Vung Tau is one of my favorite places in all of Vietnam. The city offers sandy beaches, some pretty cool sightseeing and plenty of fresh seafood. In addition it’s cheap and just a two hour drive from Saigon.
I probably visited Vung Tau half dozen times so I had plenty of time to explore this small gem. And to help you with your travel planning I have written this handy guide with some of my favorite things to do in Vung Tau. My guide covers a wide selection of sights and activities and I think it has something for everyone.
Ready to plan your Vung Tau trip?
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Updated March 2018
Things To Do In Vung Tau
How to Get To Vung Tau
Getting to Vung Tau from Saigon is easy and the best way is to use the Hoa Mai limousine buses. The buses are comfortable, leave every 15 minutes, cost 140k VND and they will drop you off at your hotel. Unless it’s a big holiday I never reserve a seat. I just walk over to their office close to Benh Thanh market and wait for the next available bus.
Another option is the ferry. I have never taken the ferry but some friends prefer them over the buses. Currently there are two companies that run ferries from Saigon to Vung Tau: Pacific Express and Greenlines. Prices ranges from 200k to 250k VND.
Where to Stay In Vung Tau
It doesn’t really matter where you are staying in Vung Tau. The city is not that big and taxis/Uber/Grab is cheap. Personally, I prefer to stay at Front beach because the best restaurants are located in that area. In addition there’s an excellent live music bar called Fang Pub nearby.
- The best hotel in Vung Tau is The Imperial Hotel, a stunning 5 star hotel that has an excellent private beach club and full-service spa.
- For those who wish to spend a bit less, a great mid range option is Lan Rung Resort & Spa which offers a good trade-off between price and quality. Lan Rung also has a great private beach club.
- Finally, budget travelers will like Grand Hotel and Sasavuta Hotel, two great hotels that will be easy on your wallet.
Vung Tau Beaches
Vung Tau is located on a peninsula stretching in a north-south direction. Front beach is located on the western side and Back beach on the eastern side, and the two beaches are connected by a road called Hoàng Hoa Thám.
Due to offshore oil and gas drilling, the water in Vung Tau is a bit murky, but it’s perfectly safe to swim here.
If you take a taxi between the two beaches, tell the driver he should take the Hoàng Hoa Thám road. Otherwise he may take you for a ride around the southern tip. While the ride is scenic it will cost you extra money and time.
Front beach is on the western side of the peninsula. Its the smaller of the two and not that many western tourists find their way here. Here you mostly find local Vietnamese. Front beach is less windy compared to Back beach, and at the nearby park you’ll find some outdoor gym equipment.
Back beach is the larger of the two and my preferred place to hang out. The beach is stretching far and has many beach chairs for rent.
Let me tell you a secret: Imperial Hotel has an awesome private beach club. They have excellent beach chairs and and two private pools. The price is 350k on weekends and 250k on weekdays. Well worth the price if you ask me. Once you are inside the prices at the restaurant and the bar is reasonable.
Vung Tau Markets
So are there other things to do in Vung Tau? Well to be honest not that much. It’s a place where you mainly go to hang out at the beach. But there are a few other cool things to do in Vung Tau and let’s start with the markets.
The main market is called Vung Tau market and it’s located close to Lottemart in the northern part of the city. Here you’ll find the usual tourist souvenirs but the majority of the market actually caters to the local Vietnamese. It’s fun to stroll around the narrow stalls and discover locally produced products.
In addition, there are a few modern shopping malls in Vung Tau. In my opinion the best ones are Imperial Plaza and Lottemart.
Vung Tau Temples
One interesting temple is the Whale Temple. It’s located on Hoàng Hoa Thám street and is famous for the many fishermen that came to worship whales as good luck. The temple displays a huge whale skeleton and could be interesting if you never seen such a thing before.
Another temple worth a visit is Thích Ca Phật Đài in the northern part of the city. It features some large Buddha statues and is very peaceful. Thích Ca Phật Đài is the perfect place to meditate if you are into that. In addition, not many tourists find their way here.
Vung Tau Views
There are a couple of places in Vung Tau where you can experience some great views. My personal favorite is the Jesus statue in the southern part of the city.
However, be warned it’s quite the climb up to the statue. In addition, the narrow staircase to the top of the statue is not for the faint-hearted. But it’s well worth the effort and the view from the top of the statue is amazing.
The second view point is the lighthouse which is also located in the south part of the city. Here you don’t need to climb and you can take a taxi (or drive your motorbike) all the way up to the top.
Make sure to watch the sunset from here. Very beautiful.
In addition there’s a small museum called Upside Down House where you can take some cool photos. But it’s only worth a visit if you have some extra time to spare.
While there are better beaches in Vietnam, Vung Tau is definitely worth a visit if you want a relaxing weekend trip out of busy Saigon. Not many people go here so you won’t run into big crowds like at Nha Trang.
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