The elaborate tunnels of Cu Chi

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Date: September 28th 2017
Traveller: Carla Rijnders
If you want to find out more about the elaborate network of the underground tunnels used as hideouts, living quarters, supply routes, hospitals and more for the Viet Cong during the Vietnamese / American War, you should definitely visit the Cu Chi Tunnels. 

At only 70km from Ho Chi Minh City, you’ll find the suburban Cu Chi district, which sits atop of the enormous network of tunnels that was an entire world unto itself for thousands of Viet Cong Soldiers. What many people don’t know is that the tunnels were actually first created in the late 1940’s, when peasants fought the French occupation forces. The Viet Cong troops gradually expanded the tunnels and at its peak, the network of tunnels in the Cu Chi district linked Viet Cong support bases over a distance of 250km; from the outskirts of Saigon all the way to the Cambodian border! During this time the tunnels incorporated effective air filtration systems. Due to this, and the fact that the tunnels were built so deep underground, military tanks could pass overhead without causing any damage to the tunnels. In some areas, there were even large theatres and music halls created underground!

But don’t think it was a big underground party. The main reason for the tunnels was to combat the better-supplied American and South Vietnamese forces. The tunnels were hot, damp and infested with a variety of snakes and insects. This was probably the reason why half of the Viet Cong soldiers were infected with malaria at any given time! In addition, the tunnels were filled with booby traps to keep the enemy troops out of the tunnels.

By the end of the war, the US bombed the area so badly that parts of the tunnel network was destroyed, however, much of the system remains intact. This gives us the opportunity now to see how the soldiers were living during that time. BeenInAsia offers two amazing half-day tours to this interesting site, one travelling by speedboat, and the other over land.  Here you will explore the Cu Chi site and see the different weapons and booby traps used in and around the tunnels, see different underground bunkers, visit the firing range where (at a surcharge) you can shoot, and even go into the tunnels yourself.

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