The Cu Chi Tunnels - A Day trip from Ho Chi minh City, Vietnam
Updated: Feb 1
The Cu Chi Tunnels
The Cu Chi Tunnels are a vast network of underground tunnels spanning over 200 kilometres. These tunnels were used by the Viet Cong who fought against the US in the Vietnam war. Soldiers were able to use this underground maze to transport supplies, communicate, lay booby traps and perform surprise attacks against the opposition. Shockingly soldiers actually lived in these underground tunnels, some with families and children. It's said that when the war ended many soldiers remained living life below surface level due to their inability to endure sunlight.
The Cu Chi Tunnels Vlog
After reading various reviews online, I booked a tour to the Cu Chi Tunnels via Trip Advisor for roughly £15. This cost included hotel transfers, a tour guide and any associated entry costs. I was picked up in the afternoon from my hotel in Ho Chi Minh City at around 1pm and was back at my hotel by 6pm.
The first stop on the tour was to a lacquerware workshop where Agent Orange survivors make goods using duck egg shells. I got to see the production process which was fairly interesting and informative. There was also a shop to purchase a variety of goods, proceeds I believe which benefit the Agent Orange survivors. We then continued on to the Cu chi tunnels.
The Cu Chi Tunnels - Basic info
If you do wish to visit the Cu Chi tunnels independently the entry cost is around 100,000 dong which is roughly £3.44. I would however recommend hiring a tour guide due to the wealth of knowledge they are able to provide.
Facilities on site include toilets, a restaurant, a gift shop and a shooting range which was quite pricey. Upon arrival at the Cu Chi tunnels you can watch a documentary illustrating the
historical events that occurred in these passageways or opt to save this until the end of your tour.
Our knowledgeable tour guide led us among the trails, explaining the prior acts that took place here. I was initially scared at the thought of trekking through the "jungle" however the walk was not strenuous at all. The trees provided a nice amount of shade from the scorching sun.
We were also told to remain on path and not veer off track due to the risk of stepping on undiscovered land mines!
There were some animatronic models that provided reenactments of what took place during the time period. There were also some tanks and other war memorabilia throughout the grounds.
The Cu Chi Tunnels - Booby traps
One of the first significant traps you will stumble across is a small tiny opening in the ground. Soldiers would conceal themselves underground and attack the enemy by surprise. Once the lid is over your head the leaves provide a shadow of camouflage, hiding you from those above. It is practically impossible to detect whether the trap is even there or spot the tiny opening.
Soldiers were significantly smaller than I am so I actually got stuck in the trap. So embarrassing! The space down there is extremely tight. I had to get a stranger and the tour guide to haul me out. It's times like this when you wish you aren't travelling solo, to kind of have someone to laugh it off with!
Some of the traps used during the war are available to see. It paints an image of just how gruesome guerilla warfare must have been. I have posted a video of this on youtube as I am sure my explanation will not do it justice.
There are a few opportunities to go down into the real Cu Chi tunnels, used by the Viet Cong troops many years ago. Although these have been widened by about 30% to accommodate for larger tourists, the space down there is very restricted so I would advise against it if you are claustrophobic. If you do choose to venture underground there is an exit every 10 metres if you wish to escape.
It's crazy to think that people spent so much of their lives beneath the ground in such a confined space.
One thing to definitely bear in mind is that there is a lot of wildlife and creatures in the tunnels. I stumbled across a scorpion which I later realised is actually deadly! Luckily I was near the opening so I managed to back away!
Yay or Nay
I would absolutely without a doubt recommend a trip to the Cu Chi tunnels. This is an interactive way to absorb some of Vietnam's history in such a unique setting.
I would say if you are planning to actually to go inside the tunnels be very wary of the scorpions and lizards.
For more day trip ideas or things to do in Ho Chi Minh City/Saigon click here.