Vietnam Part 2: Outside Ho Chi Minh

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Mekong Delta: Cai Be-Vinh Long Tour
Click HERE for the tour description and itinerary. The price seems ridiculous online when all the reviews you’d read say it’s not THAT expensive. We booked our tour through the hotel for $15 per person.

The Mekong Delta produces great fruit because of its rich water. A lot of people like living here because of the natural gifts that the river can offer, also there no typhoons here. Life is simple and steady, a pace far from what I’m used to on a daily basis.

Why go for the tour?

If you’re interested in Vietnamese culture and history, go for it. Danix and I appreciate the rural side of a country and Vietnam gave us our fix. It was nice to be out of the city and inhale what the tour could give. We were interested in their way of life and we were able to catch a glimpse of that here.

Be prepared to sit on your fanny; bus travel is 2-3 hours per way. Since we hardly had any sleep whatever bus time we had, Danix and I slept. Even during stopovers when the bus was hot and everyone went down we were snoozing away. Haha

Cai Dai Temple and Cu Chi Tunnel Tour
Click HERE for the tour description and itinerary. The price seems ridiculous online when all the reviews you’d read say it’s not THAT expensive. We booked our tour through the hotel for $7 per person.
This tour had a totally different feel from the Mekong Delta tour. The Cai Dai Temple was built in the 1920s and it is beautiful as well as preserved. I didn’t feel like it was that old. We were informed of the temple etiquette before heading inside. We didn’t have a guide explaining the history and practices, instead we were allowed to roam the prohibited areas. The monks/parishoners (I’m sorry! I don’t know what they’re called!) were used to having tourists around. There was even this lady who, using her body language, told me to take a photo of a certain section in the temple.
It was a calmer temple experience compared to Bangkok. I went outside to take a photo of the façade and immediately a Vietnamese guard came to me. The language barrier kicks in and I thought he was telling me I couldn’t cross the street and the other streets were restricted. On the contrary, he sort of pulls me to a specific spot across the street and motions me to shoot. Winner! Haha He was helping me to get a good shot instead.
From the peace of the temple, we stopped for lunch before heading to the Cu Chi Tunnels. You could feel the pride and hurt of the Vietnamese people when you step into the Cu Chi Tunnel compound. I on the other hand felt something else, I felt impressed. I admire how they defended themselves with very simple yet effective means.
Some people would say their methods are “backward” but that’s how they won and it’s ingenious.

Danix and I tried going through the tunnel, we opted to go last to give us ehem proper breathing air. You don’t have to finish the whole route; there are 4 exit points you can pop out of at any time. I’m not claustrophobic but a wave of it came over us when we were down there. You could feel the air thinning making it a bit hard to breathe. We chose to commit, push ourselves and finish the whole route. It may seem like a small thing to others but that was a proud moment for us. When we surfaced back up, our guide was gone! He left us! It was a good thing the activity after was just a film showing so we were able to catch up with the group.

Why go for the tour?

Beauty, serenity and appreciation for beliefs all rolled into one little temple. We had good weather that day and we were able to get pretty awesome photos. However as the sickness of tours kick in, time is limited so you might feel rushed. I did, a little.

I think you really need to know about a country’s history to properly appreciate your visit to the country. Other people would say the Cu Chi Tunnel tour is depressing but that’s relative.

The rest of my Vietnam posts are here: Part 1, Part 3, Part 4 and Part 5
Looking for a place to stay in HCMC? Check out this link

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  1. I'm so inggit! do you think I'll fit sa tunnel? ahahaha... I really really wanna go back sa Vietnam for this tour...

  2. So this is Kimbee? Hehehe May different types of tunnels, and I think kakasya ka. May mga banyaga pa ngang nagtry kung sila kasya, mas lalo ka na! mwahahaha =)


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