Co Chi Tunnels

Published on February 20, 2017

Just several kilometers outside of Ho Chi Minh, also known as Saigon, lies what is called the Co Chi Tunnels. The ingenious system of these tunnels were made by the Viet Cong during the Vietnam War, and tours are set up for you to join along and delve deep into the jungle and witness first hand how the Viet Cong used to cleverly evade the American forces. However, on the way at some point we stopped by what turned out to be an enormous space where beautiful and colorful artistic handcrafts such as carpets, crystal stone jewelry, paintings and you name it were being sold. All of these items are made by deformed victims from the chemical Agent Orange that was sprayed during the war and all purchases are donated to their cause. Personally I bought a piggy bank that had a smiling pig's face on the front that was imitating Buddha's famous enlightened smile.

 

The Rolling Trap

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During the tour you discover meter by meter more and more clever and intimidating booby traps that had been set up by the Vietnamese. At some point we were then shown by a local lady how they make rice paper that ultimately fed thousands of soldiers during the war. As I went further along into the jungle, I reached the constructed and remote tunnels. The entrance to it can barely even be noticed, which is the whole point. Once you take a look at the width of the tunnels, you'll be able to fully comprehend just as to why no other soldiers except the Vietnamese can get into it and successfully make their way out of it. Keep in mind that at some point these tunnels were once the homes for tens of thousands of Viet Cong soldiers. My height surpasses six feet, yet I decided to give it a try. By the way, for those who are susceptible to panic attacks and/or are claustrophobic, it would be best you don't attempt this endeavor. I went in to the tunnels, an increasing sense of doom for my knees crept in, and there is no way I can extend my legs fully whilst inside.

 

Co Chi Tunnel Firing Range. M60.

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You'll be crawling the entire way behind or in front of others with some occasional jumps that go a few feet under and back up again. An entire system of intersections will approach you the further you go. The stench was heavy, and eventually I got out the other side completely through a camouflaged tiny squared hole. This is the moment I hydrated myself with fountains of water to make up for just a 20 minute crawl. In the last segmet of the tour we were taken to the firing range in the jungle where you get a chance to choose between several firearms that were used during the war if you wish. An M60, Kalashnikov, and several more serve as options to fire, each with a certain price for each bullet fired. I fired the mother of all hand held machines, the M60.

 

The entrance/exit of the tunnel. Talk about forcing yourself in life.

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Right before I had my turn I had the pleasure of being in the jungle and the gods bombarded the region with rain I had not experienced before. After I finished my round the only three things I can hear after were gunshots in the distance, hardcore rain, and the various sounds of insects and animals in the dense jungle.

 

 

Just one of several clever Aladdin style booby traps..

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