Requiem of War: Cu Chi Tunnels
Suit Backpackers Inn is on very busy streets, a couple of blocks away from the pubs, and restaurants. I could hear loud music from bars till 5 am, maybe because it was a weekend. I was able to sleep since I was too tired from walking all day. Before going to bed, we booked at the hotel a half-day tour to Cu Chi Tunnels. I forgot the price, you can email the hotel for prices of the different tour packages. The tour bus picked us up at around 8 am. The hotel has free breakfast, toasts and eggs with coffee or tea. I noticed that they have a very strong coffee, too bitter for my taste.
While waiting, I had a conversation with a British tourist staying at our hotel. We talked about the typhoon Yolanda/Haiyan that struck central Philippines and we exchanged our views on how it was handled by the government and the current situation. He also related an experience when he first arrived in the city; he was approached and was offered drugs and prostitutes. I think they target westerners especially older men. Our bus arrived on time and we boarded together with the other tourists. The tour includes an English-speaking guide and a bottle of water.
Cu Chi Tunnel is a must-visit place in Ho Chi Minh City. It is network of connecting underground tunnels that were used by Viet Cong soldiers during the war as hiding spots. There are areas in the tunnels which have living quarters for many North Vietnamese fighters and civilians. The Tunnels were important for the Viet Cong soldiers in fighting against the enemy forces.
The tour guide was very energetic and funny. It’s just hard to understand due to thick accent, we just have to listen intently. The tour guide explained how the tunnels were made and how it was used by the Vietnamese fighters. Interestingly, What seems to be “anthills” are actually ventilation for the tunnels. Enemy forces wont be able to notice them. Most of the tunnels are designed for people can live in it. There are traps set to prevent intruders from coming in.
We actually took our time inside the tunnel, it was hot and dump but there was enough ventilation. We exited to a makeshift hospital used during the war. There were water faucet to clean our hands. We walked to a hut near the exit where we were able to try food eaten by the Viet Cong fighters. I think it was sweet potato with tea. It was a hot day so make sure to take water, and don’t forget to apply insect repellent.
Do you want to try shooting using an AK47 or M16 riffle? You could experience it by paying VND30, 000 per bullet or pay VND45, 000 per bullet for an M16. I wanted to try it but there were too many tourists lining up, so we just ate ice cream. The last part of our tour was trying to enter the tunnels, I forgot how long it was. The tunnels are tight and you have to crawl your way out. There are lights on the walls to guide you and there are several exits if you want to get out.
After the tour, they asked us if anyone wants to be drop of at the War Museum. Although we already visited the place we opted to visit it again. The museum contains disturbing artifacts and images that illustrate the peoples experiences during the war. I think the museum is a great place to learn more about the Vietnam war.
It suddenly rained and we didn’t have any umbrellas so we run to the nearest building. We got a taxi and went to Ben Thanh Market to eat some hot noodles, it was a strong rain and some areas were flooded. The rain lasted till early evening and some parts of the market was flooded. We shopped for some souvenirs while waiting for the rain to stop. The rain stopped just in time for the opening of the night market. After Shopping, we went back to the Inn to book a bus that will bring as to Cambodia. They have different rates depending on which bus company you would choose. For the 2 days in the city, I was able to spend less than 100 USD . It already includes my bus ticket to Phnom Penh, Cambodia.
•Cu Chi Tunnels (half day)
•War Remnants Museum
•Ben Thanh Market (w/ Night Market)
**Mekong Delta Tour (optional)