June 25, 2014

Vietnam : Ho Chi Minh City - Cu Chi Tunnel

Continuation from here ...

The next day, we went for another excursion.

Cu Chi Tunnel trip is another must-do thing if you visit Ho Chi Minh City. It's just about 40 km from the city, so why not.

We booked the trip from Kim Travel again since we were too lazy to scout around looking for the cheapest deal in town.
It's USD 11 for a half day trip.

We were picked up at the hostel around 8 am and departed half an hour later. The journey took about 1 hour and a half west towards the Cambodian border.

En route we stopped at VABE Handicapped Handicrafts Factory. The factory employed handicapped people, some caused by the Vietnam War, to give them some forms of employment. They produced handicrafts mainly lacquered paintings and souvenirs.


They created beautiful works of art I must say.

Look at this!

It was created from eggshells. *saves eggshells at home*

We were there for about 30 minutes and moved to Cu Chi area afterwards.

Cu Chi Tunnel is a network of underground tunnels built by local fighters during the Vietnam War, and served as the Viet Cong's base of operations. The Viet Cong soldiers used it as hiding spots during combat, as well as serving as communication and supply routes, hospitals, food and weapon store and living quarters for the soldiers.

Today, the Vietnamese government has preserved the tunnels as a memorial park. There are two different tunnel sites open to visitors; Ben Dinh and Ben Duoc.

If you want to visit the original tunnel system, go to Ben Duoc. It's a little further out of the city though, about 30 minutes' additional driving. But if you follow a tour group, like I did, we'd be brought to Ben Dinh, where the tunnels have been widened and lights have been installed to make travelling through them easier.

We were shown an introductory video about the Cu Chi area during war, and then were taken around to learn about the conditions the people lived in.

Huge bomb craters, evidence of the heavy bombing campaigns in the region during the war.

 Hiding spots and tunnel entrances.

Hidden entrance into the tunnel. The tunnel would be closed off by a cover and hidden with leaves, making it almost impossible to detect.

I volunteered myself hiding underground.

Luckily I could fit in! Was worried my body would stuck halfway. Swear I won't come out from there if it happened. hahahah..

Definitely not for the claustrophobic.


Besides the tunnels, there are also a number of displays and other attractions at the Cu Chi Tunnel to see and visit.

A bombed out M41 American tank the Viet Congs had captured.

Bombs and Ordnance.

Display on booby traps that were used by the Vietnamese.

While walking around the jungle, I heard what sounded like gun fire.

So actually the Cu Chi Tunnel has a shooting range, where you can fire a whole variety of guns ranging from those guns used by the American forces like the M16 or M60, to those used by the Vietnamese like the AK47. It is not included in the ticket entry though.

The rate shown is per bullet but you have to buy a minimum of 10.

I so wanted to fire the M16 or maybe the AK47 but I thought it was quite expensive. So bye bye la.

Afterwards, we were shown the demonstration of making rice paper and rice wine.

Finally... after going here and there, we were brought to the tunnel. Save the best for last kan.

This section of the tunnel is 100 metres long. Let's go in!

So as I mentioned earlier, the tunnels have been widened and lights have been installed to make travelling through them easier. Even so, you still have to crawl on hands and knees or duck walk.

I was already panting a few metres into the tunnel. It was narrow and stuffy I couldn't imagine how the fighters had to stay and sleep in these underground labyrinths.

There's several exits along the tunnel. Halfway through, one by one, people in front of me took the exit. I braved on, thinking I can do it! Rugi la weh if I don't finish this. But eventually, I surrendered at 90 metres, sweating and suffocated.

Phewww!! I was so relieved once I got to breathe fresh air again.

Towards the end of the tour, we were brought to the dining area.

We were served tea and tapioca, some of the simple cuisine that local fighters would have survived on.

I haven't eaten this for quite some time! Yums!

We were back in the city by 2.30 pm. Spent the evening shopping around Ben Thanh Market area spending our last dong, dollar and ringgit. Going back home tomorrow morning.


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Truong Minh Quang said...

your picture enjoy cu chi tour is so nice