Cu Chi Tunnels

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About 20 miles northwest of Ho Chi Minh City is the town of Cu Chi, one of the most devastated
areas of Vietnam during the war in the 60's, and home to over 150 miles of underground tunnels.
The tunnels were originally built in the 40's during the war against the French, but were greatly
expanded during the 60's, to the point of stretching from HCMC all the way to the Cambodian border.

Today you can crawl through a few hundred feet of the hard red clay tunnels, which have been
enlarged for tourists. I didn't have a problem with claustrophobia (although it's certainly possible),
but was amazed at how hot it is. The tour includes several interesting areas such as underground
meeting rooms, hospitals, and even kitchens with elaborate filtering systems to reduce the amount
of visible smoke above ground. Also a walking tour of some of the types of booby-traps found
in the area, and a fake "mine field", complete with trip wires connected to small firecrackers --
I think our group managed to trip every one of them. We did a one-day tour that also
included the main Caodai temple in Tay Ninh (previous page). I highly recommend the tour,
although I could have easily skipped the extremely heavy-handed, propaganda-filled video the
government requires tourists to watch when visiting the tunnels.



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