Ho Chi Minh City: Full Day Cu Chi and Ho Chi Minh City Tour including lunch
- 10 Hours
- 10 Hours
- On request
Synonymous with the Vietnam War and a testament to the determined spirit of the Vietnamese, the underground network of passages at Cu Chi is a fascinating day trip out of the city.
Work on the tunnels began during the war against the French in the 1940s and over the next 25 years as the conflict with America escalated, they were improved and expanded to create an underground city of meeting areas, storerooms, living quarters and much more. The tunnels allowed the Viet Cong to control a vital area of South Vietnam and at their height, extended for more than 200KM in length and stretched from what was then Saigon to the Cambodian border.
Preserved as a memorial park, two sections of this remarkable network are open to the public. Visiting the area at Ben Dinh, there is the option to go below the surface and visit sections of the tunnels first hand. The more adventurous may go deeper and your guide will be on hand to give guidance on the degree of expected difficulty. There is plenty of interest above ground as well and it is recommended to bring good footwear, sunscreen and a hat. Please note you may get a little dusty if you decide to go underground.
Return to city for lunch at a local restaurant. The first stop on this afternoon's itinerary is Reunification Palace. Formerly named the Presidential Palace, this important city landmark was assured its place in history on 30th April 1975, when the first North Vietnamese tanks rumbled past, signalling the Fall of Saigon and ultimately the end of the Vietnam War. Now a museum complete with period meeting areas, war rooms and a basement communication centre, after your visit, walk the short distance to Notre Dame Cathedral. At the centre of HCMC's government district, this romantic church dates back to the late 19th century and is a popular backdrop for wedding photographs. Across the street from the cathedral is the city's striking French colonial-era post office, whilst Hotel de Ville de Saigon, officially Ho Chi Minh City Hall, is another of the city's most prominent buildings. The Museum of Vietnamese History is housed in yet another fine example of Sino-French architecture. Dating back to the 1920s, it contains an excellent series of exhibits dating from the Bronze Age to the Nguyen dynasty, the last ruling family of Vietnam.
As an alternative to the Museum of Vietnamese History, visit the elegant Fine Arts Museum with its impressive collection of ancient and modern art and sculptures, or the War Remnants Museum, which is primarily dedicated to the Vietnam War but also includes exhibits dating back to French colonialist period and the first Indochina War.
The final stop today is the unforgettable Jade Emperor Pagoda. With the pungent smell of incense hanging heavy in the air and an interior packed fall of ornate carvings and fierce-looking statues, this Taoist temple is one of the most atmospheric places of worship in the city. Transfer back to your hotel after your visit or alternatively be dropped off at Ben Thanh market for personal exploration and a spot of souvenir hunting.
Duration: 10 Hours
Departs: 8 a.m. - Returns: 6 p.m.
From: Ho Chi Minh City