Our trip was called Vietnam-Cambodia, but actually, we barely stayed in Ho Chi Minh. We were there since the airport is there...but most of the 7 days we were in Cambodia. We had nights spent to just sleep in a hotel, but the next day, off we go somewhere else! So in our full day in Saigon (or Ho Chi Minh City now)... we went on an organized tour.
Ana trying my hat :)
The Cu Chi Tunnels, according to Wikipedia:
"...are an immense network of connecting underground tunnels located in the Củ Chi district of Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon), Vietnam, and are part of a much larger network of tunnels that underlie much of the country. The Củ Chi tunnels were the location of several military campaigns during the Vietnam War, and were the Viet Cong's base of operations for the Tết Offensive in 1968."
On our way there, our very active tour guide pointed here and there around the views of the city, and we were given trivia and info of Vietnam Culture and even Pop Culture in general. It was an interesting part of the tour, as if we were students again fighting to doze off from a blabbing professor so we won't miss a thing although I was really sleepy then! ;p
Tour guide noted that motorbikes dominating the streets of their country is normal everyday life. This was because of the notably cheaper price of owning a bike and maintaining one, compared to having a car. Also, a busy and hustle-bustle life is part of being a hardworking Vietnamese--who, as the tour guide said, mostly have 2 jobs.
When we arrived in the Cu Chi Tunnels, we had film showing first. Then we got to roam around the vicinity and saw these:
Which was actually a hiding place before, during the US-Vietnam War
Trap! Spikes disguised with levered grass.
The tour guide, who was also a professor at night--that's why he has lots of things to share, and was good in relaying info.
Tried out the shooting ranges! :D Every shot was scary and deafening! ;p
We also went for the optional part of the tour of entering a loooong underground tunnel...a hideaway and passageway that reminded me Pan's Labyrinth! ;p The makers were geniuses! It was super tiring to walk squatted for roughly less than 10 minutes, and it was sooo hot inside!
After lunch, we also went to more tours with a different guide:
Last stop: Post Office. Ana was super tired already, haha!
We saw a Catholic church near the post office. It was beautiful! :) I wished to visit it, but it was closed that time. =/
We went on our own and left the tour-group to check out the nearby Russian Market. :)
It was a long and tiring hot day, but I have to say that this tour made me appreciate Vietnam more. I saw a Caucasian on our museum tour who was teary eyed after seeing the photos of innocent children and women whose conditions were terribly affected by the war. They're somewhat similar to my country, not only on physical essence, but how we value our freedom. Vietnam fought its way against giants to gain its independence. It is something that I look up to in this country and its people.