After spending 2 hours exploring Ho Chi Minh City, we decided to spend the other half of the trip exploring the lesser known places like Vung Tau. It is a port city along the coastal line of Vung Tau. There are several ways of getting to Vung Tau. The cheapest option is to hop along on their local buses to Vung Tau. For us, we took the hydrofoil which was quite an experience!
We got our hotel reception to book a pair of tickets for us to cruise along Greenlines. You can also purchase your ticket on the spot but it is best to book earlier as the tickets do get sold out quite quickly. Seats will be assigned to each passenger.
Each ticket costs 250,000 VND and it took us about 1 hour and 45 minutes to reach Vung Tau.
Our hydrofoil is here!
They gave each of us a bottle of mineral water onboard. It was quite comfortable throughout and there’s a television to keep us entertained. We watched Just for Laughs!
There’s the terminal at Vung Tau where we got off the hydrofoil. Once you reach Vung Tau, you can call for Grab or Uber. I don’t recommend taking the Vinasun Taxis here because somehow their metered fare is so much more expensive than Grab or Uber.
We spent two nights at this swanky hotel, Pullman Vung Tau.
We are pretty much very well-fed throughout this trip because our rooms came with club lounge access.
It was scorching hot during the day so we stayed at our hotel and head out only after the sun has set. The beach is just 10 minutes walk away from our hotel.
Lotte Mart is just a road across away from our hotel. So it is definitely easy to get some grocery shopping done at Lotte Mart. There are also restaurants, a food court and a cinema there.
On our second day, we went to Jesus Christ’s Statue in Vung Tau. It’s about a 30-minutes hill climb up to the top where Jesus Christ’s Statue is located. It’s one of the must-visit attractions in Vung Tau because as you can climb up to the statue and literally ‘rest on Jesus Shoulders’. That’s where you can also enjoy a paranomic view of the Vung Tau. But do note that you can’t enter the statue in shorts or sleeveless tops. You will need to be well-covered and enter barefoot without your bags especially if there are super bulky.
Entrance to this place is free. And do be aware that there might be pickpocketing is quite common here and there are signs to warn visitors of it.
The Bible stories unfold as you ascend up the hill with statues depicting the important figures in each Bible story. Now, it’s bible quiz time.
Remember Abraham and his son Isaac?
Who’s the guy with the two tablets?
At the cross…
Sam and I wore shorts so we couldn’t head up. We tried to get a bird’s eye view of the city but we couldn’t get a 360-degree view with all the trees and shrubs blocking.
The hike up the hill wasn’t too difficult. There were many steps up but they weren’t too steep. What makes it challenging was the heat so it’s best to visit this site early in the morning when it is not too hot yet.
Entrance to Jesus’s statue
We were sweating like crazy after the hike up the hill so we walked to the nearest cafe to get a drink. At the same time, we wanted to tap onto their wifi to book an Uber to our next destination. This cafe is housed in this greenhouse-like structure. It was so beautiful!
Their strawberry smoothie was a bomb!
We uber-ed our way to The Robert Taylor Museum Of Worldwide Arms, Vung Tau and this is where Sam practically went ogling at all the military weapons displayed in the museum. It’s his heaven, but not mine.
This museum was founded by Robert Taylor, a British who is a military arms hobbyist. He has this impressive huge collection of military weapons and costumes across so many countries. If you are into military and defence, you have to visit this museum.
There’s an entrance fee of 100,000 VND per pax for foreigners. Locals only pay 50,000 VND per pax.
The gallery is quite extensive and there are a few exhibit houses that showcase the military weapons and costumes worn by life-sized figurines.
He was super fascinated with the old collection of guns used by the military forces of the past.
There’s also a photobooth where you can rent the costume for a small fee to take photos!
Check this out!
We continued our hunt for good food in Vung Tau. It’s so much less crowded here as compared to Ho Chi Minh City so it is much safer to travel around on foot. My only qualm is that the temperatures here are somewhat higher her.
Our hotel recommended us to try this Banh Mi Cha Ca stall along a particular street but the address given was wrong. So we just walk along the street and spotted this lady selling Banh Mi Cha Ca at a corner. We were not sure if this was the recommended Banh Mi stall but her Banh Mi was so good! It only costs 15,000 VND for a Banh Mi. It is sort of like a sandwich stuffed with vegetables, herbs and fishcake.
There were also several dessert stalls selling Korean desserts so we decided to head in one to try. Man, it was so good as well!
Our last destination was the White Palace (Bach Dinh or Valla Blanche). This palace, which is perched 50 metres up the mountain, was built as a retreat for French Governor General Paul Doumer at the beginning of the twentieth century. It is a good vantage point where you can enjoy a wonderful view of the coast. Unlike Robert Taylor Museum, the White Palace doesn’t display many artefacts. It houses items found during a shipwreck and on the second floor, there are old furniture which are left from the previous generation of the house owner.
The colonial building itself works out as a great photography and we spotted a Vietnamese couple taking wedding photos there.
What’s inside the palace?
By that time, it was already 5 pm and we decided to head back to our hotel to swim and exercise. We are leaving the hotel early next morning!
Pullman Vung Tau served decent breakfast here and we had Vietnamese noodle soup for breakfast. Our hotel also helped us book a private minivan which brought us directly to Tan Son Nhat Airport in Ho Chi Minh City, It was way cheaper than taking the hydrofoil. It took use about 2 hours to get there and the driver would make a pitstop for us to make a trip to the toilet. The transport company is called Phat Locan.
It was definitely worth heading over to Vung Tau for a short trip and I really hope to come back to visit the rest of Vietnam soon!
Watch my travel vlog right below!