Thursday, August 16, 2012

Cu Chi Tunnels

Underground City. The network of tunnels had dormitories, first-aid stations, and a supply of fresh water. 

Doing the duck-walk in the dark and eventually crawling through the cramped Cu Chi tunnel is a must-experience activity in Ho Chi Minh City.

The Cu Chi tunnel site is like an outdoor museum. It’s famously known for its complex tunnel system, which spanned more than 250km. This was the hiding places of the Viet Cong fighters during anti-American war a few decades ago. Interestingly, these had dormitories, first-aid stations, and a supply of fresh water.

There are actually two preserved tunnel complexes: Ben Duoc and Ben Dihn. The latter is more popular, which is where most tourists head to. Aside from the tunnels, tourists can also see underground bunkers, various traps and weapons used during the wars.

Jackfruit tree near the entrance of the Cu Chi tunnel complex.

A guard demonstrates how local fighters hid during combat.

My hips probably wouldn't fit!

One of the many traps used.  Youch!

Tunnel opening

I can only imagine how small the locals were to wriggle through.

At first glance, I thought they were real!

An American tank that was destroyed by a delayed mine.

Stepping right in the middle would cause the sharp nails to pierce and clamp the leg on both sides. 

These figures moved and showed how the local fighters prepared weapons

For those who have never held and used a gun before, here's your chance!
Best to share the cost of bullets among friends. Ten bullets (minimum) = 350,000 VND / ~Php 700.

Trying to be graceful.

Then came the best part: going through a 100-meter tunnel. It's not mandatory, though. This isn't advisable for the elderly or those who are claustrophobic. It's here where tourists get a glimpse and feel of how it was like to be a Viet Cong fighter crawling through the tunnels. 

Along the way, there are four or five exits so you can bail at your own pace. Although quite cramped, this tunnel was made extra large so tourists could fit. The actual tunnels used during the war have been destroyed.

At one point, doing the duck-walk won't work anymore. 

Boy Wander inside the Cu Chi tunnel!

Success with friends that I made that day: Lena and Paula from Israel, and Gregorry from Italy

Dirty after going through the tunnel.

Smoke came out far from its source. Super cool!

We had sweet potatoes for a snack!

Enjoying tea (even if it was hot) and sweet potatoes

Film showing and some Q & A about the Cu Chi tunnels.

The Cu Chi tunnels is a 2-hour drive from Ho Chi Minh City. It’s quite far for a DIY adventure so it's best to book this tour through the hotel. An air-conditioned coaster takes you there.

Where the Cu Chi tunnels and Cao Dai temple are.
(Image from vietnamdiscovery.com)

I booked a whole-day tour which included the Cao Dai temple in the morning. The tour costs 168,000 VND (~Php 336), which excluded the entrance fee to the tunnel (80,000 VND / ~Php 40) and lunch.

Going to and from these places, you’ll pass by rice paddies with ducks and buffalos around. Though more interesting to notice are the tombs in the middle of the field.

2 comments:

  1. Hello there! Your blog provides useful information for my trip to HCMC in November :)

    Where did you book your Cu Chi tunnel tour, btw? Thanks!

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    Replies
    1. Hello there!

      Thanks so much! :D

      I booked all my tours through the hostel that I stayed in. I booked upon my arrival. The hostel was the one who coordinated with the travel agency called Tropic Tour.

      There are numerous travel agencies around the streets of Pham Ngu Lao and Bui Vien (Backpackers area) if you want to book directly with them. I tried checking their website when I came back to the Philippines but these don't seem to work (www.tropictourvietnam.com / www.tropicaltour.vn.)

      Not to worry though. All hotels/hostels in Ho Chi Minh City are affiliated with various travel agencies who seem to work together anyway. Tours are very affordable, too!

      Hope I was able to answer your question. Have fun in your HCMC trip this November!

      ...Henson

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