The final stop that we made in Vietnam was at the Cu Chi tunnels, a 3-level, 250 km-long underground maze. The Vietnamese began work on these tunnels during WWII, and the Viet Cong used them heavily throughout the Vietnam War. There are many tunnels throughout the country, but these ones were used as the guerillas base for the Tet Offensive.
The tunnels were not only used in fighting, but also for living, eating, sleeping, medical attention, and many other things. For years, the Viet Cong members lived in these tunnels, rarely coming out during the daylight.
The tunnels were very cramped – at times you had to crawl on your stomach to get through passages! It was hot and hard to breathe and all around pretty miserable – I cannot imagine spending extended periods of time there.
While the tunnels would’ve been awful to live in, they were quite effective against the American military. Trapdoors led to tunnels, and were near impossible to see. Other doors caused the trespasser to fall into all sorts of gruesome traps.
Being in the area was fascinating as, despite the tourism, many things have been left untouched. There are still tanks, craters from bombs, and original tunnels.
Towards the end of our time there, we headed out to a shooting range that they have set up. Lots of guns had been left behind or captured during the fighting, and you could choose from all kinds of things that you wanted to try shooting! We opted for an AK-47.