Vietnam is known not only for its culture, customs but also history. If you want to better understand the development and history of Vietnam, Cu Chi tunnel is a better choice for you. It is one of the best day trip options in Ho Chi Minh City and is a great lesson in history in combination with a visit to the War Remnants Museum. Also, this place has everything you need to know. How to spend 1 day in Cu Chi? This article will provide you with facts on how to get there, and even great tips for travelers to make your tour to Vietnam unforgettable.

How to Get to Cu Chi from Ho Chi Minh City?

By bus

Tourists often choose this means of transportation to go to the Cu Chi tunnels to save money. You just need to take two buses to get to Ben Duoc.

First, take bus No. 13 from park 23-9 (near Pham Ngu Lao – the backpacker area) to Cu Chi Bus Station. Then, transfer to bus No. 79 in the direction of Ben Duoc. The total journey time for this way is approximately two and a half hours. Make sure you get there early in the morning so you have enough time to explore before the buses stop. Please plan well!

  • The price will be around 26,000 VND (just over 1 EUR).
  • Time: The return bus No. 79 stops at 5.30 p.m. and No. 13 at 9 p.m.

By taxi

By paying around EUR 60 each way as it is a 120 km journey, you should consider carefully before making a decision to catch a cab.

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By motorcycle

Certain groups of tourists often choose this way of visiting and learning more about the Cu Chi tunnels. Just go to the An Suong viaduct – route 22 is ok. However, the path is very long and complicated, if you are here for the first time, you should not choose this option. Or if you wish, there should be tour guides so as not to get lost.

A Brief History of The Cu Chi Tunnels

They are located northwest of Ho Chi Minh City, about forty kilometers. They were dug out at the end of the 1940s by determined but under-equipped combatants faced with French and then American forces with artillery, bombers and chemical weapons.

Spanning some 40 kilometers, these tunnels allowed areas controlled by the Viet-Cong to communicate with each other, when they were isolated in American or South Vietnamese areas. They also served as shelters for the population during the air attacks.

Sights to visit on your 1 day in Cu Chi

1. Cu Chi tunnels

The Cu Chi tunnels, contrary to what one might think, did not date from the war involving the Americans. Indeed, they dated from the Indochina War. Subsequently, they were enlarged during the Vietnam War. The tunnels were so narrow that only Vietnamese soldiers could pass, the American soldiers being too big.

Cu Chi Tunnel

You can visit tunnels because some are open to the public, one is in Ben Dinh and the other in Ben Duoc. You have to know how to sneak in the tunnels during the visit, crawl in the dark. However, they remain very narrow.

  • Time: Open daily from 7:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

2. Shooting range

Ben Dinh and Ben Duoc both have a range to allow tourists to practice a few laps. The problem is that you have to be in good health and be at least 16 years old to participate in this activity.

Shooting range

For action fans, be aware that it is possible, when visiting tunnels, to shoot with a gun. You can choose between a Kalashnikov (AK47), a machine gun (M16), a machine gun (M60, AR15, and M30).

The balls are sold in batches and each batch contains approximately 10 balls of the same type. Here is the price list for different types of balls sold:

  • M16: 35,000 VND / 1 ball (1.4 EUR)
  • AK 47: 40,000 VND / 1 ball (1.6 EUR)
  • M60 machine gun: 40,000 VND / 1 round (1.6 EUR)
  • Garand: 30,000 VND / 1 ball (1.2 EUR)
  • M30 machine gun: 30,000 VND / 1 round (1.2 EUR)
  • Carbin: 25,000 VND / 1 bullet (1 EUR)

3. Ben Duoc

It is a reconstruction of the tunnels that allow us to understand in more detail the living conditions of the soldiers inside the tunnels. As it is further from the city center, you can see more of the countryside and discover a less touristy section of the tunnels.

4. Ben Dinh

50km from Ho Chi Minh, you can visit the Ben Dinh underground tunnels. You will find plans which illustrate the structure of the galleries and the positions of the armies.

The site has several parts where you can see the life scenes of the soldiers, the traps used, the tunnels and the shooting ranges.

The entrance to Ben Dinh is closer and maybe a more convenient option for you, but it doesn’t offer the same quality of experience. Due to Saigon’s closer proximity, this place has become a little more than a tourist trap, giving you a less authentic experience. If you only have half a day to visit the Cu Chi tunnels, then this is probably your only option. But, in reality, this prevents you from seeing the beautiful countryside and rural life of Vietnam.

5. The Cu Chi War Museum

At the Nha Truyen Thong Huyen Cu Chi Museum, documents on the Battle of Cu Chi are on display. We discover photos of soldiers and civilians dead, burnt or injured by the Americans. On a wall is written the names of the Viet Cong fighters who died in action.

Not only will you hear compelling stories about the history of Vietnam, but you will also experience what the soldiers might have experienced during the war. They lived their daily lives in hiding, avoiding the conflicts that unfolded above.

6. The Bunker

You will have the possibility of entering a bunker where there is a documentary on the war. Tourists will also get a glimpse of the Vietnamese’s persistence and resourcefulness by crawling on all fours in these tiny underground tunnels and exploring various rooms with different purposes for those who live inside.

7. The Cu Chi jungle

You can cross a foot of the Vietnamese jungle on foot and thus see the craters formed by American bombs.

Best Food to Try on 1 Day in Cu Chi

There are many good dishes in Cu Chi. The gastronomy of this place is very unique and remarkable. Here are the best foods not to miss on your tour to Southern Vietnam:

1. Cu Chi beef

To make Cu Chi beef, the meat must be about five months old, because it is at this stage that the meat is sweet and juicy. There are several ways to prepare it, such as boiling, grilling or frying. You can eat the beef with rice paper or vegetables picked from the forest and dip it in an anchovy sauce . There is also some hot pickled beef  which is amazing, and the simply grilled beef is also amazing.

2. Sugar cane juice with durian

Sugar cane juice is a popular drink in Vietnam. It’s fresh and sweet and it’s always a good choice to boost your energy and keep you hydrated while wandering. Mixed with durian, it is even tastier! But you should be a durian lover to enjoy it this way.

3. Boiled cassava with powdered peanuts, sugar and coconut milk

Cassava was what Vietnamese soldiers ate during the war when food was scarce. Nowadays, people often enjoy this dish with powered peanuts, sugar and coconut milk. Try it yourself, it is delicious and filling, especially with tea. You can find this dish in the “restaurants” located on either side of the Cu Chi tunnels. By eating this, imagine that you are a soldier on a rainy day, hidden in narrow, damp tunnels, unsure of the end of your life, as American soldiers run to the surface in search of you and your friends. It’s incredibly hard to imagine the stress on soldiers – on both sides. One thing is clear: war is terrible.

How special and unique the flavor of this dish is!

How special and unique the flavor of this dish is!

Some travel tips for you on 1 day in Cu Chi

  • Cu Chi underground maps are complex with a lot of crossroads. You had better be careful and follow your guide so that you can get the right ways out.
  • Leave your belongings with the concierge because in case of loss it will be difficult to find them.
  • Avoid the rainy season. The dry season from December to May is more favorable.
  • Take long sleeve sweaters or insect repellents because there are a lot of mosquitoes in Cu Chi.

Start planning your tailor-made Vietnam tour by contacting one of our specialists…

Bich Ngoc

As a true Vietnamese enthusiast of music, books and coffee, Bich Ngoc loves researching into those typical cultural characteristics of Vietnam as well as exploring further destinations in the country of thousand years of civilization.

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