I was to return?
Let me know in the comments below . . .