The Cu Chi Tunnels (Cu Chi Tunnels) in Ho Chi Minh City (formerly Saigon), in South Vietnam, are a system of underground passages and rooms that were created by the Vietnamese military and guerrillas during colonial times and during the Vietnam War.
Description of the Kuchi Tunnels
The Cu Chi Tunnels were used by the Vietnamese to fight the American invaders, for real underground warfare against the enemy. The best of the Vietnamese people fought, were treated for their wounds, and lived here.
These tunnels are located northwest of Ho Chi Minh City (then Saigon). In those days there was a village there called Ku Ti, and the underground labyrinths acquired that name. This historical attraction also includes museums, temples, monuments, etc.
This large underground city has three levels. The lowest level is located at a depth of up to 15 meters. The width and height of each tunnel is about one and a half meters. At the exit on the surface of the ground, it is closed by a manhole.
The total length of the Kuchi Tunnels is about 250 km, they are the longest in the world. Historians and architects believe that these tunnels are one of the most beautiful underground structures in the world. Traveling through them is an amazing exotic experience.
This secret underground city has now become a military museum and is open to all Vietnamese and visitors. From time to time restoration and renovation work is carried out here.
At the tunnels you can see military equipment and weapons from the Vietnam War, which were used by the Americans against the Vietnamese people. You can also see the death traps used against American soldiers.
The museum staff will be happy to tell tourists about the traps and show how they work. Visitors will see what looked like underground guerrilla headquarters, a military hospital, a kitchen, an operating room, etc.
Mock-ups of all these rooms were made after the war and displayed near the Benduoc tunnel for all to see, so that people would understand the harsh, inhumane conditions in which the Vietnamese guerrillas lived and fought for many years.
Here visitors can also view installations showing everyday scenes of life in war conditions: the Vietnamese digging a tunnel, a woman cooking food, a wounded man suffering from wounds, etc.
There is a small cinema hall, where you can watch documentaries in English, created in the 70s of the last century and truthfully telling about the horrors of the Vietnam War, the struggle of guerrillas for freedom of their homeland.
It is interesting that visitors to this huge museum can almost never find the entrances to the Kuchi tunnels, so masterfully were hidden the hatch and lid to it. As a result, the guerrillas could effectively fight the American invaders.
Descending into the tunnels
The most interesting thing for tourists is to personally descend into the underground city and experience what a real guerrilla war in Vietnam is like. Therefore, many of Kuchi’s tunnels today are adapted as much as possible for modern visitors.
For this purpose, many tunnels were widened, electric lighting was organized, and additional passages and exits were dug for the safety of visitors. Suddenly being stranded in an underground city today is unlikely.
Nevertheless, even today large Europeans or Africans cannot squeeze into the Kuchi tunnels or can simply get stuck underground. Tourists with such a physique are simply refused entry to the labyrinth.
Inside the dungeon it is dark, damp and stuffy. Electricity only partially illuminates the whole structure, ventilation is poor here. Most of the time hikers have to crawl on their knees. You will get a lot of emotions.
The Bendin tunnels excavated here are characterized by many sharp turns, great depths, and small heights. Tourists move along them almost a hundred meters in complete darkness, and next to them shoot at a shooting range. Such a tour is only for the strong of spirit.
After visiting the underground military town, tourists are invited to taste the dishes that the guerrillas ate during the Vietnam War. It’s peanuts, beans, all the simplest and cheapest things that grow in this country.
Nearby is a small restaurant where you can order delicious and modern Vietnamese food, but the cost is noticeably overpriced. The menu has a huge selection of delicious dishes and drinks.
A couple of kilometers from the dungeon is an excellent shooting gallery, where you can shoot with the old Soviet and American guns (Kalashnikov, Browning machine guns, etc.).
History of the Kuchi Tunnels
The first tunnels here appeared in the late 1930s of the 20th century, when Vietnam was ruled by French colonialists. The tunnels were shallow, and the locals hid weapons and food in them. In the ’50s, all of this was greatly expanded.
The underground city was dug mostly at night, the earth was taken out in baskets, the manholes were carefully hidden, they made them small, they set many death traps to kill American soldiers, etc.
The deeper the dungeon was dug, the more advanced the ventilation became. First the bamboo tubes were installed, then the ventilation shafts began to be dug. Wells with drinking water appeared.
There was nothing the Americans could do against the guerrilla underground city. They called the guerrillas “tunnel rats,” but in fact proved weaker than them. Chemical weapons and gases were used against the Vietnamese, but both sides suffered.
In the late 1960s, the Americans began withdrawing their troops from Vietnam. The tunnels of Kuchi were never conquered.
Courage and incredible resilience helped the Vietnamese win the war against the United States.
How do you get to the Kuchi Tunnels?
The tunnels can be reached by road by cab or bus, or by boat on the Saigon River. From the center of Ho Chi Minh City to the Ku Chi Tunnels is about 50 km, so you have to drive about an hour.
Tunnels of Kuchi on the map
Kuchi Tunnel Tours
When going on such an excursion, bring food and drink. Dress in work clothes that you do not regret, and shoes should be as comfortable as possible. Things should be a minimum, so as not to lose them in the tunnels.
If you want to shoot at the shooting range, bring cash to pay for the ammunition. Working hours of the underground military complex daily from 08-00 to 17-00. If you are claustrophobic, refuse this tour.
- The adult ticket is 70,000 dong or $3.
- Children’s ticket is 20,000 dong or $0.86.
- The ammunition for shooting at the shooting range is about 30,000 dongs each or $1.29.
- Round-trip cab transfer (6-hour tour) is VND1,400,000 or $60.
- Bus – round-trip ticket is 26,000 dong or $1.16.