CU CHI – TOP SECRET UNDERGROUND TUNNEL
The underground tunnel is very helpful to Vietnam guerrilla war. Throughout Vietnam, we have five main tunnels including Cu Chi tunnel – the best alive.
The Cu Chi tunnel system contributes an important role in Vietnam reunification and found out in 1946 – 1948 during Indochine war.
Cu Chi Destination
It is about 69 km from Ho Chi Minh city center. At that time, the French and American troops bombed whole this area frequently and caused severe damage for Vietnamese soldiers and local. To survive, the local started to the dugout the small scale of the tunnel and then expanded from this village to another one. Finally, in 1965, the local community created a long underground tunnel system of 250km with three floors for a different function: living, storing weapon and meeting.
This system is at least 3-5 meters under the ground, and the height is just enough for a small man at stooped posture. As a result, with the tall one, he or she needs to crawl inside this tunnel. The 1st floor of the tunnel is nearby the water sources which provides for the whole underground community. The first floor is for living as it is near the air vents, the second floor is for meeting and third floor for weapon-storing. It is also available the well, the no-smoke oven, the treatment room, the maternity room…
How to live in Cu Chi tunnel
In the beginning, each village created its tunnel to escape from the army then they linked all tunnels into a complicated tunnel system because of serving the community purpose. The local built Cu Chi tunnel on the hard ground to avoid collapsing.
Each floor has many small chambers on both sides along the main tunnel such as the living room for each family, the hospital, the meeting room…The second floor is 5m from the ground which can resist bombs, and the last level is 8-10m from the field. The way up and down between the basements is hidden by secret hatch covers which isolate each part of the tunnel. It was disguised like extruded mounds; the vents are dotted along the tunnel.
During the war, many children were born, and the injured soldiers were cured there. However, the living condition without the sunlight is not healthy; almost the tunnel community got some related-skin diseases. In 2015, Cu Chi tunnel was the national historical relic. Since then, it welcomes so many visitors, both domestic and aboard, about 20 million tourists in total. Most foreign travelers are from the US and French.
Sone secret of surviving under Cu Chi tunnel
There are some hidden stories about the Cu Chi tunnel which show you the top secret during the guerrilla war.
The hatch covers
The US Army has attacked the tunnel system by bombing, pumping water, and spraying gas into the tunnels. However, Vietnamese soldiers can do partial isolation to limit the damage. How they do that? They put some stuff on top of the hatch covers so US Army can’t find out the secret window. When the US military tried to seek out the tunnel entrances as well as the air vents, it is in vain as the local has also disguised these with the bushes.
Hoang Cam stove – famous symbol of Cu Chi tunnel
Hoang Cam kitchen is one of the best inventions from Hoa Binh campaign (1951-1952) and very popular in the Dien Bien Phu campaign. This is a kind of cooking stove, which can dilute smoke when cooking to avoid being detected by airplanes from above.
It has a lot of smoke drains linking to the stove, above the trench, they cover with a thin layer of wet earth. The smoke dissipates when coming out of the tunnels. Therefore, it is possible to cook the kitchen during the day, even if the enemy aircraft flies overhead.
How to prevent the army dogs from discovering Cu Chi tunnel
The most effective mean of the US military is to use an army dog. In the beginning, there are some doors and vents found by the army dog as the dog could smell the human. Later, the local place US soap in the cellar door and air-vent door to disable the dogs.
Explore Cu Chi Tunnels Half Day Tour with aa vietnam travel
Cu Chi is a suburban district of Ho Chi Minh City and we can access there by speed boat on Saigon River. It’s location is in a transitional zone between the Southwestern and Southeastern regions. In fact, it is about 8 m – 10 m above the sea level which seems to be quite low. Normally, the best way of travelling to this place is by car as the distance is only 33 km from Ho Chi Minh City center. With over an-hour drive, you will arrive there and visit Cu Chi tunnel within half a day.
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Ben Duoc – The best part of Cu Chi tunnel
By visiting this part of the tunnel, you witness the deep insight into the underground life during the war. You can admire the basements of the leaders of the Party Committee, the cellar, the surgery room, the A-shaped tunnel against bombs, weapons-storing chamber, and secret air vents, wells, Hoang Cam stoves…
Passing by the ticket box at the edge of the forest, the tourists will visit the showroom of bombs and the guerrilla weapons. Later, we take a short walk through the woods while listening to the birds singing. In the end, we stop at the hall for watching documentary films about the history and the fighting of Cu Chi battle system. After that, visitors will sightsee the actual tunnel and imagine what happened inside this tunnel during the war. A very creative invention of ‘’Hoang Cam’’ – non-smoke stove will amaze almost tourists and travelers. Not only that, but we also get a chance to taste the local dishes which is favorite food during the war.
Ben Duoc monument – Honor the soldiers at Cu Chi Tunnel.
People built this temple on May 19, 1993, on the occasion of the 103rd birthday of President Ho Chi Minh on a land area of 7 hectares in the population of Cu Chi tunnel. The temple inaugurated the first phase on December 19, 1995, and began welcoming both domestic and foreign tourists to commemorate. Regarding the feng shui theory, the temple – the largest memorial temple in Vietnam – is on a beautiful land of Cu Chi area.
Further, in the forest, the way will lead us to Ben Duoc Memorial Monument. Here, visitors can burn incense and pray for the dead soldiers who sacrificed their lives to freedom. This place is not only famous for the spiritual religion, but it is also renowned for the ancient architecture of temples and the giant ceramic-mosaics pictures on the wall of this monument.
It has the traditional decor with rows of round columns and the yin and yang tiles. The gate has patterns, vignettes, curved roofs of village communal gates. The architecture has an ancient temple appearance of Vietnam. In the end, we can stand on the 9-story tower watching the peaceful landscape of the old “Iron Triangle” winding along the smooth Saigon River.
Shooting range – One of best Cu Chi tunel’s attraction
Currently, the best attractions and nearest military shooting center are inside Cu Chi tunnel, nearby Ben Duoc relic. This is a place that specializes in serving domestic and foreign tourists, so the government keeps the infrastructure maintained well. However, the price here is quite high when compared to other places. The bullet price of AK, M16 shotguns cost between 20,000 and 40,000 VND per bullet.
We have two options: Military gun or Paintball gun. At this shooting range, you can choose the appropriate weapon which was used during the war. After being instructed, you can practice shooting to the animal-shaped cannon fodder. If traveling in a group, we can choose Paintball gun as the teamwork activity which offering lots of fun together.