HCMC, Cu Chi and Da lat
I am soo lazy!

But I think it's Vietnams climate turning me into a human hammock.

First time I posted from Vietnam I was in Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC) where I spend five nights in total. Right now, I am already in Da Lat, a little town north east of HCMC located high above sea level. Actually the temperatures here are really nice. Not too cold, not too hot. That's one of the reasons why French colonialists used it as their summer homes. Anyway.. I am far away from HCMC, but I still have some things to share from the past days.

Cu Chi and Cao dao
The third day in HCMC I, the first time in my life, booked a organized tour to the Cu Chi tunnels and the Cao Dai Temple, both located north of the city.
For around six euros I got a full day tour starting at 8 am, bringing us back at seven pm. I can't complain about the price.

Our Tour guide JJ, a young college gradutate with fluent English introduced us to his City, told us many stories about Vietnam and in general tried to entertain us during the three hour bus ride to the temples. Of course he knew a lot about Vietnam, Caodaism, the War and the Cu Chi tunnels. Naturally, as a tour guide.
The thing is, I get really lazy when people put me into a bus, tell me stories and drag me through the major sights. I just loose ambition to do things on my own, and maybe feel a little too mainstream.

In general I liked the sights, not the tour as a whole thing.
First the brought us to the Cao Dai Temple. Caodaism is a religion that is quite big in Vietnam. It combines Buddhism, Taoism, Caodaism itself and also Christianity. A mix. That's how the temple looked as well. A perfect mix between a Christian Church, a Chinese pagoda, a Hindu Temple decorated with fancy dragon animals. (Dragon Horses and Dogs) We were so lucky to be there just when a ceremony started,so that we could see the people taking part in it.

After that, and lunch, we visited the Cu Chi tunnels which were the biggest hideout for Vietnamese Soldiers during the Vietnam war. A confusing tunnel system stretching over 200 Kilometers. The tunnels are famous for being so narrow and small, so that only Vietnamese people could live and hide there. A few places have been ajusted for western people, so that also we could go inside.

Going to Da Lat

Arriving in HCMC, I put a message up on the Couchsurfing Travelbuddie and local (Saigon and Vietnam) boards, searching for a travelmate to travel with in Vietnam. It didn't take long untill the first people replied. Now I am traveling together with Emilie from France.

We met up in HCMC already to get to know each other, discuss mutual plans and then make up a plan for the next week or two. I basicially spend a whole day searching for a huge moscito net and a huge plastic sheet, to be a raincover incase it rains. I'm still planning to sleep outside in the desert dunes, or maybe at some lonely beach, if I can find that.

So well, after checking out a bunch of Tourist agencies, we got ourselves tickets for a sleeping bus, going to Da Lat overnight. We both never took a sleeping bus, so we didn't mind the extracosts for that experience.

Now arriving in Da Lat, we're sleeping in a huge room with two beds which costs us 5 USD each. Pretty cheap, compared to Saigon.
After arriving here at 5 in the morning, we didn't had much choice to see and check out different hotels, so we just took this one. Of course I had to sleep after checking in, the road was just too bumpy for a good sleep.
Today We took a little walk in the city, and then rented a scooter to do a tour on our own. I'm telling you. Vietnamese streets are crazy. I am proud on myself :D

We didn't see much today, because on the way to one of the major sights (25 kilometers away from Da Lat) our tire broke and we had to get it fixed in some nearby store, which took all our time. We barely made it back home before dusk. All in all, Da Lat is chilly, less crowdy, cool. I'm fine, and we will probably leave this place in two days, heading to Na Trang.

See you soon, enjoy the pictures!

Ps. Sorry, but I had no time commenting the pictures today. I might do it another time, maybe.
Entry by Harriet from China (HKSAR)
On 12.11.2011 at 04:04
Hi Luke,

The picture of you and the tunnel look very cool! I think it's a perfect profile picture for FB (if you ever have one ;-) LOL)

When i travelled to HCMC in September, I always ran into travellers who tell me about the sleeping bus. and i always imagine sleeping buses would be like those in the harry potter movie (obviously i let my imagination run a little too wild) BUT now that i saw your pic, i am sure it's nothing like the sleeping bus i think it would be. LOL~ I also remmeber there are lots of night buses when travelilng around Turkey. If the night buses are the same as the sleeping buses in VN, i think i have to be glad that i chose to fly to various part of Turkey instead of spending 10 hrs on a bus...

I have just bought a returned ticket to Franfurt in the coming April. I leave HK to BJ on march 30, and arriving FRA on March 31. I will stay there or around until Apr 12. May be we can catch up soon! ;-)

meanwhile, have a nice trip, be crazy and see everything! Just live in the dreams for some of us!

lovely host in HK?!? ^^
Entry by Klaus&Susanne from Germany
On 11.11.2011 at 11:48
Hi Luke!

This tunnels must really be VERY small ... puhhh ... maybe for moles, but not for people ...

The picture of you inside the tunnel reminds me on the pictures of the bunkers in poland. Imagine you as a giant in the polish bunkers ;)
Greetings to Ziomek by this way!

Have a good time,