Best MonthsAll year
Traveller TypesCouples, Friends
Rank3 out of 211 attractions in Ho Chi Minh City
Reviews of Cu Chi Tunnels • 14
No trip to HCMC is complete without a visit to Cu Chi tunnel. The heroic 250 km spider web tunnel underground has places for dining, living, fighting and meeting. Farmer by day and fighter by night, Cu Chi tunnels glorify the revolutionary spirit of Vietnamese people in their bitter war against the Americans.Squeezing through the narrow tunnels, a bigger realization dawned upon us. Freedom is the biggest gift one could have. Imagine living with near suffocation (air doesn’t flow in these tunnels, only small holes made on the ground keep the ventilation going)! Phew. How relieved we were to be breathing in fresh air and strolling freely on the same ground where a revolution occurred. I would like to believe we emerged with more empathy of the diversity around us.A gun shooting range at the Cu Chi is a much sought after activity by tourists. The loud shelling kept us away from it. After a heavily loaded day, we yearned for some light moments.
Make sure you bargain to less than half the price that they quote for anything. About an hour away from Ho Chi Minh city are the Cu Chi tunnels. This is also one of the Vietnamese war sites. It is a famed spot for the guerrilla warfare by the Viet Cong. Ho Chi Minh city has a vibrant nightlife. Be sure to check out some of the rooftop bars. The clubs in the backpacking district are a cheaper option
Exploring the Cu Chi Tunnels will take you back in time to when this underground transport and network system was used by the local resistance forces in the Vietnam War. One has to crawl through the narrow and dark tunnels and can actually fire a machine gun in there!
On our Second Day, we were referred by our hotel attendant to a tour operator for our Cu Chi Tunnel Tour. Tours offered are either in big groups (in a bus) or small groups (in a van). For this one, we chose the bus which costs only USD5 per head. The fee covered the two-way transportation, the English speaking tour guide, a quick drop by to a lacquer workshop along the way, and complementary bottled water.
The next day was packed with activities that would introduce us further to Vietnam’s people, culture and history. We woke up early to leave for the Cu Chi Tunnels tour. Together with other travelers of different nationalities, we journeyed for a couple of hours to the historical place of Cu Chi. Our guide toured us around the area, showing the strategic and well-built 'booboo' traps the Viet Cong used during the war. And then there's the tunnel which might send off a claustrophobic feel to some people. The tunnel is long and extends deep into the grounds, forming several branches of passageways that might get someone lost. I'm an Asian so it was a bit easy for me to crawl my way into the end of the tunnel without having to squeeze myself into nooks and curves. Exploring the place will leave one the impression of the Vietnamese’s tenacious spirit. I was really impressed with how resourceful and clever they are.We were asked by the very accommodating staff member of Phan Lan if we’d like to get any of their travel packages. There were several to choose from, and he enthusiastically explained the activities of each package. Giving in to his persistence, we decided to get the night life city package for around $32 per person. This includes a Vietnamese water puppet show, transportation to and from the hotel (car and cyclo ride), and a cruise dinner. We’re not the type to splurge on trips, but made an exemption this time. Going for something you don’t usually do can be a good thing, right? The trip began with a cultural water puppet show at the Golden Dragon Water Puppet Theatre. The show is entirely in Vietnamese so we relied to the pamphlet handed earlier as guide. But then it can be hard to follow too, so all we did was to just enjoy the show. I’m the type of person who likes to see and appreciate simple things, so the show didn’t really come off as boring for me as what it did with other travelers (I read some reviews). After the puppet show, we boarded this unique ride they call ‘cyclo’ which will take us to the dock of Saigon River. It somehow resembles a bicycle with a side car, only the carriage is located in front and not by the side. I’m not sure if it’s just me but I had an amusing time riding the cyclo while traversing the busy streets of Ho Chi Minh. Take note that the drivers ask for a compulsory tip. A dollar will do.Last stop for the day (err, night) was the dinner cruise onboard a wooden ship. “Oh, fancy,” I thought. We were served a 7-course meal of Vietnamese cuisine while being entertained by local dancers and performers. I actually don’t picture myself in settings like this, but hey, trying something new once in a while adds to the totality of the travel experience. After a full dinner, we went to the ship’s deck to enjoy the cool breeze while watching the city lights depicting the varied lifestyles of the city. It was a good way to cap off a short yet fun stay in Ho Chi Minh. Those two days of exploring and experiencing what Saigon has to offer was really short. There are still lots of things to discover, experience and learn. But during those couple of days, my impression on Vietnam totally changed. I got to appreciate the locals more, especially after our wonderful experience with the people in our hostel. It was a bit hard to communicate considering the language barrier, but their efforts to reach out and help were incomparable. I started this trip with mixed emotions, and I left in the same state – only this time it’s not apprehension nor doubt, but a sense of fulfillment and yearning to come back soon.Phan Lan Hotel makes a traveler-friendly hostel located in the heart of the backpacker's area in Ho Chi Minh. It's a few minutes walk to Ben Thanh market, some convenience stores, banks and parks, thus making it an ideal place to stay at for budget-conscious travelers.
There are both bus group tours and private tours available. Other option is to do the tunnels independently as along with the entrance ticket an english speaking guide is provided. We didn't want to do a big bus tour and private tours were working out to be expensive. So we decided to do it independently. We just booked a cab with our hotel to pick us up from airport, take us to the tunnels, and then drop us back to the hotel (our hotel check in was anyway at 2pm so we had time on our hands).The Tunnels are located 80km from HCM , and it took us two hours to reach there. Entry fee is USD 4.5 including a guide. Cu-Chi Tunnels played a very important part in American-Vietnam War. The tunnels, stretching more than 120 miles, were originally built in 1948 to hide from French air attacks. Later during the American War, these tunnels were used to ambush troops, move supplies and even as living quarters. They house underground dorms, kitchen, dispensary, storage facilities etc.
Ho Chi Min City was my next stop after Da Nang, with Vietnam Airlines again. The locals still refer to it as Saigon. It’s a lot more westernized than Hanoi and, for me, didn’t hold quite the same level of cultural interest, so I felt two days and one night was enough. I would recommend going straight to the Cu Chi tunnels, flight times permitting. If you go on an organized tour it can take up to five hours so I would recommend a private guide if you like to go at your own pace. It’s an hour’s drive from the airport and then 1.5 hours back to Saigon. The tunnels certainly aren’t for the claustrophobic. I’m not into guns, but I took up the offer to shoot an AK47 whilst there, and have to admit it was an interesting experience.
4. Crawl through the Cu Chi tunnels, you can either book a tour or just take a city bus by yourself. It is located a bit on the outskirts of Saigon, these tunnels showcases the Viet Cong method of warfare and is very interesting to know how they survived during the American War. You can avoid the tour under the tunnels if you are claustrophobic.
On our last full day in HCM, Pete and I decided to make the journey out of the city to nearby Cu Chi – most famous for the vast underground network of tunnels which were used by the Viet Cong and the Vietnamese resistance during the war with America.We paid $5 each to join a group mini bus tour out to the site of the entrance to the tunnels, which took about two hours. This was including a ridiculously long bathroom break en route – but it was ok as we got to pop in to an inspiring little ceramics factory which is staffed entirely by handicapped and disabled individuals. It was set up at the end of the war and has been going ever since.We got to watch them making beautiful crockery inlaid with eggshell and mother of pearl while we waited for our driver to do whatever it was he was doing. It was an experience in itself. When we arrived at the site of the tunnels, surrounded by peaceful forest, we were first ushered in to a large hut and shown a video which contextualised what we were about to experience. We learned how the people of Cu Chi had fought back wave after wave of American soldiers by arming every peasant farmer, woman and child. They used booby traps hidden in the forest, hidden hideaways and a huge 250km network of tunnels to evade, outsmart and attack their enemy – creating entire living quarters underground. It was fascinating and unbelievable.
The next day, I paid a visit to the Cu Chi tunnels situated in a village on the outskirts of Ho Chi Minh City. I had to switch two buses to get there. Little did I know that going was only the easy part. Following Ha's instructions to the T, I made sure I was on the right bus. Not knowing the language is like being tongue-tied. There's a lot you want to ask as people look at you in astonishment but all you can manage is a gracious smile which would be duly acknowledged with a courteous nod. Nevertheless, I reached my destination - a flawless network of underground tunnels designed with such artistry that it can give even the most sought-after architect a run for his money. The authorities played a documentary on the guerilla fighters who developed the system before taking me on a tour of the tunnels.
When in Vietnam, never miss the chance to visit the impressive Cu Chi Tunnels. The place shows the bits and pieces of war history and reflects the tenacious spirit of the Vietnamese. The network of tunnels, which is several stories deep, served as a facility for communication and coordination between VC-controlled enclaves, and includes countless trapdoors, storage facilities, weapon factories, field hospitals, command centers, and more.
We arrived at the tunnel past 11 in the morning after a 1-1/2 hour travel. At the entrance, we were oriented with the rules, the restricted areas, and of course our time limit. The tour allowed us to crawl around in the safer parts that are partially illuminated with low-powered lights. fter our actual underground experience, we were allowed to wander on our own for a short while. There were plenty of souvenir shops but I found the one near the shooting range as the most budget friendly. I bought a wooden carved flower vase and a small wooden pot with Cu Chi Tunnel engraving for my keeps.
Today, post breakfast, we head for an amazing complex of underground tunnels - Cu Chi Tunnel. There are around 200km of underground tunnels. Let's head for a half day city tour to visit the main attractions of this bustling city post lunch at an Indian restaurant. We start with the Reunification Palace - the former residence of the President of South Vietnam until end of April 1975, followed by some French colonial structures including the Old Saigon Post Office and Notre Dame Cathedral. Next, we continue our trip to the Ben Thanh Market, foodie’s delight for real Vietnamese food and also goods for daily use as well as a variety of eye-catching local handicrafts, souvenirs here. After an eventful day of sightseeing, devouring on the local delicacies, and shopping, we treat our taste buds with dinner at an Indian restaurant and stay overnight in Saigon for some much-needed rest.
We took a tour through a section of the Cu Chi Tunnels and learnt how the brave men and women of Cu Chi built underground hospitals, kitchens and meeting rooms during their struggle.We spent the last afternoon in Vietnam shopping in the city’s main business district, and took a cyclo ride through the busy city streets to Ho Chi Minh’s Chinatown district, Cholon