Only being a young child when the Vietnam War was raging I had to admit my knowledge about it was very slim. However our guide ‘Kitty Kat’ made sure we enjoyed our day, learned about the area and went away understanding a little more about what the locals called ‘The American War’.
We were collected from our villa in the An Phu District by Les Rives Experiences in an air conditioned vehicle and taken to our speed boat by the Bach Dang Pier on the Saigon River. We enjoyed a breakfast of croissants and coffee whilst Kitty Kat told us little about life both on and by the river. We passed cargo boats heavy with coconuts, waved to families as they sat on the walls overlooking the thoroughfare and watched fishing boats catch dinner. Its a wide piece of water and never still!
It’s a cool way to reach Cu Chi in a part of the world which is humid and sticky for much of the time. Sitting back for over an hour letting the world slide by after the frenetic buzz of HCMC was very welcome!
We were led by our informative guide around the site and he showed us the camouflaged entrances to some of the tunnels, he showed us how easily his slight body could quickly worm its way down and close the lid…..whilst he laughed at the ‘hamburger boys’ us Brits and Americans who would not find it so easy……he who likes to think he is obeyed got stuck at the shoulders!
There are mini villages underground and those that wanted could crouch and crawl along the tunnels to see, otherwise some rooms had been opened out for visitors to see more easily. There were sleeping and eating areas, hospital and sick rooms. The engineering of this underground ‘city’ will impress, but it must have been so uncomfortable in the heat. There are other things to see like tanks and ladies cooking rice pancakes and all of this shaded under trees.
We were then served a beautiful lunch by the river before heading back home. I must admit I wasn’t particularly looking forward to this trip but I can thoroughly recommend it. It gives you a break from the heat, you really do get to see life on the river and I definitely came away feeling a little humbled and a lot more informed about the Vietnam War.
To learn more about Vietnam click on the link.