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Monday, June 23, 2008

Day 3: Ho Chi Minh City

We joined a half day city tour to visit Cu Chi Tunnels. The tunnel was at Cu Chi district which is about one and a half hour from HCMC. We booked it from our hotel and it cost USD 5 per person. I just couldn't believe it to be so cheap!! Last night I saw the brochure of the same tour for Japanese market, it cost USD 35. Just a word of caution, don't bother to buy in advance from the internet, they were all above USD 30. There are also plenty tour operators along the backpackers area (Pham Ngu Lao) offering it which we didn't know until that day.

We had a stop at the lacquer wares factory midway to Cu Chi. It really took the artist a lot of time to finish one piece of art. I saw these lacquer wares at Ben Thanh market too and it wasn't that expensive. Unless they were not handmade anymore then it make sense.

Cu Chi Tunnels
The tunnel is the huge underground maze that used by the Vietnamese guerrillas as their living quarters when they had war against the American. The tunnel had medical facilities, supplies and weapon warehouse, they could even cook inside there!! It was 200 km long and three levels deep with some parts under the American quarters.

The flag of Vietnam and photo of Ho Chi Minh

Booby trap with bamboo spikes

Not as simple as what you see here

A big fat centipede

The tank

Nasty booby traps

We could even try shooting experience with guns like AK-47.

Bullets for sale, 5 for SGD 10.

The making of rice paper. Used mainly for spring rolls.

Dried under the sun

The highlight of the tour was to go inside the tunnel. It is only about 1.5 m high, which is only high enough to squat. Some parts of tunnel is completely pitch dark which made you growing with fears. To make it even harder, there are steps but we couldn't see them. We were in for about 5 minutes, but completely sweating all over. Our legs even went soft when we tried to come up afterwards. (The leg pain only goes away 4 days later, what a work out!) Could you imagine how hard life for them in the past?

This is definitely scarier and harder than go inside the Egypt Pyramid.

Enjoying sweet potato with tea

The old bombs

Com Tam Cali
After came back from Cu Chi, we had our lunch nearby the hotel.

Rice with 7 flavours

Rice noodle with spring rolls and grilled pork

Lime juice, avocado with wheat grass, and sour plum juice

It was another good lunch. :D

Saigon river
We took a cab to Saigon river and continue our sightseeing. Not much to see here.

Dinner cruise

From the riverside we walked back towards the city center. We were going back to that restaurant that was closed yesterday which is the highlight meal of our trip here.

Before the trip, I have already thought our trip will not be complete without going to one of the French restaurant in HCMC. So here we are. :)

Grilled duck confit

Rabbit with red wine

I even thought that this could be the cheapest French restaurant in the world hehehehe... and so far it is...

The food was really great, the duck was so crispy on the outside and soft inside. And as for the rabbit, I could taste that the meat was completely soaked in wine. It was a perfect evening to mark the end of our trip here.

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