Vung Tau drones with bass-thumping action on the weekends as visitors from HCMC motor into town; weekdays, however, are blissfully dead. Vung Tau’s beaches are easily reached from HCMC, making them a favourite of that city’s residents since French colonists first began coming here around 1890.
Known under the French as Cap St Jacques – so-named by Portuguese mariners in honour of their patron saint – Vung Tau is a commercialised beach resort on a peninsula jutting into the South China Sea, about 128km southeast of HCMC (via Bien Hoa). The business of oil-drilling here means the azure horizon is marred by frequent oil tankers, and the population flecked with joy-seeking expats.
Getting there & away
From Mien Dong bus station in HCMC, air-con minibuses (25, 000d, two hours, 128km) leave for Vung Tau throughout the day until around 4.30pm. From Vung Tau’s bus station (192A Ð Nam Ky Khoi Nghia) to Mulberry Beach or Back Beach, a xe om should cost around 10, 000d.
Should convenience outweigh cost, catch a Petro Express hydrofoil (HCMC 08-821 0650, Vung Tau 816 308) to Vung Tau (120, 000d, 90 minutes) at Bach Dang jetty in HCMC. Boats leave roughly two hours starting at 6.30am, but check in HCMC for the latest schedule. In Vung Tau the boat leaves from Cau Da pier, opposite the Hai Au Hotel.
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