When in Vietnam (Day 2): Cao Dai Temple & Cu Chi Tunnel

On day 2 of my Vietnam trip with my high school friend KC, we went outside Ho Chi Minh City for more sightseeing.

A small coach fetched us at Pham Ngu Lao Street for the group tour that was arranged by our hotel for a very reasonable price. An English-speaking local tour guide was with the group. He shared a lot of interesting facts about his country.


We went to southern province of Tay Ninh. It took around 3 hours to get there. The first stop was at Cao Dai Temple, a place of worship for monotheistic religion Caodaism.
This religion has a variety of beliefs from Buddhism, Taoism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, etc. Influences of these religions are seen in the complex architecture of the Cao Dai Temple, which Caodaists consider as their Holy See.
Caodaists pray four times a day: every 6am, 12nn, 4pm and 12am. They usually pray at home or go to temples like this.

You have to remove your footwear before entering the temple. So if you don't want to walk barefoot, bring socks with you.
We were allowed to take photos inside but only in selected areas. You cannot stand behind religious items at the middle part to have pictures with them. They are strict on this.
We caught the 12pm prayer time. Worshipers in white rushed in the temple for prayer. Their prayers were accompanied by live instrumental music. It was a unique experience to see such.

In the afternoon, we went to the Cu Chi Tunnels. These are historic tunnels that served as a camp and hideout for the Vietnamese against Americans during the Vietnam war.

But before the tunnels, the tour guide brought us around the compound. We saw different traps, torturing tools, and...
a hiding place that you can experience firsthand!

This was used as hideout when the enemies dropped bombs from the air. It's a camouflage hole with leaves on top to avoid getting caught.

I dared myself to get in. I stand 5'5 with huge thighs and look at how I fit tightly in the hole. After doing it, I realized how thin the Vietnamese were to fit into such small and narrow hole. Amazing.

Here's what's even more challenging. We then went to the Cu Chi Tunnels. Personally, I find these tunnels a work of a genius. These tunnels stretch from one town to another. I really think that the architecture was great even in the absence of modern technology.
Boy, getting through wasn't that easy as it looked. Since it's so small, you either have to crawl or duck walk to get through. Otherwise you'll bump your head. I caught myself breathing heavily with the limited amount of air in the tunnel.

It sure was an exhilarating experience. If you are the adventurous type, never miss this when in Vietnam!


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