VUNG TAU BEACH - SOUTH VIETNAM


Vung Tau is the closest beach to Saigon and is where many Saigonese go to escape the busy city for a few days. It's only 100 km away and it takes two hours to drive. We took one of the mini buses that go from District 1, from the company Hoa Mai (bought it through this website). It was 110.000VND (about 4 euros) per person. The bus had a/c and comfortable seats, we slept most of the trip! The way back, however, we weren't able to rest nor relax because the driver drove very aggressively and we witnessed a surprising confrontation.  We looked at reviews and spoke to people about the company and they said it is normal that the drivers drive kinda crazy, but the most important thing is we arrived safe and sound! 



Life in Vung Tau is slower than Saigon. There is a lot less traffic and people are more relaxed. We were surprised to see empty streets! No hundreds of motorbikes, much less pollution, no noise. 

Fresh coconuts!

A woman peeling jackfruit

There are three main areas in Vung Tau coast: Bãi Truoc (better known as Front Beach), Bãi Sau (known as Back beach) and Pineapple beach (Bãi Dua).

Bãi Truoc is the most touristic area; the area is full of restaurants and bars, and it's where you can see many western tourists. This beach is the dirtiest, you will see locals swimming there, but it's not very appealing. There are also many fishing boats. On the other hand, there is a beautiful park by the beach and a long promenade to enjoy the sea breeze.



The cement at Front Beach makes the beach less attractive... 

Delightful park by Front Beach 

Pineapple beach (Bãi Dua) is a rocky beach and the water is decent; locals swim here too. It has beautiful sunset views and fancy restaurants and hotels around. We went there to see the sunset and have a look and the restaurants, but we couldn't find a single vegetarian one; it's all about seafood!


Bãi Sau (Back beach) is the less touristic and less dirty; it's also very long: 4 km of sand. It seems like it was much worse some years ago, but the locals took action and now they have a cleaning service that cleans it and they try to keep it plastic-free. Good for them!!

Bai Sau beach and its buildings

So Back Beach was our choice! And we were very lucky to find an empty and clean beach. I guess Vietnamese had more interesting plans for that weekend, the beach was all ours, how nice! We stayed at Spring Hotel; rooms are spacious and comfortable and we got one with sea side view. The beach is only 5 minutes walking. The receptionists spoke a little bit of English.


And here is our list of things to do in Vung Tau: 

1. Enjoy Bãi Sau beach. We didn't have big expectations for the beach, but actually it's not that bad. We had relaxing walks on the shore, observing the thousands of crabs digging holes in the sand. We didn't swim because we didn't trust the water... although it looked fine and there were people swimming. There are sun beds to rent and local restaurants to enjoy a meal by the beach. 




The beach is pretty clean, but still there's a lot of plastic around
We found a big bag and we filled it with plastics we found during our walk


2. Chill at Bãi Truoc park and Ba Cu street. While the beach is not the cleanest, the long park along the promenade is a fantastic area to relax, walk and even have a nap under the trees. If you like reading and coffee shops, Ba Cu is the perfect street for you! It's filled with Coffee & Books places to have an agreeable afternoon. 




3. Meet Jesus. The statue of Jesus Christ is a must see in Vung Tau! Do you know about the Jesus in Rio de Janeiro? Well this is his little brother! Located on a 170m hill, it's the largest Christian statue in Asia (36 metres /118 feet) and the second tallest in the world! The 847 steps are totally worth it for the view you will see. 


Not a fan of walking up stairs? Don't worry, you don't have to climb all the steps at once, there are plenty of benches and resting areas with views along the walk. The coolest part is that you can go inside the statue, and after 133 steps you will be on his shoulders, admiring the  360° stunning view of the city, mountain and beach. Our plan was to see the sunset from the hill, but sadly they close the gate at 5pm; so make sure you are downstairs before that time, or you will have to spend the night with Jesus!




Don't forget to take sunscreen, a hat and enough water, especially if you go during hottest hours of the day. There are plenty of trees along the walk, so you can find some shade. The recommended time to go is early in the morning, to avoid the heat and the crowds. But you will sweat regardless, the steps feel like a gym session.

The view from Jesus' shoulders


Keep in mind that if you want to go inside the statue you cannot wear sleeveless shirt, shorts or skirt above the knees, hat or bag. If you have a bag / backpack you will have to leave it with the security guard at the entrance of the statue. There is no entrance fee. 

The narrow steps inside the statue

4. Sunset at Mūi Nghinh Phong. Right across the road from the Jesus Christ statue is a small hill where you can lay down on the grass and watch the sunset on the sea. A romantic spot to end the day. 
Views from the hill, right before the sunset




5. Visit the French Lighthouse. Another spectacular place with 360° view from where you can see Vung Tau City, the beach and the Jesus statue. This white lighthouse was built by the French in 1910 and is located on a 170m tall hill. A very "Instagram spot"! The best option to go there is rent a motorbike or take a taxi. If you feel active you can go walking, it's quite a hike, but besides being super fit you will save the 20.000VND of the parking :) 





6. Views from Ho Bàu Sen Lake. Relaxing spot to see some of the French buildings and the locals fishing. We enjoyed the sunset from there. Not recommended at night (a local told us that it can be dangerous, we don't know the exact reason but he scared us with his explanations...). 


7. Cho Vung Tau local market. One of the markets in the city, you will find everything in its narrow aisles.  It has the usual things you can find in the Vietnamese markets, clothes, household items, jewelry, food, etc. It's very interesting to go in the morning, when they're setting up the market. 



8. Don Quijote restaurant. As the name suggests, it's a Spanish restaurant. The owner is French and they have good French wines too. We didn't go for the food (it wasn't vegan), but for curiosity, and once there we decided to have a drink. The best part was that they serve the drinks with metal straws!! I had a coconut and Manuel had a Vietnamese craft beer. On the picture you can see our metal straws set that we bought in Phúc Quang Chay, we take it everywhere, but this time we didn't have to use them :)



Where to eat vegan in Vung Tau:

Com Chay Thuân Duyên. The best vegan place we found to eat. It's buffet style and they have all kind of vegetables and vegan "meat", rice and soup. The family who run the place is very friendly (they don't speak English, but it wasn't necessary, we are Chay experts now hehe). We liked it so much that we went twice. 


Com Chay Ngoc DinhOur last day in Vung Tau we found this great vegetarian restaurant. It doesn't have as many vegetables as the other one (Thuân Duyên) but the food is good too, and the family who run the places is friendly (again, no English spoken but no need!). The soup was delicious.  


Have you been to Vung Tau?
Do you recommend any other places worth visiting? 


Comments

  1. Vietnam es hermos,net i ambient molt sa...jo de totes ses fotos, totes ben descrites, m' ha encantat es "castell"construit l'any 1870 que es una iglesia catolica...espectacular! Tambe es temple de Pagoda Xa Loi que te un jardi de bonsai , quina maravella i si un dia vaig per alla, aniria a sopar a Vuon Chay, suvora sa iglesia rosa, no m'ho perdria!

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  2. Quines vistes desde s'estatua! I ses fotos de platjes, postes de sol, son precioses.M'agradat molt es far frances, tambe deu ser polit veure sa panoramica desde dalt. Es mercat de Cho Vung Tau se'l veu petit i aclarit , molt vistos i sa fruita i verdura son un esclat de colors, fa ganes mirar i comprar...i per acabar aniria a n'es restaurant D. Quijote, si no a menjar, a fer un vinet i a xuruar, clar!

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