Cu Chi Tunnels – Half day trip from Ho Chi Minh City

Upon reviewing some of the top tourist attractions in Ho Chi Minh City, we came across something left field that we decided to check out.  
The Cu Chi tunnels are situated approx 70km from the city centre and are a hand made network of underground tunnels and caverns that were used primarily by the Viet Cong during the American war. The tunnels are a complex maze approximately 75 miles long where soldiers would often spend days underground, only venturing out at night to hunt for food or tend to their crops when they couldn’t be seen by the enemy. As one can imagine, sickness was rife underground with malaria in particular a big problem not to mention issues caused by poor sanitation and vermin.
We booked a guided half day tour via a travel agent in HCM City for 69,000 Dong each, approx £2 per person and arrived as instructed at 8am to pick up our tour bus. After waiting until almost 9.30am we finally made a hazardous journey to the tunnels which took approx 90 mins, albeit via a refreshment stop and a tour of a factory making and selling tablewares with intricate eggshell designs. Backpackers aren’t really the best target audience for these types of souvenir so we didn’t witness anyone buying anything.
We had to pay an additional 110,000 dong each to enter the site of the tunnels (approx £3.50) and were soon led through to the jungle with sounds of gunshots in the distance. Our guide showed us a viewing hole that the Viet Cong used to check on the position of the sun as well as the enemy, that was completely camouflaged from the outside world and was barely wide enough for someone to drop into and was concealed by a wooden lid covered with leaves. A few of our group took up the invite of going in for a look with John putting his hand up first!
   
 
Our guide proceeded to show us the rest of the site including some crude but extremely brutal booby traps to capture American soldiers as well as some ingenious ventilation holes for the tunnels. As the sound of gunfire came closer, we were given the opportunity to fire a choice of assault rifle ourselves from a choice of ak-47’s, m10’s and similar which we chose at a cost of circa £10 each for 10 shots. This wasn’t something either of us had done previously and the noise was deafening even when wearing the mandatory ear defenders. The power of the guns and kick back was much more than we both expected.
  
 
 
After such an exhilarating experience we discovered that our guide had continued the tour with the rest of our group and left us behind! Not wanting to wander through a jungle unaccompanied, we joined in with another group from the same company until we found him again.  

We were invited to enter the tunnels themselves which were reached via a steep ladder to various depths. John found the experience too claustrophobic with the tunnels being jammed with tourists and barely 2 feet wide and 3 feet high and quickly came out. In addition the tunnels were so dark you couldn’t see your hand in front of your face without using your smartphone torch, something the Viet Cong clearly wouldn’t have had, pretty amazing how they helped defeat the US army from such an environment.
  
After finding our guide again we were given a cup of local Vietnamese tea and some tapioca before heading back to our bus. All in all an excellent trip with the exception of our guide deserting us, he clearly wouldn’t have made a very good soldier!

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5 thoughts on “Cu Chi Tunnels – Half day trip from Ho Chi Minh City

  1. Am loving reading your blog guys – it’s making me reminisce so much about our travels 🙂 It’s so scary and claustrophobic down those tunnels..can imagine too much for someone John’s height! We shot those guns too – absolutely frightened the life out of me how powerful they were! :-0 Loved your pics of the traffic there too, it’s a leap of faith stepping off the pavements! We played the count the most amount of people you can get on a bike game ; )
    xx

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    1. Glad you’re loving reading it, I was hoping that sharing our travels this way would be much better than just uploading pics on facebook! Yes John didn’t last long and I only stuck my head down it! Haha we have been playing that game too, it’s scary the amount of people that go on the bikes and also what household items go on there too! Where did you guys travel too? Xx

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      1. Definitely good to journal your travels..will give you something to look back upon in years to come..when your memory isn’t so great! ; ) We went in 05/06 so mine is an old school paper journal!

        They put all sorts on their bikes don’t they?! Oblivious to health and safety lol!

        You guys are doing a similar trek that we did at the moment. We started in Bangkok, went to Koh Chang & Phi Phi, Chang Rai then into Cambodia to Siem Reap, Shanoukvile, Phnom Penh, then into Vietnam to Saigon and got bus up East coast to Da Lat, Nha Trang, Hue, Hanoi then to Vietiane and Louangphrabang in Laos. Then we went to Kuala Lumpur and Singapore and onto Perth & Margaret River area in Oz. Did Uluru then got campervan and went all down the East coast from Cairns to Melbourne. Did both islands in NZ in a camper, Raratonga in the Cook Islands and final leg was the Rockies in Canada 🙂 Best time of our lives would do it again tomorrow in a shot!!

        Have fun x x x

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      2. Oh my god it’s like we’re doing the exact same trip!!! We did KL and Singapore in Jan so missing them out this time round for Japan. But we’re basically doing cairns down the Melbourne with hopefully a Uluru stop, were doing both NZ islands, then raratonga (where would you recco staying?) we have a bit of America and the. Onto Canada. How crazy, literally 10 years on as well! We are having the best time and can’t believe how quick it’s going xxx

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      3. Very spooky!! Awesome, Japan will be amazing. We stayed at Vara’s for few days when first got to Raratonga. You have to take a wee driving test to drive a moped on the island. We then found a little self catering villa/hut type place that was practically on the beach which was lush to have our own place xx

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