Vietnamese sandwiches (Bánh mì) are ones to be rivalled with and we were in the middle of this exciting transaction when the tour guide announced that he would be leaving for the bus, waiting for no one. It was a choice between this godly sandwich or our day trip to Củ Chi tunnels. We were leaning towards the former when the lady at the stall switched onto high power mode and dished out our sandwiches in a matter of seconds. A real hero.
We stopped off at a workshop where our guide explained that all the goods being sold were hand crafted by ‘unlucky people’, i.e. those affected by radiation from the war or were born out of wedlock and subsequently abandoned. I’m not sure how much of the proceeds went to them exactly, but there was a huge gallery filled with a whole range of products, from artwork to cigarette holders. A lot of the things were out of my student budget, so hopefully the price markup meant that the workers were getting a fair share of the profits!
Another stop on our trip included Cao Dai Great Temple (Thanh That Cao Dai), where we were able to watch the afternoon prayer session, making a very interesting experience! I loved seeing the differences between Vietnamese and Thai temples. Bright and inviting colours replace the opulent gold garnishes, creating a more welcoming and less intimidating vibe to visitors. Needing to leave to get to our next destination on time, we couldn’t stay to watch the whole ceremony and dashed off back to the coach. A poor guy on our tour was having trouble collecting his shoes that he had left on the other side of the building. Apparently you aren’t allowed to cross the front (or back?) of the building once the session has started.
Finally arriving at the tunnels, we watched a short video providing us some historical context, and were lead around the area. We were shown tiny hidden entrances to tunnels, bomb craters, Viet Kong traps (impressively creative and resourceful), as well as the chance to crawl around in these tiny passages for ourselves! I would have enjoyed being able to explore the site ourselves as I felt quite rushed and there were definitely parts I couldn’t appreciate fully, but that’s one downside to booking cheap tours I guess!