Timings : 7 AM - 6 PM
Entry Fee : VND 90,000
One of the most iconic attractions of the city, Cu Chi Tunnels were a part of the extensive underground network in Vietnam that was used by the Vietnamese Congress as a hideaway during the war. An extensive 250 km labyrinth of tunnels containing entire cities inside, they were 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. Visitors can now go through some of the safer parts of the tunnel, which have been widened and lighted up for ease.
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. Some of the most interesting things to see here are the include metal-spiked booby trap and the wartime medical tents. Visitors can also buy flip flops made from old rubber tires, just like the Viet Cong used and even eat rice congees, a favourite meal of the 43rd sapper battalion. For those who aren't claustrophobic, they can try lower themselves into the tight tunnels and explore them. By paying extra, one can also shoot an AK-47 at a target range.
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.
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.
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