Wednesday 20 June 2018

Củ Chi Tunnels

During the Vietnam War, the Viet Cong built an extensive network of underground tunnels which were used to transport supplies, house combatants and allow combatants to discretely move around during attacks.

Located approximately 50km from Ho Chi Minh City, the Củ Chi Tunnels is an easy and popular day trip. There are two accessible sections, Ben Dinh and Ben Duoc, with the latter allegedly being superior to the former. This is because the vast majority of tours go to Ben Dinh (as it is closer) which inevitably results in an increased number of visitors. My tour took us to Ben Dinh (aka the busier one) and it honestly wasn't as terrible as people described it to be.

It was incredible to see the size of the small trapdoors, the booby traps and the bunkers that were built.

There was also the opportunity to enter the tunnels. I had read online about people's discontent with the enlarged tunnels. To be frank, I don't believe the vast majority of people would have been able to fit into the real tunnels. The VC were shorter, smaller and - of course - malnourished. The widened tunnels were still quite small; I was alternating between a crawl (which hurt my knees) or a shuffling squat motion (quads / calves would burn).

At the end of the tour, we got to sample a typical meal of a VC combatant - boiled cassava with salt and "tea" (aka the water used to boil the cassava). I have read about cassava a lot in novels lately, so I had a little nerdy moment that I got to finally try it. Verdict - tasted like something between a sweet potato and a potato.

We went with Sinh Tourist (make sure you are going with the real one) and it was great.

Day 3 - 13 May 2018

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