International Travel, Itineraries & Trip Planning

How to Do the Cu Chi Tunnels Tour on Your Own (Updated for 2024)

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One of the most popular things to do in Ho Chi Minh City (aka Saigon) is visiting the Cu Chi Tunnels.

Most people join a tour group to make the visit. But if that’s not your vibe, great news: it’s possible to DIY it!

Here’s everything you need to know about visiting the Cu Chi Tunnels on your own.

1. There are actually two different Cu Chi Tunnels sites

While they’re technically part of the same tunnel network, Ben Duoc and Ben Dinh are two different sites for visiting the Cu Chi Tunnels.

The Ben Duoc Cu Chi Tunnels site may be a little further away from Ho Chi Minh City, but it’s less touristy and more true to what the tunnels were during the Vietnam War.

The Ben Dinh Cu Chi Tunnels, on the other hand, are mostly reconstructions.

And in order to accommodate tourists (especially Western tourists who may be a bit bigger in both height and weight), many of the tunnels there have been enlarged. It’s also where most tour companies go, guaranteeing a crowded experience even if you DIY it.

For the more authentic experience, go to Ben Duoc.

bombs & shells

2. You can tour the Cu Chi Tunnels on your own for less than $10

While you can certainly hire a driver to take you to the Ben Duoc Cu Chi Tunnels, it can be cost-prohibitive for most people. Instead, tackle the local bus system and get yourself there and back for just a few bucks.

Go to the bus station near September 23 Park, which is labeled on Google Maps as “Saigon Bus TDH” or “TĐH xe buýt Sài Gòn.” Once there, find Bus 13, which should have a sign on it that says “Cu Chi.” Tickets are 20,000 VND ($0.81) per person as of Jan. 2024 (h/t to reader Rosie).

Take that bus all the way to the terminus; it takes roughly 1 hour 40 minutes. Then hop on Bus 79 and mention Ben Duoc Cu Chi to your driver. Tickets for this bus are 7,000 VND ($0.28) each as of Jan. 2024, and the ride takes about 25 minutes.

Pro tip: download the BusMap app beforehand to make traveling by bus in and around Ho Chi Minh City a breeze. It’s a serious lifesaver. 

Once you get off the bus, cross to the other side of the street toward this sign.

Entrance to Ben Duoc Cu Chi Tunnels

Since this site is way less visited, it is also less catered to visitors and can feel a little confusing upon arrival. But follow the signs that exist carefully and you’ll find a small ticket kiosk along the path that veers to the left.

Tickets to the Ben Duoc Cu Chi Tunnels are 125,000 VND ($4.88) as of Sept. 2022 (h/t to reader Laura) and includes a guide.

Ben Duoc Cu Chi Tunnels tickets

3. You should keep an open mind

Once you have your ticket, follow the path toward the visiting area.

Along the way, you’ll find the Ben Duoc Memorial Temple. It was built to remember and honor those killed during both the Vietnam War and the First Indochina War against the country’s French colonizers.

Ben Duoc Memorial Temple

After another brief stroll along a forested path, you’ll find the meeting point for the tour.

Tours run based on demand, and the ticket kiosk seems to communicate with the guides to let them know whether to start a tour or wait for a couple more folks to show up. When we got to the meeting point, it looked like our guide and the 10 or so other guests had been waiting for us. (Oops, took too long at the temple).

First up was a 20ish-minute documentary. It was blatantly anti-American, but I can imagine that our history books and war memorial sites are no less biased.

The guides are very knowledgeable and will then take you on an interactive tour of the tunnels. You’ll also see craters created by bombs dropped in the area as well as traps set to ambush the enemy.

Whatever your opinions about the Communist Party of Vietnam and the Vietnam War (known there as the American War or the Resistance War Against America), the Cu Chi Tunnels are truly a symbol of the ingenuity, determination, and suffering of the South Vietnamese people.

4. The tunnels are not for the claustrophobic

Part of the tour is getting into the tunnels themselves to experience how Vietnamese soldiers and civilians lived for years during the war.

It was truly a humbling experience to get inside the tunnels, but it is not for everyone.

entering Cu Chi Tunnels

You really had to squeeze and bend over in the tunnels. As someone who is 5’9” but very flexible, I could just barely maneuver inside the tunnels without getting on my hands and knees, but almost everyone else in our group had to.

It was hot and humid inside, and you never knew what other surprises you’d get.

I’d just turned a corner when a bat flew straight over my boyfriend’s head. (Thank goodness I’d turned the corner — it would have scared the shit out of me.)

Cu Chi Tunnels
This photo makes the tunnel look much larger than it actually is.

The good news is that you can still experience the tunnels without getting in.

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. You can enter and see these rooms without getting down and dirty or feeling anxious about the close quarters.

Cu Chi Tunnels display

5. Budget a full day for your visit

In the end, we spent approximately 2 hours at the Ben Duoc Cu Chi Tunnels before taking the bus back. (Simply stand by the road outside the entrance area and flag down the next Bus 79 that you see.)

We’d left Ho Chi Minh City around 9:50 a.m. and got back around 5 p.m. So yes, the majority of the day is spent on buses, but it’s a fantastic way to experience something in a more local fashion.

While you’d be able to visit the Ben Dinh tunnels with a tour group in as little as half a day, I strongly recommend taking the time for this more authentic experience.

Last note of advice: bring insect repellant! There were some nasty little buggers out there.

Pin it to save it for later!

How to Do the Ben Duoc Cu Chi Tunnels Tour on Your Own

Hmm, decide that DIY’ing the Cu Chi tunnels on your own isn’t something you’d like? There are plenty of private and small group tours to choose from!

39 thoughts on “How to Do the Cu Chi Tunnels Tour on Your Own (Updated for 2024)

  1. Oooooh that entrance looks so tiny! I doubt that I can squeeze my European size 40 through that hole :’) It’s a great tip though, and will absolutely try it if I make it to Ho Chi Minh one day!

  2. I had no idea that you could visit the tunnels on your own! I wasn’t going to go to the tunnels when I was in Vietnam, but a typhoon heading towards the Mekong Delta meant I had extra time in HCMC. So, to the tunnels I went. I agree with you. Say what you will about the north Vietnamese, visiting the tunnels shows why they won they war. The ingenuity and dedication! And, I’ve never been claustrophobic, but doing 30m in the tunnels….hot, humid, and terrifying.

  3. I visited the Cu Chi tunnels in 2015. I went on the worst tour of my trip. I paid so much money and went on the worst tour of my time in Vietnam.

    I really admire you for taking local transport out to the tunnels! And thank you for writing such detailed information on how to get there.

    You’re right. The 20-minute video is pretty anti-American, but what do you expect? I don’t blame them at all.

    Great post!

    1. Oof did you end up on one of those tours where they drive you to shopping “rest stops” where they get commission? And the tour ends up being mostly on the tour bus and at these rest stops vs the actual destination?

    1. Hi Shane, I don’t remember seeing that option anywhere on premise at Ben Duoc. I know it is definitely possible at Ben Dinh as it is option advertised as part of tour packages.

  4. Thank you very much for your informative post. I followed your instructions and made it to Ben Duoc hassle free.
    Something that I didn’t really understand and wanted to ask you about is your comment on the video shown before the visit to the tunnel. You say it is “blatantly anti american”, I watched the video, I didn’t see anything anti-american, they just say that a country thousands of miles away was dropping bombs on Vietnam, including children. This is unfortunately what happened. I haven’t heard any untrue claim.
    To answer the question from Shane, yes you can shoot there. I would just do some readings beforehand. In case you missed something, this is a site were people fought a war, there were many deaths, I cannot really understand why you should go there and shoot, does it make any sense? Can’t you just go and understand what is this about? Or to make it more real shall we also put puppets with the US Army uniform to shoot at?

    1. Hi Federico,

      I’m glad to hear that you were able to use this info to visit Ben Duoc on your own.

      As for the video, I have to say it’s been about 18 months so I’m a bit fuzzy about the details. But I remember specifically hearing things that were very opinionated instead of completely factual. (For example, saying “this apple has a rot all over” is different from saying “this disgusting apple has a miserable rot and deserves to be chucked over the balcony.”) I will say my partner did not have the same reaction, so it’s possible that my professional background just makes me much more attuned to any sort of opining, however subtle.


  5. Omg! This post saved my life. Can’t stand the tours anymore and was giving up on the tunnels already haha Thanks for the tips! Wish me luck ?

  6. Hi Rowena
    Thanks so much for the detailed information.. I did this trip today with my son and it went of so easily. Wow.. it seemed as if the whole area was reserved for us as there were hardly any tour operators and it saved the precious dollars as well.
    Your pics to indicate the route and kiosk were particularly helpful.

    1. Oh, this gives me so much joy to hear! I’m so glad it went well for you and your son, Rajneet. Enjoy the rest of your trip, and happy holidays.

  7. Hi Guys,
    We’re in our way back from the Ben Duoc Cuchi tunnels. We took the public bus and it worked great.
    Thank you for such a good post! We couldn’t have done it this way without it.
    Definitely worth the experience!

    1. Hi Matias, thanks for reporting back! So glad this post was helpful for you. Feel free to share with others who may be going soon, and enjoy the rest of your trip!

  8. Hey Rowena, I’ll go to Ho Chi Minh on February for two days. Is it possible to visit both tunnel in a half day? Or do you visit one will be just enough for the experience?
    And how about renting a motorcycle to get there?
    Thanks for the so detailed article anyway

    1. Hi Jan,

      I would say you only need to visit one set of tunnels. But half a day is not enough time to visit the Ben Duoc Cu Chi Tunnels if you’re taking public transport. Maybe the Ben Dinh ones, but I can’t say for sure since I did not do those.

      Renting a motorcycle in Ho Chi Minh City will get you there faster than public transit. That said, unless you are a very experienced motorbike driver who has driven in a lot of crowded big cities, I would avoid renting one in Ho Chi Minh City. The traffic there is very difficult to navigate!


  9. Hi Rowena, thanks so much for sharing all the information! I went via public buses today and everything went smooth.

    I just would like to update about the buses fares (March/2020): the first bus now costs 10,000VND and the second 7,000VND. Entry fee at the tunnels/temple still the same.


    1. Hi Anderson,

      Glad to hear the info was useful and that you had a great trip! Thanks so much for the intel, always appreciate updates from folks. Will be updating the post.

      Happy travels,

      1. Thanks so much for this blog – it was super handy for my trip to the tunnels today.

        Current prices are:

        Bus #13 = 20,000
        Bus #79 = 7,000
        Entry fee = 125,000

  10. Hi Rowena,

    thanks for this detailed description. We went there yesterday and it was super easy to get there on your own. Also only a few tourists were there so we could enjoy a very private tour through the tunnels.
    Also I just wanted to give an update as now the prices rose a bit. The bus to cu chi is now 20.000 VND and the entrance fee is 135.000 VND.
    Thanks to your advisory we saved a lot of money!


    1. Hi Laura,

      I’m so glad you had a fantastic time and that this helped you get there and save a lot of money! Sorry for the delayed reply, I was actually on a trip, this time to Sedona, when you commented.

      Thanks so much for the updated pricing info. I really appreciate the intel!

      Happy travels,

    1. Hi Elle,

      The bus literally comes just outside the gates of the Cu Chi Tunnels complex (same side of road as the complex). You just have to keep an eye out for Bus 79 and wave to flag down the driver.


  11. Hi Rowena, thank you for the information. We are planning a trip later this year. Regarding the guides included with the admission ticket, do they speak English?

  12. Thank you Rowena for making it so easy!! I took the buses yesterday and all was smooth, even the bus breaking down was just part of the experience.
    Happy trails,

    1. Yay! So so glad to hear that this was helpful for you, Ariel! And yes, getting those “non-perfect” experiences and laughing about it later is all part of the experience.

      Safe travels!

  13. Hi Rowena,

    I found your article because I am trying to find out if it‘s interesting enough visiting the tunnels without going inside. Unfortunately I’m somewhat claustrophobic and knowing about everything that took place during that war certainly won’t improve the situation.
    You did mention that it was possible to see a few rooms but it‘s still unclear to me if they’re completely separated from the rest of the structure or if you’d say it’s even worth going without the rest, like do you still get information about everything else?
    I’d be grateful for some more insight on that.

    Thanks a lot in advance!

    1. Hi Elise,

      Thanks for reaching out. I can understand the anxiety you may feel here. I would definitely advise against going into the tunnel at Cu Chi given your claustrophobia as they truly are quite small. The separate rooms I mentioned are much larger and you can look inside from the entrance of those rooms, no entering tight tunnels required.

      I’d say the actual experience entering and experiencing the tunnels is maybe a total of 5-10 minutes, depending on how many people are in your group, so the rest of the experience is still worth it! You still get all of the info. You just wait above ground while people who choose to enter the tunnels do it.

      Hope that helps!

  14. Can you do Mekong Delta from Ben Duoc on your own via public transport or can you suggest how to do it from Ho Chi Minh without having to stay there ?

  15. Hi Rowena,

    thank you for this awesome blog post! After checking out lots of tour offerings I also think that doing the trip on our own could be a very good alternative. Since we don’t have many days in Ho Chi Minh City, we were thinking about visiting the tunnels directly from the airport. We are landing in the morning and already found the bus connection, so this won’t be an issue. However, we will have large backpacks with us, since we cannot drop them off beforehand. Do you think it is an option to store them somewhere at the entrance (for a tip)? Or could we carry them during the tour and just take them off when going through the tunnels?

    Thank you so much!

    1. Hi Benni,

      So glad to hear this is helpful info!

      I didn’t see much in the way of facilities to store your bags there, but unless they have changed rules, I don’t think it would be a problem for you to bring them on the tour with you. The actual tunnel experience is quite short, and there are typically a few people in each group who don’t do it, so they could probably keep an eye on them for you. (Also honestly, it’s not super crowded there so no one’s around to take it anyways!)

      Safe travels,

  16. Just my two cents..
    HCM airport does have a baggage storage but it was rather expensive so I chose to reserve a hostel bed for the day I wanted to drop my bags that was only $6us and was a pretty short walk from the airport. Bed came with a big locker, they had locks but I have my own too. The buses I took to CuChi were a little crowded but there is always room for a backpack. Like Rowena said, not many people at this location. There was also a drink shop when you get off the last bus (quiet road) and the lady there was very nice. I bet she would watch your bags for a tip. Also there is the option of dropping your bags at your hotel in the morning as they will keep them safe until you come back for check in.
    Enjoy the tunnels, it was a fun adventure thanks to Rowena’s post.

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