The ground here is hard clay. But even so, the planning and construction was incredible. People, mainly the Vietnamese soldiers dug all this at a rate of just one or two meters a day with hand tools, filling reed baskets and dumping the dirt into bomb craters.
They installed large vents so they could hear approaching helicopters, smaller vents for air and baffled vents to dissipate cooking smoke. There were also hidden trap doors and gruesomely effective bamboo-stake booby traps.
After one last wriggle, tourists will soon be tired but then come up at a snack stand where they are offered the taro root and green tea that the tunnel residents used to eat during war time.
If tourists want to pose as a Cu Chi guerrilla, they can be showed by the local guide to dress up with broad-brimmed hat (non tai beo), rubber sandals (dep rau), loose-fitting blouse (ao ba ba), bandanna (khan ran).
Besides, handicraft, such as lacquer and timber products are for sale which are cheap and suitable for souvenirs. Most impressive are a variety of items made from original war scraps.
Nearby, for a dollar a bullet, visitors can have a go at firing an AK-47 or an aging US-made M16 after a quick training session on how to hold the gun and fire.
It is said that Cu Chi Tunnels are a traditional rendezvous for many generations of city people and neighboring local people and is much appreciated by foreigner tourists when visiting Vietnam. With yesterday Cu Chi and today Cu Chi, the will to defend the country and aspiration for peace of Vietnamese people are mingled with each other harmoniously.
With high humidity inside Cu Chi Tunnels, tourists are so dripping wet with sweat that they can hardly hold onto their cameras but will be able to have an incredible admiration for the people who lived and carried on their struggle here.