Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) Cu Chi Tunnels Excursion Reviews
This was our first tour with Celebrity. We have cruised with them before, but never gone on one of their tours. We were interested to see if we got value for our money. The tour did not disappoint.
Once we left the ship, our buses were literally just waiting for us on the dock. They had air
conditioning, comfortable seats and we were supposed to have wi-fi but it wasn't working on our bus.
Our tour guide was great and had a wonderful sense of humor. The Cu Chi tunnels are just over 2 hours from the harbor so at about an hour into the ride, we had a bathroom break at a very nice clean stop that also sold souvenirs (great selection), drinks, snacks and had wi-fi. We stopped here for about 15 minutes. The bathrooms are clean and very Americanized.
Just before we arrived at the tunnels, the tour guide showed a short film that had been dubbed into English that was probably made in the late 1960's to early 70's. Some people might be offended by this film, but it is their viewpoint...enough said.
About an hour later we got to the Cu Chi tunnels where we had another bathroom break at the tunnels before we started on the tour. These bathrooms did not have toilet paper, so bring your own as not all bathrooms in Vietnam supply your toilet paper like they do in the USA and Canada.
We started our tour by viewing the guns and ammo that had been used in the war. We then went to the area where we saw various ways the Vietnamese defended themselves by using various booby traps. These were created by using what was available to them locally. They were ingenious and very lethal.
We then watched a guide show us how they were able to "disappear into thin air". You would have to know where an entrance was in order to locate it as they were hidden very well. He showed us how they entered and carefully covered the entrance up, then disappeared down into the tunnel. We had the chance to go down into the vertical tunnel and it was very narrow and difficult to get out of as you needed a lot of arm strength. (I'm only 5"2" so it was extremely awkward for me.)
The next thing we checked out were the tunnels themselves. They have opened up the entrances to 2 of the tunnels and created an entrance with stairs to get down into the tunnel. They aren't very tall, maybe 3" high and not very wide either and pitch black. The government has added lighting inside the tunnels but it is fairly dim...I used the flashlight on my phone. The exit is basically ladder style steps that are very steep to climb out. We went into 2 sets of tunnels to get more of an idea of how they wind around.
We also saw sleep areas, munitions area's and sort of what life was during that time. We came across a man making sandals out of tires. This is how they masked their footprints by using the tire treads and putting them together in such a way as to confuse anyone from trying to see where they were walking. These were available for sale for a very nominal charge. (We paid less than $5 US.)
There is also a shooting range. You can buy ammunition to shoot various weapons. We shot a 30 cal gun that had been mounted to a jeep. They take you with a guide who loads the ammo and shows you where and how to shoot. You get protective earphones and the guns are fastened in a way so that they is no danger of shooting anyone. We got some great pictures...gotta say, it was kind of surreal shooting a gun at the Cu Chi tunnels and well worth the price.
Included at the shooting range is a really nice souvenir shop. My husband bought an authentic
lighter from the late 60's that had been dug up. We also bought some art work and statues that were handmade and very reasonably priced.
It was a great tour. Our guide spoke to us about life in Vietnam on the way there and back and gave us a glimpse into the hardships they had both during the war and also once the Americans left in the 70's.
Just a short way up the road we stopped at a restaurant for lunch. We received 1 drink of either bottled water, soda, local beer or wine which was included. If you wanted more, you had to pay a small price payable in either Vietnamese Dong or US dollars. We were served a meal of Crab Soup with Legumes, Ben Nay Spring Rolls (really good) Grilled Chicken with a Sticky Rice Ball, Fried fish with tomato sauce, Diced Beef, Sauteed Morning Glory with Garlic (similar to wilted greens) Fried Rice with Seafood, Grilled Pineapple for dessert and either coffee or tea at the end. The food was served family style so you got a taste of everything. The tables seated 8 people. The meal was in a very picturesque location with a small bridge over the water before you entered. This meal was included in the price of the tour.
On the way back we had one last bathroom stop at the same place we had stopped at on our way to the tunnels. At every stop we were given an antibacterial wipe before we got back on the bus to wipe your hands etc. We also received a bottle of cold water on the way to the tunnels and the way back from the tunnels.
We learned a lot and this was probably our favorite tour. We felt we got good value for the money. To us, this was a "Do Not Miss" tour.
Again, hard to give this a rating, as an American. They won, they get to write the history. Very interesting, and heard the first comments from my Vietnam veteran say that the nearby shooting sounded like what he experienced. A must see for any devotee of history.
worth the coach trip
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