Locate in the northwest of Ho Chi Minh City, Cu Chi Tunnels is a famous place not only in Vietnam but also worldwide. This is a unique defence wonder that was hand-dug during the French occupation, then expanded during the later conflicts with the United States and their henchman in the 1960s and 70s. Until today, the network consists of approximately 250km of tunnels, spreading like a cobweb in the ground, with continuous works such as trenches, battle dens, booby traps, hospitals, living and meeting areas, storage areas, water wells, kitchens…
Where should you go? Ben Dinh or Ben Duoc?
When you’re crossing the entrance to inside Cu Chi tunnels, both sites (Ben Dinh & Ben Duoc) contain and show almost the same propaganda videos, exhibit areas, shooting range, medical care chambers, commanding chambers, meeting chambers, bedrooms, the most famous kitchen – Hoang Cam,…
However, Ben Dinh tunnels have been reconstructed and enlarged to serve tourists. It is also very easy to reach whether by biking, motorbike, bus or boat. Furthermore, the Ben Duoc is located around 45 km meanwhile Ben Dinh is located just more than 30 km from Ho Chi Minh center.
About the inner of the tunnels, Ben Duoc got progressively smaller, and parts of the original tunnel system have been preserved. Surely you can really get a better sense of what the tunnels looked like when they were in use. We have seen many Westerners, also Vietnamese people, especially the young generation, still struggling when crawling through a tunnel as some of the levels required not only crawling on hands and knees but basically shimmying on stomachs and forearms.
For these reasons, 99% of tourists want to come to visit Ben Dinh, however, if you want to get a more authentic experience – go to Ben Duoc.
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The Cu Chi Tunnels Overview
– Cu chi tunnels location
Currently, Cu Chi Tunnels are preserved in two parts:
- Ben Duoc Tunnels (base of Party Committee, Command of Military Zone Saigon – Cho Lon – Gia Dinh) in Phu Hiep Hamlet, Phu My Hung Commune, Cu Chi District, Ho Chi Minh City.
- Ben Dinh Tunnels (base of Cu Chi District Party Committee) in Ben Dinh Hamlet, Nhuan Duc Commune, Cu Chi District, Ho Chi Minh City.
– Cu Chi tunnels opening hours
The tunnels open from 7:00 am to 17:00 pm, (7 days a week).
– Cu Chi tunnels entrance fee
Both sites of the tunnels charge the same price:
- 125.000 VND/1 ticket for a foreigner.
- 35.000VND/1 ticket for a Vietnamese
- Free of charge for 1st child who has 1.4-meter height, two children will be charged for one ticket.
Note: the entrance fee includes a guide.
How to get Cu Chi tunnels?
From the centre of Ho Chi Minh City, you can go to Cu Chi Tunnels in various ways.
1. Public buses
This kind of transportation has been chosen by a large number of young people because of its convenient route and low cost. You can take a bus at Ben Thanh station or 23-9 Park (TĐH xe buýt Sài Gòn- Le Lai Street, District 1) and choose one of the following two routes:
To Ben Duoc tunnels:
- Find a bus No.13 (sign on it routine Ben Thanh – Cu Chi), it takes roughly 1 hour and 15 minutes to the terminus. Then hop on the bus No.79, and its last stop is Ben Duoc tunnels.
To Ben Dinh Tunnels:
- Still the same, catch a bus No.13 from Ben Thanh to An Suong bus stop, then hop on to bus No.122 (An Suong – Tan Quy) to Tan Quy bus stop, and finally, take a bus No.70 (Tan Quy – Ben Suc) to reach the Ben Dinh tunnels.
The whole trip by bus to Cu Chi tunnels (either Ben Dinh or Ben Duoc) would take up to 2 hours or more and ticket fare cost 7.000 – 10.000VND/1 ticket. (Refer to information https://xe-buyt.com/35-tdh-xe-buyt-sai-gon).
Another economical way but less complicated is joining a Cu Chi tunnels half-day tour by bus which cost from 370.000VND – 460.000VND, depending on the group size.
2. Rent a car/bus with a driver
A private car or bus from Ho Chi Minh to Cu Chi is the most expensive option as you can reach Ben Dinh within 1 and a half hours or less than 2 hours of driving to Ben Duoc. However, if you’re travelling with your family members or friends, a car/bus rental service would be a priority option, with pick-up and drop service included it, flexible departure time, and a comfortable journey with soft seats & air-condition.
3. By motorbike
Self-driving on the motorbike is a popular option with packagers. From the city centre, you will follow the direction to An Suong intersection, follow Highway 22, and reach Cu Chi area. Don’t forget to turn on GPS and follow the instructions of Ms. Google Maps, or check the weather before going there since the route to Cu Chi district can be difficult for first-time travellers. Furthermore, traffic in Vietnam is always a concerning thing, if you want to visit the tunnels by motorbike, why don’t you choose a Cu Chi tunnels tour by motorbike?
4. By speed boat:
Cu Chi tunnels tour by boat will provide a new experience for your trip. You can take a speedboat (with the first boat leaving at 7:00 am and the second one leaving at 11:00 am every day) departing from Tan Cang pier along the Saigon River to Cu Chi in 75 minutes.
What is the best time to visit Cu Chi tunnels?
Weather is always a factor to consider before your trip. Owing to the tropical climate, the area has two distinct seasons: the rainy season (May to October) and the dry season (November to April). Although the tunnels open from 7 am until 17pm, you should leave the tunnels before 16pm, especially on rainy days.
What to do in Cu Chi tunnels?
As a tourist attraction, Cu Chi Tunnels have been welcoming thousands of people who come to visit every day. While you’re unable to get in the tunnels, there are several larger rooms inside the tunnels that were used as hospitals and such, and nowadays mannequins have been displayed to show what it would have been like, and many other activities for you to entertain after discovering Ben Dinh or Ben Duoc sections.
1. Experience Shooting Guns and Paintball Guns
Both Ben Duoc and Ben Dinh have shooting ranges, allowing participants to handle weapons used during the war, such as AK-47 and M16, under the staff’s instructions. Here, you can choose the appropriate guns for yourself. This military sport has been attracting a lot of visitors to get experience when travelling to tunnels.
Paintball shooting is a game that combines both military and sporty factors. Here, you can experience the game in the natural forest. Players will be fully equipped with masks, uniforms, armour, and weapons. This game helps a lot in improving your team collaboration skills, knowledge, and fighting spirit as soldiers of the past.
2. Pedaling and Kayaking
Have an opportunity to experience on the tractor with a farmer and paddling by Stand-Up Paddle Board (SUP) or kayaking slowly down the stream of Sai Gon River to Cu Chi Tunnel (normally to Ben Dinh). On the way, you can see the scenery along the bank of the river changing incredibly stunning from the clump of Water Hyacinth, Mangrove trees, etc.
3. Visit Cu Chi Wildlife Rescue Station
Cu Chi Wildlife Rescue Station is a cooperation between the Wildlife Protection Organization (WAR) and the City Forest Protection Department in Ho Chi Minh to protect and rescue wildlife. The station is a place to care for and restore the health of wild animals confiscated from illegal trading and captive activities. After recovering their health, these animals are released back into the wild. Raising public awareness of wildlife protection is also one of the main goals of the Station. The Environmental Education Gallery in the Station with many pictures, artefacts, specimens, and vivid information, helps visitors better understand the status of illegal wildlife hunting and trade, as well as efforts to the station’s efforts in protecting biodiversity in Vietnam.
- Address: No. 50, Road No. 15, An Nhon Tay, Cu Chi District, located between Ben Dinh and Ben Duoc, about 8 kilometres away from the centre of the tourist area.
Due to Covid-19, the station has some restrictions for visitors, please contact directly to the office at (84) 3899 7314 – 3899 7315 before coming.
There are many spacious areas, next to the Saigon River or the lake, with green trees and refreshing air in Cu Chi Tunnels, suitable for visitors to organize outdoor activities. The place will help you get away from bustling city life and relax with your family and friends.
Tips and Tricks
- Prepare some food and drink before your trip
- Bring insect repellent and dress properly in shoes because there are many mosquitos there
- You need to pay for most of the games in Cu Chi Tunnels
- The tunnels are quite narrow and easy to get lost. It’s better to follow the staff’s instructions.
- Crawling through the tunnels is not recommended for those with breathing problems, high blood pressure, drunk, claustrophobia or knee problems.
- Don’t forget to try boiled tapioca – a staple food in Vietnamese fighters’ diet that kept them surviving throughout the war.