The subtropical coastal city of Vung Tau invites guests to its warm weather oceanfront attractions. There are an array of fun things to do from surfing to hiking up to the iconic statue.
Vung Tau is a Vietnamese port city located just 100 km south-east of Saigon in Southern Vietnam. This lively city has salty but fresh ocean air, sandy beaches, fun coastal activities, and scrumptious seafood— all of which make this an idyllic weekend destination for both local and foreign tourists.
Vung Tau’s best things to do
Because of it’s a 3 hour drive from Ho Chi Minh City, aka Saigon, foreigners and locals alike flock here from the southern metropolis. There are nice enough beaches and plenty of lovely sights to see, which make it a perfect weekend trip. There are also numerous five star hotels in Vung Tau, to ensure a luxurious vacation if that’s what you’re after.
Here are the best tourist activities in Vung Tau, Vietnam, in no particular order:
1. Visit the Front Beach
The Front Beach (Bai Truoc), Vung Tau’s most renowned beach, is located in the heart of the city. The beach is surrounded by skyscrapers and the busy metropolitan, commercial areas of Vung Tau. The water is quite polluted at this beach due to its prime location and the heavy flow of tourists, so we would not recommend this beach for swimming.
However, it is the ideal beach for early morning walks, watching the sunrise and the sunset with a foreground of boats on the water surface, and for simply studying the busy locals. Plus, this beach offers a nice statue park and playground and loads of places to eat. You also get easy access to a lot of hotels adjacent to the beach.
2. Visit the Back Beach
The Back Beach is home to calm and gentle waters and is a favorite tourist spot. It also has many eateries, restaurants, and hotels. The wind swells that surround this beach make it the perfect spot for surfing and kite-boarding. In fact, over the years, a lot of kite-surfing shops have cropped up on this beach, providing kite-boarding lessons and rental equipment.
You can have fresh seafood from stalls and eateries in the area, but remember to bargain as the vendors tend to fool tourists with high prices. It is also a much cleaner beach with cleaner water than the Front beach. It is definitely a great beach for swimming as well. Plus, there are many walkways for strolling around on the beach.
3. Visit the Pineapple Beach
This beach gets its unusual name from the wild pineapple trees spread all along the shore. The water is much cleaner on this rocky beach than the other shores. Pineapple Beach is a tourist favorite spot because of the rock formations that run all along the water’s edge, creating small, hidden and idyllic spots on the beach. It’s also a favorite amongst locals for swimming because of its clean and calm ocean water and gorgeous sunsets.
4. Marvel at the Jesus Christ Statue
Every time a giant Jesus statue is mentioned, the first place that comes to mind is Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, which is home to the giant Christ statue. However, Vung Tau has its very own Christ statue – built in 1975 – which you can view in its entire splendor. Sitting at the top of the Nui Nho Mountain, the 32 meter high statue overshadows the city from a clear distance. The white statue looks especially resplendent at sunrise.
The hike to the statue takes over 800 steps, but in the end, you are rewarded with amazing, picturesque views of the coastline. Tourists can also head inside the statue and view the city from over the statue’s shoulder. However, appropriate dressing is required for entry inside the statue.
Address: 01, Thanh Pho Vung Tau, Ba Rịa, Vung Tau
5. Hike to the Vung Tau Lighthouse
This lighthouse is believed to rank high amongst the most ancient lighthouses in Vietnam. It sits at the top of the Nui Nho Mountain—opposite to the Jesus statue— and was constructed in 1862 by the French. The white lighthouse was remodeled in 1913 to show the way to trade ships and boats searching for the coastline at night.
To reach the lighthouse, you can simply walk on the gorgeous snaking road or rent out a bike or car to. You can even visit it at night and take in the magnificent night view of Vung Tau! Plus, the road itself offers breathtaking views of the city shoreline and the sweet fragrance of blossoming Plumeria.
You should definitely try out the deliciously refreshing Co Tien yogurt available on the slant close to the lighthouse!
Address: Nui Nho, Phuong 2, Thanh Pho Vung Tau, Ba Rịa, Vung Tau
6. Explore Vung Tau’s Ecotourism Park
The Ho May Ecotourism Park, situated at a height of about 250 meters above sea level, offers a fresh, clean, and cool breeze to the visitors. It is the ideal spot for relaxing picnics and sightseeing adventures. The park is home to a variety of landscapes as well as wide ranging tours – ecological, spiritual, and entertainment, to name a few. This park is a favorite amongst both local and foreign tourists, especially those with kids.
The park is based at the top of a hill, and you can get to it via cable car. There is an entrance fee of approximately USD $20, which includes the cable car ride and unrestricted access to all the rides in the adventure park! Visit this place with your closest friends and have fun on rollercoaster rides, bumper cars and go karts. You can also play water games and paintball and try your hand at archery.
Address: 1A Tran Phu Street, Ward 1, Vung Tau 790000
7. Have Fun at the Upside Down House
This eccentric coffee shop is a 3 story building that offers excellent service and loads of fun. If you want to take funny and memorable pictures on your trip to Vung Tau and have an amazing time, then do head over to this quirky place.
The concept of the house is pretty simple; everything is upside down! The furniture, walls, floors, and ceilings are all upside down. What does that mean? You get to walk on the ceiling instead of the floor. It definitely makes for a fun experience and allows you to view the world differently.
The staff is pretty cooperative, often pitching useful suggestions. They will even offer to take amazing pictures for you at the Upside Down House. There are 7 quirky rooms where you can take pictures to your heart’s content.
Address: 66 Co Giang, Phuong 4, Thanh Pho Vung Tau, Ba Rịa, Vung Tau
8. Treat Yourself with Local Delectable Food
Vung Tau is known for its delicious seafood. Banh Khot, a tiny round pancake topped with seafood, is amongst Vung Tau’s food specialties and is a massive crowd attractor. In fact, a lot of local tourists travel to Vung Tau for this seafood pancake! The best available adaptation of this treat can be found in Quan Banh Khot Goc Vu Sua, a small eatery in Vung Tau.
If you are visiting Vung Tau, then you must try out their snails. The best snails prepared in various forms are served at Natural snail 2. The prices are also quite reasonable.
9. Visit Vung Tau’s Seafood Markets
Cho Hai San is Vung tau’s biggest market. You can visit this market for a vast variety of fresh seafood caught that very day and cooked on demand.
Tran Phu is another local fish market situated on the outskirts of Vung Tau. But if you want to see true seafood galore, then head to Zon Luoi. This place is heaven for seafood lovers. The seafood there is much cheaper than the ones available at restaurants. You can buy fresh shrimps, fishes, squids, snails, and octopus at this market.
Several of the stalls offer seafood seasoning, sauces, and stuffing that you can buy along with the freshly caught seafood. You can also bring raw seafood with you to some of the stalls and the vendors will cook it for you!
Address for Xom Luoi Market: Nguyen Cong Tru, Phuong 1, Thanh Pho Vung Tau, Ba Rịa, Vung Tau
10. Head to Pig Hill
Rent a motorbike and head out to Piggy Hill, aka Doi Con Heo. It’s an apparently bare hill, but it offers some of the most striking, panoramic views of the coastal city. You get to view the gorgeous horizons, and it offers you a bird’s-eye view of the Hon Ba Island.
The slope that gets you to the top of the hill is gravelly and slippery, so you need to drive carefully or hire a driver to take you to this heavenly place. You can also just walk up the 50 meter slope. While at the top take pretty pictures with striking background views or simply rest up and wait for the sunrise or sunset views. The landscape of the city and ocean is spectacular from atop. However, make sure to go before dark since there is no light in the area.
Address: Alley 222 Phan Chu Trinh, Ward 2, Vung Tau
The city of Vung Tau offers a lot more in the form of the whale temple, the Robert Taylor Museum of Worldwide Arms, and the White Palace! So, what are you waiting for? Head over to Vung Tau for a magical and beach-filled weekend getaway!