The Cu Chi Tunnels are one of the most famous attractions in Vietnam.
Unlike the War Remnant Museum, which is located in Ho Chi Minh City, The Cu Chi Tunnels lies on the north-western outskirts. There are various modes of transport to get there, and we probably picked the worst. Do avoid taking a Grab over as it is the most expensive option. Other more feasible options available such as public bus, boat/canoe or coach.
Upon arriving at Cu Chi Tunnels around midafternoon, we proceeded to purchase our tickets at 125000 dong each. We did not know that the fees actually include a local guide. Not until we walked 10 minutes into the forest. It is recommended to have a guide since he/she could share about the history of the Cu Chi Tunnels.
Exploring Cu Chi Tunnels with our guide
The place is basically a labyrinth of underground tunnels, dug by the Vietnamese soldiers during the war. It not only serves as a mean of communication but also as bases for combat operations.
There were hospitals, schools, theatres, kitchens, all built into this extraordinary tunnel network. I had the opportunity to walk through 1-2 of these cramp and claustrophobia inducing tunnels. As these tunnels could be as low as 1.5m high, I had to semi waddle through, avoiding hitting my head. I can never imagine living in such a cramp underground base for years.
Our guide also educated us on the various cleverly devised booby traps designed by the Vietnamese soldiers. The aim of these traps was to maim the enemy, reducing their mobility. There were secret bunkers around the site, all well camouflaged. I also tried going into one since I am still average size.
Aside of the tunnels, there was even a shooting range with live rounds for people to try live firing using actual AK-95 guns. I see many excited faces as they made their way to the firing ground, with earmuffs over their ears. There was also souvenir shop that retails gifts such as sculptures, handicrafts and apparels. Hand-made slippers made from used rubber tires were available and I bought a Viet Cong guerrilla scarf.
All in all, The Cu Chi Tunnels definitely plays an important role in Vietnamese history. We ended our trail with some tea and steamed tapiocas which the soldiers ate during wartime. It was eye-opening experience which allows us to understand the history of Vietnam, as well as the tragic which war brought about.
Do check out my blog for more travel posts!