Cu Chi Tunnels

Cu Chi Tunnels

Underground warfare

More on Ho Chi Minh City

The Cu Chi tunnels are a testament to the perseverance of communist forces in survival and aggression—and they are very much worth seeing but visitors need to do their own research to fully appreciate the site.

Travelfish says:
Unimaginable.  Photo by: Cindy Fan.
Unimaginable. Photo: Cindy Fan

The Cu Chi tunnels refer to the section of tunnels open to tourists, in the district of Cu Chi, 35 km northwest of Ho Chi Minh City. There are actually two sites opens to tourists, Ben Dinh and Ben Duoc, about 13 km apart. However, keep in mind that the original network of tunnels was extensive and ran for hundreds of kilometres, some leading right to Saigon and the Cambodian border.

Construction of the tunnels began in the late 1940s during the First Indochina War with France. When the US military entered the picture to support South Vietnam, communist forces began expanding the network. At its height, there was over 250 km of tunnels, no more than 70 cm wide, 90 cm high, some running 30 feet deep. This subterranean maze served as shelters, communication centres and supply lines.

Life-size dioramas set the scene. Photo by: Cindy Fan.
Life-size dioramas set the scene. Photo: Cindy Fan

The US had men, modern equipment, firepower and aerial bombing at their disposal. The North Vietnamese and Viet Cong, most of them peasants, were outnumbered. During aerial attacks, to survive, whole villages moved underground—cramped, dark tunnels with kitchens, sleeping areas and hospitals. Despite clever engineering with disguised ventilation and drainage, the conditions were almost unfathomable. It was sweltering, hard to breathe and at risk for disease, flooding ... Travelfish members only (Full text is around 1,300 words.)

Log in to Travelfish

Please sign in to read the rest of this page. The full text is around 1,300 words.

Log in now
Become a Travelfish member

Choose from a free two-day pass right through to a lifetime membership.

Find out more

Reviewed by

Cindy Fan is a Canadian writer/photographer and author of So Many Miles, a website that chronicles the love of adventure, food and culture. After falling in love with sticky rice and Mekong sunsets, in 2011 she uprooted her life in Toronto to live la vida Laos. She’s travelled to over 40 countries and harbours a deep affection for Africa and Southeast Asia. In between jaunts around the world, she calls Laos and Vietnam home where you’ll find her traipsing through rice paddies, standing beside broken-down buses and in villages laughing with the locals.

Tours in Vietnam



Our top 10 other sights and activities in and around Ho Chi Minh City

Jade Emperor Pagoda
Jade Emperor Pagoda

First comes love, then comes marriage...

GRAIN Cooking Studio
GRAIN Cooking Studio

No spring rolls

War Remnants Museum
War Remnants Museum

A must see

Sophie’s Art Tour
Sophie’s Art Tour

A journey through Vietnam’s recent history

Shopping in Saigon
Shopping in Saigon

Prepare to spend some dong

Ho Chi Minh City Museum
Ho Chi Minh City Museum

If these walls could talk

A O Show and Teh Dar at Saigon Opera House
A O Show and Teh Dar at Saigon Opera House

Acrobatics, dance and more

Cao Dai Temple, Tay Ninh
Cao Dai Temple, Tay Ninh

Cao Dai's holiest site

Thien Hau Pagoda
Thien Hau Pagoda

Atmospheric