Vietnam – A Trip to Cu Chi Tunnels
In the evening we arrive at the airport in Ho Chi Minh City (formerly known as Saigon). We are already busy only to lodge for a quick dinner in the busy streets of this largest Vietnamese city and sleep. The next day a very exciting war trip is waiting for us - we go to the Cu Chi tunnels.
We ride a ona bus in the northwest direction of Ho Chi Minh Citywhich is a journey about 70 miles long. We intend to reach Cu Chi where the former underground war tunnels are. These tunnels were built by the Vietcong (National Front of Liberation of South Vietnam) during the Vietnam War (the Second Indochinese War). The construction took place between 1955 and 1975 at the border with Laos and Cambodia. The US and other countries here in the south have fought against the proliferation of Communism from North Vietnam, which was backed by China and the USSR. The conflict ended with the departure of the US Army from Vietnam, which then became a socialist state. During the war, civilian casualties,environmental destruction, and so on, happened, and chemical weapons were used as well.
The tunnel system itself is about 250 kilometers long, but only 120 kilometers. Tunnels run from Ho Chi Minh City to Cambodia. The tunnels provided a shelter for the Vietcong, which led a guerrilla war against the United States. They reach up to 8 meters in depth and besides, there are also large rooms - nursing homes, canteens, warehouses, etc. The air flowed into the tunnels with inconspicuous vents in the jungle. In addition, hidden traps have been created throughout the camp against the enemy, who, when he stepped where he did not, triggered a certain mechanism - for example, landing on the ground on erect sharp nails.
The whole area is very touristy today. There is one tour after the other, the place is beautifully landscaped and the tunnels themselves are now a major tourist attraction. We walk around war props, ammunition stores, rubber sandals. We see examples of hidden traps, we also watch a short war movie and taste a "specialty" from the wartime diet. The main attractions are the tunnels themselves. It is quite difficult for the European to enter the tunnels. We go through all but one, whose entrance is really narrow, but it can be connected with another tunnel. Underground rooms are quite spacious and incredible how they built it here. The tunnels are definitely not suitable for claustrophobic, as there are not many places here, there is noisiness, there is a bit of breath, and it's really hot. But this is an authentic experience, and if you are heading south of this beautiful country, definitely go out here.
At the end of the tour, there are plenty of souvenir shops and an area where firearms can be fired for a fee. We share an AK-47 and as a souvenir we take empty cartridges. These are then successfully taken to our airport when flying to Bohemia (fortunately, without major delays and difficulties). So if you're there, do not buy empty AK magazines as a souvenir.
GPS: 11°08'38.5"N 106°27'48.7"E
Text and photos: Veronika Schubertová
Someone loves it. Someone swears to not to come again. There is nothing in between. I am with the first group. From the first day on in Saigon, a hectic city, and I turned into a side street. We are about to introduce you to a new series where we tell you about interesting places in the city and the country. First of all, let’s talk some important facts about the country.
Da Nang (a city almost in the geographic center of Vietnam) is largely unknown. Which is unfortunate. An average tourist usually passes by there in a taxi on his way from the airport to his favorite Hoi An hotel…. I spent three weeks in Da Nang. And the city got on the list of my favorite places in Southeast Asia (right next to Chiang Mai). In Top Gear, Jeremy Clarkson called the old road to Hue as the “abandoned fragment of perfection.” I absolutely agree.
Omnipresent honking, grandmas pulling bikes with flowers, Vietnamese sitting on small chairs, food, bikes, wires, bikes, French cafes, bikes with food, bikes with chairs, bike transporting part of another bike… Welcome to Hanoi! It is a city crazy beyond believe. You either love it or you hate it eternally.
Today we are about to enjoy our last amazing trip in Vietnam, we originally intended to visit the Ba Vi National Park, but for time constraints we had to change our program because we need to reserve at least two days for this park. So we had a hotel counseling and planned a trip to a place that was not even mentioned in our book guide, although it is very popular for tourists (even for local people). Today, we go to visit the largest Vietnamese pagoda Bai Dinh and then explore the beautiful complex Trang An.
Ha Long Bay is one of Vietnam's most famous and popular tourist destinations. It is located in Tonkin Bay in the South China Sea in Quang Ninh Province. Since 1994 it has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Ha Long means the place where the dragon descends into the sea. It is also said that thanks to the dragon there were created interesting limestone rocks from the sea, which attract many tourists every year.
After a tough night-train trip, we arrive early in the morning to Da Nang City, where we do not stay very much. First we head to perhaps the most beautiful Vietnamese city - the Hoi An lantern, from which we go for a trip to the Marble Mountains, Vietnamese Ngũ Hành Sơn.
Nha Trang is practically the most famous tourist resort in Vietnam, not so much for some landmarks, this coastal city of Khanh Hoa province is famous for its seven kilometers long sandy beach with adjacent islands. The city of approximately 392,000 inhabitants and this number is growing steadily.
The very first day in Asia went very quickly, and in the evening we moved to a cozy family hotel. The environment is friendly, staff gives advice with a smile, they recommend you meals, trips, help with transportation or you can buy the fruit you want. At least first, before you get by, you will certainly appreciate the help.
Upon an hour of waiting for a visa I was free to explore the capital of the country I really looked forward to exploring. First of all, I somehow let a cab driver to make a 300 crown rip off. Sometimes things like this happen. But honestly – this happens in Prague as well. Aboard the airplane I could see streets where millions of bikes stream in all directions. And “down” here the traffic is even more crazy. If I compare Ho Chi Minh city to Bangkok, a city of comparable size, in the former there are much less traffic jams. One must add that there is no subway, or rail that would go above the ground. It seems that high taxes on car is working.
As much as I hate to travel by bus, I would repeat the ride from Nha Trang and Da Lat. The former is the city of two hundred thousand. It is the most popular spot to spend honeymoon at in Vietnam. It is situated at 1500 meters in the Central Highlands. You can enjoy a number of great views while on the road. And it gets even better on bike …
Do you think which destination is the right one for you? Where is something interesting and unusual? Where you can find beautiful landscape, excellent cuisine, and pleasant locals? Well, I know where to go. My favorite place is... Vietnam and I will try to convince you in the next few articles that even for you this is the right choice.
When visiting south Vietnam, go to the Mekong river delta. The river originates in China and runs across five countries. It is however in Vietnam where it enters the sea. The area lures in tourists who may experience boat rides here, a floating market, or see interesting life of the locals on the riverbank. Its brown color is not appealing for locals use it to their everyday activities – washing, cleaning etc. There are no dangerous animals in the river so you can swim in it.
There are many places how to travel in the country. I have prepared for you a small summary with some recommendations.
Upon our arrival and first impressions of Vietnam, we take a tour of Hanoi. The guide first takes us to Ba Dinh Square, which is famous especially for Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum.
We imagined the visit to the lake as relaxing time after quite a busy day. The reality was seriously different from our expectations. I have remembered the first impression until today. With my daughter and son, we dodged through the local traffic and it was not really easy. The flood of motorcycles was not to stop. We naively thought that someone might slow down or even stop. Don't expect that. Just walk to the other end of the road. And be brave.
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Phu Quoc is the name of the largest Vietnamese island situated in the Gulf of Thailand close to Cambodia. Islands in the Gulf of Thailand are beautiful this one is no difference. The island is mere 50 kilometers long (from north to south). In the north the island is wide and it narrows down towards the south. Majority of the island is covered in green but this will not be the case in the future. The island features beautiful sand and palms. Who would love this?
I have always longed to see a large desert with sand dunes. However, neither in Europe nor in Southeast Asia (the places where I spend most of my time) is one. Once I first saw pictures of Mui Ne, Vietnam I knew for sure that I want to go there. Okay, it is not a desert per se but sand dunes there are huge.
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