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The Tunnels Of Cu Chi – Resistance And Ingenuity In Vietnam


You don’t have to be in Vietnam for long to appreciate the long shadow cast by the American War – known to us in the west as the Vietnamese war. What is perhaps not so immediately obvious is quite how a nation as poorly equipped and resourced as Vietnam was able to defeat the might of the US. A visit to the Cu Chi tunnels provides a clear and compelling explanation – the sheer resilience, resourcefulness and determination of the Vietnamese people.

Cu Chi Tunnels Vietnam WarThe tunnels were built from the 1950s onwards in the hard clay of the area, initially as a way of avoiding French army patrols. As the war for independence progressed though, they developed into a network of tunnels and underground rooms over 250 km long. They enabled the Viet Cong [communists] to survive American carpet bombing and napalm attacks, launch surprise attacks against American patrols, and dominate the countryside- and all only 30km away from the American backed South Vietnamese capital of Saigon. At one point the US army unknowingly built a large base camp right on top of a tunnel network.

Cu Chi Tunnels Vietnam Visiting the tunnels, the overwhelming impression is one of incredible hardship – you wonder quite how people managed to survive down there, days at a time, let alone conduct a war. The tunnels are popular with visitors – but nevertheless are an interesting relic of the war well worth seeing. They can be visited in a half day trip from Saigon/Ho Chi Minh City.

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