This morning we drive to the famous Cu Chi Tunnels, a twisting network of narrow underground tunnels and rooms that the Viet Cong used as its military base and living quarters during the Vietnam War, at its height the tunnel system stretched from Saigon all the way to the Cambodian border. The system including tunnels, trap doors, living areas, storage facilities, weapons factories and caches, field hospitals, command centres and kitchens. We’ll learn about the Viet Cong’s life underground as well as being able to explore the system by foot, before driving back to Ho Chi Minh City for an afternoon of sightseeing. One of the city’s main sights is the Reunification Palace, an outstanding example of 1960s architecture that is steeped in modern history. It was here that the Vietnam War ended dramatically in 1975 when the city of Saigon fell after a North Vietnamese army tank crashed through the palace gates, from which point the city was known as Ho Chi Minh City. Other major landmarks include the Notre Dame Cathedral, an imposing neo-Romanesque Catholic cathedral built in the late 19th century; and the Saigon Post Office, a classic French colonial building bearing a giant portrait of ‘Uncle Ho’ and many grand architectural details. If time permits, the city’s War Remnants Museum offers an excellent collection of grim artifacts and photographs from the Vietnam-American War. Ben Thanh Market is an enormous sprawling covered marketplace that is packed to the gills with everything from fresh fruits, vegetables, seafood and sweets; to suitcases, clothing and white goods; to traditional lacquer ware, handicrafts and kitschy tourist trinkets. Bargaining is key here, but even if you’re not shopping, it’s a dazzling spectacle to photograph. Tonight we’ll join our Vietnamese guide for a farewell dinner at a local restaurant.
Overnight in Ho Chi Minh City.