Got up early again this morning to be down for breakfast at 7am. Had to make sure we were fully packed again to check out. We left our bags at the accommodation until the night when we got on the sleeper bus. We got to the booking office for 8am again this morning for our trip to the Cu Chi Tunnels. They messed about this morning and the trip was late in setting off. There was only half a bus full of us today and there were a couple on it that were on the trip with us yesterday.
It took about 2 hours to get to the tunnels so we didn't really have that long there- about an hour and a half. To be honest it was enough time really to see everything, but would have been nicer to have a littler longer and the guide to go a little slower around everything but can't complain for the money. Cost about £2.50 for the bus and guide and then we had to pay 90,000 dong in to the tunnels (about £2.80).
The guide showed us around in the jungle and we saw some of the different tunnel entrances. There are around 2000 in total and the tunnels span over about 125 square miles, so we only saw a small portion of it. The guide said that you can only go in certain parts of the jungle as there are still live land mines and traps in some more remote areas. Some parts of the tunnels have also collapsed over time and people became trapped and died in their. As they could not get them out, they covered up the entrances to that section of the tunnel.
They had made some 'western' tunnel entrances for tourist purposes and some parts of the tunnels, which we went down, were rebuilt after the war due to damage. I got down a tiny tunnel entrance, which had been widened for westerners, but I could see the actual tunnel which was so small it was unbelievable. There's no way I would get through that. Must have been very difficult for them during the war in such a tight space with no lights etc. We also saw the actual size of an old entrance to a tunnel that they used to use and this was much smaller than the one I went down. The guide explained that as the local people and guerrillas did not have much food to live off they were able to fit into such small spaces. Going around we saw some replicas of traps that were made and used during the war which were brutal! There was the remains of a US army tank and huge craters left by American B52 bombs. We also saw the kitchen and dining areas for the people living in the tunnels, the workshops for making clothes and shoes for the army and the workshop where they made weapons. It was crazy to think people lived like this for around 15 years!
As you went around the jungle you could hear gun shots close by, which gave it a real effect. Me and Nath had a go at a M16 at the shooting range which was fun. The gun was on a stand but you could feel how heavy it was and it could knock you back when you fired it. We then headed down underground into the tunnels and we went to all three sections. Section 1 was tight and you had to bend down into like a squat position, Nath more than me! The benefits of being so small finally came into use. Section 2 was more narrow and smaller and Nath was on his hands and knees. It was pretty tight at parts. Especially going from 1 to 2 you had to lay on your back and shimmy down, but most of it was okay. Section 3 was a wider and higher tunnel and you just had to bend down normally in this one. You could exit the tunnel every 200 yards if you didn't like it, but we really enjoyed it! We did come out dripping in sweat though!
At the end of the trip we were given some food to try that the local people and guerrillas lived off during the war. It tasted a bit like a softened raw potato and you coated it with peanut dust. It wasn't bad at all to be honest and tasted pretty nice.
Got back about half 2 to the Main Street, grabbed something to munch and sat in a bar on the backpacker street for the next couple of hours watching the street get busier and busier as the day went on. We found somewhere to eat dinner before heading for the coach at half 8 to set off for 9.