The first thing which always came to my mind when l heard Vietnam was the Vietnam War. Being an avid reader of history books, the texts of this war grasped my fascination and that is when I came to know about Cu Chi Tunnels. This prompted me to take a trip of this wonderful place and feel the history in person. Here I am writing about my day trip to the Cu Chi Tunnels and the budget break down.
The Cu Chi Tunnels is an underground network of tunnels made by the Vietnam Congress soldiers during the American invasion. Long history cut short, the tunnels were made after the US forces used Agent Orange. The agent orange is a dangerous pesticide used as a part of chemical warfare. The guerrilla fighters of the Vietnamese army were now easily exposed due to destruction of the forests. Hence they made these extensive network of tunnels and continued their fight, which they eventually won.
A day trip to Cu Chi Tunnels is one of the most popular trips from Ho Chi Minh City. These tunnels are situated around 60 kms from Ho Chi Minh City formerly known as Saigon, in the southern part of Vietnam. After a two hour bus ride by a local tour company (details later) we reached the tunnel. The bus generally stops for half an hour for refreshments. Few local disabled artists sell their paintings and other handicrafts, which I found overpriced and did not purchase.
On reaching the tunnels, we bought the admission ticket for roughly 90,000 VND= 290 INR. The entire area can be covered in 2-2.5 hours. The first thing we saw was the entry to one of the tunnels, represented by a small pit. A popular spot to click a picture by getting in the pit. Unfortunately, I could not get in thanks to my belly!!!!!! But for those like me, they have another such entrance where you can crawl through the tunnels. These tunnels are very suffocating to go through and have exits at every 20 meters.
Anyways, walking further through the path with trees on both sides, we reached a deserted American tank which was captured. Not in the best of shape. But you are free to climb the tank and get yourself clicked…
Further on the trail, various types of underground traps used by the Vietnamese soldiers were replicated. These traps were explained by one of the tunnel guard. Our guide took us to bunkers utilized for cooking food and storing groceries.
The best part of this trip was reserved for the end.
THE AK-47 EXPERIENCE
So, here they have a shooting range where you can fire real bullets. And trust me the thought of firing one from the Russian AK-47 literally made me feel like a fighter in the war…….All dressed up and ready to defend the soil…
We had the option of firing bullets either from an AK-47, the American M-16 rifle, pistols or a few semi-automatic guns. But who wants to know the other options when you see the Russian beauty. The cost of firing 10 bullets is 50000 VND per bullet and 10 bullets are the minimum purchase. But then it’s all worth it. Moreover you can split the bullets with one of your fellow travelers if it’s burning a hole in your pocket.
And a general advice: do not pick up any bullet shells for souvenirs, it is illegal to carry them. We were served complimentary tapioca with crushed groundnut mix as these were the staple food of the soldiers.
We had some refreshments from the local stalls and concluded our trip and left back for Ho Chi Minh City with memories of a lifetime.
- Book your tickets to the tunnel from a local travel agency. Avoid booking online in advance or even from your hotels as they both are overpriced.
- The bus services have a half day trip, one starts at 8.30 am and other at 2.30 pm. Choose according to your last night’s alcohol consumption!!!!
- The tunnel is open from 7 am to 5 pm.
- The tours last 6 hours including the travel and you are in the tunnels for around 2 hours.
- If you have time, club it with a visit to Cao Di Temple ( read my blog on the same) to make it an entire day trip.
- The tour operators charge you according to the number of people in your group, large groups have more than 20 members, small groups have up to 10 members or your own private tour is an expensive option.
- I took the large tour but fortunately not many people turned up so we were just 8 in the bus.
- Avoid wearing heels or uncomfortable footwear and preferably loose clothes as the weather is generally humid.
- Entire tour booking which includes bus fare, an English speaking guide and packed water bottles : 250000 VND= 900 INR= 11.82 USD
- Tunnel entry tickets: 90,000 VND= 290 INR= 3.83 USD
- AK-47 10 bullets : 50000 VND per bullet, minimum ten bullets to be purchased. So its 500,000 VND=1622 INR= 21 USD for ten bullets.
- Total: 840,000 VND= 2,72O INR= 35 USD
To conclude, if you are ever planning Vietnam then a day trip to Cu Chi Tunnels is a must on your itinerary and a hands on AK-47 experience shouldn’t be missed for sure!!!!