|Entrance / exit|
The tunnels are so narrow, that mostly only Asian people can venture in without problems. The US army had hired North Korean, Thai and Cambodian people to go kill Vietcongs in the tunnels. But the tunnels were booby trapped with a variety of foot traps and other devices using poisoned metal spikes. The poison used comes from the Cu Chi tree that grows in abundance in that region, the town being thus renamed to Cu Chi later on. The people could live in the tunnel system, coming out at night time for oxygen and generally fresh air.
For the sake of big tourists, the tunnel system that is open to visitors today, has been rebuilt. There are only a few possibilities, lights and every tunnel goes to an exit point. But it can still be scary if you are subject to claustrophobia. The light is dim and the tunnel is very narrow with a low ceiling. The second level is about 120 cm high.
|Me on AK47|
|Nam on M16|
When the US army had to clear some tunnels, they bulldozed the whole area and declared it a strike-zone. That would mean anything that would move in there would be shot without questions and that bombing was imminent. But the tunnels resist to bombs, and those who don't are mostly the access parts of the tunnels. The clay hardens when it dries out in the dry season and becomes like concrete. The access parts that would break down were simply rebuilt. Floods (natural or man induced) were also calculated in. The entrance accesses would be so that water would flow down towards a river out of the tunnel system.
|Entry of the tunnel (a little higher ceiling)|
I visited Cu Chi with Nam, Phuong and Hang. We all shot some AK47 and M16 rounds at the shooting range and followed our funny tour guide Duk.