Because we love big tourist bus tours to sights, we decided to do the day trip to Cao Dai and Cu Chi tunnels. They picked us up from our hotel by walking. Someone came and walked with us to the bus – classic. The bus was very nice, we got some food and water, there was air-conditioning and a very enthusiastic guide who talked about history and other random things the whole way. After an hour or so, we stopped at a surprise, yet obligatory stop at a handicapped art factory. We were all shuffled off the bus, through the factory, through the store with many other tour buses. Ah Vietnam.
After about 2 hours, we arrived at the Cao Dai temple. You have to enter on one side and are not allowed to take a photo of yourself with a believer in a robe. You have to take your shoes off and once you want to leave, you must leave the building in a circular fashion. You can’t cut through but need to spiral out into the heat. Very cool to see, I did not know about this religion before.
There is a balcony from where you can watch the prayer ceremony, which happens 4 times a day. It was very interesting to see.
Afterwards we went to the tunnels. The guide explained everything and it was interesting to see these very clever pieces of engineering in person. They used termite mounds to disguise ventilation shafts and built the tunnels deep enough to reach the Mekong river. That way the tunnels could not easily flood. Of course I had to try the manhole. You can literally disappear in seconds.
Emma going through the tunnels. They closed the really tight tunnels due to too many incidents with tourists. These tunnels are now reconstructed and very easy to navigate. It was just very, very hot in there. We went through all of the ones available to tourists. The Cu Chi tunnel system is 121 km long.
A little tacky, but we enjoyed the reconstructions of how the soldiers and the civilians lived together and used these tunnels to survive the war. A very worth while day trip and at $8 return the bus is much easier and I don’t think it is worth doing this trip yourself.
After saying no in Cambodia, we decided to shoot some rounds here. If you want to do it, it is probably better in Cambodia, cheaper, less rules and restrictions. Still a good introduction for Emma, but training does not stop here…