Vung Tau, which proudly bears the name of the “Vietnamese Riviera”, is located 128 km from Ho Chi Minh City. This is a resort with a developed infrastructure, its coastal strip is densely built up with villas that were once the residence of the elite, and then turned into restaurants and boarding houses. By and large, it has two drawbacks: nearby oil drilling platforms and constant, but petty theft on the beach. Check ANDYEDUCATION to learn more about the country of Vietnam.
How to get there
Air-conditioned mini-buses run to Vung Tau from Mien Dong station in Ho Chi Minh City (25,000 dong, 2 hours, 128 km). The bus station is located at 192A Ð Nam Ky Khoi Nghia, local “minibuses” also depart from there to Mulberry Beach (or Black Beach), the fare is about 10,000 dong.
In addition, Saigon (aka Ho Chi Minh City) can be reached by water: by hydrofoil boat Petro Express in 90 minutes and 120,000 dong. Ships arrive at Bach Dang Pier every two hours from 6:30 am. Cau Da Pier in Vung Tau is opposite Hai Au Hotel.
The best way to travel around Vung Tau is on two wheels. Hotels and guesthouses everywhere rent out bicycles (about $2 a day) and scooters (from $5 to $10).
Vung Tau beaches
The largest and most popular beaches of the peninsula are Shelkovichny, Front and Back. The small rocky beach with the beautiful French name Rocher Noir deserves attention.
Front Beach (Bãi Trước) is located in the heart of Vung Tau, between the Big and Small mountains. Nearby are restaurants, cafes, shops and hotels, as well as a small park, which is called Front Beach Park. People come here to wait out the heat in the shade of trees, as well as for colorful sunsets.
The back beach (Bãi Sau or Thùy Vân Beach) is the only beach in Vung Tau in its normal European sense. It stretches for 3 km from Small Mountain to Paradise Park and is free, but you will have to pay for the use of a sunbed and an umbrella: about 50,000 dong per set per day.
The small Mulberry Beach (Bãi Dâu, aka Black Beach) is located to the west of the Big Mountain. Another nice swimming area is Pineapple Beach (Bãi Dứa), which stretches along Hạ Long Street, near the Small Mountain.
Entertainment and attractions in Vung Tau
Hon Ba Temple, Thich Ca Phat Dai Park, one of the largest Buddhist temples in Vietnam Niet Bat Tinh Sa (translated as “House of Pure Nirvana”), the former royal residence of Bat Dinh, the Hai Dang lighthouse with spectacular panorama of the peninsula, Ming-Darm caves, underground tunnels of Dia-Dao, Chup-Fap-Khoa pagoda. Let’s talk about everything in more detail.
Hai Dang Lighthouse
Hai Dang Lighthouse, perched on top of Little Mountain, was originally built in 1907 before the kerosene lamp went out of business. The lighthouse was rebuilt 4 years later, expanding the base to three meters in diameter, and bringing the height to an impressive 18 meters. Lighthouse lamps are capable of reaching a distance of 35 nautical miles (which is approximately equal to 65 km). Needless to say, the site of the “eternal flame” of Vung Tau offers amazing views of the city and its surroundings? The cost of visiting is about 4 thousand dong.
Thắng Tam Temple Complex
The Thắng Tam temple complex is also noteworthy, which can be reached from the Front Beach along Truong Cong Dinh Street to Tran Hung Dao Park, where you already turn onto Hoang Hoa Tham, which will lead to the elegant architectural monument of Vung Tau. According to legend, the complex was built during the Minh Mạng Dynasty (1820-1840) as a place of worship for the three men who founded the three Thắng villages in Vung Tau. Accordingly, here you can learn about the history of this trinity and the further development of the resort. The architectural ensemble of the complex includes the Tam Quan gate, the sanctuary, the commune building, the meeting room and the stage for the opera, which is distinguished by skillful decoration and engraving.
The city is surrounded by two small peaks, which serve as a favorite place for walking local vacationers. One of them has a huge statue of Jesus Christ blessing the South China Sea.
The statue was erected in 1971 on a platform 10 meters high. Located 129 steps will lead tourists and pilgrims to the shoulders – two specially designed panoramic platforms that can accommodate up to 6 people.
Finally, you should definitely visit Villa Blanche (White Villa, Bạch Dinh) on Trần Phú Street. Built by the French in 1898-1916 as the summer residence of Governor-General Paul Dumer, the villa was named after (or at the request of) the Frenchman’s favorite daughter. After that, the locals called her Bạch Dinh – the White Palace. The villa is located on the top of the Big Mountain, at an altitude of 50 m above sea level. Today it houses an exhibition of antiques collected at Cau Islet-Con Dao.
Vung Tau has a large Russian-speaking community of employees of the joint Russian-Vietnamese oil production venture Vietsovpetro. There is even a small neighborhood where shops, administration, a library and an Orthodox parish are open.