Ho Chi Minh 116 – Cu Chi Tunnels

Our US$5 day trip to the Cu Chi Tunnels continued after the short stop at the lacquer factory. It is definitely the ‘must-see’ place when you are in Ho Chi Minh. The tunnels of Củ Chi are an immense network of connecting underground tunnels located in the Củ Chi district of Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon), Vietnam, which also forms part of much larger underground network that spread around the country. It was used in the Vietnam War and a crucial factor that the Viet Cong managed to defeat the American forces. 
Map to the visiting area
Guns and weapons on display
Entrance fee was VND90,000, and before we got to see the tunnels, we were first showed an old documentary in the briefing huts. It was quite draggy although it did highlight some of the interesting facts of the tunnels. 
Briefing area – where they play some video about the history of the tunnels
Briefing area for tourist
People watching some old documentary about the tunnels
After that, we were led to the tunnel area. I was very excited to see the tunnels up close after hearing much of the history. Our guide showed us the original entrance/exit of the tunnels, which was extremely small! He showed us how to squeeze ourselves into the tiny hole and asked for volunteers to explore the original stretch of the tunnel. Brian and I went for it since it was once and a lifetime kinda experience, and I was glad that I did although it was quite horrifying down there with absolutely no light and extremely claustrophobic. I used my iPhone as flash light to navigate through the maze of tunnels and could feel bats flying across my head. Most of the time I was crawling and I kept thinking how the hell could those people lived down there for so many years! I was definitely glad to came out from the tunnel and see the daylight once again. 
One of the original entrances to the tunnel
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Such tiny hole~!
The tourist version of the entrance/exit to the tunnel nowadays
I’m getting ready for the real tunnel experience
Already got dirty before entering the tunnel
One last post before disappearing from above ground
Going down…
Going down slowly

After the tunnel experience, we were showed around the compound, which has lots of booby traps and some war time relics.

Booby traps

If you fell into the booby traps, those sharp bamboo spikes are waiting for you…
Air ventilation in disguise 
Old tanker
Shoes made from tyre
More booby traps
Booby traps
Another fun part of the tour was the shooting range which I got to try shooting AK47 with some real bullets. It wasn’t cheap though to buy the bullets, I paid US$17 for about 10 bullets. I never had my hands on real guns before that was the first for me. Although the AK47 was fixed to pillar, but I could still feel the impact of every shot I took that pushes me backward. I could imagine the difficulty in handling such real gun in the real time war and was glad that we don’t have to use it in this part of the world. 
AK47 at the shooting range
Bullet shells all over the floor
I’m getting ready for some AK47 action~!
Machine gun… M16?
Bullets that could kill people
Towards the end of the tour, we were ushered to a hut where they served us some snacks, also their main food source during the war time, which was some root vegetables. It was okay to have a bite or two but the thought of eating that everyday for years is unsettling. 

The food that Vietnamese survived on during war time – Roots and peanuts
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The tour to Cu Chi Tunnels was definitely a highlight of my trip to Ho Chi Minh. It was such a big part of this war torn country and allows one to experience and feel the ugly side of wars.

For more information: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cu_Chi_tunnels

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