8.00am: We depart for 2.5 hours Journey west towards the Cambodian border. Before arriving at the Cu Chi tunnels, we'll visit with some local friends and gain an insight into local life in the area, both past and present. Learn about their lives, culture, and customs and get an insight into the recent past through local eyes.
Continue on to the Cu Chi tunnels. The location of the tunnels was of significant strategic importance: they're at the end of the infamous Ho Chi Minh Trail, and within striking distance of the southern Vietnam capital. Initial construction started in 1948 when the Viet Minh required somewhere to hide from French air attacks, and by 1965, the tunnel complex was estimated to consist of 200 km of tunnels. It included, hospitals, schools, meeting rooms, kitchens, and sleeping quarters. Life was difficult for the inhabitants, and to protect against outside intruders, booby traps were laid throughout the complex.
Today, the Vietnamese government have preserved approximately 75 km of the Cu Chi tunnels as a memorial park, and in some areas the tunnels have been widened and low powered lights installed so that tourists can now fit through the complex.
Your local guide will take you on a fascinating tour of the Cu Chi tunnels, where you'll learn more about the conditions the people lived in, the hardships they faced, and the amazing ingenuity employed to maintain life in the tunnels. We walk past huge bomb craters - evidence of the heavy bombing campaigns in the region during the Indochina conflict, discover hidden entrances right beneath your feet, wander past tiny little chimneys in the ground that dispersed smoke from the underground kitchens, sample some of the simple cuisine that local fighters would have survived on, and have an opportunity to venture into the tunnels and explore the complex.
You'll end this historical Ho Chi Minh City tour with a greater understanding of the local impacts of the conflicts of the 20th century.