Backpacking in Vietnam (Part 2): Ho Chi Minh City, Cu Chi Tunnels, and Eating Authentic Pho

The first stop of the trip was in the historic city of Ho Chi Minh, formerly known as Saigon. We walked around the city to enjoy the beautiful architecture, visited the famous Cu Chi Tunnels, and capped off our day with some authentic pho and a visit to the Ben Thanh night market.

Every time we visit a new place, it is always interesting to hear a local mass. Sometimes masses are in the local language and we don't understand a word, but it's okay, we can get by with context clues. :)

In Ho Chi Minh, we heard Sunday mass at the famous Notre Dame Cathedral, a centuries-old church built by French colonists.
In front of the Notre Dame Cathedral 

Ho Chi Minh has the same hot and humid climate as the Philippines. Glad I brought a fan. Tita moves!

During our walk around the neighborhood, we saw the Central Post Office...

The Independence Palace...


And some puppies for sale.hehe

To get to the Cu Chi Tunnels, we booked a tour via an agency called The Sinh Tourist. We got tickets and grabbed a burger while waiting for the bus.

When we got to our destination, we got to learn about the Vietnam War (or the American War) and the significant role these tunnels played.

Eliel trying one of the secret hiding spots.

A bomb crater and several traps 

The experience would not be complete without going through one of the tunnels. I don't think I'm claustrophobic, but I don't exactly enjoy enclosed spaces. I felt very relieved as soon as I saw the proverbial light at the end of the tunnel.hehe

About to enter one of the tunnels

A taste of typical food the Viet Cong would have eaten
On our way home, we stopped by a local crafts workshop where you can buy souvenirs or simply watch local artisans do their thing.

When we got back to the city, we still had a bit of time, so we checked out the War Remnants Museum and learned about the horrors and ill effects of war.

Of course, no trip to Vietnam would be complete without having a nice warm bowl of pho. It was better than I expected! I've never tried pho back home because I'm not a fan of having noodles as the main dish (yup, not a big ramen fan either). I prefer noodle soup over my rice.hehe

The following night, we dropped by the Ben Thanh Market to try some more local food and to do a little bit of shopping.

Crossing the streets in Ho Chi Minh need great amounts of focus and fearlessness. Vehicles don't stop for you.

The busy night market

Local food and Vietnamese coffee

Follow the links below to see more of our Vietnam adventures:

Vietnam Part 1: Backpacking in Vietnam

Vietnam Part 2: Ho Chi Minh City | Cu Chi Tunnels | Eating Pho

Vietnam Part 3: Vietnamese Country Side Experience | Mekong River

For more on our 16-day Indochina backpacking trip (full itinerary + expenses), click on the photo below.