Cu Chi Tunnels, extraordinary stories about the underground world

cu chi

Cu Chi Tunnels is a famous revolutionary historical site in Phu My Hung commune, Cu Chi district, known as “The extraordinary stories about the underground world”. The tunnels were formed during the resistance against the French colonialists (around 1948) and reinforced during the resistance against the US.

The entrance of Cu Chi tunnels

The entrance of Cu Chi tunnels

1. The construction of the Cu Chi tunnels

On the basis of protect zoning, the relic area is divided into as follow:

  • Protected area I: includes a part of the tunnel system and a number of restoration and embellishment works, which are:
  • Sai Gon – Gia Dinh Military Zone (Zone A), with a total area of 66,586.4 m2
  • The cluster of constructions includes vents and two tunnel mouths with a total area of 667.9 m2.
  • Base of Saigon – Cho Lon Party Committee (Zone B), with a total area of 16,664.8 m2 .  
  • Ben Dinh Tunnels: total area 67,086.2 m2.
  • Protected area II: includes a part of the area surrounding Protected area I of Zone A (about 55,947.7m2), Area B (9,530.2m2), Ben Dinh Tunnels (10,123m2) and other constructions, including:
  • Ben Duoc Martyrs Memorial Temple, with a total area of 40,299.3 m2.
  • Re-enactment of the liberated zone and the simulation area of the East Sea landscape, the Cedar Falls battle gallery, has a total area of 197,633.5 m2.
  • Temple in Saigon – Cho Lon – Gia Dinh Revolutionary Traditional Area with 41,582.7 m2.
Map of Cu Chi tunnels

Map of Cu Chi tunnels

Besides the protected I and protected area II, within the relic site, there are shooting sports areas, working offices, hotel and restaurant areas, parking areas and some other ancillary works.

2. The Cu Chi tunnels, a real underground city

Cu Chi Tunnels is a unique wonder with a length of 250 km that zigzags in the ground, made from rudimentary tools as hoe and shovel. The tunnel is 3-8 m deep underground, the height is only enough for one person to stoop. The first cellar at the edge of the forest has a 15m underground well that provides drinking and living water for the entire tunnel area. 

Inside structure of Cu Chi tunnels

Inside structure of Cu Chi tunnels

The tunnel system consists of 3 floors with some branches branching out to the Saigon River. The first floor is 3m above the ground, resistant to shells and the weight of tanks. The second floor is 5m from the ground and can resist small bombs. And the last floor is 8-10m from the ground, very safe. The way up and down between basements is arranged by secret hatch covers and the top is discreetly camouflaged.

Connecting to the tunnels, there are large cellars to rest, a place to store weapons and food, a water well, a Hoang Cam kitchen, a command cellar, an anatomy cellar, space to watch movies and arts, etc.


Exploring: Pu Luong Nature Reserve for nature lover

3. The Deadly Traps of the Cu Chi Tunnels

Vietnam’s traps are rudimentary homemade weapons, but extremely dangerous and effective, have caused the American force to lose a lot of vitality.

Trap outside Cu Chi tunnels

Trap outside Cu Chi tunnels

Trap outside Cu Chi tunnels

Chong Bo Cao (Locusts trap)

There are two solid bamboo tubes tied together into a T shape, the crossbars are closed with long pointed spikes. When an enemy enters the door and gets entangled in the rope, the legs or thighs will be pierced by the spikes.

Ham Chong Bay Cop (Tiger trap pit)

It is a pit full of sharp bamboo or iron spikes. When caught in a trap, if you are lucky to survive, you will scream in pain. Around that bunker, there are secret doors which are scary points of snipers.

Tiger trap pit in Cu Chi tunnel

Tiger trap pit in Cu Chi tunnel

Chong Hom

A type of spike has a structure like a square basket. When caught in a trap, the spikes will pierce your ankle, making you unable to move. Chong Hom is often soaked in water fields or muddy fields by the river.

Chong Bo (Door trap)

This trap is for enemies who like to break into the house without knocking, or break the door with a kick. They are two T-bars connected in a threshing style, tied to the ceiling and connected to the door. When the door is opened to the full range, the turban will plunge down and stab the enemy’s thigh and abdomen.

Door trap in Cu Chi tunnels

Door trap in Cu Chi tunnels

Chong truc xoay (Rotating trap)

This is a self-made weapon that not only does physical damage, but also leaves a terrifying haunting. On 2 freely rotating shafts attached with iron nails, when stepping on your feet, you quickly get punctured many holes in your body.

Chong canh (Swings trap)

This is a very simple type of spike. Place two iron spikes side-by-side in a small hole, and when an enemy steps into that hole, spiked contaminated nails will pierce the ankle.

Chong can coi (Seesaw trap)

Crafted according to the principle of leverage, there are sharp iron spikes on the boards. When the enemy steps on one side, the other side will pop up and hit the chest and head area.

Chong kep nach (Klipping aronnit trap)

These are two boards filled with long sharp nails, which can be moved to either side and held together by rubber bands or springs. When an enemy steps on the pit, he will fall into the hole and be stabbed in the body by nails.

Klipping aronnit trap in Cu Chi tunnels

Klipping aronnit trap in Cu Chi tunnels

Bay mui xien (Arrow trap)

This is a combination of the crossbow of the Central Highlands and the fish skewer of the Northern. The skewer is compressed by a spring or put on the tensioner of the rubber band. If you get caught in a trap, you will be pierced by contaminated spears.

Bay luu dan (Grenade trap)

The duck-billed grenade is unpinned and stuffed into a cow’s milk or bamboo tube, tied horizontally in bushes or immersed in muddy water or canals. When the enemy hits the rope, the grenade will be activated.

4. Conclusion

The Cu Chi Tunnels are a wonder of Vietnam’s unique military art. Tunnel architecture is inherited and valuable in many aspects, especially in terms of military art, recognized by the whole world as “The extraordinary stories about the underground world”.

Currently, Cu Chi Tunnels Historic Site is a place to educate revolutionary traditions, patriotism and pay tribute to the great gratitude of heroes who died in two wars of national liberation. With the above typical value, the Cu Chi Tunnels was ranked as “Special National Monument” by the Prime Minister on December 23th, 2015. 

See more: Pu Luong – The natural beauty in North Vietnam



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