Day trip from Saigon to Chu Chi Tunnels

Chu Chi Tunnels is easily one of the most fascinating places I have ever visited. Located about 60 km north west of Saigon, this place should be included in your itinerary if you happen to visit Saigon. I went on a tour of Chu Chi tunnels; you can book this tour via GetYourGuide for about 12 Euros only. The tour last for about 5-6 hours including the travel time. My guide, Mr. Hip who is nearly 70 and from Saigon itself, is an amazing person with so many interesting stories to share. He has seen those times through his own eyes and you can only pay undivided attention to him when he speaks.

Chu Chi tunnels were built in the 1940s by the South Vietnamese forces, Viet Cong, and used to fight the American forces during the Vietnam war. The tunnels dug were as far as hundreds of kilometers away with depths of 3m, 6m and 9m, and acted as a huge obstacle for the Americans. Another interesting fact is that these tunnels were built without any machinery; only hand tools were used.

Chu Chi Tunnels Network

The tunnels have inlets and outlets and are well camouflaged. For example, in the picture below you can see how small it is for one person to go in. Once I went in, it was completely dark. I could not see anything at all.

Going under the trap

Booby traps were also set for the enemy which were well camouflaged. When you visit the place, you can see and hear about various booby traps stories.

Booby traps at Chu Chi Tunnels

When you visit these tunnels, you are forced to think from the Vietnamese people’s point of view; especially life underground. The tunnels are extremely tiny and claustrophobic. I do not consider myself a claustrophobic person but Chu Chi Tunnels made me gasp for a tiny moment. The tunnels were dark and we did a short walk underground. There are also stories of sometimes bats or other insects flying around making it much more scary.

Inside the tunnels

There are tiny outlets like the picture below that one can mistake for snake holes. They were basically for ventilation for people underground. There were people called tunnel rats who are small men deployed underground for hours to booby trap or attack enemy forces. There were people who lived there for days and even died in process. For us even five minutes seemed too much already.

Outlets from the tunnels

There were operations by the American forces to destroy the tunnels. Operation Crimp and Operation Cedar Falls were the missions carried out by Americans to drop explosives from B52 bombers and wipe out the tunnel network in the entire area. The war finally ended in 1975 and this place has become a different kind of a museum altogether. I definitely recommend making a tour of the Chu Chi Tunnels if you happen to be in Saigon. You have to see and listen to the stories to realize what you witness there.

Alternative trips from Saigon

Here is a list of alternative trips from Saigon.

  1. Cu Chi Tunnels: Morning or Afternoon Guided Tour
  2. Cu Chi Tunnels Luxury Speed Boat Half Day Tour
  3. Ho Chi Minh: Full-Day Cu Chi Tunnels and Mekong Delta Tour
  4. From Ho Chi Minh: Cu Chi Tunnels & Mekong Delta VIP
  5. Mekong Delta Small Group W/ Vinh Trang Pagoda & Rowing Boat
  6. Mekong Delta Full-Day Speedboat Tour from Ho Chi Minh City
  7. Mekong Delta Small Group Tour to My Tho and Ben Tre

Ankur Sinha

Data Science, Running, Blogging, Cooking, Traveling, Writing