Things you need to know about Tunnels Cu Chi
Cu Chi is located on the outskirts of Ho Chi Minh City, about 70km from the city. This tunnel is about 200 km long, built for use during periods of war. Currently, Cu Chi Tunnels is used as a war remnants museum.
The purpose of construction
Originally built during the war against the French colonialists (1945-1954), Vietnam revolutionary soldiers hid under the secret tunnels in the enemy’s rear, protected by the people. Those secret tunnels were constructed in many ways, but mostly under the ground, each of which had only one small lid for one person to move. When closing the lid of the cover, the enemies above ground had a difficult time detecting the tunnel entrances.
However, the downside of this secret tunnel is that Vietnamese soldiers were easily captured by the enemy or destroyed when detected. From there, it was thought that they should be extended into long tunnels with many ways out on the ground to shelter and fight the enemy, while providing an escape from danger if need be.
The first tunnels
In Cu Chi, the first tunnels in 1948 were split in two communes: Tan Phu Trung and Phuoc Vinh An. At first, there were only short sections of simple structure used to hide documents, weapons, shelter staff operating in enemy territory. From 1961 to 1965, the guerrilla warfare of the people in Cu Chi caused great losses to the enemy, helping to defeat the “special war” strategy of the United States by “using Vietnamese to fight against Vietnamese”. Then, six communes in northern Cu Chi District completed the “backbone” tunnel to create a continuous system.
In the period of anti-imperialist invasion of Vietnam, the Cu Chi Tunnels were most active in early 1966. By 1967, at the time of the American invasion of Cedar Falls, it had reached a total length of about 250 km.
In the present, the complex multi-layered tunnels still remain the same as during the war with hidden hatches and tunnels, connecting underground passages between basements.
Structure of Cu Chi Tunnels
In the tunnel system, each of the different locations has specially closed gates used to stop the enemy or toxic gas. All tunnels have secret vents to the ground and are very discreetly camouflaged.
The anti-infantry system was densely interwoven at the entrances to ensure safety. During the war, it could contain an army or be full of the village’s residents, which helped the Vietnamese protect many lives.
Cu Chi Tunnels were not only used for combat and conflict, they also housed the factory workers who provided weapons and war equipment. It had stockpiles of firearms, ammunition and explosives of all kinds, food and materials, battlefield facilities, smoke free kitchens (Hoang Cam kitchen), hospitals for the wounded, and bedrooms and shelters for women, children and the elderly. It is not just a village but an entire city under the ground.
You will be instructed how to shoot the gun and try shooting it for themselves. Tickets are sold at 50,000 VND/person/60 minutes.
With a total length of 200km, only a part of the tunnel has been maintained and controlled by the management so there are still many places out of the reach of the guides. Moreover, the tunnels lack light, oxygen, and cellular signal. It is also difficult to use map… You need to follow the guides to avoid getting lost. Please be careful that there are narrow tunnel passages only for one person to move.