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Cu Chi Tunnels

by becca on November 3, 2009

As a day trip out of Ho Chi Minh City, we went to visit the premier Cao Dai temple (a religion in Vietnam that combines Christianity, Buddhism, Taoism and Confucianism), a crafts and tobacco factory, and the Cu Chi Tunnels.

The Viet Cong’s base right outside of HCMC (Saigon) and sometimes right under American camps, the Cu Chi Tunnels were a complex system of tunnels that shows the resilience and determination of the Vietnamese for their independence. The tunnels were made by hand and three levels were created just by digging into the solid 95% clay soil. No wood or nails were used. Connected to the tunnels were trenches for fighting and the entrances into the tunnels were virtually invisible if you didn’t know they were there.

When we were shown an original tunnel (the entrance), my body froze and heartbeat rose as just the sight made me feel claustrophobic. We were then lead through a series of “sets” of mannequin soldiers performing their daily duties, and shown a wealth of traps originally used for killing animals and then re-purposed for eliminating American soldiers. Lots of long nails were involved, not pretty.

The highlight was crouching through about 100m of tunnels, which have been widened and also lit for tourists. Second to that was the 20 minute video at the end depicting the American troops as “some angry devils.” Yeah, that phrase pretty much sums it up.