Everything's Travel Guide to Vung Tau Island, Vietnam
Located on the coast 100 kilometres south east of Ho Chi Minh City, Vung Tau is a popular weekend getaway for Saigoners to escape the heat and stresses of the big city. Two to three hours by road, or one hour and 30 minutes by hydrofoil (the boat conveniently departing very close to District 1), traffic, noise and pollution are replaced by sea breeze, fresh seafood, surf and sand.
Friday, 21/02/2020, 03:15
Vung Tau has long been known as an attractive tourist destination of Vietnam for its beautiful landscape – beaches are surrounded by high mountains. If you are planning your trip to Vung Tau the first time and don’t know anything about this famous place, let Holidaytoindochina show you all things about Vung Tau travel: the ways to get there, best time to visit, where to stay, what to do, etc.
Population: 1.041.565 people (2013)
City: Vung Tau
Province: Ba Ria - Vung Tau
First of all, before visiting this beautiful city, you should know some general information about Vung Tau such as location or climate. About location, Vung Tau locates in the South of Vietnam, and it is far about 120km (3-hour drive). It is very easy to check the location of Vung Tau on Google map.
Climate: Vung Tau has a tropical monsoon climate with two distinct seasons: rainy season (May to October), dry season (November to April the next year). The annual average temperature is about 27 ° C.
How to get there
Vung Tau does not have the airport so you cannot transfer to Vung Tau by plane. However, there are 3 ways to get Vung Tau from Ho Chi Minh: by motorbike, by car and by hydrofoil service. If you want to visit Vung Tau from Hanoi or Danang, etc., you had to take a flight to Ho Chi Minh city then transfer to Vung Tau by three ways below:
By motorbike or private car:
Option 1: You go along the Route 1st - across Dong Nai bridge – turn right at the first major roundabout (formerly known as Vung Tau junction) – follow route 51st about 100km - Vung Tau City. It takes about 3.5 hours (125 km).
Option 2: If you are looking for another road which you can enjoy a cool breeze from the countryside forests in Dong Nai, you should start your journey from Cat Lai ferry. Leave the City centre via the Saigon River Tunnel (or Phu My Bridge in further south of the City). Connect to Dong Van Cong Road, and Nguyen Thi Ding Road towards Cat Lai Ferry Terminal. It takes about 10 minutes for the ticketing, queueing and crossing the river by ferry. When your arrive on the Dong Nai side, follow Provincial Route 769 – Tran Van Tra – Quach Thi Trang – Ton Duc Thang roads – Route 51 – Vung Tau. By this way, you can get Vung Tau after 2 or 3.5 hours depended on the weather or your speed.
It’s also easy to get Vung Tau by buses or passenger cars. The price for high quality passenger cars is about 60,000 - 100,000 VND / ticket (3- 5$). You can buy the ticket at two bus stations, one in Ho Chi Minh and one in Vung Tau:
The Eastern Bus Station: Address: 292 Dinh Bo Linh Street, Ward 26, Binh Thanh District, Ho Chi Minh City. Tel: +84 – 8 - 3899 4056; 84 – 8 - 3898 4441; +84 – 8 - 3898 4442; +84 – 8 - 3898 4893. Website: www.benxemiendong.com.vn
Or Vung Tau Bus Station: Address: 192 Nam Ky Khoi Nghia Street, Ward 3, Vung Tau City.Tel: (064) 3859727.
The Eastern Bus Station: (Mien Dong Bus station) is the main terminal for coach services heading Northern and Central Vietnam. To get this station, you can take metro bus no. 19 from the Central Metropolitan Bus station (opposite Ben Thanh Market). After about 25 – 35 minutes, the bus will drop you at the metro bus parking in front of the Main door of the terminal building.Then, you can choose one of the main passenger cars below to get Vung Tau:
Hoa Mai Express: Address in Vung Tau: 2A Trung Trac Street, Vung Tau. In Ho Chi Minh: 50 Nguyen Thai Binh Street, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City. Tel: (84-64) .3531982 / (84-64) – 3531981/ (84-64) – 3531980
Mai Linh Express: Address: 64-68 Hai Ba Trung Street, Ben Nghe Ward, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City. Tel: (84-8) - 39292929 (HCMC) or (84-64) - 3576576 (Vung Tau).
Phuong Trang Express: Tel: (84-8) .38218928. Buy a ticket in Saigon: Call 84-8-38309309. New trip every 1 hour. Buy a ticket in Vung Tau: Call 84 -643- 52531454. Buy a ticket in Ba Ria: Call 84-643-826768.
Kumho Samco Buslines, Zone 7, Mien Dong Bus Station, Phone +84 85 111 111. 04:30am - 07:45pm. To/From HCMC(Saigon). Departs every 10-15 minutes. 100,000 VND (price on Jan 2012).
Thien Phu Express: Pick up at home or hotel. Address: 292 Dinh Bo Linh street, Binh Thanh District, Ho Chi Minh City, about 100,000 VND/ ticket . Similar to Kumho Samco but with larger cars. New trip every 15 minutes. Thien Phu is a privately-owned firm. Offer 16-seater cars with slightly larger foot rest.
By Hydrofoil service
Another way to get Vung Tau, Hydrofoil service or Hydrofoil fast ferry is recommended by many travelers because this is the quickest way to get Vung Tau (1.5 hours) while the tourists can see the commerical maritime areas as the boat runs through the Saigon River to the sea. This service has been used in Vung Tau since Dec 2014. This is a little more comfortable way to get to Vung Tau rather than taking the bus but a little more expensive: 200,000 VND/ person/way (US$10). On the weekends, the ticket is more expensive 250,000 VND/Person/way. For children: 100,000 VND/kid/way.
New trip every 30 minutes, from 6:00am – 04:30pm. Start from Bach Dang pier and stop at Cau Da Pier - Vung Tau. You can buy tickets at Cau Da or Bach Dang pier or buy from ticket agents in HCMC or Vung Tau (some hotels also buy hydrofoil ticket).
Cau Da Pier: 120 Ha Long, Vung Tau City. Tel: (84 -64) - 3810 202 OR (84 -64) -3510 720
Bach Dang Pier: 1 A Ham Nghi, District 1, HCMC. Tel: (84-8) .3821 8061 OR (84-8) 3821 5609.
There are two main companies that organize the hydrofoil service:
Greenlines: In Ho Chi Minh: 2 Ton Duc Thang Street (Bach Dang Pier). Tel: (84-8) 38210650 or (84-8) 38218189 or (84-8) 38210653 or (84-8) 38218 185 or (84-8) - 38213 872. In Vung Tau: 126 Ha Long, Cau Da pier. Tel: (84-64) .3810202 or 84-3816308.
Vina Express, In HCMC: 1 A Ham Nghi, District 1, HCMC. In Vung Tau 122 Ha Long, Vung Tau City. Tel: (84-64). 3856 530
Note: You should book early (before 10 days) if your travel date is on holidays or high season.
Best time to visit Vung Tau:
It can be said that anytime is the best time to visit Vung Tau because the temperature is not too cold and too hot all time. You just need to follow the weather forecasts to avoid visiting Vung Tau when it rains or has storms. Also, you should not visit this city on weekends and holidays because it’s time for domestic tourists, very crowded and expensive
Things to do in Vung Tau
1. Front Beach And Back Beach
Bai Sau, which is also called Thuy Van beach, is one of the most beautiful beaches in Vung Tau.
The beach’s located in the East, stretches from Nui Nho mountain to Chi Linh. The temperature is moderate around the year, with bright clear water and sand as well as gentle waves.
Bai Truoc is 5km away from Bai Sau, which has more beautiful scenery but there are less tourists due to pollutants disposed from fishing ships.
2. Con Dao Island
Con Dao is a historical site. On this land stood Con Dao prison where many communists were tortured and killed. However, the natural beauty of Con Dao has been discovered and utilized in recent years: Making it a must visit destination on your Vung Tau trip.
3. Long Hai Beach
Belonging to Long Dien district, Ba Ria Vung Tau province, 12km away from Vung Tau city, Long Hai is an appealing amusement and entertainment destination.
Long Hai beach is quiet gorgeous and peaceful with white and smooth sand. There are resorts in Long Hai with breathtaking sight and various activities. Other splendid places you should visit include: Minh Dam mountain, Dinh Co beach, Truc Lam Chan Nguyen temple, Tram lake.
4. Linh Son Co Tu And Budda Statue
If you are a Buddhist, come to Linh Son Co Tu. Linh Son Co Tu is an outstanding religious destination of Vung Tau. Being the oldest pagoda of the city, Linh Son Co Tu worships a delicately sculptured Buddha statue.
5. Thich Ca Phat Dai Pagoda (Platform Of Shakyamuni Buddha)
Thich Ca Phat Dai is the most typical Buddhism work of Vung Tau in particular and Vietnam in general. Built in started in 1961, the pagoda was finished in 1963. The beauty of the pagoda is the artful combination between religious architecture and natural landscape.
Thich Ca Phat Dai is a sculpture architectural complex, old architectures, made from bricks and precious kinds of wood.
The pagoda has been well known for many statues like Phat Dan Sinh, Cat Toc Di Tu... On first days of the month in lunar calendar, my locals tend to worship and pray for luck.
6. Jesus Statue
Lying on top of Nui Nho mountain, Jesus Statue was recognized as the biggest Jesus statue of Asia in 2012 with a 32m height, 18.4m arm span and more than 1000 stairs. If you are Christian, you should not miss this place.
7. Light House In Vung Tau
For many years, the lighthouse is always an attractive visiting place of Vung tau because of it architectural and historical value. It was first constructed in 1862, after the French colonials invaded three South East provinces. Once standing the outside balcony; observing Vung Tau’s vibrant nightlife from the lighthouse will surely be an unforgettable experience to view Vung Tau city. The light house has a 1500w light bulb, its can radiate 35 sea miles (equivalent to 65km) far. At night, people can see two light rays of the lighthouse no matter where they stand.
8. Ho May Park
It is pity if you miss taking part in thrilling games and visit the Ho May Park (the first water park on a mountain in Vietnam), enjoy your meals with wonderful sight in Ho May resort.
You can take a cable car up the Vung Tau can go, to the Park. You can spend whole day at the park, place all games. The park has provided many games: horse riding, 4D cinema, roller coaster, Zipline and many thrilling games. It costs more than 300 000 vnd to use cable car up to the hill & place game all day at the park. The park is beautiful with flowers and trees, from the park, you also have a chance to view the whole city.
9. The White Palace
Vung Tau (Bà Rịa-Vũng Tàu Province) is only about 100 km away from Ho Chi Minh City (known as Saigon). It is the nearest place with the beaches for tourists from Ho Chi Minh City. This place is a good choice for a short day trip. Obviously, Vung Tau is a perfect choice due to its near location. Coming to Vung Tau does not mean only swimming, there are many landscapes and attraction to be explored. Among all of them, Bach Dinh (White Palace) and Jesus statue are outstanding places.
White Palace is one of the most historic places, which draw more local and oversea tourists to visit.
Situated at 4 Tran Phu Street, on the slop of Big Mountain, White Palace was constructed in 1898 as a summer holiday villa of French Governor General Paul Doumer. This palace was named after his lovely daughter. It was used as a resting place for the lifetime of the Governor General of Indochina, President, Prime Minister and other senior generals during the French colonial period and later, under the Republic of Vietnam. Today, The Palace has a large collection of thousands of artifacts recovered from sunken ships at sea Hon Cau, Con Dao 17th century.
Because of being designed and constructed by French, this three-floor building was strongly influenced by French and a little bit Greek style with the height of 19 meters and length of 25 meters, high 27 meters compared to sea level. Once visiting the White Palace, you will be attracted by its antique and glamorous structure, white appearance since the outside walls were decorated with beading and the Hellenic statues, painted white.
Coming to the inside, you can notice that everything from the furniture to the decoration were all constructed and designed really carefully and also they are all preserved and cleaned everyday so the building looks like a brand-new villa although it stands centuries years old.
10. Dog Racing
Don’t forget to visit 15 Le Loi street to spectate dog racing in Lam Son stadium (only on Saturday night). You are able to view and participate in betting according to the following way. The ticket is around 60,000 VND, but you should bring some more money for your betting.
If so, you’ll love visiting the Lam Son Stadium in Vung Tau. Every Saturday night, they feature live greyhound races. These are fun to watch, and exciting to bet on.
On top of this, dog racing is the only legal form of gambling that Vietnamese people can engage in. If you’re on a date (or hanging out with locals), it’s worth going to the track and placing a few bets. I go almost every weekend, and it’s always a good time.
In this article, I’ll share some “insider information” about where the track’s located, how to access it, what wagers are accepted, and how to win money betting here.
Whether you’re a hardcore fan of dog racing, or just looking for a fun weekend activity, this event is worth checking out.