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Vung Tau

VUNG TAU

Tel 064 Pop 161,300

Vung Tau, known under the French as Cap st Jacques ( and so-named by Potuguese mariners in honour of their patron saint), is a heavily commercialised beach resort on the South China Sea, about 128km south east of HCMC/

Vung Tau’s beaches are easily reached from HCMC and have thus been a favourite of that city’s residents since French colonists first began coming here around 1890. However, they are none too clean and not Vietnam’s nicest by any stretch of the imagination; offshore drilling and sewerage flowing downriver from HCMC are a considerable source of Pollution. Beachgoers looking for an escape from HCMC would do much better making the two – hour drive to Long Hai or, better yet, the three-hour trip to beautiful MuiNe Beach

Visitors can cycle around, or climb up, Vung Tau Peninsula’s two mountains. There are also a number of religious sites around town, including several pagodas and a huge standing figure of je blessing the South China Sea. The 360 Degree view from the 1910 lighthouse ( hai dang) atop small Mountain is spectacular, Especially at sunset.

Vung Tau became briefly famous to the world in 1973, when the last US troops in Vietnam left here by ship. However, a small contigent of American advisers, diplomats and central Intelligence Agency agents remained in Vietnam for an other two years –their moment on the world’s centre stage came in 1975 during the rooftop helicopter evacuation from the US embassy in Saigon

Vung Tau has long competed with HCMC to attract foreign sex tours to Vietnammassage parlours are ubiquitous. However, the AIDS epidemic has caused some soul searching and there has been a half hearted crackdown on this lucrative industry.

Theft has also increased in the area. watch out for kids who may try to pick your pockets or snatch a bag. There are also HCMC style motorbike cowboys

All that said, nowadays perhaps the best reason to visit Vung Tau would be to board a ferry or helicopter to the Con Dao Islands, one of the most off the beaten track places in Vietnam.

During weekends and holidays, vung tau’s hundred or so hotels can get heavily booked, but usually you can find a room.

Getting There and Away

The best way to reach Vung Tau is by the hydrofoil that leaves frequently from theBeach Dang Jetty in HCMC. In Vung Tau you board te hyfrofoil at Cau Da pier, opposite the Hai Au Hotel. Vina Express (Tel: 856530) has a Vung Tau office by the Pier.

Convenient minibuses to Vung Tau also depart from in front of the Saigon Hotel, On Dong Du near the Saigon Central Mosque.

The Best way to get around the Vung Tau peninsula is by rental bicycle or motorbike. There are also plenty of meter taxis.

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