Trip to Cu Chi tunnel
8 $ gets a bus and a tour guide for a few hours as I join a few other tourists on our way across town to the Cu Chi tunnel site. The inevitable history lesson ensues from this charismatic fellow, if a little eccentric. Suddenly he bursts into a verse of patriotism, not a bad effort for a 65 year old as we all applaud. In short, the tunnel complex was constructed as part of the effort to kick the French out and later the Americans. Supply lines from the Saigon river were carried through the vast tunnel network.
Along some very small and bumpy country roads winding through vast rubber tree plantations, areas that were destroyed by the Agent Orange chemicals during the American war we are told. Another patriotic song and we learn all about his efforts as a soldier with the Vietcong, oh and he says its another 8$ to look around the place. Bus rolls into the parking area, it taken about 90 minutes to get here. Quiet, not many tourists at all.
Tour begins in a replica bunker where another history lesson gets underway, with some models and diagrams to aid with understanding. We here about hardships and suffering with conditions inside the complex definitely not comfortable, and quite hot too. About 20 minutes here before the trail begins. Through the woods, past a few more replica bunkers complete with replica soldiers in residence and a real tank pops up unexpectedly. Gun fire can be heard along with several loud explosions. I seem to recall being told that bullets and a few bombs can be purchased for the tourists enjoyment. Well, maybe not the bombs part, but some hefty fire power all the same. About a dozen bullets can be purchased for 25-30 $ and fired off at some point along the trail.
A hole in the ground and the first tunnel opening. Everyone is invited to climb in , one at a time obviously, since it's just a good fit for someone slim. Further along, the firing range and a snack shop. Bang, bang, bang in quick succession, and again as the boys fire off their Ak47 rifles. 20 minutes here for snacks, drinks and shooting.
Moving on to the next feature, another gap in the ground. Actually this time there are steps leading into a cavern and the tunnel complex. We're invited to journey through the complex to the next hole, about 50 yards along, or even further to the next for those with a burning desire to endure being crouched and confined in a dimly lit tunnel - not for me. And that's the Cu Chi tunnel tour, about 3 1/2 hours of an insight into life of the Vietcong fighters.