Guide to Vung Tau – all about this beach town of Vietnam

Vung Tau (Vietnam) is a large city, settled in the southern part of the country, on the shores of the South China Sea. Vung Tau, which is 125 km distant from Ho Chi Minh City, is inhabited by about 300,000 people.

Vung Tau is Vietnam’s large-scale commercial and industrial hub. In this city there are factories in which branded goods are manufactured that go to our stores. Oil drilling rigs are located nearby in the sea where oil extraction take place.

Photo of the city beach
Vung Tau City, Vietnam

Oil production has made Vung Tau one of the richest settlements in Vietnam. There are quite expensive restaurants, many private mansions, good roads and well equipped parks.

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Photo: Stella of the city on the highway

There is also a Russian-Vietnamese company Vietsovpetro in Vung Tau, where many oil workers from the CIS countries work. This has caused the creation of a whole micro district in the city with infrastructure organized specifically for these people. Inside this district there is a Russian school and shops with goods from Russia. But this part of Vung Tau looks rather unattractive: standard Soviet high-rise buildings with small and not very clean courtyards.

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Vung Tau is not only an industrial city, but also a famous resort in Vietnam with a fairly good resources for recreation. In its coastal zone there are many villas in which elite representatives used to live, and which were later converted into fancy restaurants and hotels.

City beaches

Vung Tau as a city seems quite nice. But before choosing its beaches for relaxation or holidays, pay attention to the following features:

  • the city stands in the delta of the Mekong River, which flows into the sea near the most urban beaches. Hence a lot of dirt flows through the delta
  • oil drilling platforms are located nearby, and this does not improve the landscape at all
  • on the local beaches there are constant strong waves and too noticeable tides

Having said that, tourists from Vietnam often come to the resort of Vung Tau for a beach holiday. Europeans who live here or come on vacation swim in the pools near the beach clubs, and at sea they do surfing and kite-surfing. This resort has a lot of kite-surfing and surfing sites.

City Beach Front

The most popular in Vung Tau is Front Beach, which is very close to the city center. The beach cannot be called clean as fishermen always gather here on their boats. Also be prepared to meet rats on this beach. Sun beds and umbrellas are not available for rent.

But along the coast there is a small and beautiful park, along the alleys of which you can walk, sheltering from the scorching sun in the shade of trees.

Back Beach
The rear beach of the city

The “rear beach” is located on the other side of the cape – it stretches for several kilometers from the Small Mountain to Paradise Park. It is very prone to low tide, and in winter the waves here are very large. However, this is the only beach in this city that meets European standards. Entrance to this beach is free, but for sunbeds and umbrellas you need to pay 50-100 thousand dong per day.

The most comfortable part of the beach is near the Imperial Hotel. Nearby there are 3 cafes where you can eat deliciously and inexpensively, and you can also get food directly to the beach.

There are other, less popular beaches in Vung Tau, such as follows:

  • Pineapple, located in the west of the peninsula
  • Medium, stretching parallel to Hạ Long Street at Small Mountain
  • Quite a small beach “In the Valley” with rocky shores.

What to see in Vung Tau

In addition to the usual pagodas and temples that are present in all the settlements of Vietnam, there are sights in Vung Tau that cannot be missed. For example, a huge statue of Jesus and a magnificent lighthouse. If you want to see something very unusual, you can go to the Robert Taylor Museum of World Weapons or visit the dog races at Lam Son Stadium.

Statue of Jesus Christ

It is the 32-meter high statue of Jesus Christ that is the most significant city attraction in Vung Tau. The statue is located in the southern outskirts of the city on Mount Nuino (760 m above sea level). Year of construction – 1974.

Statue of Christ in Vung Tau

To get inside the structure and visit one of the viewing platforms (there are 2 of them), equipped on the statue’s shoulders, you need to overcome a rather difficult path. First, there are 811 steps that lead to the mountain, and then 129 steps along a spiral staircase inside the statue itself. Be sure to bring a bottle of water with you. While climbing the stairs it will definitely be needed!

From the observation platforms of the sights, the whole of Vung Tau is visible. But the observatories are small, and only 3-4 people can fit simultaneously.  So on weekends, when there are especially many people, queues can be expected.

  • Address: 01, Thành phố Vũng Tầu, Bà Rịa – Vung Tau, Vietnam.
  • You can come to the mountain on any day of the week from 6:30 to 17:00. Climbing the observation balconies is possible from 7:30 to 16:30 (Friday to 16:00), a break from 11:30 to 13:30. In bad weather conditions (strong wind, rain) climb to the statue is prohibited.
  • Attractions are free.
  • Wearing short shorts inside the statue is not allowed. Clothing must cover your knees.

Inside the statue, bags containing other bags are forbidden (even if they are small handbags or bags for the camera). In addition, clothing should be appropriate: covering the shoulders and knees. Headgear must be removed. At the entrance you need to take off your shoes and go barefoot, so it is advisable to have socks with you.

You can get to the statue of Jesus:

  • On foot. This option is good for those who live on the south side of Rear Beach. So, from the Corvin Hotel or Romeliess Hotel, the path to Mount Nuino takes only 10-15 minutes.
  • By taxi. You need to agree in advance with the driver about payment on the meter.
  • On the bike. In front of the mountain there is parking, the cost of 2,000 dong.

Hai Dang Lighthouse

Approximately 1 km from the statue of Jesus, on Small Mountain (170 m above sea level), is located the Hai Dang lighthouse.

Hai Dang Lighthouse

You can walk to the lighthouse from Phan Chu Trinh Street, which is about 1 km from the beach. You can get there by bike – the path through the pass goes almost 2 km, and the lighthouse has paid parking (2000 VND).

The lighthouse was erected in 1907. Then, after destruction due to fire, it was rebuilt again in 1911. This structure has the shape of a cylinder with a base of 3 m and a height of 18 m.

You can go to its upper platform on the spiral staircase inside. There are amazing 360-degree views from where you can take unimaginably beautiful photos of Vung Tau.

  • Location: Ward 2, Vung Tau, Vietnam.
  • The time for visiting this attraction is from 7:00 to 22:00.
  • The entrance is free.

Robert Taylor World Weapons Museum

The Museum of Weapons in Vung Tau

The Robert Taylor Museum Of Worldwide Arms is Vietnam’s first private museum of weapons and military equipment. Attraction is located at 98, Tran Hung Dao.

One of the rooms at the Robert Taylor Museum

 

Inside the museum

This exhibition was organized by Robert Taylor, a Briton who has been living in Vietnam for several decades. The museum’s exposition has more than 2000 exhibits, among which there are very rare specimens of firearms and cold steel, as well as about 500 sets of military uniforms, ammunition and insignia of many armies of the world, starting from the 15th century.

  • Address: 98 Tran Hung Dao Street, Ward 1, Vung Tau, Vietnam.
  • The museum is open from 8:00 to 19:00.
  • The cost of admission is 50,000 dong.

Dog races at Lam Son Stadium

Photo: Lam Song Stadium

 

Lam Son Stadium

Lam Son is the only stadium in Vietnam where dog races are held, and at the same time the only place where you can legally place bets. The stadium is located in the center of Vung Tau, on ThanhThaiSt Street.

Runs take place on Saturdays and Sundays, they begin at 19:00. A ticket costs 20,000 VND ($1).

The stadium is designed for 5,000 people, but it is rarely filled even by a third. Meanwhile, dog racing is a rather interesting exotic event. Everything is like at a Derby, except that the main participants here are the dogs, not horses.

Photo: Dog Race at Lam Song Stadium

The hounds were brought from Australia, each costing about $2,500. Training lasts 5 months, after which the dog can take part in races for 4 years. Before the race, the dogs undergo a medical examination, they are given a massage. During the race, dogs develop speeds of more than 60 km/hr, and do it in only a few seconds!

Before the start of the race, the dogs walk along the tracks for 15 minutes, and only then the spectators begin to bet. The minimum bet is 10,000 VND ($0.5).

The highest bet made in the history of dog racing at Lam Son Stadium is 1 million VND.

Address: 15 Le Loi, Vung Tau, Vietnam.

Climatic conditions

The dry season lasts from November to April in Vung Tau, and at this time it is slightly cooler than during the rainy season. This is a significant advantage for European tourists who are trying to come to rest in Vung Tau during the winter season.

Since Vung Tau is located on the peninsula, it is not surprising that wind always blows across it. The temperature throughout the year remains approximately unchanged: + 30 to + 35 °C in the daytime and + 22 to + 25 °C at night.


It is worth considering that because of the high humidity, it seems that the temperature is even higher than it actually is.

From May to October, the rainy season in this part of Vietnam. Heavy rains occur almost every day, but, as a rule, they are short and beach vacations are possible even at this time of the year.

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How to get to Vung Tau

Although Vung Tau has an airport, only small planes land there. The closest airport to Vung Tau is Ho Chi Minh City, so the information below will focus on how to get to Vung Tau directly from Ho Chi Minh City.

By boat

A trip on a river rocket is also good because you can take a fascinating journey along the Mekong River and partly by sea.

River ship Ho Chi Minh City-Vung Tau

 

River rocket Vina Express

They depart from one pier, whose address is district 4, 5 Nguyen Tat Thanh. In Vung Tau, they come to different piers located on the Front Beach, but from opposite ends of the bay. The time travel is approximately 1 hour 20 minutes.

Boat Schedule Ho Chi Minh City-Vung Tau

 

Timetable of Vina Express

Departing shuttles from Ho Chi Minh City to Vung Tau:

  • Vina Express – Petro Express: starting from 8:00 and ending at 16:00 every 2 hours, and on Saturdays and holidays even at 9:00
  • Greenlines DP – only 3 departures at 9:30, 11:30 and 15:30

The cost of tickets for adults is 200,000 VND on weekdays, 250,000 on holidays and weekends. Travel for children under 6 years old is free, for children 6-11 years old VND 100,000 on weekdays and 120,000 on weekends.

Tickets are sold at ticket offices at the pier, as well as at any travel agency or hotel (you will have to overpay 50,000 – 70,000 VND for one ticket). You can book tickets online (reservation is valid 72 hours), and then just redeem them.

There is one significant drawback in this variant of the way: the schedule of shipments of river rockets does not always correspond to reality, since they are often simply canceled.

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By bus

Mien Dong Bus Station Photos

 

Bus Station in Ho Chi Minh City

There are many buses in this direction, moreover, from different transport companies, and they depart at intervals of 15-20 minutes. There are several places where they leave, for example, the Mien Dong Bus Station in Ho Chi Minh City itself.

From the tourist part of the city, a sufficient number of minibuses depart from the Benthan Market. But this is not all – more detailed information will be provided in each hotel!

The fare is from 90,000 to 140,000 VND. Travel time can vary significantly: from 1.5 to 3 hours.

Bus station in Vung Tau

 

Bus station in Vung Tau

Buses to Vung Tau arrive at the Vung Tau city bus station, and minibus drivers deliver all tourists to their hotels.

From Ho Chi Minh Airport by Taxi

Minibuses from various transport companies depart from Tan Son Nhat Airport to Vung Tau 2-3 times an hour. The fare ranges from 100,000 to 140,000 Vietnamese dongs. In time, the road takes up to 3 hours.

Where exactly at the airport is the departure point to the Vung Tau beach city? At the domestic flights terminal, you need to cross the other side of the road. There, at McDonald’s and Starbucks, you will see a parking lot. And in the parking lot there is a counter where they sell tickets for transport to Vung Tau.

A taxi ride to Vung Tau (Vietnam) from Ho Chi Minh City or from the airport will cost $ 80-100. It will be most convenient to order a taxi in advance. In this case, you will be immediately met at the airport and taken to the desired hotel in Vung Tau.

Prices on the page are for June 2019.

Vung Tau through the eyes of tourists in this video: what the city looks like, attractions, food and prices.

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