Day 4: Cu Chi Tunnel, City Tour, Water Puppet Show

Evening of Day 3: Arrival in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
The shuttle service I hired from Nguyen Khang picked me up in Tan Son Nhat International Airport. Come on, it's my first time to travel alone in a foreign country, so I made this safe and convenient for me. Besides, $12 for the pick up is reasonable enough.

Chyng Reyes from MALINA - ano daw?! 0_o

I arrived at around 10pm in the famous backpackers' area in District 1. I saw a lot of different nationalities around. I headed towards Nguyen Khang Hotel to check in. I chose that place because of the good feedbacks from our fellow Pinoys. And it didn't disappoint me. Among my 4 accommodations in this SEA trip, my room in Nguyen Khang is my favorite. I got a private room with a double bed, aircon, fan, mini-fridge, en suite bathroom, free wifi and free breakfast, all for $15/night. The hotel is clean, well-maintained, and quite new.

private room for me (yey, pwede magkalat!)

en suite bathroom

Nguyen Khang Hotel

I talked to the receptionist and booked myself a Cu Chi Tour ($5) for the following day, and a bus ticket to Siem Reap, Cambodia ($20) for the day after the next. Yes, everything is rated in dollars.

After that I strolled outside the hotel alley and looked for a bar and resto where I can eat. It's almost midnight yet many establishments are still open. The place where I settled served different beers from different countries. Ex. Singha from Thailand, Tiger from Singapore, Angkor from Cambodia. And yes there's San Miguel from the Philippines of course.

Asia' different beers - this is cute!

I know I should try the Vietnamese Pho pero di ko pa feel that night. I need a rice meal. Hihi

Seafood Fried Rice

Surprisingly good. The serving is generous and the taste is just right. Enough of the overflowing spices and flavors. I need a simple dish this time.

Day 4: Cu Chi Tour, Ho Chi Minh city tour, Water Puppet Show
I went down the common breakfast area and found no one there. Seemed everyone's still sleeping. Why? Because it's still very early. Well, no one told me the time in Vietnam is 1 hour delayed of us. Maaga pa naman ako gumising, kainis. Haha

local bread, jam, egg, coffee, and fruit juice

After breakfast, the receptionist informed me that the coordinator of the trip was already waiting for me outside. I followed him and there I met the other backpackers. This is the shuttle bus that will bring us to Cu Chi.

shuttle bus to Cu Chi

Chi, our local tour guide, told us random trivia about their country. He said it's only been 4 years since they got a cellular site and use cellphones in Vietnam. He also said they cant complain much, because if they do, they'll be in trouble. That's why they don't bother if Facebook or any other social networking sites are prohibited in Vietnam (you cant access FB here).

The shuttle bus stopped in a local handicraft and manufacturer shop. I got very amazed in what they are doing. Right there I agreed that the Vietnamese are skilled.

lovely hand made crafts

and all of these are made up of egg shells

We arrived in Cu Chi tunnel site and paid for the entrance fee. We were instructed to watch a video presentation first.

Cu Chi Tunnel is 70 km from Ho Chi Minh City in the Northwest. It is miniature battle versatile of Cu Chi’s military and people during the 30-year struggle longtime and fierce to fight invading enemy to receive independence, freedom for motherland. It also is the special architecture lying deeply underground with many stratum, nooks and crannies as complex as a cobweb, having spares for living, meeting and fighting with total lengths over 200 km.

Honestly I have no idea what this trip is all about. I didn't even know there's a war between America and Vietnam. To be able for the Vietnamese people to survive, they created a tunnel and almost 16,000 people lived underground for 40years.

Now why did they create a tunnel with just a small opening? Simply because small holes can only fit small people. Therefore, American soldiers can't.. Ang talino! Ü

this very small hole is the entrance to the tunnel

Chi, our guide, showed off he can fit

Being the only Asian guest in the tour, I volunteered to try it first. I know I can effortlessly fit too.

Asians can easily fit!

But the westerners can't... They have big body builds.

see, he got stuck

Not only that, the Vietnamese managed to cook without smoke, breathe normally, take a bath, and almost do everything underground. Vietnamese have simple yet brilliant ideas! They also use traps like these:

this will really hurt

This tour is very interesting. Never miss Cu Chi Tour when you get to visit Vietnam. Indeed, this is the trademark for my 4th day of Backpacking SEA.

Day 4: Cu Chi Tunnel, Vietnam

westerners: hey, what's with the 4 fingers? is that the popular hand sign in your country?
me: (smiling) no, it's my 4th day of backpacking.
pero sa totoo lang eto gusto ko sabihin: tse! pakealam mo! 0_o

As souvenir, I think this one's the most famous.

drink it 3x a day

Cu Chi Tunnel

We returned back to the city and we're dropped somewhere the backpacker's area at 2pm. I decided to have lunch at Pho24. Why here? I just need a place with wifi. I dont have any idea how to get back to my hotel. I need to search for the location. Hihi

Vietnamese Pho and Spring Rolls

This noodle soup has a distinct taste. Tastes far different from Chinese and Japanese ramen. The Spring Rolls come perfect with this Pho. I enjoyed my 1st real Vietnamese meal.

Moving on..
Para maging proud naman sakin sina Nina, Jamie from GT, and Shyn from PEX (thank you ladies), I didn't' join any group for the city tour. I visited the landmarks alone. I had a map in hand of course. It's safe, but it's just very hard to cross the streets. Why? motorcycles are everywhere!

1:1 yata ang ratio ng motorycle dito

I visited Saigon Square and Ben Thanh market place. I bought some items but these don't include a TNF bag. I realized I don't need one.

Next, I walked towards the Notre Dame Cathedral. The late 19th century cathedral has a neo-Romanesque facade with twin towers. There's an ongoing mass inside and as respect I didn't take any photos. After all, there's nothing really fancy inside the church. The churches' interiors in Intramuros are more charming.

Notre Dame Cathedral

a photoshoot outside the church

Next is the Reunification Palace.

Reunification Palace

And the Central Post Office.

Central Post Office

Since Im alone, I don't have any photos of myself in front of these landmarks. For the entire Vietnam trip, I only have 2 photos taken in the Cu Chi tour. Ü

Moving on, I ended my Do-It-Yourself city tour with the Water Puppet Show. Ticket is VND80,000 (about P185).

Water Puppet Show

the show's about to start

the musical team

Traditional Daily Life in Rural Villages

Heroic Legends and the Vietnamese Spirit

the finale

and the people behind these puppets

Water Puppetry and Vietnamese Traditional Music are new to me. I may not understand the songs and the whole story (songs and music are in Vietnamese language), but I was entertained. Actually I prefer this show's not translated to English, for sure everyone in that room wants to see the original version of this traditional show.

Water Puppet Show

For dinner, I settled at Highlands Coffee to taste Vietnam's coffee.

at Highlands Coffee

I don't really drink coffee so I don't know how to rate their version. What I like more is their coffee cheesecake.

Since I still have a lot of Vietnamese Dongs in hand, I had a manicure+pedicure in a nearby salon. Pretty cheap!

Btw, for this trip, I showcased being a Pinay through wearing this shirt.

proudly Pinay ♥

Total expenses in Vietnam (including bus fare to Siem Reap) is $107 (P4,900)

Next entry: 14 hours overland to Siem Reap, Cambodia

49 responses:

Chyng said...

Bear with my ultra slow blogging habit ha.. Ü

docgelo said...

some of the places in your photos are familiar because my folks went to vietnam already. i am definite that i won't fit into that tunnel! but i am sure gabby and tina (and I) will absolutely like the water puppet show... so cute.

yayyadanda said...

wow! malapit na sa kalahati.. =)

Meedge said...

di ako kasya doon kahit asian ako! if i were a vietnamese during the war, i wouldn't have survived, i guess:P

aajao said...

very nice post. :)
bakit parang laging mas malinis ang ibang bansa kaysa bansa natin? :(

J said...

Congrats! $107 for the entire trip? Impressive! :)

jimbo said...

kiko, parang nakita ko na ung sa water puppet show in one of the roadblocks sa amazing race kaso nakalimutan ko na kung anong season. ;)

ok din yung sa tunnel pero i think ulo lang mgkasya sakin dun. :)

mishi said...

I wonder kung magkakasya kmi ni gil sa tunnel!lol

Now I'm craving for some pho! :)

rob said...

.. what's with the four fingers daw?! haha. pampa-ano kaya yung souvenir na yun?

Dea said...

Ay, talaga, you weren't able to access Facebook? The computer in our hostel lobby had Facebook naman.

My boyfriend enjoyed the Cu Chi tunnels kase nakabaril siya ng M16, hehe. If I ever go back there, never ko nang uulitin to go through the 100-meter long tunnel, puro gasgas knees and elbows ko pag-ahon.

And oh, I would have died in the Vietnam war. Di ako makababa diyan sa tunnel na binabaan ko, di kasya boobs ko, haha!

khantotantra said...

Nag-enjoy ako dun sa butas. grabe, anliit nun. petites lang magkakasya. astig.

dong ho said...

the water puppet show that's something that i missed or decided not to vist wehn we were there. you had a great takeof the show. ive seen some photos of it but are usually blurry.

i love notre dame and there's always a hoto session when you're there. i believe it's their favorite spot.

and i like the welcome sheet... no one has ever done that to me. lol

cu chi.... one of my favorite spot there.

gillboard said...

nice. ang ganda ng vietnam. hay. syempre inggit nanaman ako... minsan nga chyng, pag may ganyan ka, isama mo ako. hehehe

happyivy said...

now i know the nailpoLish mystery,whehe
nice chyng!,,looking forward to the SEA 5th entry..wii!

pusang kalye said...

kompleto---aba aba---sa 4k me gud offd na , me puppet show pa. bilib. ang liit naman ng butas na yun? naku---di ako magkakasya dyan. lalo na wife

pusang kalye said...

sabagay---cheap ang vietnam...and that's what's ood about it. you get more value for your money talaga.

Chyng said...

you will fit. trust me. basta asian, kasya!

natatamad na nga ako. pero ikaw magtuloy.. hehe

girl, kasya ka trust me..

well there are some parts na malinis, pero parang pinas din yung iba. thanks for dropping by.

thanks for all your help.

really? ano yung task sa roadblock? ang hirap hanapin ng place na yan, ginabi ako kakalaklad..

tara lets!

didnt bother to ask. ang creepy. hehe

Chyng said...

intermittent lang, pero mostly blocked. true, ang dirty sa tunnel, madudumihan ako. LOL, natawa ko sa boob part..

kasya ka dun. basta asian, surely kasya..

i know vietnam series ka na.. abangan ko ang pagoda and super detailed posts mo. ang bilis mo magblog ngayon ah. bagong buhay?

sakto lang, pero ansaya magpunta kasi everything's cheap. go join ka!

hi ivy, yeah kelangan ng nice nails a photos eh.. hihi

sumbong kita kay teresa.. Ü

Jepoy said...

hindi ako kasya sa butas :-(

journeyingjames said...

yung cu chi lng di ko napuntahan sa vietnam.

yayyadanda said...

kaya mo yan! :) go go! :)

dong ho said...

hahaha... bagong buhay. mabilis lang pag weekend at monday.

hindi ko pa nga nasisimulan ang pagsult sa vietnam. yon na nga ang susunod.

kg said...

ang ganda!

first, your room is nice! ganun talaga pag backpacker's hotel dami nationalties, and the people are much open to conversation with other people.

second, i love the stories! lalo na yung sa "hole". mukhang di ako kakasya dyan! he he!

third, this post is so "cultural"...that's why i love it! may natutunan na naman ako!

i want to go to vitenam and cambodia!!! hu hu!

WeekendHaven said...

gosh, I don't think I'd fit. hehe. :)

Photo Cache said...

wow, you made a steal with that accommodation. i wouldn't mind staying in a hostel if I get a room like yours.

you weren't born during the vietnam war. go watch all the old chuck norris' movies MISSING IN ACTION, that's about Vietnam war and some of scenes were filmed in the Philippines.

i love Vietnamese coffee :)

no worries, by experience i know how difficult it is to post travel experiences. kita mo nga i am not done with my november 2009 europe posting eh, malapit na matapos agosto :D

lechua said...

haha funny how u guys could easily fit in the hole.... but the bigger sized guys got stuck. gosh but what if one could get in but not out... oh well... din realise u were only spending a day in ho chin minh.

Chyng said...

uhm dibale madirty naman sa ilalim eh, wag mo na itry.. hihi

sayang, yan ang highlight.


abangna ko ang vietnam series mo, mas informative yun for sure..

thanks kg. i so love (and envy) you europe and US trips..

you will fit. trust me..

grabe nov2009 pa yung binoblog mo ngayon? hehe so updated pa pala ako ng lagay na to.. hihi

haha that is so unlucky guy!
lucky us petite girls. Ü

The Nomadic Pinoy said...

Pareho pala tayo Chyng, pwedeng pwede na magkasya doon sa entrance ng tunnel. I did this too some years ago and felt the extremely narrow tunnel claustrophobic.

Allen said...

Kasya ang dalawang Allen sa butas na yan. haha.

so anong nagyari sa mga di nagkasya ate chyng?

naiintriga ako sa mga Reunification ek ek na yan. Yan din ang issue sa Korea. So anong meron sa Reunification Palace? Museum? Office?

Biyaheng Pinoy said...

Mukang di ako magkakasya sa maliit na butas na yun. :)


very cool souvenier (yung snake)! Meron niyan dito pero scorpion... Might go to that place this weekend, basta once I have it, I'll send U one.


Che said...

lalo ako napapaisip to go on with our KL trip, I'll copy your it bf. hehe! *applause*

Anonymous said...

kagutom ang mga food! ako kasya ko sa tunnel for sure yun eh kung di ako tataba this year :P

JeffZ said...

uyy I almost missed this post.. hehe what really reminds of Vietnam is the Miss Saigon.. there's more to learn from their cultureas what we have here in Pinas.. :) dun ba sa entrance ng tunnel, may way pa rin talaga dun sa tunnel na tinirhan nila during the war? curious lang.. hehe :) waiting for day 5!.. hehe nga pala, trender ka raw chyng dati?.. kaya pala yan ang title ng blog mo.. khanto, porkchop and me are trenders! what a small world.. hehe :)

pamatayhomesick said...

bakit di ako makapag komento...

miss lang kita chyng!

Travel said...

wow! sayang sana ako Chyng! sa susunod yayain mo ako ha? Kaso di ako magkakasya sa butas lols!

Traveliztera said...

Congratulations Chyng! You just won an award from me! :D You can claim it here:

Congratulations! :D

nina said...

'teh, Asian ako pero di ako magkakasya dun sa butas na yun XD

Talagang may special mention pa no? Touched naman ako! Hahahahaa. Dali lang naman kasi mag DIY sa HCMC.. magkakalapit lang sila!

Another thing, pansin ko sa Vietnam eh parang paramihan sila ng puedeng ilagay sa kwarto! Kaya panalo mag stay dun, mura na pero panalo ang rooms!

Calvin said...

hi chyng, why didnt you do the mekong river thingy? i think were gonna stay din dun sa hotel mo.

pam said...

Hi Chyng, may I know what tour company you booked with for your Cu Chi tour? Ok ba yung bus nila? Kasi we are considering going by boat. Thanks a lot! Great blog.

Chyng said...

^ msPam from mt.pulag?
anyway.. i booked a slot from the hostel where Im staying. ok kasi sinundo ako sa hostel mismo. the shuttles bus is comfy. yung boat di ko na try.
yung isang backpacker, he did shuttle bus papunta, tapos nagboat nung pabalik. additional $5 or $10 yata..

Anonymous said...

this is really helpful since i will be backpacking with my sister in vietnam - cambodia next week :)

did you book hotel in vietnam ahead?


Chyng said...

^ hello!

obviously YES. i made an arrangement for airport pickup right? hehe

have fun in your trip! Ü

alwaysxiayou said...

ayyy oo nga. LOL. sorry :)) i am "anonymous" by the way. i am fan already of the blog. shared it to a lot of friends esp your adventure in ilocos.

Chyng said...

^ you're from cebu pa, nice!
basta pag decided ka na, make reservations agad, malay mo makahingi pa kayo discount sa guesthouse. ;)

Anonymous said...

i really liked your blogsite its amazing well it gives me now more courage to travel solo nxt year in Vietnam ;)

Im fabjam! said...

hi chyng!tnx pala sa tip mo abt exchanging our peso to dollars when we went to kl.we heed ur advice.ü. n d2 uli ako to ask querries abt vietnam.un room rate ba ng tinuluyan mo per person? said...

^ hello!
rate is per room na. =)

Tripadora said...

nice entry chyng! kasama din sa listahan ko ang cuchi at ang water puppet :)

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