This was one of those days where we truly cherished the journey, particularly because we knew so little about the destination. We knew it involved riding on the backs of motorcycles and riding to seeing tunnels used by Vietnamese soldiers to fight the US during the Vietnam War. We ended up loving the day not just because of how surreal the Cu Chi Tunnels were, but because of so much more—our guides, the stops along the way, and even the chance to experience some of that notorious Ho Chi Minh City traffic first hand.
We met our guides Duong and Long bright and early. What could have been a straightforward pick up and drop off at the tunnels wasn't part of their plan. Our first stop was on the edge of the city for a breakfast banh mi and coffee to kick off the day. We passed through gorgeous countryside full of palm trees and farm land, stopping at a rubber tree farm and rice noodle workshop. There was another stop for street snacks and a cafe where all the seats were hammocks.
Before we knew it we were at the tunnels, entering hidden holes in the ground and crawling through dark tunnels with bats and stifling humidity for company. The afternoon was capped off with a feast in a small restaurant that was part workshop and home. A loving aunty cooked simple, traditional food, but it was one of the best meals we had in all of Vietnam. After our bellies were full we headed back on the road to enjoy the final views of rural life before arriving back in the congested city center just as the sun began its descent for the day.
Everything about the day was so thoughtful and natural, it didn't feel like we had hired a tour at all. Duong and Long became friends that took us to their favorite places we would never have dreamed of discovering on our own. They taught us all they could about Vietnam and shared their world own views with us. Sure, the tunnels themselves were eye opening, but we were really touched by journey we thoroughly enjoyed along the way. ◆