Made famous with tourists well after the Vietnam War was over, the Cu Chi tunnels are just part of a much larger network created by the Viet Cong and located in Ho Chi Minh City’s Cu Chi district on the north side. The tunnels had numerous uses, including as supply lines, to move food and weapons, as well as cover for troops during battles. They proved essential in the fight against American forces, and eventually gave the Viet Cong the upper hand.
Today they have something of an element of dark tourism about them, but are fascinating windows into the country’s brutal past. The best way to experience the tunnels is on a guided tour, which often provide transportation from the city centre, as well as background on history and meaning in order to give added significance to the site. Additional activities also add an extra dimension to the trip. Here are three of the best Cu Chi Tunnels tours.
FROM: $28/per person
With two tours a day, this is a great way to experience the tunnels on a budget. Over the course of around six hours, you will get to explore part of the extensive tunnel system (over 220km long in total), of which Cu Chi forms a part. This tour picks up from hotels in district 1, passing through rural countryside of rice paddies before reaching the historic zone. For an additional fee there will be chance to fire an AK47 at the Cu Chi firing range, which tends to be one of the more unique and popular sideshows of any tour to this area, and available on most of the tours.
From $43/ per person
For more of a personalised touch, head out on a private tour of the Cu Chi Tunnels. Guides can take you down to the former living quarters of Viet Cong soldiers, as well as learning about the pre-Vietnam War history of the tunnels, such as during the war against French rule in the 1940s, which is when the network was officially started, before being enhanced and perfected during the war with America. Tours include hotel pick-up and drop-off, entry fees and private vehicle transfers.
From $85/ per person
If you would prefer to reach the tunnels via a more exclusive method of transport, try the VIP speedboat transfer, which funnels guests along the Saigon River, providing a completely different perspective on the countryside before arriving at the tunnel network. There are both morning and afternoon tours, and a meal is provided as part of the trip. The itinerary lasts around five hours and there is time to visit the Cu Chi shooting range for anybody who is interested in shooting an AK47, for an additional fee.