Vietnam - Our Ho Chi Min City Tours

Vietnam - Our Ho Chi Min City Tours

The first stop on our recent Vietnamese holiday from south to north was Ho Chi Min City or Saigon as the locals like to call it, the capital of Vietnam.  We stayed here for two nights at the beautiful Sofitel motel, where we were upgraded to a suite on the 20th floor as they were doing some renovations.  A fabulous start to our holiday.

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I have never visited a city that was so busy.  The traffic is crazy, with most people opting to drive Vespers (or Honda as they call them) rather than cars, which are extremely expensive as the government adds 100% tax onto the cost.  

One of the main reasons for visiting Ho Chi Min was that our son James wanted to do the tunnel tour in Cu Chi, which is part of the famous tunnels used by the communist guerrillas during the Vietnam war.  The tunnel network stretches over 250km and extends to three levels underground.  As I am claustrophobic, I opted not to go, but Simon and James went through these tiny tunnels.  Their legs were sore the next day from squatting their way through. 

My husband Simon coming out of the tunnel.

My husband Simon coming out of the tunnel.

I had no idea of the hardships, courage, determination and terror these people went through.  The tunnels were hand dug at night with a simple pick hammer and cane baskets were used to remove the debris.  The top level was for fighting, but also included kitchens and dining areas.  It is astonishing to know that everything was built underground, including the ovens, tables and chairs.  The second level was for resting, and the third level was only for short periods due to lack of ventilation as so far down, but it kept them safe from the bombs.

To ventilate the tunnels, holes led up to the surface level, but they were made to look like termite mounds, so they were invisible to the Americans.  The Viet Con only cooked at 4 am in the morning, so the smoke wasn’t visible either.

As we were only in Saigon for one full day, we didn’t want to waste a minute, so in the afternoon we caught a taxi to the war museum.  Upon arrival, we saw original helicopters and planes used by the Americans.  Inside is wall to wall images and information on the war, which was great to learn, but also sad.  The effects of Agent Orange on the Vietnamese people have been long-lasting. To see a room full of images of these effects was quite traumatic and something I will never forget.

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Then that night we experienced the nightlife the way the locals do.  We joined a group for a Vesper scooter foodie night out on the town. It was exciting to zoom past the famous must-see sights of Ho Chi Min City while in the bustling traffic.

The tour commenced with drinks at a café, then throughout the night we sampled a variety of food and drinks at two local restaurants with some of Saigon’s best authentic local cuisine. We also went to a Vietnamese style coffee shop with special live music before wrapping up the evening at a fun music bar where the new generation of Vietnamese unwind and flaunt their unique styles.  And do they know how to party!  I had a ball singing and dancing with the locals. A wonderful way to finish our time in Ho Chi Min City.

With my wonderful vesper driver, Tuan.

With my wonderful vesper driver, Tuan.

Carolyn Rowland is a qualified NLP Master Therapist, Advanced Practitioner of Matrix Therapies, Time Line Therapist, Practitioner of Hypnotherapy, has a Diploma for Business and Life Coaching and A Professional Image Stylist.  Carolyn is happily married to her husband Simon, and raised four beautiful children, who are now young adults and a teenager.

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