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Tags : Museum

Timings : 7 AM - 6 PM

Entry Fee : VND 90,000

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Cu Chi Tunnels, Ho Chi Minh City Overview

Cu Chi Tunnels were a part of the extensive underground network that the Vietnamese Congress used as a hideaway during the war. You can now go through some of the safer parts of the tunnel to experience the conditions of the Vietcong during the war. Avoid visiting if you are claustrophobic. A popular day trip from Ho Chi Minh, it can be reached by a 1.5-hour speedboat, apart from driving. Morning and afternoon tours are available that last around 6 hours.

The tour generally starts off with a short black and white movie from the 1950s about the 'Evil nature of the American Invaders'. After the movie, you can walk around the war memorial park. The most interesting things to see here include the metal-spiked booby traps and the wartime medical tents. You can also buy flip flops made from old rubber tires, just like the Viet Cong used, and even eat rice congees, a favorite meal of the 43rd sapper battalion. Those who aren't claustrophobic can try to lower themselves into the tight tunnels and explore them. One can also shoot an AK-47 at a target range by paying extra. An extensive 30 km labyrinth of tunnels containing entire cities inside was constructed purely by hand and simple tools. Initially, the tunnels were used during the French colonial rule but were later expanded and used more than ever during the Vietnamese War against America.

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History of the Cu Chi Tunnels


The Cu Chi Tunnels were initially dug in the 1940s during the liberation struggle against the French colonial rule. These tunnels were dug by hand or by elementary tools and were very narrow, allowing only Vietnamese people to be comfortable within. During the time of increased military support of America to non-communist South Vietnam, the tunnels reached their peak in both expanse and usage. Northern Vietnamese Communists expanded the tunnels stretching it from Ho Chi Minh City, nearly up to the Vietnamese border, for a distance of about 250 km. The tunnels provided the Viet Congress a dangerous edge over the Americans as the Americans primarily relied on aerial bombing and the Vietnamese went underground. The Americans also found it very difficult to enter and navigate the tunnels as in addition to their narrowness, the Vietnamese would lay booby traps and scorpion pits in unexpected places.

Life in the Cu Chi Tunnels


Living conditions inside the tunnels were appalling and life was bleak. The people lived in absolute darkness and permanent inhabitants often suffered from blindness after stepping into the light. Temperatures in the afternoon would rise to such an extent that they would have to lie on the floor in order to breathe. Dangerous creatures such as bats, rats, snakes, scorpions, centipedes and fire ants would lurk in the dark. The tunnels were multi leveled, with latrines, meeting rooms, wells, dorms, kitchens and even hospitals. Food was hard to come by, as the rice and fruit crops had been bombed and destroyed by the American troops, and they lived mostly on a diet consisting of tapioca, roots and leaves. The lives they led was hard and it is something we can only marvel at.

How to Reach Cu Chi Tunnels


Ho Chi Minh City to Cu Chi Tunnels: The Cu Chi tunnels are well connected to Ho Chi Minh City by road. However, there are no modes of transport by air, water or rail. The Cu Chi Tunnel area is just a short hour-and-half drive from Ho Chi Minh City. Ho Chi Minh has buses to Cu Chi once every two hours. If you choose to use buses, take route 13 from Ho Chi Minh main bus stand to the Cu Chi Town (VND 7,000), then take 79 to the tunnels (VND 6,000). You may also choose to travel by Xe Om or conventional taxis. Taxis cost around VND 2,00,000 - VND 3,00,000.

Tay Ninh to Cu Chi Tunnels: Cu Chi is a short half-hour drive from Tay Ninh. There are generally not many taxis available and absolutely no bus routes. You can, however, choose to rent out a car through a private agency and enjoy the short drive.

Tips on Visiting Cu Chi Tunnels

  • The ticket charge to enter the Cu Chi Tunnel area is VND 90,000 and in case you wish to try out the gun range or buy some souvenirs, you will spend more. So keep some cash in hand.
  • Carry around plenty of water, sunscreen and a hat. The sun beats down in the tropical regions!
  • Do not forget your mosquito repellant.
  • For the full experience, it is best to dedicate a day for the Cu Chi Tunnels. However, if you are short of time, it can be clubbed with Tay Ninh City tour.

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