Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Cao Dai and Cu Chi Chronicles

The Cu Chi Tunnel + Cao Dai tour is a popular tour in HCMC. The whole day tour just costs $8. At around 8:00am, the bus will start collecting passengers around the Backpacker’s area. We were the first stop so we had to go around and pick up other passengers. It was past 9am when the bus picked up speed in the highway on the way to Cao Dai Temple.

Our guide's nickname is Slimjim. His accent was acceptable and his English is passable. He taught English in the province for more than 20 years, then wanted to do something else. Now, he is a travel guide – a pretty nice job where you can practice your English, and learn some other languages as well.

Our guide, Slimjim.
This is the first time we have someone to tell us all about Vietnam. The tour was enriching. I’m going to limit sharing about the details. I think the story-telling part is better left to the tour guide.  :)

The ride to the Cao Dai temple took around two hours. We had a 15-minute bathroom break during the ride. At around 11:40, we arrived in our destination. Just in time to witness their 12nn service. I stepped out of the aircon bus and I immediately wanted to go back inside – the sun was scorching hot!

Remember to put your camera in vivid color settings

We had to remove our shoes and walk in this rag path to go inside.

Hey you! Your shoes should be left there...


We were off to lunch after visitng Cao Dai. Spent VND 80,000 for this huge lunch. Ummm...something spring veggies and beef? And there’s my standard drink in Vietnam: their uber-strong iced coffee.

I had no idea how to make the rolls. But they all managed to reach my intestines.

The tour does not include the entrance fee to the Cu Chi Tunnel which costs VND 90,000 – payable in Vietnam Dong. I think one of the passengers did not have enough VND with him; the bus was considerate enough to make a quick stop at the ATM so he can get some VND. 

Slimjim collected our money to buy tickets. We were allowed a quick bathroom break before going inside. Don't take too long. Don't lose your groupmates. Remember the name of your guide.

Lots of sample traps were shown.

You can try and see if you fit

You can touch and play and take pictures of the stuff.  The downside is, you might get left behind by your group.

Tank girl. Tweetums pose here.

We also got a change to try out the tourist-friendly version of the actual Cu Chi Tunnel. This is not for the claustrophobic. We wanted to finish the whole tunnel but we unintentionally found our way to the 2nd tunnel exit. Bummer. Oh well, there’s fresh air! *inhale*

Down and dirty. Down and dusty.

More tweetums pose inside. Kahit hingal!

We had a brief tea party. Kamotengkahoy and tea – the guide knows that it is called kamotengkahoy. Funneh cool!

We watched a short old film about the Vietnam War. They are still showing the original black and white film.

Not the same. But it reminds me of the caves of Sagada.

I slept on the way back. We were back in Pham Ngu Lao street past 6pm. That was enough for the day. We didn't push through with the plans of watching a water puppet show.

I highly recommend the Cu Chi tour. Lots of interesting tidbits about Vietnam's history and its current government.


  1. The tunnels are interesting! Too bad I wasn't able to visit. Thanks for sharing :)

  2. Sayang talaga wasn't able to squeeze Cao Dai.

  3. Where do you book the tour? TIA!!


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