It was around six o'clock when we got on a taxi and headed for Noi Bai Airport. And, from there, we had a smooth trip to Ho Chi Minh City, where we got an airport taxi to take us to the Saigon Mini Hotel which is located in an alley not far from the bus companies.
|We met a new friend as we were getting out of the alley.|
|Lucky Dog. A dog in a restaurant that's loved and won't be served as food.|
We didn't waste any time! We immediately headed to Pham Ngu Lao Street to find an agency that can book our tickets so that we can leave for Cambodia the next day. Armed with our haggling and negotiating skills, we managed to get return tickets for both Ho Chi Minh to Pnom Penh and Pnom Penh to Siem Reap from Sapaco for around 800,000 Dong (USD$40) each. We also managed to get a private tour around the Cuchi Tunnels for under $20 after lunch.
So, we headed for a quick lunch at a nearby Indian Restaurant before getting on a taxi to see the Cuchi Tunnels. When we got there, we realized that the fee we paid at the travel agency was just for the transportation and the guide who was very pleasant, friendly and fluent. It was also very refreshing to have a conversation with a Vietnamese lady who doesn't believe that marriage should be her only aspiration in life. In fact, she was happy to meet an unmarried 30-year-old.
At the entrance of the Cuchi Tunnels, my friend was asked to pay 80,000 dong for the entrance. Apparently, my Asian features and the few Vietnamese words I knew made the girl at the counter think I was Vietnamese. And, she only charged me half the price.
The tour was pretty interesting. We got to crawl into one of the underground tunnels and see the different array of traps used during the war. Being claustrophobic, I couldn't go into the longer tunnels. I tried but as soon as I had a feel of how narrow the tunnels were, I backed out.
|Watch where you step!|
|This is what's waiting for you if you fall in there!|
|Here's our tour guide demonstrating how they hid in these holes to surprise the enemy.|
|Soldiers chilling now that the war's over -- Of course, they're not real!|
At the end of the tour, we decided to shoot some guns. We decided on firing the AK47 and sharing the ten rounds which cost us 260,000 Dong. It was a nice experience which was ruined by the fact that they screwed the rifle on a wall -- A very high wall. Being 5 feet tall, tiptoeing and barely getting a proper aim was a nuisance. I loved feeling the power of the weapon though.
|Would've been nice to fire this one but I've got to stick to my travel budget.|
Quick Travel Tips
Mumtaz Indian Restaurant. 226 Bui Vien Street, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
Lac Hong Tours. 305 Pham Ngu Lao Ward, District 1, HCMC.