With sunny beaches to visit and exotic dishes to taste, Vung Tau makes for the perfect weekend away from the bustling Ho Chi Minh City. With it being only a two-hour boat ride away from HCMC, you will be able to fit this ideal sea city into your Vietnam itinerary.
Throughout Vung Tau you will find a variety of spas and massage parlours. The particular one that I went to had a steam bath with scented oils and fresh fruit for my tasting. There are different versions of massages you can choose from including back massage, foot massage, and so forth.
Side note: In Vietnam, a tip is expected at the end of a massage. For a typical massage, you would tip 100,00-150,000 VND. At upscale spas you are expected to tip a minimum of 200,000 VND. For some masseuses these tips are all that they make at the end of the day, so do try to be generous.
TRY BANH KHOT
Bánh khọt are decadent mini rice flour pancakes deep fried and topped with shrimp and fresh vegetables. On the side you will find a sweet and tangy dipping sauce called nước mắm, which translates to fish sauce. Some choose to eat the dish with a fork, others treat it as finger food. Regardless of how you eat, you will find Bánh khọt to be a refreshing and delicious meal. Bánh khọt can be found in cluster restaurants throughout the town. Keep an eye out for the name!
SWIM AT BACK BEACH
Compared to its neighbor Front Beach, Back Beach is the cleaner of the two. It offers the whole seaside experience with beach chairs, smoothie shops and plenty of sun (don’t forget to lotion up!) Surprisingly, there are far more locals than expats in Vung Tau, so it is a nice experience to see the locals interact with family and friends.
Side note: You can easily tell who is vacationing together on this beach since couples and family members tend to wear matching fruit t-shirts and shorts such as pineapple, watermelon and banana!
SIGHT SEE AT FRONT BEACH
Although Front Beach is less ideal for swimming, it still has a lot to offer visitors. Here, you will find far more restaurants, cafes and shops. In summary, if you’re looking to spend your day beach bumming and getting a tan, then Back Beach is for you. If you’re looking for a little more adventure and sightseeing, then you will probably be content with Front Beach.
VISIT THE SEAFOOD MARKET
If you’re not pinching pennies and you’ve got a love for seafood like I do, then you may wanna check out the seafood market. From 5 to 10:30pm, you can pay a visit to satisfy your shellfish cravings. You can choose from fresh lobsters, crabs and other shellfish to be prepared and cooked in front of you. Popular seafood markets include Ben Dinh Seafood Market and Vung Tau Night Seafood Market.
SEE THE JESUS CHRIST’S STATUE
Heads up, if you want to see Vung Tau’s version of the Jesus Christ’s Statue, then you will have to hike up the 800 steps to the top. Although the walk up may be challenging, I guarantee you that the view overlooking Vung Tau’s beautiful blue landscape is worth it. The statue is closed between 11.15-13.30 every day, so make sure to schedule your visit before after this time. If you plan on going inside the statue, you will have to dress respectively.
In summary, this short guide is based on my weekend in Vung Tau. If you’re making your way through Vietnam and you’ve got the spare time, I’d recommend checking out Vung Tau as it is a really lovely sea city. The people are friendly, the seafood is tasty, and the sites are stunning. Let me know in the comments if you have any Vung Tau recommendations!