"Beach resort, work and R&R. . . . oops!" Top 5 Page for this destination Vung Tau by kokoryko

Vung Tau Travel Guide: 69 reviews and 258 photos

Beach resort since the French colonial time

Vung . . . what ? ? ? Vung Tau !! Where is that ? I did not know about the existence of Vung Tau before I received a mail announcing me there was an “International conference. . “ about some special rocks I am supposed to be an expert of, in the company where I work. . . Well, I attended a conference in Vung Tau, and before leaving for this quite exotic destination I looked in VT, and there were a few short pages about! So, it was known in the VT world, and my little research began there before taking off.
Vung Tau is now a city of 250.000 inhabitants covering a wide area of the peninsula. The name of the place means more or less “anchoring” in Vietnamese, as many sailors in the past stopped there, and the name of Cabo Santiago, given by Portuguese sailors in the 15th century, has later been re-used by the French colonial administration. There were about 5000 inhabitants at the beginning of the 20th century, and later, from a small fishing village it became a sea side resort for the middle class Saigon inhabitants.
Vung Tau , (Cap St Jaques during the French colonial time), is located about 2-3 hours drive from HCMC (Ho Chi Minh City, I prefer to call Saigon). Since 25 years it is also an industrial city developing with the offshore oil industry, initiated by the Soviet in the area (the biggest company in the city is still called Vietsovpetro, even after the collapse of the Soviet big brother).
During the Vietnam war, it became a rest and recuperation (R&R) place for American troops (you know what “R&R” means for soldiers. . . . ), and this “tradition” has been kept and may be “improved” since the cooperation with the soviet big brother; there is a soviet (now Russian) quarter in Vung Tau, and “recreation centres” are also not far from this quarter. . . . Uncle Ho and his administration didn’t “clean” everywhere after the war . . . . .

Walking tour (literally!)

A nice thing to do in Vung Tau is to walk the few kilometres along the road going around the peninsula, from the small fishing boats harbour, the sea on the right side to the great beach, and then walk cross the peninsula, visit the city and come back to the small harbour; harbour, in fact it is just a place where the boats are anchored when the are not fishing; there is no real harbour, just a place where the sea is not as rough as on other places. Walking along, you have great views over various seashore landscapes, see many ships on the sea, enjoy the changing weather, meet fishermen and other locals; well, a sort of an introduction to local life! You also meet young people who just love to be photographed with the foreigner, and you can safely lend them your camera for a while

Temples, markets, city life. . . .

Vung Tau, as its name suggests (in French: Cap St Jaques!) is a peninsula, with a long beach on its south eastern side, a rocky coast on the Western side and a big harbour area on the north west; it is tied to the mainland on the northern side.
Vung Tau is the capital city of Ba Ria Vung Tau Province which has been founded administratively in 1991only; this province has a seashore of about 100 km, of which 75 km are said to be sand beaches. . . . It is a maritime province where seafood is famous!

It was quite rainy in beginning September, but the low dark sky had some special beauty. Vung Tau is a week end destination for Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City) residents in the good season, but in September the city was rather quiet.
Most people come to Vung Tau for the beach, but a visit to the city has its charm, looking at the small shops, wandering in the market, “discovering” Buddhist temples, watching the busy streets from a café terrace . . . . Welcome for a virtual tour!

My photographs are not works of art, my writings are not literature.
Be kind, I posted them here, and I would appreciate you inform me if you intend to display them elsewhere! Merci!

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Very nice people
  • Cons:R&R
  • In a nutshell:A bit of deep Vietnam
  • Last visit to Vung Tau: Sep 2008
  • Intro Updated Jan 9, 2009
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Reviews (26)

Comments (11)

  • cachaseiro's Profile Photo
    Sep 21, 2012 at 3:30 PM

    Great page mate.

  • HORSCHECK's Profile Photo
    Feb 7, 2011 at 1:30 PM

    Hermann, fabulous page with brilliant photos of this gem of Vietnam. The trip with the hydrofoil sounds quite exciting.

  • xaver's Profile Photo
    Jan 21, 2011 at 2:12 PM

    I could not agree more with you: seaside is definitly enjoyable also with storm and bad weather, you have great pictures of that scenery.

  • mtncorg's Profile Photo
    Dec 28, 2010 at 1:15 PM

    A new autoroute from Saigon may make the hydrofoil a thing of the past - sadly.

  • tiabunna's Profile Photo
    Mar 31, 2009 at 10:35 PM

    It seems this was a really enjoyable trip, even if the pool was already taken. :) Great photos and commentary on the people and street scenes of Vung Tau, Hermann.

  • Tijavi's Profile Photo
    Jan 8, 2009 at 8:32 PM

    Indeed, this is one of the most enjoyable pages! Agree that it takes time to immerse oneself in another culture, but it is a rewarding experience. Also enjoyed the stories, and "naughty thought" moments...tsk...tsk...naughty Frenchman! haha

  • Bwana_Brown's Profile Photo
    Oct 28, 2008 at 5:17 PM

    This is a really enjoyable page! Like you, I just like wandering around seeing what a new place looks like and enjoy watching the locals go about their everyday business! Fantastic photos and the Tips to go with them.

  • nepalgoods's Profile Photo
    Oct 26, 2008 at 12:21 AM

    What a lovely place for a conference! Happy birthday! Ulrike

  • Nemorino's Profile Photo
    Oct 25, 2008 at 4:59 AM

    Happy birthday, Hermann! I enjoyed reading your perceptive tips about Vung Tau and looking at your photos, especially of the markets and friendly local people. I've never been to Vung Tau (not even for R&R) even though it is not far from Saigon.

  • robertgaz's Profile Photo
    Oct 20, 2008 at 8:17 PM

    Thanks for sharing your very valid views of Vung Tau, Vietnam :~)


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