Bring it On Saigon!

Cu Chi Travel Blog

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coffee + baguette

I woke up early for the whole-day tour that I booked, grabbed some baguette and waited at the tour office.

 

Then came the guide and asked me to hop in the minivan.  There were seven of us, plus the driver and the guide, a couple of Aussies and a group of friends from Netherlands.  Our journey to Cao Dao Temple and Cu Chi Tunnels began.

 

I was hoping to get some sleep as I was not able to sleep well last night; I blame it on the coffee.  But this guy from Netherlands, Mike, kept asking me sort of questions after learning that I am from Philippines as it was part of his route.

handicapped workers
  I do not think I was such of great help as he was asking info about Palawan and the islands in Cebu that I have not been to.  I kept on telling him to hit the beaches in Mindanao, like in Davao and Camiguin, but he kept on shaking his head.  Later I found out that he was afraid of Mindanao with all the news he saw on TV.  That did not come as a shock for me as many people are afraid of Mindanao (even Pinoys), but I told him that he survived Cambodia and other exotic places in South East Asia, so he will eventually endure the adventures that Mindanao has to offer.  I guess I was not a great talker because he still was not convinced and passed on the Mindanao thing.

 

The trip to Cao Dai Temple in Tay Ninh took about three hours, with a short bladder break and some retail shopping at Handicapped Handicrafts.

Cao Dai Temple

 

It was 12 noon when we arrived in Cao Dai Temple, where we witnessed their ceremony.  The first thing that I noticed was that this temple is so colorful and huge.  Its enormous windows are all inscribed with the Eye.  When I got inside, it was way way more colorful and huge!  The large prayer hall was extensively decorated.

 

I did not know much of the Cao Dai religion, except that their religion is the unification of Buddhism, Taoism, and Confucianism. 

 

The worshippers were separated by gender - men on the right while women on the left.

inside the temple
 Men and women followers wore pure white, making the colorful temple stand out, while those in rank were wearing solid-colored robed, depending on their spiritual allegiance, like yellow for Buddhism, blue for Taoism and red for Confucianism.

 

What I like about the temple is that they let tourists view and even photograph their ceremony.


After witnessing their rites, our journey to Cu Chi Tunnels continued.  I was really excited this time as this was one of the reasons why I went to Saigon.  Though I was never really politically active and not good with history too and only knew about Vietnam War with the movies I have seen when I was growing up, I always wanted to see where and how it all happened �" at the Cu Chi tunnels, the key to survival of the Viet Cong army. 


So there we were at the Cu Chi area.


Our guide explained to us how the Vietnamese guerillas attacked the Americans through the maze of tunnels, leaving the Americans bewildered where the Communist guerrillas came from and where did they go.

stuck sa tunnel
  He also explained to us how the living condition was in the tunnels.  They had command centers, hospitals, sleeping quarters, dining areas and kitchens, and air vents, all built underground.


I later learned that most of the tunnels have collapsed already and just a small portion has been preserved.  And for the benefit of western tourists, a small section of the network of tunnels has been enlarged so that they’ll fit into the tunnels.  The original tunnels were built narrow, making it difficult for the big Americans to crawl into them.

 

The whole group went inside the tunnel, though I did not finish the entire tunnel as I was sweating profusely already and beginning to feel claustrophobic, making it hard for me to breath.  Three of us got out on the first exit while others continued.

 

We were treated with some tea and cassava after our tunnel crawling.


Aside from the tunnels, there are other displays in the tunnel, like native low-tech weapons and booby traps that were effectively used by the guerillas.

boom tarat tarat


There is also a shooting range where visitors can fire a rifle, a real AK-47.  I did not try this one as it’ll cost me USD1 for a single bullet.  :)  Holding the real thing was enough for me.


Tired from the tour, I slept the entire journey back to Saigon.  It was 6 P.M. when I got back into my room, freshened up and went to see Dimple.  I had a taste of Saigon beer at some bar around Pham Ngu Lao area with Dimple and Andy after our dinner at Lotteria.


All in all, it was a fun day �" I learned a new religion, explored the Cu Chi tunnels, hold an AK-47, gulped some
Saigon beer, and met new friends.
lavender_land81 says:
hi, there... may i know where did u book the tour n how much does it cost?

thanks!
Posted on: Nov 02, 2011
ice9van says:
Sureness koyah! :D
Posted on: Aug 11, 2008
andiboi says:
seryoso ka ha' ano balik tayo dun?
Posted on: Aug 11, 2008
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coffee + baguette
coffee + baguette
handicapped workers
handicapped workers
Cao Dai Temple
Cao Dai Temple
inside the temple
inside the temple
stuck sa tunnel
stuck sa tunnel
boom tarat tarat
boom tarat tarat
my baguette
my baguette
@ Handicapped Handicrafts
@ Handicapped Handicrafts
handicapped workers
handicapped workers
@ Handicapped Handicrafts
@ Handicapped Handicrafts
Cao Dai Temple
Cao Dai Temple
Cao Dai Temple
Cao Dai Temple
temple complex
temple complex
Temple complex
Temple complex
temple roofs
temple roofs
Cao Dai Temple
Cao Dai Temple
The Eye.
The Eye.
inside the temple
inside the temple
inside the temple
inside the temple
inside the temple
inside the temple
inside the temple
inside the temple
inside the temple
inside the temple
inside the temple
inside the temple
inside the temple
inside the temple
inside the temple
inside the temple
inside the temple
inside the temple
kakasya kaya?
kakasya kaya?
booby traps
booby traps
booby traps
booby traps
Viet Cong
Viet Cong
destroyed American tank
destroyed American tank
destroyed American tank
destroyed American tank
vintage bombs
vintage bombs
AK-47 bullet
AK-47 bullet
Madaming Tsinelas.
Madaming Tsinelas.
tunnel replica
tunnel replica
Dr. Ho & his flag
Dr. Ho & his flag
tea & cassava
tea & cassava
fried dried squid, Yum!
fried dried squid, Yum!
@ rooftop of Lotteria w/ Z
@ rooftop of Lotteria w/ Z
@ Lotteria
@ Lotteria
w/ Z @ my room
w/ Z @ my room
Cu Chi
photo by: kumikob