Saturday, August 6, 2011

Vietnam War History: Cu Chi Tunnels

During the Vietnam War, the Cu Chi Tunnels were used by North Vietnam (the Viet Cong)as hiding spots and transportation networks.

The tunnels form an enormous interconnecting network throughout Vietnam, and we went on a tour in Cu Chi, which is a couple hours away from Ho Chi Minh City.
From K - Saigon


We also saw many bomb craters. The US carpet bombed the area to disrupt the tunnel system. However, US campaigns against the tunnels were mostly unsuccessful.

An interesting part of the tunnel visit was seeing the various kinds of traps that the guerilla Viet Cong fighters constructed to keep enemies out. There were trapdoors with spikes underneath, meant to trap search dogs.
From K - Saigon


American Tank
[This one is for you, Dad]
From K - Saigon


More interesting traps:
From K - Saigon

They put "fish traps" in the rice fields. You couldn't see them because they were covered in water.
From K - Saigon

From K - Saigon

From K - Saigon


This was our tour guide. He insisted on being called Mr. Bean. He also had a penchant for singing American classic rock songs in between tales of the War. I enjoyed hearing his (out-of-tune, heavily accented) versions of "Hey Jude" and "Bad Moon Rising" but I don't think he really did justice to "Knock Three Times".
From K - Saigon


I also realized that sometimes watching the tour group is more interesting than the tour itself:
From K - Saigon

From K - Saigon


After seeing the various traps and learning about how the guerilla fighters lived, we were allowed to climb through a section of the tunnels. Apparently the section we went through had been expanded for Western tourists. It was miniscule. It was the most claustrophobic feeling ever. It was almost entirely dark and at one point, the tunnel was so small that I had to scoot around on my but because I was too tall to crouch. I can't even imagine staying in the tunnels for long periods of time.
From K - Saigon

From K - Saigon

From K - Saigon


Overall, the Tunnels are a fascinating part of the war history. The tour was a little cheesy (during a snack break, they offered tourists the chance to shoot an AK-47, or a rocket launcher if you forked over $250). However, it was interesting to see the traps and actually crawling through the tunnels gave me a better appreciation for the conditions during the war.
From K - Saigon

From K - Saigon

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