Monday, December 7, 2009

Cu Chi Tunnels

My second trip to Vietnam was 6 years ago. That time, I wanted very much to see Halong Bay. You would too if you had seen the movie, Indochine with Catherine Denevue. I suspect that's why troops of French tourists head there every year. Despite the fact, it's still a magical place which is why between Saigon & Hanoi, the latter is still my favorite.

This time round the one place I want to visit is Cu chi Tunnels. I've heard so much about these underground tunnels that housed the Vietcongs during the War. Even if you have been living under a rock, you would have heard of the war - Hollywood made sure of that.

Cu Chi Tunnels are 40km outside of Ho Chi Minh. It's not far but due to the traffic, it would take you about 2 hours to get there from the city. You can sign up for a tour or you can just go there by car or taxi & there are many guides to take you around.

The entrance to the tunnels

Most of the entrances to the tunnels are camouflaged well & just to prove the point, the guide let us walked over one without knowing & then going back to show us where it was.

Whoever came up with the idea is pretty ingenious. The tunnels which extend some 200km were not only used in combat but provided housing & community life. There were 3 levels of tunnels & managed to house thousands who lived there, go to school, got married & given birth.

Another fascinating albeit gruesome part of the tour is the introduction of the various types of traps that were used against the American army.

It was at this point when it dawned on me how weird this whole experience has been - how something like this has turned into a major tourist attraction.

A shooting gallery where you get to fire an AK47 or M16
that's right next to the souvenir shop

I suppose to *soften* the experience, there was a demonstration of how rice paper (the ones used for spring rolls) is made.

The tunnels had been widen for the tourists of course & even then, we didn't get to go more than 200 meters under ground. X had some reservations about bringing The Girl there but she's too young to understand what's going on & the claustrophic tunnels didn't seem to faze her one bit. She was delighted the tunnels were the right height for her to run around in.

Would I recommend this ?
Yes because it gives a better understanding & thus appreciation of the determination of the poeple who lived & struggled there.


SIG said...

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Henrique Abrantes said...

Olá tudo bem? Eu tenho interesse em colocar um banner no seu blog.
Na verdade seria uma troca você colocaria um abnner no meu blog e vice versa entre em contato comigo:

Anonymous said...

amazing,,, thanks

petite fleur said...

Deb - On my way. Keep forgetting to head over.

Henrique - Erm thank you, I guess

Anon - Glad you made it over to my blog