Our plan for the day is to visit the infamous Cu Chi Tunnels, War Remnants Museum and Reunification Palace for a history lesson on the Vietnam War.
Cu Chi Tunnels
Visitors get a sneak peek at the underground life of anti-American resistance fighters. These tunnels rigged with booby traps served as hiding spots and communication and supply routes. Despite atrocious conditions like absence of natural light, suffocating confines and lack of air, the tunnels were set up with command centres, storage facilities, living quarters including kitchens, hospitals, food and weapons caches and command centres.
Throughout the course of the war, the Cu Chi tunnels proved to be a source of frustration for the U.S. military. Attempts to flush the Vietcong out of these tunnels with carpet bombs and other means proved ineffective due to the design of the tunnels and the strategic use of trap doors and air filtration systems.
(The ventilation hole a few inches from some tourist's white shod foot may not be obvious to the unobservant eye.
We sat down in a shed to watch a short documentary on these tunnels and came out feeling somewhat an admiration for the determination and resilience of these rebels.
War Remnants Museum
The museum is highly popular with tourists. Most exhibits are graphic photography accompanied with captions to describe or explain war atrocities and the deadly effects of chemical warfare.
Outside, visitors can view a small collection of artillery and fighter planes including those belonging to the enemy!
Reunification / Independence Palace
The palace is a 70s retro timepiece. It was the home and office of the French Governor. It has secret rooms, antique furniture, and a command bunker. The building is still used to host important events in the city.
The basement of the Reunification Palace is made up of tunnels and war situation rooms featuring original maps, period telecommunications equipment and war propaganda materials. Its rooftop terrace is fitted with a heliport.