The Cu Chi Tunnels

Cu Chi Travel Blog

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A bomb crater at the Cu Chi Tunnels (Cu Chi, Vietnam)

We've booked a daytrip to the Cu Chi tunnels before we came to Vietnam. A young woman from Asian Trails arrives at our hotel lobby to pick us up, she’s only ten minutes late (we had grown accustomed to Vietnamese lateness and incapability of estimating of the duration of things).

After about an hour on the tour bus, we arrive at Cu Chi, where our guide takes us to a small roofing over of some sort, it looks like a meeting area. Here we can watch an audiovisual presentation about the tunnels.

I’m quite excited, and the images only increase the anticipation.

A boobietrap at the Cu Chi Tunnels (Cu Chi, Vietnam)
I’m sooooo curious to see those tunnels! I know it will be  an ordeal, since I’m terrified of low ceilings (I wouldn’t call myself claustrophobic, I have no trouble with small rooms- as long as the ceiling is high enough), but I am determined to experience those tunnels, no matter what.

It’s a bit like getting into that Cessna-plane that flies over the Nazca lines in Peru. I knew I would have to throw in that Cessna, but I got on anyway. There is no way I would miss out on seeing those Nazca lines. I finished vomiting just in time to see the nicest lines, the one that form the hummingbird!

Anyway, the guide first shows us all kinds of booby traps, and some displays with puppets dressed up as Vietcong soldiers. My heart starts pounding the second she shows us a tiny entrance to a tunnel.

A tiny shelter at the Cu Chi Tunnels (Cu Chi, Vietnam)
It has a lid covered with leaves and unlike the tunnels that are accessible to tourists, this vertical entrance still has its original measurements. Some other people in our tour group try to get into the entrance, but not everybody is able to get in… With huge hesitation I yell out I want to try it. I put my legs in the whole, squeeze my not so slender hips through, lower myself with my arms above my head (it’s too small to keep your arms next to your body, you wouldn’t be able to get out that way) and bite the bullet.

For a few seconds that seem to last an hour I can hear myself breathe heavily while I place the lid on top of the entrance. I close my eyes, try to imagine what it must be like to actually crawl into the tiny tunnel that stretches out at my feet, and then quickly remove the lid again. I drag myself out into the open again and try to stand on my shaking knees while acting casual. For a couple of minutes I keep on breathing heavily as if I had just run for a kilometer or so, and my legs seem to be made out of soft clay.

Entrance to tunnels at the Cu Chi Tunnels (Cu Chi, Vietnam)
I’m lucky I brought a husband to hang on to;-).

Our next stop are the actual tunnels, and even though I’m still shaky, I follow my husband into to low channel. They are quite dark and you can only move in a crouching manner. Rens is a couple of inches in front of me and as soon as I crouched I automatically grabbed his pants.

I don’t remember ever be as scared as I am while I’m slowly moving in that musty tunnel. I don’t know what it exactly is that I’m so afraid of, but the fact is I’m near hyperventilating and I’m sweating like crazy. After a short while we come across an intersection, we can choose to follow the tunnel for a bit longer, or we can get up. Since my husband has felt me clawing at his back the whole time, he drags me towards the exit.

As soon as I’ve left the tunnel, it’s as if I can breathe again.

Entrance to tunnels at the Cu Chi Tunnels (Cu Chi, Vietnam)
This was without any doubt the most terrifying experience I ever had! I actually have to sit, I’m incapable of moving and my entire body is trembling like a leave. But it’s alright, I’m letting it go and feel pride warm up my chest. I did it!

I still can’t imagine how those brave men and women not only went through those tunnels on a regular basis, but also lived there. They had a kitchen, bedrooms, meeting rooms and even a hospital in cramped spaces. The sheer idea of this would give me nightmares!

I suppose I’m not cut out for guerilla war…    

Liselore_Verschuren says:
Hey Mark, I suppose I prefer to tornado! :)
Posted on: Feb 17, 2010
marg_eric says:
great story!!
Posted on: Feb 17, 2010
travelman727 says:
Liselore, we were counting on you to dig a shortcut through the center of the earth from Vietnam to Kansas. I guess Dorothy, Toto and I will have to find someone else :-D
Posted on: Feb 17, 2010
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A bomb crater at the Cu Chi Tunnel…
A bomb crater at the Cu Chi Tunne…
A boobietrap at the Cu Chi Tunnels…
A boobietrap at the Cu Chi Tunnel…
A tiny shelter at the Cu Chi Tunne…
A tiny shelter at the Cu Chi Tunn…
Entrance to tunnels at the Cu Chi …
Entrance to tunnels at the Cu Chi…
Entrance to tunnels at the Cu Chi …
Entrance to tunnels at the Cu Chi…
Going into the entrance of a tiny …
Going into the entrance of a tiny…
Going into the entrance of a tiny …
Going into the entrance of a tiny…
Going into the entrance of a tiny …
Going into the entrance of a tiny…
Going into the entrance of a tiny …
Going into the entrance of a tiny…
A display at the Cu Chi Tunnels (C…
A display at the Cu Chi Tunnels (…
A display at the Cu Chi Tunnels (C…
A display at the Cu Chi Tunnels (…
A boobietrap at the Cu Chi Tunnels…
A boobietrap at the Cu Chi Tunnel…
A boobietrap at the Cu Chi Tunnels…
A boobietrap at the Cu Chi Tunnel…
A display at the Cu Chi Tunnels (C…
A display at the Cu Chi Tunnels (…
A display at the Cu Chi Tunnels (C…
A display at the Cu Chi Tunnels (…
My husband Rens entering a tunnel …
My husband Rens entering a tunnel…
My husband Rens in a tunnel at the…
My husband Rens in a tunnel at th…
A display at the Cu Chi Tunnels (C…
A display at the Cu Chi Tunnels (…
A display at the Cu Chi Tunnels (C…
A display at the Cu Chi Tunnels (…
Cu Chi
photo by: kumikob