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Home Travel Guide Vietnam Travel Guide Cu Chi Tunnels: Saigon’s Underground Tunnels During the Vietnam War

Cu Chi Tunnels: Saigon’s Underground Tunnels During the Vietnam War

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Cu Chi Tunnels are the largest Vietnam underground tunnels. They are remnants from the Vietnam War when they once served as a base for Viet Cong soldiers, provided shelter, transportation routes, and strategic advantages that made great contributions to the war efforts.

The tunnels are 22 miles (35 kilometers) from today’s Ho Chi Minh City (formerly Saigon), stretching over 155 miles (250 kilometers) on the map all the way to the Cambodian border.

Today, Cu Chi Tunnels is an important educational site where both Vietnamese citizens and international visitors can learn about the challenges and strategies of wartime life, gain a deeper understanding of the war’s impact on both soldiers and civilians. For the same reasons, the tunnels have been featured in many documentaries, films, and books.

Fast Facts about Cu Chi Tunnels

  • Location: in Cu Chi District, Ho Chi Minh City
  • Hours: 7:00 AM – 5:00 PM daily
  • Tickets: about 90,000 VND (about $4) for adults; plus discounts for children
  • Visit time: 2-3 hours
  • Best time to visit: December to April (dry season)
  • Suited to: history lovers, educational trips
Cu Chi Tunnels Ho Chi Minh
Cu Chi Tunnels

Historic Overview of Cu Chi Tunnels

The construction of the Cu Chi Tunnels in Saigon first began in the late 1940s during the First Indochina War against French colonists. At that point, they were not large in sized. It was during the Vietnam War in the 1960s when they saw significant expansion.

The Cu Chi Tunnels gave the Viet Cong great strategic advantages. They were able to launch surprise attacks, transport supplies, and evade American forces. The complicated underground network included living quarters, kitchens, hospitals, storage facilities, and even classrooms.

The underground was home to entire communities for prolonged periods. The tunnels were shelters during bombings and ground attacks. The designs were ingenious with sophisticated ventilation systems, kitchens designed to minimize smoke, and storage areas to keep supplies safe from destruction. There were also hidden entrances, exits, and booby traps to keep out enemies.

The Cu Chi Tunnels are divided into three levels for different purpose. The first level, about 9.8 feet (3 meters) deep, was for combat and storage. The second level, 19.7 feet (6 meters) deep, housed living quarters, kitchens, meeting rooms. The deepest level at 32.8 feet (10 meters), was a safety shelter during bombings.

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What to See and Do at Cu Chi Tunnels

There are two main sites at Cu Chi Tunnels of Saigon open to the public, Ben Dinh and Ben Duoc. Ben Dinh is more popular and conveniently located. It’ll be a shorter visit with reconstructed sections of the tunnels. Ben Duoc, on the other hand, is less crowded and has original tunnels preserved. You’ll have a more authentic experience.

Explore the Tunnels

You’ll have the chance to crawl through sections of Cu Chi Tunnels like the Viet Cong soldiers once did. These tunnels have been slightly widened for tourists but are still very cramped. They are dimly lit and narrow, so it’s best to wear comfortable clothing and sturdy shoes.

Exhibits and Demonstrations

Throughout the sites, there are exhibits and demonstrations showcasing the life of Viet Cong soldiers. You’ll see examples of booby traps, weapons, and daily tools used during the Vietnam War. There are also displays explaining cooking in the Cu Chi Tunnels. People had to minimize smoke to avoid detection. You’ll also learn about the ingenious techniques soldiers used to divert American bombers.

Shooting Range

For those interested, the Cu Chi Tunnels sites have a shooting range where visitors can try firing a variety of weapons used during the Vietnam War, including AK-47s and M16 rifles.

Tips for Visiting Cu Chi Tunnels

  1. Guided Cu Chi Tunnels Tours: Joining a guided tour is recommended for especially war history lovers who want a deeper understanding of the tunnels’ history. Your guide can answer your questions on your Cu Chi Tunnels Vietnam tour. They will tell you more about the tunnels’ construction, their strategic importance during the Vietnam War, as well as personal stories of the soldiers and civilians living underground.
  2. Dress Comfortably: Dress in light clothing and sturdy shoes suitable for crawling through narrow tunnels. Temperature inside the tunnels can be cooler, so it might be a good idea to bring a light jacket.
  3. Hydration: Bring enough water with you on your tour, especially during the hotter months. You might be outdoors a lot, so it’s important to staying hydrated.
  4. Claustrophobia: If you tend to experience claustrophobia, you should probably avoid entering the tunnels. The spaces inside Cu Chi Tunnels are tight and can be overwhelming for some visitors. Consider seeing the exhibits above ground instead.
  5. Respect the Site: Please keep in mind that Cu Chi Tunnels are a historical site with significant meaning for many people. Respect the rules on sites, the structures, as well as the experience of other visitors.

Best Time to Visit Cu Chi Tunnels

The best time to travel to Vietnam to visit Cu Chi Tunnels in Ho Chi Minh City is during the dry season, from December till April. The weather is cooler for exploring the tunnels and surrounding areas. It’s best to visit in early morning or late afternoon to avoid the midday heat and crowds.

How to Get to Cu Chi Tunnels from Ho Chi Minh City

By Bus: From Ho Chi Minh City, take a bus from central bus station to Cu Chi. It’ll take around two hours. Although buses are the cheapest option, they can be less comfortable and slower.

By Taxi: Taxis are a lot more comfortable and flexible than buses, but they also cost more. It’s a 90-minute drive directly from the city center to Cu Chi Tunnels.

Guided Tour: Guided Cu Chi Tunnels tours usually include transportation. It’s the most convenient way to visit Cu Chi Tunnels and makes sure you get the most out of your trip. Many tours depart from Ho Chi Minh City and include attractions along the way.

Attractions Nearby Cu Chi Tunnels

Ho Chi Minh City is one of the top Vietnam cities . You’ll find an exciting mix of historical sites, busy local markets, and modern cityscapes. Some of the popular attractions include the War Remnants Museum, Notre Dame Cathedral, Ben Thanh Market.

Cao Dai Temple is located in Tay Ninh, about an hour from Cu Chi. This colorful temple is the holy seat of the Cao Dai religion. You’ll gain fascinating insights into Vietnam’s religious diversity. Architecture and religious ceremonies are its highlights.

Dai Nam Van Hien Wonderland is a large amusement park in Binh Duong Province. It’s the perfect place for a fun family trip with cultural and entertainment attractions. There are a zoo, a water park, and many rides.

Recommended Vietnam Tours to Cu Chi Tunnels

Full-day Tour to Cu Chi Tunnels & Mekong Delta

6 Days Southern Vietnam Tour to Mui Ne

9 Days Private Vietnam Tour (from North to South)

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