Vung Tau is a popular get-a-way from the hustle and bustle of HCMC. To get here from HCMC you take the ferry which costs 200,000 dong, or about $9, per person. The ferry terminal in HCMC is called Ben Tau Canh Ngam. There are two popular locations for lodging while visiting Vung Tau. The front beach, more popular with foreigners because of the closeness to shopping and restaurants, or the back beach where the locals vacation. We chose the back beach because the beach looked nicer but were initially concerned because we weren’t sure if there was going to be restaurants around. It turned out to be a good gamble. The location is great because it’s only a five minute walk to the beach and there’s plenty of cheap-eats type restaurants since the locals frequent the area. We stayed at the Tan Hoang Than hotel for 300,000 dong, $13.50, per night. The hotel was a little on the dirty side but it came with a balcony and the price was awesome for the location. Beware that this area gets hoppin’ on the weekend and the rates triple. At night it’s nice to walk along the waterfront and people watch. The beach was great and very nice for swimming.
We walked to see the giant Jesus of Vung Tau which stands a whopping 32 meters (105 feet). This is free to do if you have to energy to ascend approximately 900 steps. What I really liked was being able to go inside of Jesus, up a narrow spiral staircase of about 130 steps, to take in a spectacular view of the beach.
The food we had here was incredible. We tried various restaurants and street seafood vendors. You can’t go wrong it’s all fantastic and most Vietnamese dishes are less than $2 each. The seafood is more costly and a couple of times we splurged $5 for crab claws or clams. We have become very fond of the coffee. We order the iced coffee with milk like twice a day which are only 50-75 cents each.
It was obvious that most foreigners choose to stay near the front beach. Every time we went out, people stared at us like they never saw a white person before lol. In fact we didn’t see another white person the 4 days we were there. Most people we met were so friendly, especially the children who all say “hello!” when they see us. It melts my heart every time. It’s amazing how easy it is to hang out and laugh with people even though you can’t speak the same language.