Escape to Cu Chi
· See how Vietnamese adapted to Western counter-insurgency techniques in the Cu Chi Tunnels
· Walk in the footsteps of Vietcong soldiers in Ben Dinh and Ben Duoc
An hour's drive north of Ho Chi Minh City lies an old bolthole of the Vietcong: the Cu Chi Tunnels. Originally built during the struggle against the French, new tunnels were built after they left when there was still fighting in Vietnam. Going into the extensive network of tunnels with your private guide, you will see how people lived, fought and died underground.
Working your way through the stalls above ground, which include a target range where tourists can experience firing weapons from the 1960s and 1970s, you will be taken into some reconstructed tunnels. These can be tough for tall people, and moving in the humid conditions will leave you with a great respect for the people who spent most of their lives in the tunnel complex. The tunnels, as you would expect, are very slanted towards the official Vietnamese perspective of the wars. However, soldiers of many nationalities fought over the area and your guide will be happy to talk about their experiences.
Distinctly less touristy than Ben Dinh further south, Ben Duoc brings you closer to the experiences of Vietnamese during the 1960s and 1970s. With tunnels that have not been heightened for tall Westerners, you will be able to learn about how warfare was adapted by both the people who used this place as a refuge; and those who tried to find them in what the American leadership labelled a “strike-free” zone where almost anything was an acceptable target.