Because part of the reason why we visited Vietnam in the first place is because of its war related history, going to the Cu Chi tunnels was inevitable.
Cu Chi is an area is about a little more than an hour away from Ho Chi Minh City, towards the northwest. You’d know you’re already near the area when you see the rows and rows of rubber trees along the road. This really captured my attention because of how symmetrical it all was. I actually wanted to take a picture of myself in the middle of the rows of trees, but we couldn’t stop. 😦
Anyway, being in the area of the Cu Chi Tunnels feels like being on a field trip. Upon emerging from a short tunnel of some sorts, we reached the area where most of the living quarters were located. These were small enclosures made underground, so only the roofs can be seen from aboveground. Inside one of these places is where we were led to watch a video about the Vietnam War and the significance of the tunnels for the Vietnamese fighters. This is also where the guides get to talk to the tourists to explain how life was in the tunnels and how the general area looked like.
Going around the area was actually very leisurely. I had worried that it would be too jungle-like. I thought it would be hot and sticky in the area because of the humidity, and that there would be a lot of mosquitoes. Good thing it was none of those things. It was very enjoyable walking around under a canopy of trees.
Around the foot paths were different attractions showing the kind of life people had back then. The actual tunnel entrance was particularly freaky, because it was very, very tiny!! I don’t think most people can fit inside actually. Haha. Although there was one entrance that they expanded so that tourists could go in and crawl 20m to the exit, my claustrophobic self won’t let me inside the tunnel.
There were also other war related items around the area – a tank, shells from bombs dropped in the area, samples of Vietnamese booby traps, and many more. One of my favorite activities was when we got to eat the sweet potato (kamote) and the palm tea that the Vietnamese used to eat every day. It tasted very good actually, but it still isn’t something I’d be willing to eat every day.
Going around the area, I wasn’t surprised that the Vietnamese won. Even if the Americans knew that they were there, they were never really able to subdue the Vietnamese in the area. It was because of intense passion for the cause and excellent knowledge of the terrain.