Vung Tau is one of the nearest beach cities in Vietnam which is located about 120 kilometers from Ho Chi Minh City. If you feel stuck over the weekend and looking for a quick escape, Vung Tau Beach is a good option. This city was also considered as a French preferred holiday destination during their era. Besides, there are a group of expatriate communities, especially Russian who are working at petroleum drilling platform.
Get Set & Go!
Going to Vung Tau is very easy. You can take a bus from Mien Dong Bus Station in Binh Thanh District with two hours journey. Optionally, you can go to Vung Tau by using hydrofoil which is a little bit pricey, around VND 200,000 but your journey only will take around 1 hour and 15 minute. Good reputation hydrofoil operators such as Petro Express and Vina Express fo have daily services from Saigon’s Bach Dang Jetty at Ton Duc Thang street to Vung Tau. The boats leave every hour from Ho Chi Minh City starting from 6.30am and you must know, they are really on time!
Travelling around Vung Tau should be very easy for first timers. Taxi services are always available especially at tourist attraction areas. If you can ride a bike, you can ask help from your guesthouse or mini hotel staff about motorbike for rent. Optionally, there are motorbike drivers or locally called “xe om” are always ready at tourist areas. All you need to do is making an eye contact with them and do not forget to negotiate the price before departing to any places.
Where to Check in?
There are selections of hotels for you to choose in Vung Tau. The Imperial Hotel Vung Tau which is located at Thuy Van Street is one of the five star hotels and one of the best choices if you are looking for a luxury holiday.
Optionally, there are also numbers of three star hotels such as Rex Hotel at Le Quy Don Street, Valley Mountain Hotel at Tran Phu Street and Buffalo Inn at Ba Cu Street which comes with economy prices between VND800,000 up to VND1,500,00 per night
If you think that you will spend most of your time outdoors and just need a room for sleep and get changed, budget hotel at Thuy Van Street area is just perfect for your needs This street is opposite to the beach and very busy with hundreds of tourists especially on weekends. From the Vung Tau Jetty, you just need to take a taxi and ask them to bring you to Thuy Van Street. The room rate here can be as low as VND200,000 per night and it is depends on the season as well. This area is also very good for first timers in Vung Tau as there are so many food stalls, seafood hawkers and souvenir sellers around the area.
Exploring Vung Tau
If you are staying in the Thuy Van area, you can do many activities starting from morning until evening. At the beach site, you can see some Vietnamese ladies sitting under umbrellas with some blue colour basins. Come closer and you will find out that they are selling crab which is very juicy and fresh. The price is vary between VND100,000 to VND200,000 per kilo, depends on size and season. Walking along the seaside should be safe as long as there are people around. At evening, you may come again to seaside and you will see many seafood hawkers busy grilling clams, squids and crab spikes for their customers. The price is relativly very cheap, but as usual, it is advisable to ask for the price first upon ordering.
If you do not want to spend your whole day by lazing on the beach, there are some local attractions that you should not miss. Grab a xe om driver to Nui Nho (Small Mountain) where the Giant Statue is located or go to visit a lighthouse at another hill area which you can see a vast view of Vung Tau beach.
Scams in Vung Tau
If you had booked your hotel, stick with your reservation and do not easily accept any offers from you taxi driver to bring you to a cheaper hotel. Normally hotel and restaurant owners are offering commission to the taxi driver as if they bring customer for them. The same thing will happen when you go to seafood restaurants in Vung Tau. It is advisable to enjoy seafood at local choice’s restaurant or hawkers at the seaside instead of tourist bug’s restaurant as the price is relatively two or three times higher than what you are expected to pay.
There are some astrological palm readers that say they can see your future. You need to ask for the price first before agrees for anything. In another scenario, if you do not have a camera, there are freelance photographers who are normally mingling around the seaside for photography services. Normally they will offer to deliver the photos to your hotel. Upon receiving the photos, check one by one before doing any payment. You need to remember that you only need to pay for a good quality of photos instead of doing charity by paying unnecessarily.
Now, with numbers of attractive holiday packages provided by hotel and travel agencies, there are more people choosing to spend their time in Vung Tau for a quick weekend escape. Hopefully, the increasing numbers of tourist to Vung Tau, hotel providers and restaurant should provide a better service which match with their price tag.