On the third day, we visited Cu Chi Tunnel. We booked a half-day tour at Delta Adventure and paid for US$4 per pax (rate as of 2004). We joined with a young group of tourists who appeared to be American, German and Spanish. It was quite a long drive, located 40 kilometers to the northwest of Saigon. Approximately 1-½ travel but well worth a trip.
There was a brief presentation on the Vietnam War history and the underground tunnel network.
The Tunnel of Cu Chi, is a well-known historical vestige of the Vietnamese revolution. As a distinctive architecture, this cobweb-like tunnel complex is a network of underground dugouts of over 200 kilometers long, consisting of many layers and turnings meeting rooms, living and fighting quarters.
The tunnels were an excellent way for the Vietcong to move around the countryside undetected by the Americans. The tunnel entrances were so small that American soldiers could not even get inside.
We watched a 20-minute black and white film documenting the Vietnam War which paints a one sided view of the conflict.
Afterward we were brought across the street somewhat a lush jungle where we got to see and experience of what it was like to live during the war. We were charged around US$5 per person to get in.
A secret and small entrance into the underground tunnel. It is 23 cm. wide and 35 cm. long. Good for very sporty fit, slim to medium built.
and here's hb
I wanted to try but I wasn't sure if I could carry myself up. To avoid embarrassment, I just pose for a picture beside HB. :(
Our tour guide also showed us several booby traps. Here's a photo of open "tiger trap" with deadly bamboo spikes.
The tiger trap is a flat square door-like form on the ground covered with leaves, that swiftly swing around whenever someone steps either on one side thus letting the victim to fall.
Here are some of the different traps made.
Dummies of Vietcong guerrillas making weapons.
The FIRST TUNNEL was around 30 meters. We lined up in a single file and went into the hole. I gradually realized how dire our situation was. There were too many people inside the tunnel plus it was extremely hot, airless, dark and claustrophobic. The ceiling was so low that we had to move slowly in a squat position waddling like a duck. And because of muscular fatigue we ended up crawling inside the pitch black tunnel.
We found ourselves in a most awkward predicament. The line was long and super slow moving. It was like an endless wait. Every seconds matter. My stomach fluttered. My heart filled with tension and panic. I felt like I was slowly suffocating waiting in agony. Even HB felt the same way because there was little air coming down inside the tunnel. He was already shouting the people in front of us to hurry up. I managed to subdue my growing panic when I saw a streak of light appeared ahead. Then I mustered my final bit of energy to drag myself out of the dark claustrophobic tunnel. Alleluia!!!
The funniest side of our adventure - we were still able to smile and took some quick photos. I tried taking a picture of HB but my Olympus camera wasn't working at all. pffft!
Warning! Don't go with large groups.
Warning! Don't go with large groups.
Afterward the tour guide introduced us to the SECOND TUNNEL. It was smaller and longer than the first one. The hole was around 50 or 100 meters (not really sure). So then I said to myself, "Whoa, smaller than the first one? This is already more suited to our midget Philippine celebrities Mahal and Mura, and even Dr. Evil's Mini Me. If this is Survivor or Fear Factor challenge with big prize at stake, I would probably do it." HB decided to go. I DID NOT.
After a few minutes of torture, HB came out from the hole. He was drenched in his perspiration, breathing heavily and his shirt all sopping wet and covered with red dusts. To top it all, he had a sore leg that lasted until the next day. Too Bad. tsk, tsk...
Then our tour guide led us to another place. A short flight of steps leading us down into a small underground Conference room. Tadaaa! Let me introduce the Commanders! Shhh... silence please! The commander in chief is having a meeting with his subordinates and giving creative approach how to solve problems.
Here's a photo with some of my loyal Vietcong officers. :) Kidding aside, these are just dummies.
Then we went to National Defence Sports Shooting Range. It was nice to rest for a while and watched the people who tried the shooting range. Available are M16, AK47 and pistols. A bullet will cost you a dollar. Earmuffs are also available.
I enjoyed the tour and I recommend you visit this place so that you will have the chance to see and experience the hard and protracted struggle of the Vietnamese people during the war. Cu Chi Tunnel is certainly one of the most interesting places we visited. It was an unforgettable experience we had in Vietnam.
Till next time... toodles,