May 23, 2014


Ho Chi Minh is known  for a lot a things. They must have the record of highest number of motorbikes. Every corner of the city is full of these two wheel vehicles. 

May 21, 2014


Included in our tour of the Cu Chi Tunnel is a visit to a souvenir store. The Nam Quoc Handicrafts  store  by handicapped was founded in 1976 and is a member of the Vietnam Association for Invalids and Disabilities Enterprises.

May 9, 2014


A visit to Vietnam would not be complete without seeing the famous Cu Chi Tunnel. 
a diagram showing the intricacy of the  tunnel

The  multi-level underground  tunnels   served as refuge for Vietnamese during the French occupation and  Vietnam war.  To dug the elaborated underground chamber, they use their bare hands with the aid of simple tools. 
hole in red circle is just one of the many air ventilations
the small entrance
  There are two underground tunnel complex sites  to choose from:  one in Ben Duoc and the other is in Ben Dinh.  (pic 6765, 6766)
the final control before entering the jungle
this is the way to the tunnels
 Ben Duoc underground tunnel complex was the headquarters of  Saigon-Gia Dinh Regional Party and Military Command. While the Ben Dinh underground tunnel complex was the headquarters of the Cu Chi district Party. It is also the base for accommodations,dining and  meetings. Ben Dinh is  where most foreign visitors go  and that's where our group  went. 

Ben Duoc is farther than Ben Dinh but the tunnels here are part of the original network. Ben Dinh tunnels on the other hand  were made for tourist purposes. But the tours they offer are exactly the same: tunnel tour, sample of booby traps, demo of how they lived beneath the soil and eating boiled tapioca.
our group tour guide demonstrating how the trap works
boiled tapioca
  There are air ventilation, may also use as entrances, that visitors can try to go in for picture taking. The openings are so small that I  highly advise not to try if you have a big body structure. We had one companion who went in effortless   but it needed two men to help her out. 
foot size tunnel entrance

Spread in the middle of the forest aside from the underground chambers are samples of booby traps ,  military tanks they actually used against their enemies, a bomb crater and life size displays depicting their lives during the war and a glimpse of their make shift clinic and  kitchen. 


Mid way through the tour is the firing range. Any visitor who wishes to fire a gun will just buy bullets at the souvenir shop. Refreshments are also available here. There are some stalls that  sells rice papers, slippers made of car tire and camouflage pharapernalia. 
firing range
souvenir shop inside the complex

slippers made of car tires
  The climax of the tour would be the tunnel tour wherein visitors were allowed to go inside and experience crawling  the tunnels on their own. It was scary at first because it was so dark and you can't see where you are going.It's like you were in a maze but you can't see anything around you. You have to find your way out by crawling.   There are exits  along the tunnels though  if one wishes to cut short his/her tunnel tour. The first of the three segments was only a few hundred meters but its    already enough to  give you body ache especially on your waist  and it  will make you really  sweat.  
entrance to the tunnel complex
  Before the tour ends, every participants are gathered in one hut for film viewing. The short video clip shows the lives of the locals during the war and how they were able to built and lived in the underground tunnels.
film viewing hut
this jackfruit tree will surely catch your attention
   To visit Cu Chi tunnel from Ho Chi Mihn, buy your tickets at  the many travel agents along Phnam Ngu Lao street.The tour  costs from $5-10 depending which of the two sites you want to visit plus if there are side trips included. The Bin Dinh tour usually includes a visit to the handicrafts souvenir shop by handicapped locals.