CU CHI TUNNELS IN HO CHI MINH CITY
Cu Chi Tunnels in Ho Chi Minh city are underground defending system in Cu Chi district, 70km from Ho Chi Minh City to northern west. It was dug by South Vietnam Liberation Front in war period of Indochina and Vietnam. It includes clinics, rooms, kitchens, offices and underground road system. It is 250km long and has a breathing system. It is located at the end of Ho Chi Minh Path. In the beginning of 1968 (Tet Mau Than in Vietnamese), South Vietnam Liberation Front used the tunnel system to attack into Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City now).
HISTORY OF CU CHI TUNNELS IN HO CHI MINH CITY:
Digging Cu Chi tunnel started in two villages: Tan PhuTrung and PhuocVinh Hung in 1948. At the first time, there were only short sections having simple structure, used for hiding documents, weapons, officers). After that, the tunnel spread many villages.
From 1961 to 1965 the guerilla war of local people developed highly, causing large lost to the opposition. Six northern villages finished the “spine” tunnel. After that, the branch tunnels were dug, forming a link Cu Chi Tunnel.
With very simple devices such as hoes, shovels, baskets made from bamboo or iron the army and people of Cu Chi were set up a grand construction with underground roads having the length of hundreds of kilometers, connecting villages, hamlets into a wonderful underground village.
STRUCTURE OF CU CHI TUNNELS IN HO CHI MINH CITY:
Cu Chi tunnel has three deep floors. The above is 3m deep, the middle is 6m deep and the bottom is over 12m deep, 258km kilometers long.
Cu Chi “spine” tunnel spreads countless long or short branches connecting with each other. There are many branches going to Saigon River in case of dangerous situations. There are so narrow sections that a person having large size can hardly go through. There are secret tunnel caps and breathing holes cleverly camouflaged. The cannel can bear the weight of tanks and a part of bomb and bullet.
Countless nests of fight were set up in order to fight against the opposition. Many traps made from bamboo or iron were put almost everywhere, which made the opposition horrified.
Cu Chi Tunnel has large rooms to take a rest after fighting, places storing weapons, food, water, wells, Hoang Cam stoves, which hide smoke underground (Hoang Cam is the name of a cook in the war), working places for the leaders, surgery rooms, rooms for the injured, rooms for the old, women, children. There are large tunnels comfortably covered for meeting, showing films, performing art.
The structure of Cu Chi Tunnel shows the intelligence, hardship and determinedness of the army and people in conserving their land.
Some pictures of Cu Chi Tunnel’s structure:
A narrow tunnel
A tunnel cap cleverly camouflaged
A breathing hold lying in a termite’s nest
A Stove “Hoang Cam”
A meeting room for the leaders
A room for resting
The life under the tunnel:
In disastrous war period, every activities of fighting force and people were under the tunnel. The life was extremely arduous. On the ground, Bombs and bullets ploughed, fires and smoke were dim. In the tunnel was dark, narrow, wet, little oxygen and light. If someone was faint, people had to bring him to tunnel door to do artificial respiration.
In the rainy, there were lots of poisonous insects even snakes and centipedes. For women, the activities were more difficult, especially some women giving babies and bringing up them.
Going up and down tunnel doors of hundreds of people, but still keeping secret was a complexity. Each member had to be careful to erase every track so that the opposition could not discover.
In spite of the arduous life, there were also happy minutes when people saw films or plays. Everybody loved and helped each other. All members were the same as a family.
Cu chi tunnel at present:
Today the tunnel continues to be preserved. It becomes site attracting local and foreign tourists.
Coming to the tunnel, you can enjoy following things:
– visiting Ben Duoc Temple where soldiers are worshiped.
– going into the tunnel to understand clearly the life of the army and people here in war years.
– trying firing a gun with true bullets.
– visiting war weapon’s museum.
– camping among fresh and green campus.
– having dishes containing favor of East South Vietnam such as: sour soup “la vang”, in-large bowl-braised fish, paper cake with young fish, pan cake, seven-dish-cooked young cow.
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