Vietnam – The Cu Chi Tunnels

We arrived at the Cu Chi Tunnels around 3pm so we decided to just do the tunnels and nothing else, the area is so massive that you need an hour to do the tunnels and the whole area gets closed at 5pm.There are a few more options you can choose to do, but the lady at the counter could not really explain what else we could do apart from can fire a variety of Vietnam War era weapons at the shooting range.

Price for the Tunnels 90000Dong plus 20000 for a snack afterwards, I think, the tickets don´t really give away for what you pay. Parking was another 5000 per scooter.

When we walked in there is not really a lot of signs that you can follow and there are different entrances for the area, so just make sure that you remember where you got in to find your scooter again. We walked to the next building that we saw, where we got sent in a complete different direction to the entrance of the tunnels. On the way you find relicts of all kinds of bombs and war equipment. With bullet holes and sometimes just granite left overs. It was a terrible thought to know that only few decades ago this was used to kill people.

At the beginning of the tour you get an video introduction but its very hard to understand because the sound system is just crap. Then a tour guide comes along and explains you all the different layers of the tunnels with an model of the underground layers. He explains, medical areas, cooking areas, air circulation, the length of the tunnel system, etc. and how everything worked. Its very informative but also very touristy because there always big groups pushed through.
The tunnels are a massive underground network what took around 20 years to build and are located around 45km outside of Ho chi Minh City. A big part of Vietnam is underlie by this tunnel system. I can´t remember the exact numbers but the whole length should be around 125km maybe even more.
After the introduction we walked to the first short little tunnel entrance took photos and had to hurry because there was a big group right behind us, so we had to be quick. The first tunnel was around 10meters long and to get in you had to climb in a tiny little whole, duck down and walk in a bent over duck position to the exit on the other side. I can imagine that it is way easier for asians to walk through these tunnels then it was for the Americans, back in the days. The tunnels are maybe 90cm high and not very wide so it was impossible for the Americans to go through with all their gear and backpacks.
But for the Viet Cong the tunnels were an big advantage in times of war, to hide and survive. Unfortunately apart from battle wounds, Malaria was the second most common way to die in the tunnels. Also the tunnels often were infested with ants, poisonous centipedes, scorpions, spiders and vermin. During periods of heavy bombing or American troop movement, they would be forced to remain underground for many days at a time. The Americans had no idea about the size of the tunnels and even when they found tunnels they could not go in because it was often covered with booby traps. The two main responses in dealing with a tunnel opening were to flush the entrance with gas, water or hot tar to force the Viet Cong soldiers into the open, or to toss a few grenades down the hole and “crimp” off the opening. This approach proved ineffective due to the design of the tunnels and the strategic use of trap doors and air filtration systems.

We got shown a few tunnel entrances and could walk into another with an 30meter tunnel we could walk along. we even found a little bat in this one that flew back and forth. In the tunnels itself we spent around 1-2 min in total, the rest of the tour was ground level and trough a bamboo jungle area.
The end of the tour we could try a vegetable that was very common and often eaten by the Vietnamese soldiers. The way out was through some souvenir Shops, where you could buy all kinds of stuff and also pay to go to the shooting range.

On our way back to the exit we got a little lost but found a big Temple and took some photos. We must have been close to the shooting range because we could hear the guns go off but finally found the way back out and went back to HCMC