Cu Chi Tunnels is one of the major attraction in Ho Chi Minh city. It is a half day tour & is must visit place. These tiny tunnels were used by Vietnamese forces to tame down American forces. A complex network of tunnels running across 250 Km underground is an engineering marvel of those times. Currently, only 100 Mt long route is open for the tourists, which are made taller & wider deliberately to accommodate tourists. Here is the guide to this fascinating place “Cu Chi Tunnels”. It is astonishing to even imagine that at one point of time whole community used to reside below the earth. There were rooms for kitchen, bedroom etc & all these below the earth surface. Therefore, it became much more important to visit this place.
How To Reach:
Cu Chi Tunnels is located some 40 odd km from Ho Chi Minh city. The best way to reach this place is through a tour agency or via self-driving motorbike. I chose to take the option of tour agency as they arranged everything from pick up to drop & a guide. The amount I paid for the services was 1,50,000 VND which was excluding entrance fees which was approx 90,000 VND.
Your guide will take care of everything for you. He will start the tour from the famous entry or lookout point. An opening big enough only to accommodate one person & that too in a particular way. I tried to enter this opening & was successful. However, it is very compact inside & one can’t move freely inside the chamber. This is just one small opening perfectly camouflaged with the leaves & dust. After showing this guide will cover various other points & showing things like booby traps, ventilation techniques (which by the way is brilliant). There is one tank stationed at the site for the tourists. It is said that this tank was left behind by the Amercian forces.
There are also some automated models to show various aspects of people life during the war times. Walking past all these points often take you to the past or more precisely to the war days. It is tough to imagine how Vietnamese force survived in such harsh conditions.
Anyone who is interested in some shooting will be overwhelmed by the fact that there is one shooting range which has guns like AK 47, M-16 & Machine Gun. One just needs to pay for the bullets which is a bit pricey to the liking. However, if you are adventurous enough, you should try it once.
To give the taste of the place, there is one tunnel opened for the tourists. A 100 Mt tunnel constructed little wider & taller to accommodate tourists is open for testing skills. I tried my hand on the same. For the start the path seems to be easy, I could walk with a little bend & after a few meters, the place got narrower & the height reduced. Now I had to sit & walk (one of the toughest part of the route). After 50 meters the going gets tough, I rested quite a few times before I could see the end of the tunnel & after completing this difficult route I could take a sigh of relief.
The moment I saw that pit, I was sure that people of Vietnamese had a very tough time during the war days. It is heartbreaking to see the impact the people have on their lives during such horrendous time. I was stunned to see the model where people used to sleep, a bunker with beds one above the other & all inside the earth. One can only imagine how tough it was during wars.
These tunnels run approx 250 Km & connect to Saigon river on one part. The engineering by the Vietnamese people was surely ahead of its time. Right from using rubber shoes, to ventilating tunnels, provisions for high & low tide & also booby traps. They thought possibly everything which could have impacted their glory. A must place to visit.
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