Ho Chi Minh Tunnels

Highlights

• Discover the hidden underground world of Vietnam's highly convoluted network of Ho Chi Minh Tunnels.
• Find out about the incredibly inventive and complicated lives of the tunnel residents.
• Gain insight into the life of this region in both past and present on a half day tour to the Cu Chi Tunnels.
• Visit the local families to learn about Vietnam's history and culture first hand.

Reasons to Travel to Ho Chi Minh Tunnels

Cu Chi Tunnel, Saigon
Ho Chi Minh Tunnels
• A non-touristy option that shows the vast tunnel network
• Very significant if you want to explore Vietnam’s wartime history
• Get enriched about Vietnam War and the time
• Enjoy a local speciality that was common during wartime
• Enjoy this adventure trip and crawl through the tunnels
• Learn about the methods and wartime strategies used by Viet Cong soldiers

Most people who travel to Ho Chi Minh City plans to take an hour or so drive to go outside the town to visit Cu Chi Tunnels. The Viet Cong used these tunnels during the Vietnam War. Isn't it goose bump-worthy realization how right under the feet in the metropolitan city is a subterranean network?  These claustrophobic tunnels housed so many Vietnamese fighters during the war.

If the resolute spirit of the Vietnamese can be symbolised by a place, Cu Chi is the most symbolic place to see. At first glance, there seems to have scarce evidence and can seem a weak idea compared to today’s warfront stories and strategies. However, to see what went on, and how the lives were, you have to dig deeper – in the underground.

Growing Tourism in Ho Chi Minh Tunnels

During the 1960s, the tunnel network of Cu Chi became well known for facilitating VC control of a large rural area that is no more than 30km to 40km from HCMC. During the peak time, the tunnel system extended from the South Vietnamese capital to the Cambodian border. Interestingly, the district of Cu Chi alone had an extensive 250km of tunnels maze in the ground.

Some parts of the network of the tunnels are several storeys deep, which included constructed living areas, countless trapdoors, storage facilities, field hospitals, weapon factories, command centres and kitchens. Today, these tunnels have almost become a place of pilgrimage for not just the Communist Party cadres but also the Vietnamese school children.


How to Tour Ho Chi Minh Tunnels

Tour groups are available for visitors to explore to this popular Cu Chi Tunnels. For solo travellers, the following guide might help you:

Actually, there are two different Cu Chi Tunnels sites.

Technically, the Ben Dinh and Ben Duoc are parts of the same network of tunnels used for visiting the Cu Chi Tunnels.

Among these two, the Ben Dinh Cu Chi Tunnels was reconstructed and attracts multiple tourists. On the other hand, Ben Duoc Cu Chi Tunnels are less touristy and more close to what the tunnels used to be during the Vietnam War. It is a bit farther from the Ho Chi Minh City.

Ho Chi Minh City
Get a Local Bus to Ho Chi Minh Tunnels
Given the rise in tourism, and also keeping in mind the general physique of the occidental tourists, many of the tunnels there have been enlarged of its original size. So, even if you are travelling alone, the main places will generally remain crowded.


Touring on your own? Get a bus.

While many tourists like to hire a driver to take them to the Ben Duoc Cu Chi Tunnels, solo travellers can get the local bus system which is not a cost-prohibitive option.

All you need to do is go to the bus station that you can find marked as “Saigon Bus TDH” or “TĐH xe buýt Sài Gòn.” Find the bus that goes “Cu Chi''. The journey will take approximately two hours. You have to hop on to another bus for going to Ben Duoc Cu Chi. You might not find too many visitors here; so, instead of getting confused, carefully look at the signs and you will reach the ticket kiosk.


The Ho Chi Minh Tunnels are definitely not for the claustrophobic.

A exploring the tunnel is a thrilling, which helps experiencing how the Vietnamese soldiers and civilians lived in those appalling conditions during the Vietnam War. And, if you are a history enthusiast, this will be an overwhelming experience.

Having said that, you really have to squeeze and bend over to get in the tunnels and be flexible enough to manoeuvre inside the tunnels.  Bugs and insects are common so definitely you have to carry insect repellents. Additionally, the tunnels are humid and hot, so some like to carry water bottles.

If you are wondering what the claustrophobic would do had they reach the place; well, there’s scope to experience the tunnels without getting in as well. The larger rooms were hospitals and meeting halls.


It will take a complete day for the trip.

If you are travelling from HCMC, the travelling time to Ho Chi Minh Tunnels will be approximately of four hours up and down. If you are taking a bus, the time might be a bit more.

At the Ben Duoc Cu Chi Tunnels, you might initially think to not take more than an hour can be almost double the time to visit the place completely.

Apart from the historical significance, many like to think it as a great option to mingle with the locals of the place.
War Remnants Museum
Look at the War Pictures

Further Reading: Cu Chi War History Museum

The small Cu Chi War History Museum is a part of the trip which is just off the main highway in the central part of Cu Chi town. Similar to any other museum, its displays consist mainly of photographs (some of which are quite graphic) and big artefacts of rusting military hardware. You can find a more comprehensive read and description of the time at the War Remnants Museum in HCMC and you’ll see similar photos of the tunnels themselves. Visiting the Chu Chi Tunnels, as many compare, is like the C.S. Lewis' novels where you open the door and you enter a completely alternative world!


You May Like:

10 Best Vietnam Holiday Destinations

19 Vietnam Tourist Attractions You Should Not Miss

How to Travel from Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh City

Vietnam Travel Guide