2. Day Trip from Ho Chi Minh City to Cu Chi Tunnels
No trip to Vietnam is complete without visiting at least some of the many landmarks, memorials and museums that help to explain and show the horrors of the Vietnam War. One of the most memorable and fascinating ways to understand this conflict is with a
visit from Ho Chi Minh City to the Cu Chi Tunnels. This elaborate underground system, which boasts over 120 miles of tunnels, was where countless Vietnamese lived, often for months at a time, during both the French occupation of Vietnam in the 1940s and the Vietnam War afterwards.
This half-day tour begins in Ho Chi Minh City, where you’ll be picked up and transported to the city of Cu Chi. There will be a maximum of 16 people on your air-conditioned coach, so you’ll have the chance to speak with your guide about the history of Cu Chi and ask questions about its development. Despite the enormous scale and sophistication of the tunnels, almost all were built by hand with simple tools during the 1940s and beyond. There was no large-scale equipment, bulldozers or modern machines we might think of to construct such an enormous underground community.
Upon arrival, it’s time to head underground. Much of the tour is subterranean, letting you get a real feel for what life was like for the thousands that lived and worked in these tunnels in decades past. You’ll hear stories about parents who gave birth to children underground, got married underground, slept underground and even attended makeshift underground schools. Exploring these tunnels, and seeing the tremendous hardships faced by the residents of Cu Chi, can shed light onto Asian conflicts and help you better understand their struggles. Back above ground, your bus will be waiting to return you to Ho Chi Minh City, a ride that is just over one hour long.
1. Day Trip from Ho Chi Minh City to Mekong Delta
When visiting Vietnam, Ho Chi Minh City is often a major destination, and a worthy one. However, this bustling city is only a glimpse into urban Vietnamese life. By exploring beyond the city limits, you’ll have a more authentic look at local culture. A day trip from Ho Chi Minh City to Mekong Delta is a fantastic way to get to know a more rural side to Vietnam, and along the way you’ll get to see everything from local bee farms to traditional fishing villages.
Meet at Saigon Opera House to board an air-conditioned bus leaving Ho Chi Minh City and heading toward My Tho, a former naval base on the Mekong River. Once in My Tho, the method of transport will switch from bus to long-tailed speedboat. As you begin the journey along the Mekong River, your guide will offer a history of the region and the importance of the Mekong Delta for agriculture as well as development. At the first stop, a lush island, you’ll have the chance to sample tropical fruit. Then it’s back on the boat to the next island, where locals make coconut candy that you can also taste. Tour the candy factory and see how modernization is blending with local life.
As you continue along the river, be sure to take plenty of photos. In addition to the scenic landscapes, there will be several local villages. The way of life is a total contrast to the hustle and bustle of Ho Chi Minh City. The next stop takes you out of the speedboat and into a small motorized cart, the perfect means of transport for a tour of a local bee farm in Xe Loi. Then, it is deeper into the river delta on a rowing boat, bringing you a truly unforgettable experience of the Mekong River. For lunch, it’s authentic cuisine at the Diem Phuong Restaurant, after which you can relax and enjoy the ride back into Ho Chi Minh City.