Day 12: Svay Rieng to Cu Chi

Svay Rieng to Cu Chi

Distance: 83km

Total: 688.6km

Cambodian FOD: Cambodia is economically weaker than Vietnam, leading Vietnamese people to refer to Cambodia as “its little brother”.

Everyday Randomness: meeting the morning ice block deliveries, sawing ice is not something I can get used to seeing!

We had our first Banh Mi of the trip for breakfast today, quite different from the ones we had previously but they were the only good breakfast option going!

We weren’t on a highway road until the Vietnam border which was very enjoyable even if the road surface was quite slow. We reached the border a bit after 10. We stocked up on water just before crossing as we didn’t have any Vietnamese Dong with us and didn’t know when we get to an ATM.

We sailed through border control with no issues. They had a separate area for motorbikes/bikes to the huge tour buses so there was virtually no queue.

Entering Vietnam instantly put a smile on my face. It’s great to be back in Vietnam. The first sight that greeted us as we cycled over the crossing was a guy in an Asian squat. It was so tough not to stop for a coffee in the myriad of places offering it but because we had no money we couldn’t!!!

The ATM situation was not looking very promising as we cycled through the first village or two but then about 6km from the border we entered a large town which had a few banks. Just as a note: we’ve found Sacombank to be the best as it has the lowest fees and allows you to take out a reasonable about of money (3 million dong).

We stopped in a place which was popular with the locals, once we tasted the food we realised why. We had wondered whether we had been looking back on our trip to Vietnam last year with rose tinted glasses and that it couldn’t have been that good? I can say after one day back here that it is every bit as good if not better than I remembered. Better in that we appreciate it more having been in Cambodia and a bit of Thailand. Not that they aren’t great, but there is something special about Vietnam.

Maybe it’s that you really struggle to find a bad meal here. Liam is delighted to be back to Vietnamese food anyway:

Fuelled and bouyed with enthusiasm we continued to Cu Chi, stopping briefly for a toilet break in which I struggled to remember if I was a “Nu” or a “Nam”. This of course reminded me of Michael McIntyre’s hilarious skit on going to the toilet in Ireland.

Cu Chi is famous for the underground tunnels that we built by the VC during the war with the French and the US. We stayed in Levy’s Hotel which was a huge improvement on the accommodation from the night before. We had a relaxed evening on the rooftop:

For dinner we went to the only place recommended on TripAdvisor which specialised in beef. The place was huge and very full. After struggling through the Vietnamese menu we were given an English version and chose the beef and saffron dish. This was served with literal fried rice, which was cut into pizza slices. It was an interesting meal, and nice for something different but I probably wouldn’t have it again!

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