Cu Chi tunnels - Asia Travel & Leisure

Asia Travel & Leisure

Cu Chi tunnels

The Cu Chi Tunnels are an elaborate underground community made up of 250 km of tunnels and chambers below the city. The tunnels were dug with simple tools and bare hands during the French occupation in the 1940s, and further expanded during the Vietnam War in the 1960s to provide refuge and a defensive advantage over the American soldiers.

Despite all the bombings in their town, the Cu Chi people were able to continue their lives beneath the soil, where they slept, ate, planned attacks, healed their sick, and taught their young. Some even wed and gave birth underground, but over 10,000 lost their lives here.

There are actually two different tunnel sites open to visitors, operated by the same organization and with similar experiences in each (a 15-minute scratchy B&W propaganda film, tunnel tour, displays of booby traps, tasting of tapioca): Ben Duoc & Ben Dinh. Most of tourists go to Ben Dinh so it is a bit crowded.

At each site (Ben Dinh and Ben Duoc) a well-defined walking track loops around the area, with things to see spaced at regular intervals, including examples of how people lived and what they ate. There are sample sections of tunnel which visitors can crawl through (not recommended for the claustrophobic), examples of traps used during the war, and the remnants of bomb craters.

Notes:

Many travelers put themselves into small ventilation holes for photo taking. It is great fun but consider your body before getting in as some had difficulties getting out and had to crawl to the exit point

It is better to visit it in the morning and combine with a city tour in Saigon in the afternoon. You can visit the tunnels by car of by speed boat from Saigon.

Entrance fee: ~ 5USD (90.000VND)

Opening hours: From 8am to 4pm (Open daily, all year around).

Location: Cu Chi is about 60 km northwest of Ho Chi Minh City.

Highlights:

Visiting Cuchi tunnels you will have chance to see how Vietnamese people near Saigon lived in the war by watching a video about the war, trying one famous food which was very popular in the war: manioc or going inside the tunnels.

Another highlight is fire weapons - choose between the AK-47, M16,.30 Caliber Machine Gun, M60, M1 carbine, M1 Garand and Russian SKS. Great fun, if you can put from your mind what these "toys" were really designed for! As of January 2014, firing an AK-47 costs 35,000 dong per bullet and you have to buy at least 10 which you can share with someone else. You do not have to go the Cu Chi tunnels in order to fire a gun, the range and tunnels are separate. It is located outside the Cu Chi complex, by walking it is 1.5 miles or take a motorbike.