Requiem of War: Cu Chi Tunnels

Suite Backpackers Inn
Suite Backpackers Inn , the sign says but upstairs is the Inn. They also have a tourist agency at the ground floor.

Suit Backpackers Inn is on very busy streets, a couple of blocks away are pubs, restaurants and bars. I could hear loud music from bars till 5 am maybe because it was a weekend; fortunately I was able to sleep since I was too tired from walking all day. Before going to bed, we booked at the hotel a half-day tour to Cu Chi Tunnel. I forgot the price but you can email the hotel for prices of the different tour packages. The tour bus was scheduled to pick us up at around 8 am; thankfully the hotel has free breakfast , toasts and eggs with coffee or tea. I noticed that they have a very strong coffee, too bitter for my taste. While waiting

, I had a conversation with a British tourist staying at our hotel. We talked about the typhoon Yolanda/Haiyan that struck central Philippines and we exchanged our views on how it was handled by the government and the current situation. He also related an experience when he first arrived in the city; he was approached and was offered drugs and prostitutes. I think they target westerners especially older men. Our bus arrived on time and we boarded together with the other tourists. The tour includes an English-speaking guide and a bottle of water.

Entrance at Cu Chi Tunnels
Entrance at Cu Chi Tunnels, audio visual presentation before the tour begins.

Cu Chi Tunnel is a must-visit place in Ho Chi Minh City. It is network of connecting underground tunnels that were used by Viet Cong soldiers during the war as hiding spots , there also areas in the vast network of tunnels which  have living quarters for many North Vietnamese fighters and civilians. The Tunnels were very important  for the Viet Cong soldiers in fighting against the enemy forces.

cu chi tunnel
This is how the Vietnamese fighters use the tunnels for a surprise attack.
Traps used during the war.
Traps used during the war.

The tour guide was very energetic and funny; it’s just hard to understand due to thick accent, we just have to listen intently. The tour guide explained how the tunnels were made and how it was used by the Vietnamese fighters.  What seems to be “anthills” are actually ventilation for the tunnels, enemy forces wont be able to notice them. Most of the tunnels are designed well so that people can live and survive but traps are set to prevent intruders from coming in.

Inside the tunnels.
Inside the tunnels.

We actually took our time inside the tunnel, it was really hot and dump but there was enough ventilation. We exited to a makeshift hospital used during the war.  There were water faucet to clean our hands and we walked to a hut near the exit where we were able to try food eaten by the Viet Cong fighters, I think it was sweet potato with tea. It was a very hot day so make sure to take water, and don’t forget to apply insect repellent.

Rubber sandals
Rubber sandals used during the war, these are made out of rubber from used tires. It is also for sale.
Cu Chi tunnels
Visiting the Cu Chi Tunnels is a must both a cultural and historical experience.

Do you want to try shooting using an AK47 or M16 riffle? You could experience it by paying VND30, 000 per bullet or pay VND45, 000 per bullet for an M16. I really wanted to try it but there were too many tourists lining up, so we just ate ice cream. The last part of our tour was trying to enter the tunnels, I forgot how long it was. The tunnels are very tight and you have to crawl your way out. There are lights on the walls to guide you and there are several exits if you want to get out.

After the tour they asked us if anyone wants to be drop of at the War Museum, although we already visited the place we opted to visit it again. The museum contains disturbing artifacts and images that illustrate the peoples experiences during the war. I think the museum is a great place to learn more about the Vietnam war.

Noodle soup
Noodle soup, best for rainy days.

It suddenly rained and we didn’t have any umbrellas so we run to the nearest building. We got a taxi and went to Ben Thanh Market to eat some hot noodles, it was a strong rain and some areas were flooded. The rain lasted till early evening and some parts of the market was flooded.  We shopped for some souvenirs while waiting for the rain to stop. The rain stopped just in time for the opening of the night market. After Shopping, we went back to the Inn to book a bus that will bring as to Cambodia, they have different rates depending on which bus company you would choose. For the 2 days in the city, I was able to spend less than 100 USD which already includes my bus ticket to Phnom Penh, Cambodia .

Last minuet shopping at Ben Than Night Market.
Last minuet shopping at Ben Thanh Night Market.

 Day 2:

•Cu Chi Tunnels (half day)

•War Remnants Museum

•Ben Thanh Market (w/ Night Market)

**Mekong Delta Tour (optional)

Read More:  Indochina Trip

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