7th – 9th May 2016
We arrived in HCMC around 6.30pm and walked from the bus station to our hostel. If you are coming by bus from Cambodia or Vietnam the chances are you will be dropped off at the bus station on Pham Ngu Lao Road which is right by the main area all the backpackers stay so it’s worth booking a hostel in this area as it saves you money on a taxi and you can walk to your hostel.
We had literally just checked into our hostel and put our bags down when our roommate (Hey Tori) asked if we wanted to go out for dinner with her and a few others so we literally turned around and went straight out. One of the girls had been to a really nice pho restaurant just down the road so we all decided to go there. We all had beef pho and it was soooo good. After dinner we headed out to the road behind our hostel where all the bars are for a few beers. This is what I love most about travelling – spontaneous nights with new friends 💜
Sunday morning we had booked to go on a half day trip to the Cu Chi tunnels and quite a few people from our hostel were also going which was really nice. We grabbed a pastry from the abc bakery before being picked up about 8. It was around a 2 hour drive to the tunnels but we stopped halfway at an art centre where people who have been affected by the chemical ‘Agent Orange’ work and make the most beautiful paintings and ornaments. After a quick look around we got back on the bus to the tunnels.
Our guide took us around the Cu Chi site first showing and telling us all about the different types of traps and weapons that the viet cong used against the Americans – they really were brutal as you can see from the pictures below. Then we moved on to see some of the entrances to the tunnels. The tunnel openings were so well hidden it was impossible to see them until our guide uncovered them. Some of them were very obvious but I guess back when they were in use they would have been better hidden. At the end of the tour we got the chance to go down into one of the tunnels – oh my god it was soooo small! We went about 20m through the tunnel and then got out as it was so hot down there!
On the way back from the tunnels we got dropped off at the War Remnants Museum. Having covered the Vietnam War in history at school I found it extremely interesting and it was good to refresh my memory on a lot of things, for example I had forgotten that the war lasted 17 years which is crazy!! In school I studied the war from both the American and Vietnamese side and I have to say the museum was heavily biased in favour of the viet cong. There was not a single mention in whole museum about anything the they did it was solely about the ‘crimes’ committed by the USA and I couldn’t help thinking what about all the awful things the Viet Cong did too?
After the museum we walked back to the hostel and went for a few beers with Daniel and Fabian, two lovely guys we had got friendly with, as they were flying back to Singapore that night. Later that evening me, Daniel and Tori went to get a Banh Mi for dinner but couldn’t find the place we wanted so ended up getting a pretty crap one from another place but made up for it with a cookie and cream milkshake 😍.
The next morning we got a bus from HCMC to Phnom Penh. It was the best bus I have ever been on in my life, no joke! It was so comfy! The border into Cambodia was the one I had been dreading the most but it turned out to be the easiest yet! We had to give our passports along with $35 to the guy on our bus (always makes me slightly nervous but you have no choice) who when we arrived at the Vietnamese border got us all stamped out of Vietnam – all we had to do was get off the bus, go through security, wait for our name to be called, collect our passport and then jump back on the bus. Then when we reached the Cambodian border we jumped out, waited for our passports and visa to be given back, got our passport stamped and then it was back on the bus – next stop Phnom Penh!