The Cu Chi tunnels and War Remnants Museum

The Cu Chi tunnel complex is a place that you really need to see with a guide so you can understand it fully.

The tunnels were used by the resistance to hide from and attack the American soldiers during the Vietnam war. They lie about 70km outside Ho Chi Minh City (formerly Saigon) so we went there on a tour. Our guide gave us a brief history of the war on the way to the tunnels, which was very helpful.

The 250km of deeply underground tunnels have several floors and alleys stretching in different directions with areas for dining, living, meeting and fighting.

There were some ingenious and pretty gruesome traps with bamboo spikes and hiding holes where the guerrilla soldiers could emerge, shoot and disappear again. The holes were very small and dark and must have been terrifying.

We got the chance to crawl through some of the tunnels which connected one house to another. They had been enlarged for tourists and cleaned up (with lights) but they were still pretty cramped and a little bit scary. One little boy was frightened just to go in there. Afterwards, they gave us baked tapioca to eat, which is what they ate during the war, and showed us how they hid the smoke from the kitchen fires.

We had intended to be dropped off at the War Remnants Museum on the way back but we went the next day instead.

It was one of the most moving museums I have ever been to. There are collections of tanks and aircraft in the grounds and inside there are photographs, newspaper articles and documents related to the conflict.

US aircraft at the War Remnants Museum
A ‘tiger cage’ made from barbed wire and used to hold prisoners

One of the most moving exhibitions was about the devastating and long-lasting impact of napalm and Agent Orange which is still affecting people to this day.

Tickets for the museum cost 40,000 Vietnamese Dong (£1.36).

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