28 July 2014

Cu Chi Tunnels

There are many tours that head out to these tunnels, but ours was lead by a guy nicknamed John Wayne, who had a strooong accent. For example, rather than saying "Ladies and Gentleman" he would just say "Lady Gentleman". Or "First... Chicken..." rather than second, but don't asked me how that worked out. Me and Kirbie got the giggles.

There were many groups at the tunnels and it seems to be the only way to do it, as without a guide you wouldn't have any context to the place.

The tunnels were used by the Vietnamese in the war against Japan. They didn't live in the tunnels - they were only for fighting. The photo above shows the excess tunnels that were created so they didn't flood!

There are displays of how the Vietnamese were very resourceful in creating weapons from bamboo and also on show are some of the traps they used against the enemy, which they will demonstrate for you (minus human in trap).

As you walk round the corner you will see a huge tank, an original I must add. You're allowed to climb in it, on it and through it. I can't imagine ever being allowed to do this in the uk... Or at least it would be covered with sponge for Health & Safety reasons. Hmmm... I wonder...

You also get the opportunity to shoot a gun. You just pick your gun, buy a minimum of 10 bullets and go. There's no safety briefing and the ear muffs are there 'if you like' (trust me when I say, you will like). It's South East Asia so health and safety is very relaxed/none existent.

Word has it that you used to be able to shoot cows, but now it's just a few targets in front of a huge mud hill. I chose the machine gun and split the 10 bullets with someone else. I unintentionally fired the first 4 bullets within seconds. Very sad, I really savoured my last bullet and aimed half heartedly at the bullseye. No idea where my bullets went, but it is fun to be able to say you've fired a REAL machine gun. The gun really pulls back as you shoot and it's crazy to feel the power the machine has. It's also pretty scary that there are these guns just there for anyone to shoot - the British in me just thinks it doesn't feel right.

And then there is the star of the show - the tunnels themselves, which you can walk/crawl through. I got the heebyjeebies and only went 10m but you can keep walking through and just come out after another 10m, or another, or another.

You can also climb inside the little hiding hole, big enough for only one man. An ex-military woman went in and put the roof on and confirmed that it was pretty dark and pretty sketchy! But anything for the photo op, right?

I completed my tour of the tunnels as part of the STA Vietnam on a Shoestring tour and so do not know the price, but saw plenty of adverts in Ho Chin Minh City for trips to the tunnels and you shouldn't have a hard time organising one.


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