DESTINATION - CUCHI TUNNELS

DESTINATION - CUCHI TUNNELS

The town of Cu Chi had about 80,000 residents during the American War, but has now become a district of greater Ho Chi Minh City with a population of 200,000. At first glance, there is little evidence here to indicate the intense fighting, bombing and destruction that went on in Cu Chi during the war. To see wat went on, you have to dig deeper underground.

The tunnels network of Cu Chi became legendary during the 1960s for its role in facilitating Viet Cong (VC) control of a large rural area only 30 to 40 km from Saigon. At its height, the tunnel system stretched from the South of Vietnamese capital to the Cambodian border; in the distric of Cu Chi alone, there were over 250 km of tunnels. The network, parts of which were several storeys deep, included innumerable trap-doors, specially contruced living areas, storage facilities, weapons factories, field hospitals, command centres and kitchens.

The tunnels made possiple communication and coordination between VC controlled enclaves isolated from each other by South Vietnamese and American land and air operations. They also allowed the guerrillas to mount surprise attacks wherever the tunnels went even within the perimeters of the US military base at Dong Du and to disapear into hidden trapdoors without a trace. After ground operation against the tunnels claimed large number of US casualties and proved ineffective, the Americans resorted to massive firepower, eventually turning Cu Chi 420 sq km into what Tom Mangold and John Penycate have called ‘the most bombed, shelled, gassed, defoliated and generally devastated area in the history of warfare.

Today, Cu Chi has become a pilgrimage site for Vietnamese school children and Party cadres. Parts of this remarkable tunnel network enlarged and upgraded versions of the real thing are open to the public. The unadulterated tunnels, though not actually closed to tourist, are hard to get and are rarely visited. There are numerous war cemeteries all around Cu Chi, though tour group donate usually stop at these except on special request

What to see?

As a distinctive architecture, this cobweb-like tunnel complex is a network of underground dug-outs of over 200 kilometers long, consisting of many layers and turnings with meeting, living and fighting quarters.

The Cu Chi Tunnel represent the will, intelligence and pride of the people of CuChi and symbolize the revolutionary heroism of Vietnam, Cu Chi has officially been cited as "Vietnam's land of steel and bastion of bronze".

Foreign visitors to Vietnam are welcomed to Cu Chi to understand the hard and protracted struggle of the Vietnamese people as well as their keen desire for everlasting peace, independence and happiness.

How to get there?

The tunnels of Cu Chi, 70kilometers North West of down town Hochiminh, is a well-known historical vestige of the Vietnamese revolution.
photo xuong quan gioi - photo ngocvien
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