Vung Tau: A Quick Escape from Ho Chi Minh
Some of you may have noticed, I’ve been to Vietnam for so many times and for some reasons, I still keep going.
Some even questioned “What’s with you and Vietnam? Why are you so into this country?”
Believe me, I asked myself the exact same question.
Vietnam has every reason for me to come back to. Each city has something unique to offer, each city gives you different vibes.
I’ve been slaving at work for 2 months without any holidays and I thought it’s time I treated myself nicely with a quick escape to smell some vitamin sea.
Unlike other cities of Vietnam, Vung Tau isn’t a mecca for international travelers. For this reason, I felt like a Saigonese trying to escape from their very own hectic city.
My friends and I had recently spent one day and a half in Vung Tau and here is the list of places and things we do.
GETTING TO VUNG TAU
There’s no direct route from Phnom Penh to Vung Tau, so we had to take the van from Phnom Penh to Ho Chi Minh first. We booked our tickets in advance through BookMeBus.
There are so many bus operators that provide the same route, but we chose Sapaco.
Sapaco ticket is 15USD/Person. It may be a bit pricey compared to the other operators but I guarantee you, IT’S THE MOST COMFORTABLE OF ALL!
We got to Ho Chi Minh at 12:30PM, had our lunch then got on the van again.
From Ho Chi Minh, we took the most famous bus line, Hoa Mai Limousine, to Vung Tau.
Hoa Mai offers two types of vans; VIP Limousine for 7USD/Person and VIP Van for 5USD/Person.
We were being rich and went with the more expensive ticket to get the big seat again. Hahaha
There’s also a USB socket to charge your electronic devices on the van.
The whole journey from Phnom Penh to Vung Tau took us 8 hours. 8 hours doesn’t seem so bad when you’ve got such a big and comfy seat to yourself.
To book your bus ticket, click here.
We finally got to our hotel at 4PM.
It’s very convenient how Hoa Mai dropped us directly at our hotel in Vung Tau. I’m not sure if this drop off service is only available for VIP Limousine or it’s also available for VIP Van.
We stayed at Veevoo Hotel.
Our Standard Double Room costs us 21USD/Night.
As soon as we got our backpacks and luggage set in our room, we rented two motorbikes from our hotel and went to our very first destination directly.
DAY 1 (From 4PM)
1. Vung Tau Lighthouse
If you wish to get a 360° view of Vung Tau during your stay, Lighthouse is one of the places to add in your list.
I read a few articles online while planning for my trip to Vung Tau. A few sites mentioned that this place is good for sunset while it’s ACTUALLY BETTER FOR SUNRISE.
Here’s the view from the lighthouse. It truly is a sight to behold.
Here’s a sneak peek of Vietnam very own version of Christ the King from the lighthouse.
Location: Nui Nho, Phuong 2
Opening Hours: 7:00AM-10:00PM
Entrance Ticket: Free
Parking Fee: 5000VND (0.2USD)
2. Eat at Panda BBQ
It was already dark by the time we got back from the lighthouse which means it was also time for our very first dinner in Vung Tau!
No one in our group did any research about where to eat in Vung Tau, so we just tried our luck by asking people around. They recommended us Panda BBQ.
It costs us 3.625USD each for a plate of meat and seafood, one additional dish and drinks.
Every piece of meat is delightfully juicy and delicious. <3
Location: 150 Ha Long, Phuong 2,Vung Tau
Opening Hours: 4:00PM-11:00PM
We actually wanted to wake up early for sunrise, but we were too exhausted and just slept through.
We finally got up at 7:30AM, had our breakfast and ready to start our second day trip.
3. Doi Con Heo (Pig Hill)
Doi Con Heo aka Pig Hill is one of the hidden gems in this beach city of Vung Tau.
We found this place online and wanted to go there for a lookout, but we were glad to have learned something else.
Not sure if there’s any history behind this hill, a lot of Vietnamese young couples come here to have their names engraved on the railing.
Most couples that come here even wear couple color.
The road to this hill isn’t easy, so is love. You know love is real when you’re putting all the efforts to drive past all the rocky and dusty slopes just to get to the top of the hill to write your names. Lmao
I guess that’s why they left the road the way it is!? They probably should consider renaming this place from Pig Hill to Love Hill instead.
Love birds thingy aside, let’s take a look at the view from this hill.
Location: 9 Ha Long, Phuong 2
4. Christ the King of Vung Tau
When you can’t afford a flight ticket to visit Christ the Redeemer of Rio, you comfort your pathetic self with a van ticket to be the guest of Christ the King of Vung Tau instead. :’)
This giant statue of Christ the King is treated as a Buddhist version of pagoda; therefore, you need to dress appropriately. No short or tank top is allowed.
It’s not easy to see Jesus. Get yourself ready for some sweat!
This baby is also on her way to see Jesus!
After climbing 811 stairs and taking a rest for a few times, we’re finally here.
If 811 is still not enough, take these 100-ish super narrow stairs to Jesus’ shoulders to get a glimpse of panoramic view of the city.
It’s very thoughtful how they put nails on Jesus’ shoulders to avoid too-adventurous people walking to the edge of his hands for photos.
Location: 01, Phuong 2
Daily 7:15AM-11:30AM ; 1:30PM-4:30PM
Thursday 7:15AM-11:30AM ; 1:30PM-3:30PM
Entrance Ticket: Free but there’s a forced donation for parking. 10000VND should be enough for that.
5. White Palace (Bach Dinh)
Since White Palace isn’t that far from the gigantic statue of Christ the King, we decided to drop this historical place a visit before we headed for lunch.
Caught this lovely couple having their pre-wedding photos here.
Having seen so many amazing colonial buildings, White Palace doesn’t seem to be that attractive to me. But if you’re a history nerd, this might be the perfect place for you.
Location: 10 Tran Phu, Phuong 1
Entrance Ticket: 15000VND/Person (0.65USD)
6. Lunch at Quan Nuong Co Nen
We had to refill our energy again after a super exhausting climb to see Jesus and a short walk around White Palace.
We browsed for where to eat and a lot of people recommended Quan Nuong Co Nen.
The restaurant was super crowded when we got there and we thought we would need to wait for quite some time before we got to eat.
Much to our surprise, we got our food in less than 30 minutes. How nice is that?
We ordered a few dishes, their grilled ribs is my favorite!
All these for only 3.75USD a person. How cheap is that?
7. Pagodas Hopping
It was raining for a few hours after lunch. We went back to our hotel and started exploring the city again at 3:30PM
I’m not a big fan of pagodas and originally, we didn’t plan to visit any either.
But having driven past so many pagodas along the Front Beach, I thought we should at least stop to check some of them out.
There are two main beaches in Vung Tau; Front Beach (Bai Truoc) and Back Beach (Bai Sau).
A little online digging reveals that Back Beach is peaceful and quiet while Front Beach is packed and dirty because of the ferry port and offshore drilling.
Guess this is their Back Beach definition of peaceful and quiet. Haha
And this is their definition of packed and dirty. Lol
Though Vung Tau is a beach city, their beaches are not ideal for swimming.
10. Try Banh Khot, Vung Tau’s Very Own Dish
Can you say you really visited Vung Tau if you’ve never tried their very own dish of Banh Khot?
Banh Khot is my most favorite dish in Vung Tau! It costs us 60.000VND (2.60USD) for a plate of Banh Khot.
Banh Khot Goc Vu Sua is the most well-known one.
This place is always busy and you can watch how your Banh Khot is made in front of their restaurant.
Location: 14 Nguyen Truong To, Phuong 2
Opening Hours: 7:00AM-8:00PM
11. Dinner at Quan Moc
Quan Moc is a small and homely restaurant that is well-known for their Vietnamese food set, bun dau mam tom.
We spent only 2.48USD each for this.
I’ve never tried bun dau mam tom before. It’s hard to judge whether this food is average or I just don’t like the dish.
Location: 80 Tu Xuong, Phuong 4
Opening Hours: Daily 3:00PM-9:00PM
Though there are a lot of bars and clubs, nightlife in Vung Tau isn’t as animated and thrilling as Saigon.
We’re not into crowded bars/clubs ourselves so we explored the nightlife around our hotel instead.
There are so many food and drink stalls around here.
Vung Tau isn’t a very big city. You wouldn’t need to worry about having to travel far. Each destination is less than 20mn from each other.
Having been to a few different parts of Vietnam, I can say that Vung Tau is the cheapest.
We were in Vung Tau in a group of 4 and here’s the list of things we spent on divided by 4:
- Accommodation: 21USD for 2 Nights
- Food and Drinks: 21.77USD
- Motorbike Rental: 3.9USD for 1.5 Days
- Gas: 1.6USD for 1.5 Days
- Others: 1.67USD