Located in Tan Phu Trung and Phuoc Vinh An communes in Cu Chi district, about 70km from downtown HCM City, Cu Chi Tunnels were built by local residents and soldiers using simple tools from 1946 to 1968 as shelters from US and Saigon troops during the war.

Cu Chi Tunnels on path of becoming world heritage - Picture 1
Cu Chi Tunnels on path of becoming world heritage – Picture 1

Cu Chi Tunnels, a popular destination for both domestic and foreign tourists thanks to its unique historical and architectural values, may soon join UNESCO’s list of world heritage. The People’s Committee of Ho Chi Minh City is working on a dossier seeking UNESCO’s recognition for the tunnels. In the photo: Conference chamber at Cu Chi Tunnels can accommodate more than 20 people. (Photo: VNP/VNA)

Cu Chi Tunnels on path of becoming world heritage - Picture 2
Cu Chi Tunnels on path of becoming world heritage – Picture 2

Initially, the tunnels had only short paths and simple structure that were used to hide documents, weapons and resistance members deep inside the enemy-controlled area. Only during the anti-American war were the tunnels reinforced and widened. (Photo: VNP/VNA)

Cu Chi Tunnels on path of becoming world heritage - Picture 3
Cu Chi Tunnels on path of becoming world heritage – Picture 3

Beginning in 1961, when the Party Committee and headquarters of the Sai Gon-Gia Dinh Military Region of the liberation forces chose Cu Chi as an operating area, the tunnel system maximized its use for years, especially in 1966, against the Americans broadening the war in the South. In the photo: Cu Chi Tunnels model (Photo: VNP/VNA)

Cu Chi Tunnels on path of becoming world heritage - Picture 4
Cu Chi Tunnels on path of becoming world heritage – Picture 4

With their indomitable strength, Cu Chi’s resistance forces and local people created a system of crisscrossing tunnels with multiple floors, with more than 200km of underground trenches in total. In the photo: The famous non-smoking ‘Hoang Cam’ kitchen in the tunnel. (Photo: VNP/VNA)

Cu Chi Tunnels on path of becoming world heritage - Picture 5
Cu Chi Tunnels on path of becoming world heritage – Picture 5

Working tools used by soldiers in Cu Chi Tunnels (Photo: VNP/VNA)

Cu Chi Tunnels on path of becoming world heritage - Picture 6
Cu Chi Tunnels on path of becoming world heritage – Picture 6

Built by South Vietnamese liberation forces as shelter from US and Sai Gon troops during the war, the site is known over the world. (Photo courtesy of Cu Chi Tunnels)

Cu Chi Tunnels on path of becoming world heritage - Picture 7
Cu Chi Tunnels on path of becoming world heritage – Picture 7

A well inside Cu Chi Tunnels (Photo: VNP/VNA)

Cu Chi Tunnels on path of becoming world heritage - Picture 8
Cu Chi Tunnels on path of becoming world heritage – Picture 8

Foreign visitors explore Cu Chi Tunnels (Photo courtesy of Cu Chi Tunnels)

Cu Chi Tunnels on path of becoming world heritage - Picture 9
Cu Chi Tunnels on path of becoming world heritage – Picture 9

A visitor gets out of a tiny hidden exit door. (Photo courtesy of Củ Chi Tunnels)

Cu Chi Tunnels on path of becoming world heritage - Picture 10
Cu Chi Tunnels on path of becoming world heritage – Picture 10

Located in Tan Phu Trung and Phuoc Vinh An communes in Cu Chi district, about 70km from downtown HCM City, the tunnels were built by local residents and soldiers using simple tools from 1946 to 1968 as shelters from US and Saigon troops during the war. (Photo: VNP/VNA)

Cu Chi Tunnels on path of becoming world heritage - Picture 11
Cu Chi Tunnels on path of becoming world heritage – Picture 11

Roads in a liberated village in Cu Chi Tunnels (Photo: VNP/VNA)

Cu Chi Tunnels on path of becoming world heritage - Picture 12
Cu Chi Tunnels on path of becoming world heritage – Picture 12

A weapon recycling workshop in Cu Chi Tunnels (Photo: VNP/VNA)

Cu Chi Tunnels on path of becoming world heritage - Picture 13
Cu Chi Tunnels on path of becoming world heritage – Picture 13

A site replicates a small village in the liberated Cu Chi zone. (Photo: VNP/VNA)

Cu Chi Tunnels on path of becoming world heritage - Picture 14
Cu Chi Tunnels on path of becoming world heritage – Picture 14

Bombs and bullets are on display at Cu Chi Tunnels relic site. (Photo: VNP/VNA)

Cu Chi Tunnels on path of becoming world heritage - Picture 15
Cu Chi Tunnels on path of becoming world heritage – Picture 15

A C130 aircraft of American Army at the relic site. (Photo: VNP/VNA)

Cu Chi Tunnels on path of becoming world heritage - Picture 16
Cu Chi Tunnels on path of becoming world heritage – Picture 16

Ben Duoc Memorial is constructed to tribute soldiers who sacrificed their life during the war. (Photo courtesy of Cu Chi Tunnels)

The Ho Chi Minh City administration has recently sent a document to the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism proposing plans to include the Cu Chi Tunnels relic site in the list of UNESCO’s proposed World Heritage records (Cu Chi Tunnels proposed for UNESCO World Heritage Site recognition).

Cu Chi Tunnels is an attractive tourist destination for domestic and foreign tourists. (Photo by Domy Kamsyah)
Cu Chi Tunnels is an attractive tourist destination for domestic and foreign tourists. (Photo by Domy Kamsyah)

Information on the plans was released on February 9 by Lam Ngo Hoang Anh, chief of office of the Ho Chi Minh City Department of Culture and Sports.

The Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism is scheduled to send the document to the Ministry of National Defense, the National Commission for UNESCO, and the National Council of Cultural Heritage, asking for opinions on a summary report of the scientific dossier of the Cu Chi Tunnels.

The dossier is expected to be submitted to UNESCO in order to introduce the relic site into the list of proposed World Heritage records.

As part of the next phase, Ho Chi Minh City will co-ordinate with the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism to report to the Prime Minister for permission to work alongside the National Committee of UNESCO to register with the UNESCO World Heritage Center, aiming to put the historical site into the list moving forward.

Cu Chi Tunnels is a network of underground defense tunnels built by locals and resistance forces from 1946 to 1968 in Cu Chi district.

The tunnels played an important role in major battles, including the Tet Offensive of 1968 and the Great Spring Victory of 1975. over US imperialists.

Source: VOV

Whether it’s part of a two week trip through Vietnam or just a short city break, Ho Chi Minh City is one of the first places travelers look to when they are planning a visit to Vietnam. A bustling metropolis, you won’t have any problems filling several days of sightseeing in HCMC with everything there is to do there.

But southern Vietnam is so much more than just this one city. Allow an extra day or two in the city and you’d be surprised how many of the other best places to visit in Vietnam you can visit as day trips. To give you an idea of what is possible, we’ve arranged this list of the best day trips from Ho Chi Minh City.

Editor’s Note: We recommend guided tours for many of the day trips below. If, however, you want to DIY it on public transportation instead, make sure to check out Bookaway to easily compare and book bus or train tickets to and from Ho Chi Minh City.

1. Mekong Delta

Starting with one of the most popular day tours from Ho Chi Minh City, the Mekong Delta is a day trip many visitors choose to make. With a tour to the Mekong Delta, you’ll see this fascinating landscape made up of rivers, islands, and swamp land and what life is like for those who live there. You’ll first enjoy a boat ride through the network of rivers in the delta to different islands, where you can experience the rural lifestyles of the people. This may include wandering through local gardens or listening to performances of folk music. A highlight of a visit here is floating through canals lined with water coconut trees in a traditional rowing boat. After having seen the beautiful landscape by water, you may have options like going cycling or relaxing in a hammock away from the hustle and bustle of Ho Chi Minh City.

Getting there: Since a visit to the delta involves boat trips and various different locations, it’s really best visited on a guided tour. They’ll handle all the transport and logistics so you don’t have to.

Top 10 Best Day Trips from Ho Chi Minh City 2023
Top 10 Best Day Trips from Ho Chi Minh City 2023

2. Cu Chi Tunnels

The Cu Chi Tunnels are often one of the first Ho Chi Minh City day trips many people hear about. A relic of the Vietnam War, this is a place for those who want to learn more about the conflict. Viet Cong soldiers used this extensive labyrinth of tunnels to fight against American forces, but also for shelter and as supply routes.

Cu Chi Tunnels
Cu Chi Tunnels

Today the Cu Chi Tunnels are an open air museum with information on how the tunnels were used and examples of traps set for US soldiers. You also get to see how tunnel entrances were concealed and experience firsthand how confined the tunnels are by walking through one.

Getting there: The easiest way to reach the Cu Chi Tunnels is on a half day tour as they will handle transport and guide you around the site. Otherwise you can ride a motorbike to make the short trip from Ho Chi Minh City or catch the #13 bus for the hour-long trip.

3. Cao Dai Temple

Another of the best places to visit from Ho Chi Minh City if you want an interesting cultural experience is the Cao Dai Temple in Tây Ninh. The religion of Caodaism is exclusive to southern Vietnam and was founded there in 1926. Caodaism borrows elements from other major world religions. On a visit to the temple you can see all these elements in the design of the buildings and in the way religious services take place. From an upper balcony in the temple, you can sit in on a prayer service, listen to the Vietnamese music, and experience a formal service inside the brilliantly vibrant hall. Seeing the Cao Dai Temple is bound to be a wholly unique experience.

Getting there: The city of Tây Ninh can be reached from Saigon with the 702 bus, taking over 1 ½ hours. An easier option, especially if you also want to see the Cu Chi Tunnels, is to go with an organized tour.

Top 10 Best Day Trips from Ho Chi Minh City 2023-2024
Top 10 Best Day Trips from Ho Chi Minh City 2023-2024

4. Black Virgin Mountain

For those looking to escape the hectic city, a trip to Black Virgin Mountain ought to do the trick. Out in Tay Ninh province, northwest of the city, this extinct volcano is a popular spot for those seeking the outdoors as well as some hiking trails. Locally known as Nui Ba Den, you can either hike the full way up this 996-meter-high mountain or allow the cable car to bring you part of the way. Besides excellent views of the surrounding landscape, the area near the top of the mountain is also home to several pagodas and shrines. Like so many places in Vietnam, Black Virgin Mountain has its fair share of war history. During the Vietnam War it was seen as a crucial strategic landmark and was the focus of many battles and even had its own tunnels which were used during the conflict.

Getting there: Getting to Tay Ninh and Black Virgin Mountain by bus isn’t very easy, with multiple connections required and a taxi at the end. Simpler options are going by motorbike, private car, or by taking an organized tour there.

5. Cai Be Floating Market

The Mekong Delta in southern Vietnam is a large place, so several of the best side trips from Ho Chi Minh City take travelers there. Most visitors head to the area around My Tho and Ben Tre, but another option is the town of Cai Be and its floating market. Upon reaching the town of Cai Be, you’ll want to head out onto the water to see a mess of boats filling the river to sell their goods. Afterwards, tourists are able to learn more about the region’s food, whether by seeing it get made or by visiting orchards. You may even have the opportunity to take a local cooking class and make your own lunch. Otherwise, you may like to explore a little, whether by kayak or bicycle.

Cai Be Floating Market

Getting there: A bus ride from Saigon to Cai Be takes around 2.5 hours with a few connections each day. Otherwise, you’ll be best off taking a guided tour there as you won’t need to worry about transport and they’ll also arrange activities for you.

6. Vũng Tàu

While HCMC locals look at Vũng Tàu as a weekend escape, tourists have the option of making this day trip any day they like. As a seaside city, Vũng Tàu is best known as a beach destination, but there is a bit of a city center here as well. Because the city sits along a peninsula, it’s home to several beaches, although the most accessible and popular are Bãi Trước and Bãi Sau. The back beach Bãi Sau is considered the nicest of the beaches here, with a long stretch of beachfront. Bãi Trước however is right in the city center, making it easier to reach, but expect it to be busier because of that. As for other attractions, Vũng Tàu is home to a 105-foot-tall statue of Jesus Christ and a picturesque lighthouse on top of Núi Nhỏ mountain.

Getting there: It’s actually possible to reach Vũng Tàu on a 2 hour ferry ride making it one of the more easy trips from Ho Chi Minh City. The slower alternative is regular buses that make the 2.5 drive there.

7. Ho Coc & Ho Tram Beach

Another option for those seeking a bit of time by the sea is to make your way to the beaches at Ho Coc and Ho Tram. If you’ve been picturing golden sand beaches and palm trees as part of  your Vietnam holiday, then you’re in luck. Both spots are home to resorts with their own private beaches, but there are public sections of beachfront as well. The surf here can be quite rough, so swimming depends on the weather. Sunbathing though won’t be a problem and you can rent sunbeds from the resort beaches. Inland from the coast, past the Phuoc Buu Nature Reserve, it’s also possible to visit farming communities and try fresh local fruits including dragonfruit and jackfruit.

Getting there: To reach Ho Coc Beach from Ho Chi Minh City, take the ferry or bus to Vung Tau, then travel the rest of the way with taxi or motorcycle taxi. A less stressful alternative is to visit the beaches on an organized tour which will handle the transport.

8. Cần Giờ Biosphere Reserve

If you’d like to spend your spare time experiencing Vietnam’s flora and fauna, head to the Cần Giờ Biosphere Reserve. One of the better things to see in Vietnam outside of Ho Chi Minh City, this biosphere reserve has been recognized by UNESCO for its wildlife and biodiversity. The main attractions for visitors to this wetland reserve are the Giant Bat Lagoon and the Vam Sat Mangrove Forest. Through a mix of walks and row boat rides, you’ll get to see the ecosystems of Can Gio and have the opportunity to see all sorts of wildlife, including birds, monkeys, and crocodiles.

Getting there: The best way to reach the Cần Giờ Biosphere Reserve and to see the most, is to visit with a guided tour. Otherwise, you’ll need to make your own way there, taking an hour or so to get there.

9. Tan Lap Floating Village

To see more of Vietnam’s serene natural landscapes and support local ecotourism, consider a visit to the Tan Lap Floating Village. Despite its name, Tan Lap is a culture and nature reserve now as no one actually lives in the floating village due to conservation efforts. Start your visit to the Tan Lap floating village on a boat cruise past water lilies. Next, take a walk through the forest of melaleuca trees which fill up this wetland environment. For the best views of the melaleuca forest and to take it all in at once, climb up the village’s 38-meter-high watchtower.

Getting there: Taking public transport to the floating village requires changes in Cholon Station and Long An, with the trip taking almost 4 hours. Otherwise you’ll have to find your own way there, with the drive taking close to 2 hours.

10. Cat Tien National Park

One of the largest nature reserves in Vietnam, Cat Tien National Park is another place you don’t want to miss. If you’ve been wanting to experience some real jungle while in Vietnam, then this is it. This reserve is home to a vast area of lowland tropical forest in which all sorts of animals can be found, including elephants, leopards, and gibbons.

Of course, these animals are wild and as such are not so easy to spot, so temper your expectations. Still, the park is home to an incredible diversity of plant life, with trees that are centuries old. Bau Sau, aka Crocodile Lake, is a popular spot for a cruise in a small boat. Other common activities include hiking, visiting ethnic villages, and animal rescue centers.

Getting there: At four hours each way by car, Cat Tien is a long day trip from Ho Chi Minh City. It’s generally recommended to stay overnight but if you don’t mind a long day, then it is possible.

Those are the best places to visit when looking to make a day trip from Saigon. As you can see, there’s quite a nice variety of destinations for you to choose between. No matter where you go, you’ll be glad to see more of beautiful Vietnam.

The Cu Chi Tunnels in Vietnam are a major tourist attraction in Saigon. Visiting the Cu Chi Tunnels gives you a fascinating glimpse into the underground life of the Viet Cong soldiers during the Vietnam War.

It is a really interesting and educational day out and definitely an experience to add to your Vietnam itinerary.

Visiting the Cu Chi Tunnels in Vietnam 2023
Visiting the Cu Chi Tunnels in Vietnam 2023

The network of connecting underground tunnels at Cu Chi were one of the Viet Cong’s most important defensive weapons against the American forces, and served as their base of operations during their surprise attacks of the 1968 Tet Offensive.

The Cu Chi Tunnels were not just for hiding in or using as supply routes – they housed entire villages, including hospitals, food and weapon storage rooms, kitchens, living quarters and command centres, with several layers of tunnels descending deep into the earth.

We visited the Cu Chi Tunnels with tour company Les Rives, and travelled to Cu Chi by luxury speedboat instead of the usual bus trip. This was definitely a more enjoyable experience – watching life unfold on the Saigon River and arriving in just 1 hour and 15 minutes.

I actually visited the Cu Chi Tunnels without my kids, but if you are traveling with kids, I would definitely recommend taking the speedboat option. Quick and fun – everyone’s a winner!

There were just 15 people on our speedboat, with three boats traveling in convoy.

Our guides Tam and Mark were not only hugely knowledgeable but looked after us so well – serving us Vietnamese coffee, fruit and breakfast as soon as we got on the boat, and ensuring everyone was comfortable along the way. There was even WIFI on the boat.

We took the morning tour with Les Rives, leaving our hotel in Ho Chi Minh City at around 7am.

Although there were a few private minibuses and cars arriving at the Cu Chi Tunnels at the same time as us, traveling by boat meant we also managed to beat the majority of tourist buses, so the tunnels were relatively quiet when we arrived. As we were leaving the tunnels, the buses were arriving, along with the huge tour groups.

The first item on the agenda upon arriving at the tunnels was to watch an introductory video and presentation.

Although hugely propogandic in nature (all about the ‘evil’ Americans attacking the ‘innocent’ peasants working in the fields) it was an interesting scene-setter and gave us an understanding into how the tunnels were built.

From here we headed into the jungle to check out the tunnels.

Our first stop was to check out the trap doors – these ingenious ‘peep holes’ emerging from the tunnel network are completely undetectable when covered with leaves, and you can imagine how terrifying it must have been for the American soldiers to know one could open up at any time with an armed Viet Cong soldier inside.

In fact, being here at the Cu Chi Tunnels really does make you consider what life must have been like for the soldiers on both sides during the Vietnam War.

Navigating the jungle in the heat and humidity with the sounds of the guns from the firing range (more on that later), it is easy to let your imagination run wild, imagining the soldiers in their full combat gear, not knowing who or what was around the next corner.

It also instills in you an immense respect for the tenacious fighting spirit, ingenuity and adaptability of the guerrilla fighters who fought alongside the Viet Cong soldiers.

Next up, we got to climb aboard an American tank that had been disabled by the Viet Cong and then inspect some of the more brutal looking booby traps used by them – lots of sharp spikes and torturous devices!

We had a go at descending into the trap door and got to see not only how pitch black it is once you are inside with the door shut, but also how confined a space it is.

Next up, we got to climb aboard an American tank that had been disabled by the Viet Cong and then inspect some of the more brutal looking booby traps used by them – lots of sharp spikes and torturous devices!

The next stop on the tour is the most controversial – the firing range. Here you can get up close and personal with a range of weapons, including the infamous AK-47 and M-16 and M-30 machine guns. If you are visiting the Cu Chi Tunnels with kids, they obviously won’t be able to partake as you need to be 18 years old to enter the firing range.

Had my kids been with me, I would have avoided this area altogether, but as I was on my own, I decided to have a go at firing an M-30 machine gun – because when else would you ever have the chance to fire a machine gun?

Bullets cost around $2 USD per bullet, and you need to buy a minimum of 10 bullets. With a machine gun, this $20 experience lasts approximately 1 second…

The grand finale of the tour is the chance to crawl through the tunnels. The length available to tour groups is just 100 metres, with the opportunity to emerge after each 20 metres.

Note that the tunnels have been enlarged to make them safer for tourists, and they also now feature some low-level lighting. Sounds pretty simple, right?

I’m embarrassed to say, that I lasted approximately 5 meters before I had to turn around and go back the way I came. It is incredibly claustrophobic in there.

This is one area where I think my kids would probably have been fine! Out of our tour group of 15, only two people made the entire 100 metres, with most giving up after the first 20 metres. Makes you appreciate those who lived and worked in these tunnels even more.

Upon emerging from the tunnels, we finished our tour with a delicious Vietnamese lunch by the river, before jumping aboard our speedboat and heading back towards Ho Chi Minh City.

Cu Chi tunnels group tour - Vietnam Tours
Cu Chi tunnels group tour – Vietnam Tours

Because of the adult themes of war and the brutality of some of the lessons learned here, I probably wouldn’t recommend this tour for younger kids and I was pleased to be able to visit without my kids (aged 5 and 3). However, for children around age 8 and above, I think this would serve as an amazing experiential history lesson.

The Cu Chi Tunnels were not just for hiding in or using as supply routes – they housed entire villages, including hospitals, food and weapon storage rooms, kitchens, living quarters and command centres, with several layers of tunnels descending deep into the earth.

We visited the Cu Chi Tunnels with tour company Les Rives, and travelled to Cu Chi by luxury speedboat instead of the usual bus trip. This was definitely a more enjoyable experience – watching life unfold on the Saigon River and arriving in just 1 hour and 15 minutes.

Cu Chi Tunnels of Sai Gon are honored in the TOP 7 most adventurous destinations in Southeast Asia and TOP 12 most attractive underground wonders in the globe. The decades-old tunnel complex resembles a sophisticated hidden maze, where visitors can glimpse the turbulent Vietnamese history as if they are traveling back to the wartime.

Besides being the hustle and bustle of an economic hub, Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) embraces historical vestiges appealing to both domestic and international tourists. Cu Chi Tunnels are one of the most significant relics of the city, offering first-hand experiences inside the massive underground cave and interesting insights into the lives of Vietnamese soldiers during the war.

1. About Cu Chi Tunnels in Vietnam

1.1. Location of Cu Chi Tunnels

  • Address: TL15, Phu Hiep, Cu Chi District, Ho Chi Minh City
  • Opening hours: 8 AM – 5 PM (7 days a week)
  • Entrance fees (updated in 2022):
    • Ben Duoc: 110.000 VND/ person
    • Ben Dinh: 90.000 VND/ person

Cu Chi Tunnels (Địa đạo Củ Chi in Vietnamese) are situated in Cu Chi district – the outskirts northwest of Ho Chi Minh city, 70 kilometers away from the city center. The underground networks are well-retained in two spots: Ben Dinh Tunnels (Ben Dinh Hamlet, Nhuan Duc Commune) and Ben Duoc Tunnels (Phu Hiep Hamlet, Phu My Hung Commune).

Cu Chi TunnelsCu Chi Tunnels stay hiding among a jungle in suburban Saigon (Source: HCMC Department of Tourism)

Despite the far distance from the vibrant center, this suburban district is worth visiting for its several tourist destinations along with the tunnel networks, such as fresh fruit gardens, Cu Chi Water Park, and Fosaco eco-village.

Cu Chi weather is another factor to consider before your trip. Owing to the tropical climate, Cu Chi has two distinct seasons: the rainy season (May to October) and the dry season (November to April) – the best time to visit Cu Chi Tunnels.

1.2.  A brief history of Cu Chi Tunnels Saigon

Cu Chi TunnelsAre you ready to unearth the historical facts of Cu Chi Tunnels Vietnam? (Source: Collected)

The Tunnels of Cu Chi, a gigantic underground tunnel system, was originally constructed under the jungle terrain, connecting tunnels among the hamlets and communes during the Indochina war (1945-1954) against the French colonialists. It served as hiding spots for Vietnam revolutionary troops to discreetly commute between regions and evade French scouts.

During the Vietnam war, the network had been expanded into an assembly complex for Communist guerrilla soldiers to house troops, transport communications, and supplies, receive medical treatments, take shelters from aerial bombardment, and mount surprise attacks, after which they could disappear underneath the ground. As a military headquarters, Cu Chi Tunnels played a pivotal role in the Vietnamese forces’ resistance to the American army in South Vietnam. It served as an isolated stronghold to plan strategies and launch successful military campaigns, notably the victorious Tết Offensive in 1968.

Cu Chi TunnelsCommunist soldiers built the Cu Chi Tunnels network within 25 years from 1948 for guerrilla warfare in Saigon (Source: @cuchitunels.vn)

Throughout the country’s turbulent history, these iconic Saigon tunnels witnessed the sufferings in the fierce wars and symbolized the tenacity and resourcefulness of the Vietnamese people. Cu Chi Tunnels are listed in the top 7 must-visit epic and adventurous places in Southeast Asia by The Travel and one of the world’s coolest places by The New York Times.

  • By taxi: A taxi is a convenient yet the most expensive option as you can reach the tunnels within 1.5 hours.
  • By bus: A bus is the cheapest but most time-consuming option which takes you 2.5 hours and roughly 25.000 VND to get to Cu Chi Tunnels’ area.

First, you catch bus No. 13 (from 23-9 Park / Ben Thanh Bus Station) or No. 94 (from Cho Lon / 12 Xuan Dieu) to Cu Chi Bus Station, then get on bus No. 79 to Ben Duoc Tunnel or bus No. 63 to Ben Dinh Tunnel.

  • By private motorbike/car: You can rent a motorbike or car in Ho Chi Minh City at affordable prices and follow Northwest of National Road 15 to get to the site. Remember to turn on GPS and check the weather before your trip since the route to Cu Chi district can be difficult for first-time travelers.
  • By boat/ canoe: A boat or canoe will provide a new experience for your Cu Chi Tunnels travel. You can take a speedboat (with the first boat leaving at 7:30 am every day) departing from Tan Cang pier along the Saigon River to Cu Chi in 75 minutes.

Cu Chi TunnelsA speedboat journey through the tranquil countryside to the Cu Chi Tunnels of Ho Chi Minh City
(Source: Collected)

Cu Chi TunnelsCNN channel chose Cu Chi Tunnels Vietnam as one of the 12 most spectacular underground works in the world (Source: Collected)

Stretching to the Cambodian frontier, the system of Cu Chi tunnels used to reach a total length of nearly 250 kilometers, of which 120 kilometers have been well-preserved and available for public visit nowadays. The complex of Cu Chi Tunnels Saigon astounds visitors with its intricate architecture and resilience in the area of clay soil mixed with laterite.

On the ground level, there are hundreds of inventive booby traps and counterfeit bunkers set up to impale and deceive enemies. The entrances to these tunnels are so narrow that only Vietnamese could fit in, with wooden manhole covers camouflaged by leaves.

Cu Chi TunnelsEntrance into the Tunnels of Cu Chi (Source: @martin.far.from.home)Cu Chi TunnelsConcealed pits with sharp pins for injuring intruders to Cu Chi Tunnels (Source: Marnick Schoonderwoerd)

The underground part of the hidden system features three deep levels where numerous passages are connected through a central axis and extend to the Saigon River. The first level (3 meters underneath the ground) was capable of withstanding chemical warfare, bullets, tanks, and armored vehicles, whilst the second one (6 meters from the ground) could resist the destructive power of bombs. The third level is the deepest (more than 12 meters from the ground). Between the levels, escape hatches were made to counter toxic gas along with unrevealed vents leading to the ground. Communications passages were constructed 0.8~1.2 meters in size with a minimum 1.5 meter-thick roof.

Cu Chi TunnelsThe underground maze inside Cu Chi Tunnels of Ho Chi Minh City (Source: @cuchitunnels.vn)

A little-known fact about Cu Chi Tunnels is that Vietnamese soldiers excavated this immense underground network with hundreds of kilometer-long tunnels just by hands and primitive tools. The tunnels’ inner structure is likened to a man-made underground city since it accommodated necessary facilities for a thousand of soldiers and dwellers, such as kitchens, hospitals, schools, theaters, armories, chambers, and command centers.

Cu Chi TunnelsMap of Cu Chi Tunnels Saigon (Source: Collected)

VinWonders & Vinpearl Safari Ticket Combo

4.1. Experience the Cu Chi Tunnel complex

Cu Chi Tunnels now function as an outdoor war memorial accessible to tourists of all nationalities. The 120-meter-long tunnel system is retained and operated in two spots with various fascinating activities.

  • Ben Dinh Tunnels

Cu Chi TunnelsBen Dinh Tunnels in Cu Chi Saigon (Source: daphnusia/ Shutterstock)

Ben Dinh was reconstructed and enlarged to attract visitors; thus, it is a crowded section of Cu Chi Tunnels’ network. Situated next to the Saigon River, Ben Dinh Tunnels have a convenient location where Cu Chi Commissioners led the troops and escaped to the river if any emergency arose. It was used for a long time, from 1968 to 1975.

After entering the site, you would start from a thatched hut that exhibits a map of the region, layouts of the tunnels, and black and white documentaries to fill you in on the background. When you head into the jungle, local guides will show you how dangerous booby-traps and concealed pits were. Then, after 45 minutes to an hour in the underground tour, you will see old amenities in the tunnels, impressive demonstrations, and listen to intriguing stories about people who used to live here.

Cu Chi TunnelsThe operation post during the Vietnam War in Ben Dinh Cu Chi Tunnels (Source: @shuttersandpixels)

  • Ben Duoc Tunnels 

Cu Chi Ben Duoc Tunnels (100 hectares) are five times bigger than Ben Dinh Tunnels (17 hectares) but less touristy. Ben Duoc is a favorable site for adventurous individuals hankering to gain hands-on experience inside the underground city of Saigon. It enables visitors to challenge themselves to crawl through cramped and rough tunnels on a deeper level. The original tunnels have been extended and restored by cementation and installation of lights to make the journey safer and less harrowing than in the past. There are also emergency exits every 10 meters.

*Please note that this activity is not recommended for those who have breathing problems, high blood pressure, or claustrophobia.

Cu Chi TunnelsDiscover the world beneath your feet in Cu Chi Tunnels Saigon (Source: @thesienicjourney)

These practical experiences will give you a clear picture of the Vietnamese soldiers’ harsh living conditions during the war. Ben Duoc also houses worth-visiting historical landmarks such as Hoang Cam kitchen and Ben Duoc Memorial Temple.

Cu Chi TunnelsCu Chi Ben Duoc Memorial Temple is dedicated to fallen Vietnamese soldiers in the two wars
(Source: diadaocuchi)

4.2. Sightsee the Military liberation zone’s reenactment areas

These areas reenact the fiercest period of war from 1961 to 1972 in South Vietnam, offering visitors vivid experiences as if they are traveling back in time. There are three sections in the site that reflect the enduring life of Vietnamese guerrilla soldiers and Cu Chi locals during wartime and the desolate village scenes ruined by toxic chemicals, artillery, and bombing raids.

Cu Chi TunnelsThe reenactment zones portray the everyday life in the newly liberated areas of Cu Chi Saigon
(Source: Collected)
Cu Chi TunnelsVisitors can take photos with tanks and aircraft remnants left in Cu Chi combat zones (Source: @perizzaa)

4.3. Play Shooting Guns and Paintball Guns

Besides the underground experiences, the Tunnels of Cu Chi afford exciting military sports that fascinate many foreign tourists. Both Ben Dinh and Ben Duoc have shooting ranges, allowing participants to handle weapons used during the war, such as AK-47s and M16s, under the staff’s instructions.

In paintball shooting, players will be equipped with masks, uniforms, armor, and guns for their combat in the natural forest. These war simulator games will help you experience the shooting, team collaboration, and fighting spirit as soldiers of the past.

  • Tickets for shooting range: 50.000 VND/ person/ 60 minutes.

*Participants are required to have good health conditions and a minimum age of 16 to join shooting activities with real guns.

Cu Chi TunnelsShooting sports in Cu Chi Tunnels Ho Chi Minh City (Source: @anka.bigudi)

4.4. Try the swimming pool in Cu Chi Ben Duoc Tunnels

After the tunnel tours and military activities, visitors can immerse themselves in the clear cool water and play water sports at the Cu Chi swimming pool which simulates the East Sea.

  • Tickets for Cu Chi swimming pool: 20.000 VND/ person

Cu Chi TunnelsThe outdoor swimming pool inside the tourist area of Cu Chi Tunnels (Source: Collected)

4.5. Visit Cu Chi Wildlife Rescue Station

The Wildlife Rescue Station of Cu Chi (Animal rescue station Cu Chi) is located between Ben Dinh and Ben Duoc, about 8 kilometers away from the center of the tourist area. The Cu Chi station of 4,000 square meters is considered the largest rescue center in southern Vietnam.

Established in 2006, Cu Chi Wildlife Rescue Station is the result of a heroic effort to protect 5500 rare animal species on the edge of extinction from an alarming decrease in Vietnam. This is also home to vulnerable creatures often harmed by relentless trapping, long-time abuse, and extreme confinement. Your visit to the Cu Chi rescue center would be a support to these endangered animals and the dedicated staff and a chance to broaden your knowledge about nature conservancy’s significance.

  • Address: No. 50, Road No. 15, Cho Cu Ha Hamlet, Cu Chi District, Ho Chi Minh City

Cu Chi TunnelsCu Chi Wildlife Rescue Station, a 13-minute drive away from Cu Chi Tunnels, is the largest rescue station in southern Vietnam (Source: Simon Faithull)

4.6. Visit Cu Chi fruits garden

South Vietnam, including Cu Chi, is blessed with a vast variety of exotic and lip-smackingly delicious tropical fruits, such as durian, rambutan, jackfruit, mangosteen, and plum.

Near the Tunnels of Cu Chi, Trung An fruit gardens or Bay Trieu orchard are famous spacious orchards where tourists can have an enjoyable garden experience and pick their own fruits to bring home.

Cu Chi TunnelsCu Chi is well-known for fresh fruit gardens (Source: Collected)

>>> Book a hotel room in Sai Gon to explore the mysterious Tunnels of Cu Chi!

Along with incredible historic destinations, the suburb district has emerged as a favorite spot for rustic but mouth-watering dishes. Cu Chi specialties have pleasant favors made from local organic sources, which will satisfy your taste buds during your trip to Cu Chi Tunnels.

  • Fresh tapioca – Cu Chi Tunnels’ signature

After a long journey to Cu Chi Tunnels, visitors will be treated to jasmine tea and boiled tapioca root with a mix of salted peanuts and sugar at the Hoang Cam kitchen. This simple dish was the staple food in Vietnamese fighters’ diet that kept them surviving throughout the war.

Cu Chi Tunnels Fresh tapioca is a symbolic dish of Cu Chi Tunnels (Source: Chelin Miller)

  • Minh Quy pork noodles – A 62-year-old noodle brand in Cu Chi

Address: Minh Quy Bun Bo Gio Heo, 295/1A TL15, Phu Hoa Dong, Cu Chi, Ho Chi Minh City

Price: 55.000 VND

Cu Chi TunnelsMinh Quy noodle with pork pies – a popular Cu Chi delicacy favored by both locals and international tourists (Source: Collected)

  • Cu Chi beef wrapped in rice papers

Address: Bo To Xuan Dao, Quarter 2, National Route 22, Cu Chi, Ho Chi Minh City

Price: 80.000 VND ~  250.000 VND

Cu Chi TunnelsA Cu Chi beef dish is specially made from heifers with soft and rich textures (Source: Collected)

  • Durian sugarcane juice in Cu Chi

Address: Vuon Cau fruit shop, 259A National Route 22, Tan Thong Hoi, Cu Chi, Ho Chi Minh City

Price: 15.000 VND

Cu Chi TunnelsCu Chi’s durian sugarcane juice gains reputation with a distinctive aroma and sweet taste
(Source: Collected)

6. Where to stay when visiting Cu Chi Tunnels Saigon

Cu Chi district offers many accommodation options with a wide range of price and quality levels. However, to make your visit to Cu Chi Tunnels the most comfortable, it is recommended to choose fine hotels around the city center to easily access adequate facilities, transportation systems, and other tourist attractions in Saigon.

Cu Chi TunnelsVinpearl Landmark 81, Autograph Collection – A riverview hotel with high-end amenities in the heart of Ho Chi Minh City

Nestled along the scenic Saigon riverbank, Vinpearl Landmark 81, Autograph Collection is an ideal choice to fulfill all your needs, featuring its prime location in the tallest skyscraper in Vietnam – the newest icon of wealth in Sai Gon.

Standing out from the green garden of Vinhomes Central Park, Vinpearl Landmark 81, Autograph Collection is honored as the highest hotel in Southeast Asia. The hotel has set a new standard for the “Luxury defined by Viet Nam” experience with exquisite interiors, 223 deluxe rooms, a 120-square-meter infinity swimming pool, a five-star Akoya Spa, and top-notch restaurants & sky bars, affording stunning panoramic views of the city.

Cu Chi TunnelsElevate your stay to the sky at Vinpearl Landmark 81, Autograph Collection

From here, it is convenient for travelers to reach numerous sought-after destinations in Ho Chi Minh City, such as Ben Thanh Market, Independence Palace, War Remnants Museum, Bui Vien Walking Street, and Saigon Notre Dame Cathedral.

Cu Chi Tunnels are not only a famous tourist attraction in Ho Chi Minh City but also a lasting national monument. The spider-web-like tunnels are a solemn reminder of the infamous war events in Vietnam, offering a unique experience that you cannot find anywhere else in the world. Book rooms at Vinpearl Landmark 81, Autograph Collection today for your unforgettable travel to the epic land of Saigon!

A trip to the remaining Cu Chi Tunnels offers an impressive and touching reminder of the difficulties of war. Today, two sites of Cu Chi Tunnels (Ben Dinh and Ben Duoc) are open to visitors, both with tunnels that have been expanded to fit larger size bodies. However, they are still a tight fit so the experience of discovering is more challenging and tunnel crawlers feel like VC soldiers who lived and finished their tasks in the dark. Many visitors choose half-day Cu Chi Tunnels Tours or book Full day trip to Cu Chi Tunnels and Mekong Delta Tours (or Cooking Class, Farming, Cao Dai Temple).

What to See in Cu Chi Tunnels?

In recent days, visitors including domestic and international travelers can only visit 2 sites of the legendary Cu Chi Tunnels opening to the public: Ben Dinh Tunnels and Ben Duoc Tunnels.

Cu Chi Tunnels Tour

Crawl through the tunnels, why not?

Ben Dinh Tunnels

Ben Dinh section of Cu Chi Tunnels is 17 hectares large and located next to the Saigon River so it is a perfect location for Cu Chi Commissioners to lead the Vietnamese people during the Vietnam war. And also, Vietcong soldiers could easily escape to the river in case the location was found by the enemies. Ben Dinh section was used from 1968 to 1975.

Ben Dinh Tunnels at Cu Chi Tunnels Tours

Ben Dinh Tunnels with Cu Chi Tunnels Tours

It may take 1 hour and a half to walk around, learn more about the tunnels, and explore important parts in this section. There are 4 tunnels with examples of underground command posts, sleeping quarters, and medical posts. The ticket costs VND 125,000 (about USD 5.3). Visitors have chances to buy shoot weapons and bullets and challenge themselves by shooting guns.

For more information, Ben Dinh Tunnels are more popular for international travelers because the crawling tunnels are enlarged to fit even plus-size bodies and it is nearer to Ho Chi Minh City center in comparison to Ben Duoc Tunnels.

See more: Luxury Cu Chi Tunnels Half Day (Ben Duoc) (Max 09 Pax)

Ben Duoc Tunnels

The section of Ben Duoc Tunnels covers an area of 100 hectares and is five times bigger than Ben Dinh Tunnels. Thus, the traveling distance is also longer and it may take more time to discover this section. For further details, Ben Duoc is about 10 km farer from the center of Saigon in comparison to Ben Dinh.

Cu Chi Tunnels Tour Ben Duoc

Ben Duoc Tunnels (the base of the district commissioner and the military zone of Saigon – Cho Lon – Gia Dinh)

However, visitors have a chance to get the most practical experience of the war in Southern Vietnam at Ben Duoc. You can see with your own eyes how tough life in these narrow and dark tunnels. Moreover, you are able to challenge yourself to overcome the odds. Although Ben Dinh site provides you with many recreational activities that are suitable to foreigners, Ben Duoc offers you various intriguing historical sites including Ben Duoc Memorial Temple.

What to Do with Cu Chi Tunnels Tours?

Imagine spending monthly and yearly living in dark and cramped underground tunnels and only being able to go out of the tunnels after sunsets – that was what Vietcong soldiers and Cu Chi people did to hide from the enemies nearly 50 years ago during the cruel Vietnam War. This underground maze played an important role in the resistance of the Viet Cong against the American forces and The Army of the Republic of Vietnam.

See more: Cu Chi Tunnels And Ho Chi Minh City Group Tour Full Day

What to Do with Cu Chi Tunnels Tours?

What to Do with Cu Chi Tunnels Tours?

The whole tunnels were not only used as a hiding place but also for living thanks to kitchens, makeshift hospitals, stores, meeting rooms, and living quarters. They also used the tunnels as the main “roads” to go around the area.

Bombs and Shells of the US Army on Cu Chi Tunnels Tours

Bombs and Shells of the US Army on Cu Chi Tunnels Tours

Before the war, Cu Chi District used to be a fertile land with an abundance of forest species and tropical fruits. During the war, the region suffered chemical poisons, B-52 bombs, and napalms and turned into a vast, empty field that was full of ashes. However, the brave and heroic local people stayed to fight for their freedom. The tunnels were built by people of Cu Chi and Viet Cong soldiers.

It is a fishbone underground system which is better to hide and also helps to connect houses and villages together. On the surface, hundreds of mines and traps were settled, making the system of tunnels hazardous for Americans to come near. Are you curious about how they got around? Your local guide will answer this question on your coming Cu Chi Tunnels Tours!

Visit weapon storage at Cu Chi Tunnels Tours

Visit weapon storage at Cu Chi Tunnels Tours

All of the above will be explored on your trip to Cu Chi Tunnels. The top activities at the sites of the historic Cu Chi Tunnels Tours:

  • Watch the documentary film about Cu Chi Tunnels and the Vietnam War
  • Walk around to enjoy the fresh air and see what is in the section of Cu Chi Tunnels
  • See numerous kinds of traps that were created by Vietcong soldiers and placed every in the region during the war to injure and kill the enemies
  • Learn how to enter hidden entrances to the tunnels, see how to camouflage the tunnels doors with leaves, and straws,… and use the clothes of the enemies to deceive army dogs
  • Visit hospitals, meeting rooms, storage, kitchen, smokeless Hoang Cam stove, sewing areas,…
  • Try to crawl some of the safer areas of the tunnels (some sections of the Cu Chi tunnels have been widened so that they allow foreigners who are bigger than small size Viet Cong soldiers)
  • Sample boiled cassava which was eaten by local people and Vietcong because of a lack of food

Sample boiled cassava which was eaten

Sample boiled cassava at Cu Chi Tunnels Tours

Cu Chi Tunnels have been known as the must-visit and the top tourist attractions in Ho Chi Minh City and the South of Vietnam. The sites of Cu Chi Tunnels contain historic values, evidence of the Vietnam War and also have enough interesting activities for visitors to entertain after discovering.

See more: Cu Chi Tunnels & Ho Chi Minh City Private Tour 1 Day

Try to fire riffles at Cu Chi Tunnels Shooting Range

Shooting guns is a military sport that attracts a large number of visitors to participate in on their trip to Cu Chi Tunnels. At the shooting range, you are welcome to choose the right guns for yourself. Interestingly enough, most of the guns had been used during the war. With the help of the staff and the tour guide, you will use the guns to try shooting with the animal-shaped target.

cu chi tunnels tours fire riffles at Cu Chi Tunnels Shooting Range

Swimming in Cu Chi Park

There is a 500 meters square swimming pool for adults and 150 meters squares swimming pool for children in Cu Chi Park. The facilities are quite good with a bathroom, dressing room, restroom, etc.

Playing paintball shooting game

Paintball shooting is one of the best activities for groups of visitors in Cu Chi Tunnels. This game combines both sporty and military factors. The highlights of paintball shooting in Cu Chi Tunnels area include the natural forest. Each of the players will be fully equipped with uniform, mask, armor, and weapons. If you want to improve your judging, team collaboration skills, and knowledge, this game is a great choice.

Playing paintball shooting game at Cu Chi Tunnels Tours

Playing paintball shooting game at Cu Chi Tunnels Tours

Pedaling and Kayaking

For those who want something for relaxing and chilling, kayaking in the South China Sea simulation lake is a good choice. A ride on a swan-shaped boat to admire the panoramic view of the lake will make you relax to join the Cu Chi Tunnels Tours.

Having a Picnic at Cu Chi Tunnels

There is a number of spacious areas with lush green trees and fresh air in Cu Chi Tunnels Tours. Therefore, your group can organize a small picnic here to escape from the bustling city.

A trip to step back in time to the memorable Vietnam War

Did you know that Cu Chi Tunnels are ranked 8th respectively out of 10 ideal tourist attractions in Southeast Asia? In reality, it is an ideal place to learn about the history of Vietnam. You may hear about or see pictures or watch videos of the Vietnam War, or even visit the Saigon War Remnants Museum. However, you will really walk on the ground, and stand above the legendary tunnels which helped Vietcong to hide from their enemies.

See more: Cu Chi Tunnels & War Remnants Museum Group Tour

You will see with your own eyes and crawl some sections of the tunnels which have been modified to be safe and large enough for visitors from all over the world. If you are a history lover, always been curious about the guerrilla fighting strategy, this may be a better place to witness their tactics in action.

A trip to step back in time to the memorable Vietnam War at cu chi tunnels tours

A trip to step back in time to the memorable Vietnam War at Cu Chi Tunnels Tours

Cu Chi Tunnels are considered a historical park and lively evidence. History buffs would be thrilled just by walking around and reading the descriptions on wooden boards. Local tour guides provide less-known information and tell hidden stories about the war and the underground tunnels. You will have more insights and meaningful conversations from a local perspective.

You can go to visit this attraction by yourself. Our team will help to save your time, maximize your time in Saigon by driving as fast and safe as possible, show you the must-see facts and places in the large tunnels with dozens of things to explore. This is why we are here and happy to arrange a Cu Chi Tunnels tour for your group.

Explore the underground maze

You are about to discover the extensive, complicated underground network of tunnels that Cu Chi is famous for. The original length of this network is about 250 kilometers. The tunnels stretch all the way to the Cambodian border. Local people and Viet Cong built a special system pumping air into the tunnels in which they can live, breathe, sleep, cook, eat and discuss tactics!

Explore the underground maze at Cu Chi Tunnels Tours

In recent days, some portions around 100-meter length are open for visitors who are excited to get a glimpse of what life underground was like and happy to crawl in the tunnels. Crawl, jump, wriggle and do whatever to be surviving. Wake the warrior part inside you and conquer this underground maze as fast as possible!

Guerrilla fighting in action!

Exciting activities on the ground will also make an impression on you, it will be fun and educational, so that suitable for people of all ages. You can watch a documentary film and have a quick introduction of the Cu Chi Tunnels. They display exhibitions of the booby traps, tanks, and weapons (guns, bullets,…) that were used during the war. You will be surprised while watching the tour guides/local guides showing how the traps work in action.


Guerrilla fighting in action at Cu Chi Tunnels Tours

Later, you can also see simulations of weapon-making and shoe-making processes. Take a rest, sip some jasmine tea, and enjoy the tasty tapioca with sesame salt – one of Cu Chi specialty dish and also the most popular food of local people during the war. If you feel more adventurous, go to the shooting range where you can fire real M16, AK47 rifles, or M60 machine guns which were used in the war!

Cu Chi Tunnels – Facts, History & Length

In order to combat better-supplied American Forces and the Army of the Republic of Vietnam during the historic Vietnam War, the Viet Cong (VC) who are known as Communist guerrilla troops dug tens of thousands of miles of tunnels. The Cu Chi Tunnels include an extensive complex network running underneath the Cu Chi District northwest of Saigon.

VC soldiers used these unique underground routes to transport communications and supplies, house troops, mount surprise attacks, and lay booby traps. Amazingly, after the secret tasks, they could disappear underground to safety. Cu Chi District was known as the death area and Viet Cong were called “tunnel rats” to guerrilla tactics, the U.S. and South Vietnamese forces who were trained to detect booby traps and VC troop presence.

Cu Chi Tunnels Tour

Good morning Cu Chi Tunnels

Generally, it has been said that at least 45,000 Vietnamese men and women died defending the Cu Chi tunnels during the Vietnam War. After the fall of the Republic of Vietnam on 30th April 1975, the Vietnamese government preserved the underground system of Cu Chi tunnels and considered them one of the war memorial parks in the country.

In the late 1940s, Communist forces and local people who supported them began digging a network of underground tunnels under the jungle terrain in Southern Vietnam. They started constructing Cu Chi Tunnels during the war of independence from French colonial authority. Tunnels were often dug by hand and only a short distance was done at a time.

Cu Chi Tunnels Tour

The remaining tank at Cu Cu Tunnels site

From the beginning of the 1960s, the tunnels had been gradually expanded by Viet Cong soldiers and Cu Chi people when the U.S. increasingly escalated its military presence in South Vietnam. They had worked as hard as possible and the total length of the tunnels is approximately 250 kilometers.

They are known to connect VC support bases from the outskirts to the Cambodian border. With the help of the legendary tunnels, weapons, food, documentary, and others were transported via the tunnels but not on the roads or rivers. So, soldiers and goods were not found by the U.S. forces and the Republic of Vietnam Military Forces.

VC soldiers lurked in the tunnels and placed numerous booby traps for U.S. forces and South Vietnamese infantrymen. They overturned boxes of poisonous snakes and scorpions onto the enemy troops’ heads or planted trip wires that would set off grenades.

American soldiers who were involved in the Vietnam War in Cu Chi District and Southern Vietnam and trained to attack Viet Cong were called “Tunnel rats”. Smaller American usually spent hours navigating the dark and cramped tunnels to detect booby traps and scout. They describe the experience of being in the tunnels with the evocative term “black echo”.

The United States relied heavily on aerial bombing and the enemies were much better supplied. The Communists (North Vietnamese and VC troops) hid in the Cu Chi Tunnels which helped to save their lives and continue their guerrilla tactics. In areas heavily bombed, VC and their supporters spent much of their life underground. And you that it is not easy to live without sunlight and lack of fresh air.

In January 1966, around 8,000 U.S. and Australian troops attempted to sweep all of the VC troops and their supporters in Cu Chi District. They had a large-scale program of attacks dubbed Operation Crimp. Firstly, B-52 bombers dropped a large number of explosives onto the large jungle region. Later, the U.S. troops were commanded to scour the area for enemy activities. However, all of the efforts were not successful. In fact, Communist forces had disappeared and hid in the network of underground tunnels which save the lives of thousands of VC soldiers and local people.

One year later, after hearing reports of a network of enemy tunnels, some 30,000 American troops launched Operation Cedar Falls – mini combat with the Black Sun Vietnam rules from 8 to 26 January 1967. The U.S. forces attack the Communist soldiers in the Iron Triangle area (Binh Duong province in the north of Saigon near the Cambodian border).

Cu Chi Tunnels Tour

Secret entrance to the tunnels

After distributing bombs and defoliating the large areas of rice fields and jungle with powerful herbicides, the U.S. forces drove tanks and bulldozers to the region to sweep the tunnels, driving out a large number of residents, many of them civilian refugees. Fortunately, North Vietnamese and VC troops slipped back within months of the sweep. In early 1968, during the Tet Offensive, VC used the tunnels as a stronghold in their assault against their enemies.

cu chi tunnels tour

The underground shelter was a must to survive a bomb blast, and the Cu Chi tunnels played an important role during combat operations during Vietnam War. The tunnels were considered as a base for Communist troops attacking the enemies nearby Saigon.

The Cu Chi Tunnels played more and more important to the VC troops. Thus, the system of underground tunnels grew to house entire underground villages. They even constructed living quarters, hospital kitchens, ordnance factories, meeting rooms, and bomb shelters. In some areas, there were music halls and large theaters for entertainment.

See more tours: Cu Chi Tunnel Tours

If you are planning a visit to Vietnam and have never been to SE Asia before, be prepared for a bit of culture shock. The traffic is horrendous, many people don’t speak English, the food is not what you’re used to, cleanliness standards are quite different, and you may have to use the occasional squatty potty.

But if you mentally prepare yourself for the challenges and excitement that lie ahead, you’ll absolutely fall in love with this beautiful, diverse, and amazing country! After traveling all over Vietnam, we decided to move to Saigon last year, and all of our time here has allowed us to narrow down the most important Vietnam travel tips.

Based on our experience living in Vietnam and traveling the country extensively, we have compiled a list of 15 things you should know before visiting Vietnam so you can avoid any unpleasant surprises.


Disclaimer: This post may contain affiliate links. If you make a purchase or booking through one of our links we may earn a small commission (don’t worry, it’s at no extra cost to you).

15 Travel Tips for Visiting Vietnam

1. Arrange Your Visa Before Arriving in Vietnam

Unlike neighboring Thailand and Cambodia, most visitors can’t simply arrive in Vietnam and get stamped into the country. All nationalities outside of Southeast Asia require some type of visa or preapproval letter before arriving in Vietnam.

Fortunately, it’s actually easy for citizens of most countries to obtain a visa either through the new eVisa process or by being pre-approved for a visa on arrival.

See more: Cu Chi Tunnel Tours

Unfortunately, the visa process for Vietnam is made more confusing by the proliferation of travel agencies offering the pre-approval service and competing for your business online. There are a lot of official-looking websites that aren’t really official. Many of these sites have the word “government” or “govt” in their URL to be tricky.

There is only one official eVisa site maintained by the Vietnamese government: https://evisa.xuatnhapcanh.gov.vn/trang-chu-ttdt. If you want a 30-day, single-entry e-visa you should proceed directly to that URL.

However, if you want to stay longer than 30 days or want a multiple entry visa, you’ll need to select one of the official-looking but not-official tourist agencies to provide you with a pre-approval letter to visit Vietnam.

For the most part, they are all legit, so your chances of getting scammed out of a few dollars are relatively low. But it sure makes things confusing!

Get the inside scoop with “Wheatley Wednesday”!

Every Wednesday we highlight a different country from around the world to help you plan your next trip. Plus get exclusive new content – only available to our email subscribers!

We can personally vouch for the authenticity of http://www.vietnamvisapro.net/ as we’ve used them several times and never had any issues.

Steps for Obtaining a 30-Day Single-Entry eVisa

  1. Visit this website; https://evisa.xuatnhapcanh.gov.vn/trang-chu-ttdt. This is the only official government website. All others only look official but are run by tourist agencies.
  2. Upload your passport data page image and a passport photo (straight looking without glasses).
  3. Pay the $25 USD fee by credit card.
  4. You will be emailed a registration code which you can use to check the status of your eVisa.
  5. Wait 3 working days for processing.
  6. Once approved, print your e-visa, and remember to pack it in your carry-on luggage!

The Steps to Obtaining a 30-day or 90-day Visa on Arrival

  1. Find an online service like http://www.vietnamvisapro.net/ or one of the countless other options.
  2. Complete the visa application.
  3. Pay the fee.
  4. Wait 2 working days (usually less) for the letter of approval.
  5. Print the approval letter.
  6. Get passport photos taken if you don’t have them already. If you forget this step, you can get them taken at the airport for an inflated charge of ~$5 per photo (but it’s best not to rely on this option).
  7. Pack your approval letter, passport photos, and cash. Make sure they are all in your carry-on/hand luggage!
  8. At the airport, you’ll pay a stamping fee – either $25 or $50 depending on the length of visa you’re applying for (see below). Be sure to bring US Dollars in reasonably good condition – bills with no rips or writing.

Cost of Obtaining a Vietnam Visa on Arrival

Visa Pre-approval Letter Fee
(Paid in advance to VietnamVisaPros.net)
Visa Stamping Fee
(Paid on Arrival in Vietnam)
1-Month Single Entry $6 $25
1-Month Multiple Entry $6 $50
3-Month Single Entry $15 $25
3-Month Multiple Entry $20 $50

Note: If you are a US citizen, there is now an option for a 6-month multi-entry visa and a 1-year multi-entry visa. The process is the same, but the visa stamping fees are higher.

2. It’s Best to Fly in Vietnam

Vietnam is a very long, thin country. From the city of Hanoi in the north to Ho Chi Minh City in the south, the distance is over 1,000 miles and would take about 30 hours by car. Even with a whole month in Vietnam, if you want to hit all of the highlights in the south, central, and northern regions, you should definitely plan on flying.

If you take a bus or the train, you may save a few dollars, but you’ll waste a ton of time covering these massive distances. Plus, you can find really inexpensive domestic flights, especially if you book ahead. Vietjet Air is a popular domestic carrier with inexpensive flights (although it is not the most punctual airline).

3. Be Prepared for the Heat (and the Cold)

Whether you’re visiting south, central, or northern Vietnam, you can expect a lot of heat and humidity. The climate of the entire country is considered to be mild tropical or subtropical. So if your hair is like mine and turns into an unruly mop at the slightest hint of humidity, consider yourself screwed. Plus, any makeup you apply will slide off your face within 30 seconds of stepping outside.

Overall, you can expect some rain in the summer and autumn months, especially if you are visiting Vietnam from July to November. And in the north, the temperatures can get quite cold during the winter months (December – February), with occasional snow in the mountains around Sapa.

Central Vietnam is generally warm year-round and can get so unbearably hot in the summer months. Make sure you take this into account if you want to visit Hue, Hoi An, or Da Nang. The intense summer heat can make it so that leaving your air-conditioned hotel room takes the maximum amount of effort.

Be sure to check the weather in every city that you plan on visiting in Vietnam prior to departing so that you can plan (and pack) accordingly.

4. Learn Some Vietnamese

English is taught in schools in many countries in SE Asia, so locals tend to be multilingual. This is especially true of anyone working in shops, restaurants, hotels, or places that tourists frequent. And many people want to learn English as tourism is seen as a very lucrative profession. So getting around without a phrasebook or any basic conversational dialect is no problem.

But in rural parts of Vietnam, many people do not speak any English at all. Or if they do, it is incredibly basic. Even at restaurants, shops, and some hotels, you may have a challenging time communicating to place an order or ask how much something costs.

Plan on learning a few phrases to get around. “Xin chào” (pronounced “sin jow”) means “hello” and “cảm ơn” (pronounced “kam on”) is “thank you”. And the one you’ll probably use most frequently – “bia” (pronounced “bee-ah”) means “beer”. Use Google Translate and pick up a Vietnamese phrase book to help you get around.

5. Crossing the Street is Terrifying

The traffic in Vietnam is world-renowned for being insane. But not as much because of cars, more because of the thousands of motorbikes that dominate the roadways, weaving in and out of traffic. Walk signals and the white lines that generally indicate “pedestrian crossing” zones don’t hold much weight here. Motorbikes and cars will not stop for pedestrians unless they absolutely have to.

And since motorbike drivers don’t follow classic traffic rules – such as staying off of the sidewalks, going the right way down a one-way street, or stopping for red lights – you’ll have to be on high alert every time you attempt to cross the street.

As a general rule, you should begin walking confidently once you see a break in traffic and have faith that the cars and motorbikes will weave around you. They probably won’t stop, but they won’t actually hit you. Drivers seem to be better about this in Ho Chi Minh City and not as effective in Hanoi. Regardless, use caution and don’t expect your normal pedestrian rights from home to apply in Vietnam.

6. Get a Vietnamese SIM Card

You’ll find that even in remote areas of the country, including Sapa, Halong Bay, and Ninh Binh, the Wi-Fi signal is strong. And if you have a phone that is unlocked, you can pick up a Vietnamese sim card and get 60 gigs of data for ~150,000 VND (~$6.50 USD). The 4G service works great pretty much everywhere.

No need to upgrade your cell service from home to an international plan while visiting Vietnam!

Viettel vs. MobiFone vs Vinaphone: Which is better?
During multiple trips to Vietnam, we have used Mobifone, Viettel, and Vinaphone. 
We recommend Viettel – it is hands down the best Vietnam SIM card for tourists.

7. It’s Really, Really Cheap

The caveat to this is that you can certainly spend a lot and find luxury tours and accommodations while visiting Vietnam if you choose. But if you are on a moderate budget like us (we generally spend $80-100/day between the two of us), it’s really easy to do here.

You can find lovely boutique hotels in the $30-40 USD/night range and really comfy Airbnbs for around $20-25 USD/night. If you’re living in Vietnam long-term, you can rent an apartment or house for around $300-600/month. Trains and buses are quite affordable and comfortable. And if you use the Grab app instead of taxis, you’ll rarely pay more than a few dollars to get anywhere in the city.

Food is quite cheap as well. If you don’t mind eating on tiny plastic stools, you can get a filling meal for around $2 USD. Even fancy meals rarely cost more than $20 USD per person. Domestic beer is generally less than $1 USD per can or bottle. And if you plan on shopping for souvenirs, you’ll be expected to haggle a bit on prices. Start by offering 50% of their asking price, and you’ll end up meeting somewhere in the middle.

8. Check the Toilet Seat before Sitting

The toilet situation in SE Asia takes some getting used to. Most bathrooms in Vietnam have adopted Western-style toilets over squatty potties (although you may encounter one every now and again). But often, you’ll need to pay to use them (generally 2,000 VND). And they don’t always have toilet paper. Most Vietnamese people prefer to use sprayers to clean their bums.

And that spray water gets all over the toilet seat. No one seems to have an interest in cleaning up after themselves. If I had $1 for every time I’ve accidentally sat down on a wet toilet seat in SE Asia, I’d be able to travel forever. Carry some tissues in your pocket and give the seat a good wipe before you sit down.

9. Always Wear a Helmet, it’s the Law

In December of 2007, Vietnam enacted a comprehensive mandatory helmet law to help to lessen the country’s traffic fatalities. Vietnam is the second-highest country in SE Asia for traffic fatalities with 24.5 per 100,000. And motorbikes are much more common than cars here, accounting for 95% of registered vehicles in the country.

The law is strictly enforced and today, you’ll see most people wearing them around cities. And it’s helped. A lot. The AIP Foundation estimates that 15,000 fatalities and 500,000 injuries have been prevented in the 10 years since the law was enacted.

As a foreigner, you’ll be expected to wear one as well during your visit to Vietnam. And not just if/when you rent a motorbike, you’ll also need one if you take one of the many Grab bikes that dominate the roadways. But don’t worry, they’ll have an extra one for you to use.

10. Use Grab, not Taxis

Speaking of Grab, you should plan on using this service rather than taxis. Grab is the Uber of SE Asia. Simply download the app and find a driver anytime you need a ride. Keep in mind it often takes longer than hailing a taxi, and the drivers occasionally cancel the ride, but it’s far easier than having to negotiate your taxi fare prior to departing. And it’s so much cheaper!

You can load your credit card info or opt to pay cash for each ride. You’ll rarely pay more than $2 USD to get around the city. You’ll save yourself a ton of time, money, and hassle if you use Grab during your visit to Vietnam – trust us!

11. Don’t Expect to Walk on the Sidewalk

There are plenty of wide sidewalks in the cities of Vietnam, so you might think you can escape the crazy traffic, right? Wrong. You’ll find that most of the time, you have to walk in the street anyway because the sidewalks are filled with dozens of parked motorbikes or plastic restaurant tables.

Why Vietnam has decided that motorbike parking is more important than having a place for pedestrians to walk is beyond me. And frankly, it’s really annoying in the touristy areas of Hanoi and Saigon. But as mentioned above, motorbike drivers are good about weaving around pedestrians in Vietnam.

You’ll appreciate towns like Hoi An that have designated pedestrian areas, so you don’t have to worry about getting sideswiped by a motorbike while wandering down the side of the road.

12. Get a Debit Card that Refunds International ATM Fees

It’s pretty rare to find ATMs in Vietnam that will dispense more than 3,000,000 VND (~$130 USD), and many will only give you 2,000,000 VND (~$85 USD) at a time. Plus, you’ll be charged a transaction fee each time you use one that will range from $1 – $5 USD. And it’s pretty rare to find restaurants, bars, or shops that take a Visa card. If they do, they generally charge an additional 3% as well.

We’ve also found ourselves needing to visit up to five ATMs before finally finding one that will actually work. So don’t wait until the last minute to withdraw cash or give yourself a small window of time. Surprisingly, we had the most difficult time finding ATMs that would take foreign cards in downtown Hanoi.

Be sure to check with your bank prior to departing to ensure that they refund international ATM charges. Also, check to make sure they don’t charge international fees. You’ll also need to call your bank to release your cards for international use.

We love the Charles Schwab debit card that offers zero international fees and refunds all of your ATM fees. And the Chase Sapphire Preferred credit card is best for earning points while traveling. We use the Chase card for booking hotels and tours and our Charles Schwab card for getting money out of the ATM when visiting Vietnam.

13. It’s Not as Conservative as You Think

Prior to visiting Vietnam, I was under the impression that I’d need to dress very conservatively. And while many people do tend to keep their shoulders and knees covered, regardless of the blazing temperatures, many younger locals show far more skin than I was anticipating.

And the rules are more relaxed when visiting temples in Vietnam compared to some of its neighbors. There are signs requesting that visitors cover up, but they are rarely followed or enforced.

You may feel a bit uncomfortable wandering around town in a half-shirt but don’t be afraid to pack shorts or dresses for your Vietnam vacation.

14. It’s Also Not as Communist as You Think

Ironic how many privately owned shops are selling Communist Propaganda Posters

Vietnam is one of only five communist countries that still remain in the world today. However, you won’t encounter much evidence of communism as you go about your day as a tourist. Most businesses are privately owned, and there is a strong sense of capitalism in the country.

Ho Chi Minh City is a bustling metropolis full of highrise buildings and it even has its own stock exchange. And a new generation of young Vietnamese entrepreneurs is hard at work on cool new startups in industries ranging from tech to craft beer.

Ho Chi Minh (affectionately known as “Uncle Ho”) is still revered as the liberator of Vietnam by both the French and the Americans, but the tides seem to be rapidly and decidedly turning towards capitalism.

In case you’re wondering… the other four communist countries are China, Cuba, Laos, and North Korea.

15. Remember – here it’s Called The American War

It’s not called the Vietnam War here. We were invading their country, after all.

But don’t worry – relations were normalized between the US and Vietnam in the mid-1990s thanks to efforts by then-President Bill Clinton and Senator John McCain, who spent five years as a POW in Hoa Lo prison in Hanoi during the war.

These days the American War is a distant memory, and you’ll find the Vietnamese hold no ill will against Americans. In fact, if someone finds out that you’re American, they will probably start telling you all about their extended family that now lives in America. Many Vietnamese in the south worked for the US military during the war, and they were offered asylum in the US when the American troops finally pulled out of Saigon.

That’s it – 15 Vietnam travel tips! Do you have any advice for traveling to Vietnam? Let us know in the comments below.

Cu Chi Tunnels & Bitexco Finance Tower – Saigon Sky Deck Group Tour

Built by local fighters during the Indochina conflict, Cu Chi Tunnels tour served as a base from which the Viet Cong could operate from close to the Southern Vietnamese capital. For this Ho Chi Minh City tour, leave the hustle and bustle of Ho Chi Minh City to explore one of the relics from one of the most significant local historical events in recent memory.

Journey takes 2 hours west towards the Cambodian border. Ongoing way to the Cu Chi tunnels tour, we can see local life in the area, both past and present. Learn about their lives, culture, and customs and get an insight into the recent past through local eyes.

Continue on to Cu Chi tunnels tour. The location of the tunnels was of significant strategic importance: they are at the end of the infamous Ho Chi Minh Trail, and within striking distance of the southern Vietnam capital. Initial construction started in 1948 when the Viet Minh required somewhere to hide from French air attacks, and by 1965, the tunnel complex was estimated to consist of 200 km of tunnels. It included, hospitals, schools, meeting rooms, kitchens, and sleeping quarters. Life was difficult for the inhabitants, and to protect against outside intruders, booby traps were laid throughout the complex.

Today, the Vietnamese government has preserved approximately 75 km of the Cu Chi tunnels tour as a memorial park, and in some areas the tunnels have been widened and low powered lights installed so that tourists can now fit through the complex.

What will we learn from Cu Chi Tunnels & Bitexco Finance Tower – Saigon Sky Deck Group Tour

Your local guide will take you on a fascinating tour of the Cu Chi tunnels tour, where you will learn more about the conditions the people lived in, the hardships they faced, and the amazing ingenuity employed to maintain life in the tunnels. We walk past huge bomb craters – evidence of the heavy bombing campaigns in the region during the Indochina conflict, discover hidden entrances right beneath your feet, wander past tiny little chimneys in the ground that dispersed smoke from the underground kitchens, sample some of the simple cuisine that local fighters would have survived on, and have an opportunity to venture into the tunnels and explore the complex.

You will end this historical Ho Chi Minh City tour with a greater understanding of the local impacts of the conflicts of the 20th century.

After the tour ends, you will return to Ho Chi Minh City to visit the Bitexco Financial Tower: Saigon Sky Deck. Enjoy panoramic views with a fast track ticket and see traditional Vietnamese costumes at the Ao Dai Museum. You are free to visit.

See more or book tour at: Cu Chi Tunnels & Bitexco Finance Tower


8:00 AM: Your Hotel Departure

You will be picked up by private tour guide and driver to Cu Chi Tunnel. Journey takes 2 hours west towards the Cambodian border. Ongoing way to the Cu Chi tunnels tour, we can see local life in the area, both past and present. Learn about their lives, culture, and customs and get an insight into the recent past through local eyes.

9:30 AM: Cu Chi Tunnel Arrival


  • Explore the Cu Chi tunnels by minivan
  • Learn the indeed history of the war from Vietnamese sights
  • Sightseeing villages, rubber plantations and rice paddies by local transport
  • Experience what it was like living inside the tunnel system
  • Discover underground world of guerrilla warfare in the incredible Cu Chi tunnels
  • Gain insight into the tenacity and resourcefulness of the Vietcong
  • Go on a jungle walk in the tunnel area
  • Crawl inside the tunnels to experience how guerrilla lived and fought before
  • Try tapioca or cassava root on another word that sustained Viet Cong fighters for years
  • Chance to shoot the AK47, M16, M30, M60, Garand M1, Carbine (at your own expenses)

11:30 AM: Lunch at local restaurant

15:00 PM: Bitexco Finance Tower – Saigon Sky Deck

16:30 PM: Hotel return & tour end


Time Table

Departure location:Opera House or hotels in District 1,3,4 of Ho Chi Minh City
Return locationOpera House or hotels in District 1, 3, 4 of Ho Chi Minh City
Departure time:8: 00 AM
Return time:16: 30 PM
Wear:   Comfortable athletic clothing, shoes or slippers, fashionable clothes …


  • All entrance fees
  • Air-conditioner mini van
  • 2 bottles/ person
  • Pick up & drop off at Centre of City as mentioned in Departure
  • English speaking tour guide
  • Travel insurance: $5000 USD/ case/ person


  • Personal expenses, tips/ gratuities…

Price Table

Number of pax123456789
Price/ pax (USD)656565656565656565


  • Child under 04 years old: FOC
  • Child under 12 years old: 75% of adult fare


Additional information

  • You will be picked up at your hotel which is located within district 1, 3, 4. Picking up at other districts might be extra charged.
  • Once your purchase is completed, please send us your contact information such as phone number, email address, etc. for our local operator to organize pick-up arrangements.
  • Confirmation will be received at time of booking
  • Not wheelchair accessible
  • Children from 0 – under 5 years old: Free of charge (sharing bed and meals with parents)
  • Children from 5 – 10 years old: 70% of adult price (sharing bed with parents and having own meals)
  • Children 11 years old upwards: 100% adult price Infant seats available
  • Most travelers can participate

Payment Policy

  • Online payment will be processed via website. Once your purchase is completed, please send us your contact information such as phone number, email address, etc. for our local operator to organize pick-up arrangements.
  • Confirmation will be received at time of booking
  • If not full payment online, deposit of 30% of the total of the tour can be applied upon confirmation of booking tour.  Rest full payment for balance can be applied on arrival
  • All the tour packages on this website operate on a pre-payment basis. Payment can be made either using a major credit card as Visa, Mastercard and American Express Credit Card ( It would be charged in 3% fee for Visa, Mastercard or 4% for American Express, 5% for Paypal to the total amount of payment each time).
  • Full direct bank transfer will be discount immediately 5% of total amount of cost. After receiving your payment, we will issue you final confirmation itinerary, which can be sent to you by e-mail.
  • Flexibility is our strongest point. You can amend your booking when it is made. Just contact us at booking@vietnamtours.vip with your booking number. Our reservations team is glad to amend your booking accordingly.

Cancellation Policy

  • For a full refund, cancel at least 24 hours in advance of the start date of the experience.
  • Flight delayed, food poisoning, getting sick unable to attend tour. Under those circumstances, we agree to reschedule your start date with an additional charge of 50% of the total tour cost
  • The refund is done using the same payment method. In the event of credit cards which are charged monthly, the amount shall be credited at the end of the current invoicing period. The exact time of the refund depends on the user’s credit card agreement. The refund by bank transfer shall be done within seven bank working days.
  • Refunds will be always issued through Paypal

See more or book tour at: Cu Chi Tunnels & Bitexco Finance Tower

Hear stories of the American-Vietnam war as you discover the maze-like Cu Chi Tunnels, a 136-mile (220 kilometers) network of underground tunnels used by the Viet soldiers. Step back in time as you peek into the old storage areas, poke your head through camouflaged trapdoors, and crawl through military supply tunnels.

Highlights of Cu Chi Tunnels Tour & Ho Chi Minh City Tour Full Day VIP Group includes:

  • Rather small group size, 9 pax, more convenience and save your time
  • Half day tour is suitable for travelers do not have so much time
  • Lower price than private tour or speedboat tour to Cu Chi Tunnels
  • Mix of Cu Chi Tunnels and many tourist attractions in the center of Ho Chi Minh City
  • The luxurious, spacious and comfortable limousine

General Information

  • Tour code: VIP04 – Saigon Adventure Tours
  • Tour name: Cu Chi Tunnels & Ho Chi Minh City Tour Full Day VIP Group
  • Start time: 8:30 AM
  • End time: 3:00 PM
  • Duration: 9 hours (half day)
  • Price: $65 USD
  • Group size: 9 pax
  • Transportation: limousine

Do you dare enter the tunnels through the very small entrance which is only fit one passenger at one time. Viet Cong soldiers used wooden doors and leaves to camouflage entrances. If you are successfull on going though the “hole”, you win at the challenge.

Itinerary of Cu Chi Tunnels & Ho Chi Minh City Tour Full Day VIP Group

8:00 AM – Pick up

Be picked up by your driver and tour guide at your hotel in the center of Ho Chi Minh City. Start the journey to Cu Chi Tunnels and spend approximately 1 hour and a half on the car.

Escape from the hustle and bustle city, enjoy the beautiful and peaceful scenery of the Vietnam’s countryside along the way. Pass the lush rice fields stretching far as the eye can see, forests, cultivated areas. See how local people go about their works, pupils ride bicycles to schools, even water buffaloes and druck swimming in lakes, ponds, and rivers, cows wandering on grass fields,… And be surprised to know that this area was completely destroyed by tons of mines and bombs, toxic chemicals of various types of the U.S.  in the Vietnam war.

See more: Cu Chi Tunnels And Ho Chi Minh City Group Tour Full Day

9:30 AM – Arrival & Cu Chi Tunnels Discovery

There are lots of things to do at the Cu Chi Tunnels and you will spend about 3 – 4 hours at the site:

  • Watch a short documentary film about the Vietnam War, Vietnamese history and Cu Chi Tunnels
  • Listen to must-known information about the underground maze as well as less-known stories told by your expert guide and from the local perspective
  • Walk around the forests and enjoy the fresh air
  • See with your own eyes the very small secret wooden entrance doors which were only fit the small Viet Cong soldiers and covered with camouflage leaves. Learn how to enter the doors, try to do that with the help of the staff at the tunnels or your tour guide
  • See the traps of different types: booby trap, rolling trap, clipping armpit trap, conical trap, sea saw trap, folding chair,… and learn how they work
  • See a B-52 bomb crater
  • Visit meeting room, hospital, kitchen with smokeless Hoang Cam stove, sewing room, shoes making rooms,…
  • Take a rest, sip some hot tea, enjoy the cassava served with sesame salt which VC troops and Cu Chi people used to eat due to lack of food
  • Try to crawl some sections of the tunnels if you feel adventurous enough. Crawl as fast as possible and finish the tunnels safe under the instruction of the leader (your tour guide or local guide)
  • Try your hand at shooting at an AK-47 gun at the shooting range with the help of the staff
  • See some weapons including guns and bullets, tanks, parts of bombs and aircrafts
  • Buy some nice souvenirs

12:30 AM – 1 PM – End of the Cu Chi Tunnels trip & Lunch & Back to Saigon center

Enjoy the delicious Vietnamese dishes for lunch after exploring the tunnels. After that, be transferred back to the center of Saigon.

2:30 PM – Visit tourist attractions in Ho Chi Minh City

  • Reunification Palace, which was the former residence of the President of the Republic of Vietnam until the end of the war in April 1975
  • Notre Dame Cathedral – one of the most beautiful French architecture in Saigon and the iconic sight of the city
  • General Post Office with charming facade and unique interior building design
  • War Remnant Museum primarily dealing with the American War, but the French-colonial period

5:30 PM – Return back to your hotel

Be dropped off at your hotel, say good bye to your tour guide and driver.

Price of Cu Chi Tunnels Tour Small Group Half Day: $45 USD/pax

In case you would like to book a tour with more privacy and flexibility, our Private Cu Chi Tunnels Tour Half Day is suitable for your group.


Modified from the original 16-seater car, spacious limousine in Vietnam usually has 9 seats with leather covers and decorated beautifully with wood and lots of modern facilities.


Watch the short documentary film at the beginning of the trip in order to have some basic knowledge about Cu Chi Tunnels.


Crawling the tunnels is really worth doing. This activity is suitable for adults, children, the elderly. In fact, the tunnels for tourists to experience are widen and dim lights are installed. So that, the challenge is not too difficult. However, it is a little bit dark and small enough to make passengers feel like being real tunnellers.


It is a great time to walk under the shade of lush green trees. The air is fresh and it is cool when you are at the site of Cu Chi Tunnels.


This tank were used during the Vietnam War, now it become an exhibit and you are welcome to take memorable pictures with it. The guys look like real soldiers with your tank in the photo above.


Try to shoot a gun at Cu Chi Tunnels! I belive that you will enjoy the activity.


Reunification Palace is like the Berlin Wall in Germany, is remembered vividly as a marked end to the Vietnam War which lasted almost 20 years. Designed by the talented Vietnamese architect Ngô Viết Thụ, Reunification Palace was built on the site of the former Norodom Palace and has a very beautiful and admirable architecture. In addition, there are many things inside to see: different function rooms telling stories about the life and work of President of the Republic of Vietnam.


Constructed from 1886-1891, Saigon Central Post Office depicts classic elements of Renaissance, Gothic, and French colonial design. The post office is impressive for not only the splendid facade but also its interior architecture which has been said to be like a train station in Europe.


Constructed between 1863 and 1880, Notre Dame Cathedral has a scenic Paris Square, reaches a height of up to 60 meters, has become the iconic sight of Saigon for many years.


You can see hundreds of objects related to the Vietnam War at the Museum of War Remnants at Saigon downtown. In the picture above, service gas masks for the U.S. soldiers during the toxic chemical spraying operations launched by American Army in Southern Vietnam, are presented.

See more: Cu Chi Tunnels Half Day Private Tour

Inclusion of Cu Chi Tunnels & Ho Chi Minh City Tour Full Day VIP Group

  • Entrance ticket at Cu Chi Tunnels (Ben Dinh)
  • English-speaking tour guide
  • 1 Bottle of water/pax
  • Tea & cassava
  • Free pick up & drop off at hotels in District 1 & 3
  • Transportation (luxury limousine with A/C, driver)

Exclusion of Cu Chi Tunnels & Ho Chi Minh City Tour Full Day VIP Group

  • Foods & Beverages
  • Gratuties/Tips
  • Other expenses (souvenirs)
  • Shooting gun and other games at Cu Chi Tunnels

See more: Cu Chi Tunnel Tours

Though still a little rough around the edges, Vietnam’s transport network is continuing to improve. Most travel takes place on the roads, which are largely of decent quality surface-wise. The vehicles themselves are also pretty good, with air-conditioned coaches ferrying tourists (and an increasing number of locals) up and down Highway 1, a desperately narrow and shockingly busy thoroughfare that runs from Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh City, passing through Hué, Da Nang and Nha Trang on route. Off the main routes the vehicles are less salubrious. Trains run alongside Highway 1, and their sleeper berths are far more comfortable than buses for longer journeys. Lastly, the domestic flight network continues to evolve, and the cheap, comfortable services may save you days’ worth of travel by road or rail. That said, there’s plenty of room for improvement, particularly as regards road transport.

On the roads

Vietnam’s busy, narrow roads were simply not built for overtaking, yet almost each and every vehicle is either overtaking or being overtaken at any given point – accidents are common.

Vietnam was once famed for bus drivers ripping off foreigners and cramming as many bodies as possible into their vehicles, but this is dying down; most routes now have tickets with fixed prices, and the advent of luxury “open-tour” buses on the main tourist trail saw comfort levels rocket. On the longer stretches, many buses are sleeper-berth for their whole length, though getting 40 winks can be tough – the nature of local roads means that emergency stops are common, and Vietnamese drivers use their horn liberally, which can become grating very quickly on a long journey.

Security remains an important consideration. Never fall asleep with your bag by your side, and never leave belongings unattended.

By plane

Flying comes into its own on longer hauls, and can save precious hours or even days off journeys – the two-hour journey between Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, for instance, compares favourably with the 30 to 40 hours you would spend on the train. Prices are reasonable with Jetstar, and a little more with Vietnam Airlines. Other useful services from Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City fly to Hué, Da Nang, Nha Trang, and Phu Quoc Island. Note that you’ll need your passport with you when taking internal flights.

The Vietnamese national carrier, Vietnam Airlines, operates a reasonably cheap, efficient and comprehensive network of domestic flights. The company maintains booking offices in all towns and cities with an airport; addresses and phone numbers are listed throughout the Vietnam Tours VIP.

By rail

Given the amazing prices and regular services of the open-tour buses, few travellers opt for the train. However, rail journeys are well worth considering, for several reasons. Firstly, major roads tend to be lined in their entirety with ramshackle cafés, petrol pumps, snack stands and mobile phone shops; from the train, you’ll actually see a bit of the countryside. Secondly, you’ll be involved in far fewer near-collisions with trucks, motorbikes or dogs. Thirdly, you’re almost guaranteed to get talking to a bunch of friendly locals – and perhaps get to join in on the feasts that some of them bring on board.

Vietnam Railways runs a single-track train network comprising more than 2500km of line, stretching from Ho Chi Minh City to the Chinese border. Much of it dates back to the colonial period, though it’s gradually being upgraded. Most of the services are still relatively slow, but travelling by train can be far more pleasant than going by road – though prices on the coastal route can’t compare with buses, you’re away from the busy (and often dangerous) Highway 1, and get to see far more of the countryside. Keep a particularly close eye on your belongings on the trains, and be especially vigilant when the train stops at stations, ensure your money belt is safely tucked under your clothes before going to sleep and that your luggage is safely stowed.

The most popular routes with tourists are the shuttle from Da Nang to Hué (2-3hr), a picturesque sampler of Vietnamese rail travel and the overnighters from Hué to Hanoi (11-16hr) and from Hanoi up to Lao Cai, for Sa Pa (8-9hr).


The country’s main line shadows Highway 1 on its way from Ho Chi Minh City to Hanoi, passing through Nha Trang, Da Nang and Hué en route. From Hanoi, three branch lines strike out towards the northern coast and Chinese border. One line traces the Red River northwest to Lao Cai, just an hour by bus from Sa Pa and also the site of a border crossing into China’s Yunnan Province; unfortunately, the rail on the Chinese side is not in use. Another runs north to Dong Dang; this is the route taken by trains linking Hanoi and Beijing. The third branch, a shorter spur, links the capital with Hai Phong.

Five Reunification Express services depart daily from Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh City and vice versa, a journey that takes somewhere between 30 and 40 hours. Most services arrive between 3am and 5am in both Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City.

On the northern lines, four trains per day make the run from Hanoi to Hai Phong (2hr 30min) and two to Dong Dang (6hr). There are also four nights trains (7–8hr) and a day service (9hr) to Lao Cai.

Trains usually leave on schedule from their departure points, and though delays can stack up further down the line, they’re rarely too severe. Note that the only truly reliable way to learn the schedule is by checking those printed on the station wall.


When it comes to choosing which class to travel in, it’s essential to aim high. At the bottom of the scale is a hard seat, which is just as it sounds, though bearable for shorter journeys; the carriages, however, tend to be filthy and since the windows are caged, views are poor and one can actually feel like an animal. Soft seats offer more comfort, especially in the new air-conditioned carriages, some of which are double-decker; the newer berths, unfortunately, tend to have flatscreen TVs operating at an ear-splitting volume. On overnight journeys, you’d be well advised to invest in a berth of some description, though since the country’s rolling stock is being upgraded it’s not always possible to know exactly what you’re getting. The new hard-berth compartments are now quite comfortable and have six bunks, three either side – the cramped top ones are the cheapest, and the bottom ones the priciest – though some of the old hard-as-nails relics remain in service. Roomier soft-berth compartments, containing only four bunks, are always comfortable.

Note that luxury carriages are attached to regular services on a couple of routes from Hanoi. Those on trains to Hué and Da Nang are operated by Livitrans, and to Lao Cai by an assortment of companies.


All Reunification Express trains now have air-conditioning, as do the overnight Lao Cai trains which have been upgraded with luxury soft-sleeper carriages. All trains are theoretically non-smoking; the rules are obeyed, by and large, in the sleeper rooms, though in hard-seat class, even the guards will be puffing away.

All train carriages have toilets, though again, it’s hard to know what to expect. Most are fine, if a little grubby, though many are squat in nature; the latter are far more likely to be dirty, and to be devoid of paper or running water. Those in the soft sleeper carriages are proper sit-down toilets, and are comparatively clean.

Simple meals are often included in the price of the ticket, but you might want to stock up with goodies of your own. You’ll also have plenty of opportunities to buy snacks when the train pulls into stations – and from carts that ply the aisles.


Booking ahead is wise, and the further ahead the better, especially if you intend travelling at the weekend or a holiday period (when the lower sleeper berths are often sold as six seats, resulting in chaos). Sleeping compartments should be booked at least a day or two before departure, and even further ahead for soft-sleeper berths on the Hanoi–Hué and Hanoi–Lao Cai routes. It’s not possible to buy through tickets and break your journey en route; each journey requires you to buy a separate ticket from the point of departure. Getting tickets is usually pretty painless at the station, though hotels and travel agencies will be able to book for a fee.

Fares vary according to the class of travel and the train you take; as a rule of thumb, the faster the train, the more expensive it is. Prices (which are always quoted in dong) change regularly, so check before booking to get a sense of where they’re at.

By bus

Most travellers use buses to get around Vietnam but never actually see a bus station. This is because the lion’s share of tourist journeys are made on privately operated services, usually referred to as “open-tour” buses, which usually operate not from stations but the offices of the companies in question. The term comes from the fact that such companies typically sell through-tickets between Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi, with customers free to stop off for as long as they like at the main points en route – Da Lat, Mui Ne, Nha Trang, Hoi An, Da Nang, Hué and Ninh Binh. There are, however, drawbacks to doing this.

Away from these private affairs, national bus services link all major cities in Vietnam, and most minor towns too, though travellers only tend to use them off the open-tour route – open-tour buses have air-conditioning, limited seating and fixed timetables, which instantly gives them the edge over national services. In addition, the fact that they don’t pick up on route makes them faster too, and competition is so fierce that prices are almost as low as the national bus network.

Open-tour buses

On the whole, open-tour buses are a reasonably comfortable way to get around Vietnam; these buses also call at the occasional tourist sight, such as the Marble Mountains and Lang Co, which can save considerable time and money when compared to doing the same thing independently. Buses are usually quite decent, but don’t expect too much leg-room, or any on-board toilets; some of the more expensive services have them, but the vast majority will pull in every few hours for a combined loo-and-snack break. This tends to be at mediocre and overpriced restaurants; it’s a good idea to arm yourself with snacks before your journey. Another downside to open-tour buses is that you’ll be encouraged to book into the company’s own or affiliated hotels (usually right next to the drop-off point), though there’s nothing to stop you staying elsewhere.

Services tend to run on time, and on longer trips, some take place overnight. Most of the overnight buses are filled with sleeper berths, which sounds nice and comfortable, but these are Vietnamese roads, and Vietnamese drivers – don’t expect to get too much sleep. Also note that some operators are more reliable than others; Mai Linh and Hoang Long have good reputations, though some other operators have very poor standards of service.

Ticket prices vary widely depending upon which company you choose, and (if you’re booking a through-ticket) how many stops you’d like to make an route. You can either make firm bookings at the outset or opt for an open-dated ticket for greater flexibility, in which case you may need to book your onward travel one or two days in advance to be sure of a seat. Alternatively, you can buy separate tickets as you go along, which is recommended. Each main town on the itinerary has an agent (one for each operator) where you can buy tickets and make onward reservations. To avoid being sold a fake ticket or paying over the odds, it’s best to buy direct from the relevant agent rather than from hotels, restaurants or unrelated tour companies.

Other buses

On the national bus network, the government is slowly upgrading state buses, replacing the rickety old vehicles with air-conditioned models, particularly on the more popular routes. It’s not uncommon to find yourself crammed in amongst the luggage, which could be anything from live pigs in baskets to scores of sacks of rice. Progress can be agonizingly slow as buses stop frequently to pick up passengers or for meal breaks. Among older vehicles, breakdowns are fairly common and can sometimes necessitate a roadside wait of several hours while driver, fare collector and mechanic roll up their sleeves and improvise a repair.

Tickets are best bought at bus stations, where fares are clearly indicated above the ticket windows. Prices are usually also marked on the tickets themselves, though there are still occasional cases of tourists being charged over the odds, particularly in more rural destinations – especially those from the Lao border. For long journeys, buy your ticket a day in advance since many routes are heavily oversubscribed.

Privately owned minibuses compete with public buses on most routes; they sometimes share the local bus station, or simply congregate on the roadside in the centre of a town. You can also flag them down on the road. If anything, they squeeze in even more people per square foot than ordinary buses, and often drive interminably around town, touting for passengers. On the other hand, they do at least run throughout the day, and serve some routes not covered by public services. Such services are ticketless, so try to find what the correct fare should be and agree a price before boarding – having the right change will also come in handy. You may also find yourself dumped at the side of the road before reaching your destination, and having to cram onto the next passing service.

Most major cities have their own local bus networks, though prices and standards vary. Try to ascertain the correct price and have the exact money ready before boarding as fare collectors will often take advantage of your captive position.

By ferry and boat

A boat-tour around Ha Long Bay is one of Vietnam’s most enjoyable trips, while scheduled ferries sail year-round – weather permitting – to the major islands off Vietnam’s coastline, including Phu Quoc, Cat Ba and Con Dao. In addition, ferry and hydrofoil services run from Hai Phong to Cat Ba, and hydrofoils from Ho Chi Minh City to Vung Tau, and from Ha Long City to Mong Cai and Bai Tu Long. Though they are gradually being replaced by bridges, a few river ferries still haul themselves from bank to bank of the various strands of the Mekong Delta from morning until night.

By car and jeep

Self-drive in Vietnam is not yet an option for tourists and other short-term visitors. However, it’s easy to rent a car, jeep or minibus with driver from the same companies, agencies and tourist offices that arrange tours. This can be quite an economical means of transport if you are travelling in a group. Moreover, it means you can plan a trip to your own tastes, rather than having to follow a tour company’s itinerary.

Prices vary wildly so it pays to shop around, but expect to pay in the region of $50+ per day for a car, and $90+ per day for a jeep or other 4WD, depending on the vehicle’s size, age and level of comfort. When negotiating the price, it’s important to clarify exactly who is liable for what. Things to check include who pays for the driver’s accommodation and meals, fuel, road and ferry tolls, parking fees and repairs and what happens in the case of a major breakdown. There should then be some sort of contract to sign showing all the details, including an agreed itinerary, especially if you are renting for more than a day; make sure the driver is given a copy in Vietnamese. In some cases you’ll have to settle up in advance, though, if possible, it’s best if you can arrange to pay roughly half before and the balance at the end.

By motorbike

Motorbike rental is possible in most towns and cities regularly frequented by tourists, and pottering around on one can be an enjoyable and time-efficient method of sightseeing. Lured by the prospect of independent travel at relatively low cost, some tourists cruise the countryside on motorbikes, but inexperienced bikers would do well to think very hard before undertaking any long-distance biking since Vietnam’s roads can be distinctly dangerous.

The appalling road discipline of most Vietnamese drivers means that the risk of an accident is very real, with potentially dire consequences should it happen in a remote area. Well-equipped hospitals are few and far between outside the major centres, and there’ll probably be no ambulance service.

On the other hand, many people ride around with no problems and thoroughly recommend it for both day-trips and touring. The best biking is to be found in the northern mountains, the central highlands and around the Mekong Delta, while the Ho Chi Minh Highway offers pristine tarmac plus wonderful scenery. Some also do the long haul up Highway 1 from Ho Chi Minh City to Hanoi (or vice versa), a journey of around two weeks, averaging a leisurely 150km per day.

There’s no shortage of motorbikes for rent in Vietnam’s major tourist centres; the average rate is around $7 per day, with discounts for longer periods. You’ll sometimes be asked to pay in advance, sign a rental contract and/or leave some form of ID (a photocopy of your passport should suffice). If you’re renting for a week or so, you may be asked to leave a deposit, often the bike’s value in dollars though it might also be your air ticket or departure card. In the vast majority of cases, this shouldn’t be a problem.

Although it’s technically illegal for non-residents to own a vehicle, there’s a small trade in second hand motorbikes in the two main cities – look at the notice boards in hotels, travellers’ cafés and tour agents for adverts. So far the police have ignored the practice, but check the latest situation before committing yourself. The bike of choice is usually a Minsk 125cc, particularly for the mountains; it’s sturdy, not too expensive, and the easiest to get repaired outside the main cities.

Whether you’re renting or buying, remember to check everything over carefully, especially brakes, lights and horn. Wearing a helmet is now a legal requirement, and most rental outlets have helmets you can borrow, sometimes for a small charge, though they may not be top-quality.

Note that international driving licences are not valid in Vietnam, but you will need your home driving licence and bike registration papers. You also need at least third-party insurance, which is available (with the aforementioned documentation) at Bao Viet insurance offices.

Though road conditions have improved remarkably in recent years, off the main highways they can still be highly erratic, with pristine asphalt followed by stretches of spine-jarring potholes, and plenty of loose gravel on the sides of the road. Repair shops are fairly ubiquitous – ask for sua chua xe may (motorbike repairs) – but you should still carry at least a puncture-repair kit, pump and spare spark plug. Fuel (xang) is cheap and widely available at the roadsides, often from bottles. Finally, try to travel in the company of one or more other bikes in case one of you gets into trouble. And if you want to get off the main highways, it really pays to take a guide.

By bicycle

Cycling is an excellent way of sightseeing around towns, and you shouldn’t have to pay much at all for the privilege, even outside the main tourist centres.

While you can now buy decent Japanese-made bikes in Vietnam, if you decide on a long-distance cycling holiday, you should really bring your own bike with you, not forgetting all the necessary spares and tools. Hardy mountain bikes cope best with the country’s variable surfaces, though tourers and hybrids are fine on the main roads. Bring your own helmet and a good loud bell; a rear-view mirror also comes in handy.

When it all gets too much, or you want to skip between towns, you can always put your bike on the train (though not on all services; check when buying your ticket) for a small fee; take it to the station well ahead of time, where it will be packed and placed in the luggage van. Some open-tour buses will also take bikes – free if it goes in the luggage hold (packed up), otherwise you’ll have to pay for an extra seat.

If you want to see Vietnam from the saddle, there are several companies that offer specialist cycling tours. In addition to a few of the international tour operators, there are local outfits such as Phat Tire.

Local transport

In a country with a population so adept at making do with limited resources, it isn’t surprising to see the diverse types of local transport. While taxis are increasingly common and a number of cities now boast reasonable bus services, elsewhere you’ll be reliant on a host of two- and three-wheeled vehicles for getting around.

Most common by far are motorbike taxis known as xe om. In the cities you’ll rarely be able to walk twenty yards without being offered a ride; prices go up after dark (as does the possibility of extortion). At all times the rules of bargaining apply: when haggling, ensure you know which currency you are dealing in (five fingers held up, for instance, could mean 5000₫, 50,000₫ or $5), and whether you’re negotiating for a single or return trip, and for one passenger or two; it’s always best to write the figures down. Should a difference of opinion emerge at the end of a ride, having the exact fare ready to press into an argumentative driver’s hand can sometimes resolve matters.

Xe om have almost entirely replaced that quintessential Vietnamese mode of transport, the cyclo. These three-wheeled rickshaws comprising a “bucket” seat attached to the front of a bicycle can carry one person, or two people at a push, and are now only really found in tourist areas (though locals use them just as much as foreigners). Prices vary by area, and there are continuous stories of cyclo drivers charging outrageous sums for their services. That not only happens in Ho Chi Minh City but also in Ha Noi, Hoi An, Hue or elsewhere within Vietnam. So to avoid getting badly ripped off, find out first what a reasonable fare might be from your hotel; if the first driver won’t agree to your offer, simply walk on and try another.

Taxis are now a common sight on the streets of all major cities. The vast majority are metered (with prices in dong) and fares are not expensive. Though standards have been improving with greater competition, some drivers need persuading to use their meters, while others dawdle along as the meter spins suspiciously fast, or take you on an unnecessarily long route. When arriving in a town, beware of drivers who insist the hotel you ask for is closed and want to take you elsewhere; this is usually a commission scam – be firm with your directions. In general, smarter-looking taxis and those waiting outside big hotels tend to be more reliable; the Mai Linh network has by far the best reputation, and you’ll see their green cabs all across the land.

The downside of open-tour through tickets

The majority of travellers opt for one-way through tickets with one of the open-tour companies, which enable you to traverse the whole country with just one ticket. However, this course of action is not without its drawbacks: if you lose your ticket, there’s no refund, and if you have the misfortune to choose a bad company, you’ll be saddled with them the whole way. In addition, you’ll be obliged to stick to your company’s daily schedule; buying separate tickets en route will only cost a little more (if anything at all), yet give you far more freedom.

Rules of the road

There’s no discernible method to the madness that passes as a traffic system in Vietnam so it’s extremely important that you don’t stray out onto the roads unless you feel a hundred percent confident about doing so. The theory is that you drive on the right, though in practice motorists and cyclists swoop, swerve and dodge wherever they want, using their horn as a surrogate indicator and brake. Unless otherwise stated, the speed limit is 60kph on highways and 40kph or less in towns.

Right of way invariably goes to the biggest vehicle on the road, which means that motorbikes and bicycles are regularly forced off the highway by thundering trucks or buses; note that overtaking vehicles assume you’ll pull over onto the hard shoulder to avoid them. It’s wise to use your horn to its maximum and also to avoid being on the road after dark, since many vehicles either don’t have functioning headlights or simply don’t bother to turn them on.

On the whole the police seem to leave foreign riders well alone, and the best policy at roadside checkpoints is just to drive by slowly. However, if you are involved in an accident and it was deemed to be your fault, the penalties can involve fairly major fines.

When parking your bike, it’s advisable to leave it in a parking compound (gui xe) – the going rate is from 5000đ for a motorbike and 2000đ for a bicycle – or paying someone to keep an eye on it. If not, you run the risk of it being tampered with.

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