Sep 4, 2011

Crawling through Cu Chi history

Crawling through historic tunnels is probably not everybody's thing to do on a holiday. Neither was it mine. I can't imagine brushing up history lessons and enjoy a crawl in tunnels that dug out a legendary win. SO, Vietnamese villagers defeated the great Americans. Now this is stuff that raises eyebrows. And that's why, while on a trip to Vietnam, no one wants to miss out on the Cu Chi tunnels. Unless you really don't want an anti-American story, Cu Chi tunnels are a big piece of Vienam's history that will put you in awe of the brave locals. The tunnels are really small. They will allow only the little Vietnamese build inside.


The size of a foot
bunkers
The government provided guide leads you through tunnels that are open to the public. These are probably the bigger ones which allow non-Vietnamese bodies squeeze through. Some tunnel openings are open to see and European tourists always try to squeeze themselves through. Vietnamese villagers squeezed through these tunnels to fight during the days of war and farmed during the night. They crossed the dangerous dirty Mekong river filled with alligators, just by swimming. In a land which is subjected to so many natural and political challenges, the illiterate villagers are bound to be tough and smart. They wouldn't leave an extra inch for a foreigner to squeeze.

Vietnamese war novels and war biographies are sold on the roads of Ho Chi Minh City. History has it that the tunnels were used for guerrilla warriors' meeting, planning, execution and nursing. You mostly will appreciate the guerilla war tactics of the Vietnamese who faced poverty for basic needs, let alone buy weapons. And hence the underground tunnels and variety of traps. 


Cluster bombs from the American war, as a memoir.
Info:
Getting there: Cu Chi tunnels are a 2 hour drive from Ho Chi Minh city center. Keep at least half day for the tunnels.
Tour buses have half and full day trips. These cost ~12-20 USD /pax. 
You can rent a car with driver for the trip. It should be ~50-70 USD for the trip.

Food: There are no good restaurants except a few little joints to serving instant noodles, fruits and ice cream around the tunnels. Eating in HCMC and stocking up is a good idea.

Shopping: The souvenir shop within the tunnels area sells everything from the Vietnamese straw hats to bookmarks and magnets. Another common souvenir in Asia is the bamboo/ wooden ship model. 

4 comments:

  1. Amazing!!!! I would be too claustrophobic- this is really amazing at the will power and determination of a people.

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  2. i saw a traveler show in which the host went to a similar war museum with tunnels in vietnam(might be same one)..it was interesting...very brave people!!!

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  3. Woow. Nice one.

    www.rajniranjandas.blogspot.com

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