Vung Tau Beach On The South Coast Of Vietnam
Vũng Tàu Beach
The City of Vung Tau is a popular destination for tourists looking to escape the hustle and bustle of Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon). Vung Tau is also a hub for the local oil and gas industry, the ships and rigs are visible from the harbour. The beaches of Vung Tau are every bit as beautiful as the beaches of Phuket or Koh Samui in Thailand, and they are far less crowded. Vung Tau is also host to one of Vietnam's most prestigious golf courses "Paradise Vũng Tàu Golf Resort." Vung Tau is a favourite destination for locals of Ho Chi Minh City, Vũng Tàu also allows access to nearby less visited beaches like Long Hai, Ho Tram and Ho Coc.
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Vung Tau is located just 130 KM from Ho Chi Minh City, and is the capital of the Ba Ria-Vung Tau Province. The easiest and cheapest way to travel from Ho Chi Minh City is by boat, the ferry takes just over an hour and costs approximately 10USD per person. The cost of hiring a car is approximately 80USD, and it may take several hours to negotiate through the heavy traffic of Saigon. The trip down the Saigon River on the ferry is actually quite interesting, with a view of the mangroves and the local shipping.
The cost of accommodation in Vung Tau is amazingly affordable. Most beach front hotels will cost less than 20USD per night with all extras included. I have attached a photo of the "Victory Hotel", I stayed there for 350,000 Vietnamese Dong (less than 20USD). The rooms were as nice as some hotels I have paid as much as 100USD for in Thailand or Malaysia. I also had a chance to check out the rooms in several other nearby hotels located on the "Back Beach", and they were all similar in price. I can only imagine how nice the rooms would be if you are willing to spend 50USD or more? I was more than impressed with the quality and service at the Victory Hotel where I stayed.
The ferry terminal is located on the "Front Beach", so this may be the first thing you will see when you arrive in Vung Tau. The front beach is where most of the restaurants and nightlife is located. After being spoiled by the great food and wide variety of restaurants in Ho Chi Minh City, I was a little disappointed with the restaurants of Vung Tau, however there were a few reasonable places located on the front beach that had decent food at reasonable prices. One of these places was "Belly's Bar", owned by a retired Kiwi that had previously worked in the oil and gas industry. There are plenty of cafes on the front beach that serve only drinks, many of them do not offer any food at all.
Most tourists prefer swimming at the back beach, because of its over 10KM of white sandy beach. There are plenty of reasonably priced hotels, just a few meters from the beach. The back beach does not have as many options for nightlife and restaurants as the front beach, however the cost of a taxi is less than 5USD and the drive is only a few minutes. There were not the vendors and touts that are common on tourist beaches in other Southeast Asian countries, for the most part nobody will bother you. Beach chairs and umbrellas are available for a minimal cost for those that want them.
The nightlife in Vung Tau does not come close to that of Ho Chi Minh City, if you are looking for nightlife, you might be a little disappointed. The cafes on the front beach are designed for quietly having a few drinks, perhaps listening to some music, and looking out on the ocean. There are a few nightclubs as well, however catering more to a young Vietnamese crowd, not really designed for western tourists. Most people will choose to drink at either Belly's Bar or the Aussie Bar that is located right beside each other near the pier. The staff at Belly's bar are quite friendly and I did enjoy having a few drinks and shooting some pool. Overall the nightlife was pretty quiet in Vung Tau.