One cannot escape the scars of war in Vietnam. After all, the American/Vietnam War only ended 36 years ago after being waged for about 20 years. If you are in Saigon, you can head over to the nearby Cu Chi Tunnels. There’ you’ll get a better idea of the grim reality of the war in Southeast Asia.
The Cu Chi Tunnels are a set of underground burrow network built by the Vietcong and used primarily as hiding spots as well as communication and supply routes for its personnel. Within the tunnels hospitals, living quarters, food supplies and weapons storage caches were also present. It covered over 250 kilometers in length, stretching from near the Cambodian border to right to the edge of Saigon.
Imagine yourself being in a small underground tunnel that is between 0.5 to 1 meters wide. Yes, life in Cu Chi was hard. Not only was food and water scarce, but its resident came exposed to poisonous and dangerous animals like centipedes, snakes, scorpions, ants, mosquitoes and spiders. And just imagine how fast disease can spread. Not only was the place dirty, it was also cramped, dark, and infested with the aforementioned creepy crawlies. To add to the misery, soldiers must remember ever move and turn in the tunnel so to avoid falling victim to their own booby traps.
The tunnels were considered one of the main reasons for American withdrawal. They knew about the existence of Cu Chi, but could not find any method to destroy it. Bombing proved almost useless. American personnel who were able to enter faced booby traps and waiting Vietcong guards. And with the added advantage of the Vietcong’s knowledge of their tunnels and the land directly above it, they dictated where future battles will take place.
The Cu Chi Tunnels have been preserved and is one of the favorite Ho Chi Minh day trip destinations. You are free to bend and crawl around and get a glimpse of how life was like in here. But that’s where the hardships end. Lights have been installed and the area is now insect and animal free. Underground conference rooms have also been restored and is now a lunch room. Anybody up for Vietcong war food?
We have the day trip for you, war history buff. Not only will you experience the tunnels, you’ll also learn about it first hand from your guide, himself a war veteran. His stories will grasp your attention!
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