Saigon and the Mekong Delta

Staying in the backpacker district of Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City) wasn’t the greatest of experiences, I don’t really like the area and you get hassled a lot, though my time in the city wasn’t all bad.

Me, Dylan and Amanda had bussed it there and after some issue’s by motorbike Andrew joined us.

There was only one day where we really did anything of note.

Setting off at 8am we embarked on a tour to the Cu Chi tunnels, the tunnels used by the Viet Cong and local villagers in the American war.

We saw some of the hide holes traps used and the guide gave us information about what life was like for those in the tunnels then.

There’s a destroyed M-41 tank still there too.

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After the opportunity to fire a gun (for a few dollars of course) which I did not take, though I did act as Andrew’s cameraman for his stint, we were taken a 100 metre stretch of tunnels which you can crawl through. You can exit after 10, 20, 30 etc. i went for and completed all 100. No doubt the tunnels have been widened for tourists but it was still pretty narrow and claustrophobic.

After the tour and lunch we went to the War Remnants museum, concerning the American war and Vietnamese fight for a unified independent state and the horrific impact the American campaign had on the Vietnamese people.

Outside is a collection of captured US tanks and aircraft from the American war.

The ground floor has lots of interesting posters from the time, particularly from governments such as Cuba expressing solidarity and the international anti-war (aka peace) movement.

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The next floors were really tough as they focused on the brutality of American atrocities and the horrendous impact of Agent Orange. i won’t go into further written detail as I found it really saddening and distressing and had to take a few minutes when at the museum to compose myself before continuing.

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I the evening we all definitely needed a drink and headed out, meeting up with a girl from a tour and my friend Michelle, one of the Henry’s!! Always awesome to catch up with a Henry! (See my Laos posts for context). It was a good night!

After a hangover day me, Dylan and Amanda headed on a 2 day, 1 night tour of the Mekong delta, to exit to Cambodia! Alas my time in Vietnam was coming to an end, as dictated by that date on my visa!

To be honest the tour we did was pretty lame. We saw a handful of boats selling fruit/veg in a floating market, and were taken by boat up through one of the channels, seeing some local life on the banks as we went.

We were taken to a local candy factory (of all things!) which was interesting to see how stuff was made.

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We spent the night in Chau Doc and then in the morning the tour finally came good with a speedy and efficient boat crossing via the Vinh Xuong border point into Cambodia. I’d been recommended to cross this way by other travellers and it was pretty great.

So as the boat sped towards Phnom Penh it was farewell to Vietnam, hello to Cambodia!

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