It’s impossible not to fall head over heels for Ho Chi Minh City, with its wide boulevards lined with majestic trees, imposing French villas and tempting scents of coffee and freshly baked bread wafting on the breeze. To venture outside of the city is to get to know Vietnam even better, so here are three of our favourite day trips just outside Ho Chi Minh City.
Cu Chi Tunnels
The Cu Chi Tunnels are a labyrinth of underground tunnels over 200 kilometres long. The delta-shaped or vaulted ceiling structures have been enlarged in places into rooms that are large enough for sleeping quarters, meeting rooms, a medical station and even concert halls. The Cu Chi Tunnels became legendary for their role during the war in facilitating the Viet Cong guerrillas take control of a large rural area just 25 miles away from Ho Chi Minh City.
A visit to the Mekong Delta – the rice bowl of Vietnam – makes for an idyllic escape from the city, with sampans tied to coconut trees evoking nostalgia. An idle stroll through My Tho (capital of the Tien Giang province) while sipping on fresh young coconut juice is a wonderful way to experience the daily life of the people living on the river and arroyos.
Tay Ninh is the site of the spectacular Cao Dai Temple. Founded in the late 1920s, Caodaism professes to be a fusion of Buddhism, Confucianism and Christianity. This fascinating temple contains pillars entwined with pink plaster dragons, sculptures and embroidered banners, and the eye of Cao Dai is printed on a blue globe at one end of the building, representing the world.
These three quick and easy Ho Chi Minh City escapes are sure to pique your interest for this rich and varied country and its welcoming people, so book ahead to make the most of your trip.