Cu Chi Tunnels - Down Under
Chao (sin chow) is our morning greeting from Sinh, our local tour
guide. Not as catchy as 'Are You Ready For An Adventure' but Lauren
gets to hear both anyway!
tour arrives at the
Cu Chi Tunnels following a 1.5 hour bus ride.
The digging of these underground tunnels began in the 1940's and
enough buckets of dirt were dumped into the river to create 210
miles of networking tunnels on 3 levels!
remaining 75-mile complex is now a war memorial park.
a guide, we crawl through a 2-level section of an actual tunnel.
They were widened to accommodate tourists, some low-powered lighting
was installed, and booby traps marked. You don't loose your guide
shoulders brush along the tunnel sides and even though we are
stooped over and at times even scooting along on our butts, our
heads still find the low spots above us. Wearing a hat was smart!
Not to mention dark pants, bug spray, antibacterial and Kleenex for
the sparse restroom!
From Lauren: It was pitch black in the tunnels, and I was walking
low on my feet and feeling the wall with my left hand in order to
stay straight. But then this wall of the tunnel ended abruptly into
a passageway/booby trap. I fell in and don't think I've ever jumped
up more quickly in my life! ha ha! mom and I had a good laugh about
that in the dark!
to fight the French, the tunnels helped resist American troops
Vietnam war. By early 60's, a relatively self-sufficient
tunnel community was able to house hundreds of people. It provided
hiding spots during combat, communication and supply routes,
hospitals, food and weapon caches, living quarters, and even a
Lauren: there were dining rooms, kitchens and bedrooms! The biggest
room we entered was the dining room, which was probably around 15'
by 10'. The room was dimly lit and there were bats flying around the
being too small for
troops to fit through, areas of these tunnels were often rigged with
explosives and booby traps.
military specialists, known as 'tunnel rats' became an elite group
that entered a tunnel by themselves and traveled inch-by-inch
cautiously looking for enemy fighters and booby traps.
actual 'tunnel rat' was in our tour group! During the war, Rich had
only minutes to plant dynamite in sections of tunnel and quickly
evacuate. This was his first trip back to Vietnam. His T-shirt reads: I'm just a tourist this time!
the end of the war, the tunnels were so heavily bombed that portions
actually caved in and other sections were exposed.
withdrew from Vietnam
in 1975 and tourism was restricted until 1995.
are different sections of the Cu Chi tunnels that are opened for
tourists. The one we visited didn't have the AK-47 rifle
range we had heard so much about.