One of the big tourist attractions in Ho Chi Minh City are the Cu Chi tunnels. Cu Chi is a suburban district of Ho Chi Minh City and the tunnels there are part of a huge network of connecting underground tunnels, which where used by the Viet Cong in the Vietnam war.
One way to get from district 1 (the backpacker district) in Ho Chi Minh City to the Cu Chi tunnels is to take a special tourist bus. The ticket for the tourist bus can be bought at many places, for example at tourist agencies and hostels. At the Nga Hoang hostel it was sold for 7 USD but supposedly you can also get it for 5 USD. The tourist bus takes you directly to the tunnels and back to district 1.
Another option is to take the public bus. The advantage of this option is, that you can visit the tunnels on your own pace without following a big group, you can experience a local bus ride as the only tourist on the bus and in addition it is much cheaper than the tourist bus. From district 1 to the Cu Chi Tunnels and back costs altogether 18000 Dong (around 1 USD).
Going by public bus you first have to take bus 13, which takes off at the Ho Chi Minh city bus center in the first district (see map below), and go all the way to the end station in Cu Chi.
At the Cu Chi bus station you have to switch to bus 79, which takes you directly to the tunnels. There are several signs along the way saying Cu Chi tunnels, so you can’t miss it.
Here are the ticket prices and journey times for the public buses:
Bus 13 to Cu Chi: 5000 Dong, journey time around 60 min
Bus 79 to the tunnels: 4000 Dong, journey time around 30 min
At the tunnels, the entrance fee is 80.000 Dong (which is NOT included in the price for the special tourist bus).
The area around the tunnels is quite big and offers several attractions, like a temple with a big Ho Chi Minh statue, and you can spend half a day there walking around.
About 15 min walk from the ticket counter is the entrance to the actual parts of the tunnels which can be visited by tourists. Here you can first watch an introduction video, which is however less informative but more like an old propaganda video from the Vietnam war. This old black and white film in poor quality praises, for example, the so called “American killing heroes” from Cu Chi, who killed dozens of Americans.
After the video, a guide shows you around in the tunnels area and explains a bit. You see for example the traps which where used by the Cu Chi fighters.
The most interesting part of visiting the Cu Chi tunnels is to actually crawl through the tunnels. Some sections are really tight, where you have to crawl on your knees to get through (while bats are hanging over your head), and you can get an idea how it must have been for the Cu Chi fighter to live there for month and years.