Last Saturday, Steve and Phuong and I took a spin out to Cu Chi District to research possible activities for our new full-day tour there. Cu Chi is well-known for its maze of underground tunnels, which Viet Cong used as an ingenious (and very unpleasant) military base from which to mount raids on Saigon. The astonishly tiny tunnels (which have been widened for all those porkish foreigners) and a handful of on-site military accessories make for an interesting couple of hours, but virtually everyone who visits Cu Chi overlooks completely the fact that the tunnels are located in the middle of the rural Vietnamese countryside, and there’s local culture galore all around the site for those who care to see it.
Our mission on Saturday therefore was to cruise the district for just this sort of thing. What we found was awesome indeed: bathing water buffaloes, remote abandoned houses, a rubber tree farm, mom & pop pottery kilns, a raft of traditional rice paper manufactories, an wildlife rescue centre, and a massive traditional crafts village park which would put Disney’s Epcot Center to shame (and we were the only living souls there, apart from the staff and craftspeople).
Our plan is that the tour will start with a boat trip up the Saigon River to Cu Chi, take in the tunnels and the military site, then guests will climb aborad our vintage Vespas and be driven around the back roads, packed with gorgeous scenery and rural Vietnamese life, returning to the city via the same back roads. We’re looking forward to having this tour ready for delivery October 1. In the meantime, here are a few photos from the afternoon to whet your appetite.