It's a week after the first long weekend we had in Viet Nam.
Every year, from April 30 to May 3, we celebrate Vietnamese Reunification Day and Labor Day, which this year falls from Friday to Monday. There was a great opportunity to jump out of town somewhere nearby.
The pandemic situation in Viet Nam is under control. Single cases at the airports are immediately isolated. So we have relative freedom to travel around the country.
You are probably wondering what to do in Viet Nam when you have two or three days at your disposal and you live in the south, like me, in Sai Gon.
The natural choice in this case is the coast, which is located about 70 km from Sai Gon and is connected by a decent network of land and water connections.
It's basically a natural destination for Sai Gon people, even on short weekends. For a simple reason. We have a very good water connection between Sai Gon and Vung Tau.
And this place will be the destination of my weekend trip, from which I will share a few impressions.
The south of Viet Nam, apart from the Mekong Delta, of course, also offers very nice beaches.
Depending on the mode of transport you choose, the availability of the beaches is between one and two and a half hours from the center of Sai Gon.
You can choose the island of Phu Quoc, which is within 45 minutes by plane and lies in the west of the Peninsula, bordering directly with Thailand. You can drive to Vung Tau or Ho Tram, both of which offer long, wide sandy beaches.
You can also reach both places by water.
For me, the choice is obvious. To avoid traffic jams on the way to and from Vung Tau, a hydrofoil trip is the natural and surest way to reach the beach.
I would compare it to the situation that took place, and I hope it still has, in the Szczecin-Świnoujście connection, where you can reach the most beautiful sandy beaches on the Baltic Sea in an hour and a half by hydrofoil.
So I choose a hydrofoil trip, which will take 2.5 hours and will lead through the Sai Gon River, then through the Long Tau River and then through the East Viet Nam Sea Bay.
The Maritime Station, according to the Polish nomenclature, or simply the ferry terminal as we call it in the local language, is right in the center to Sai Gon. Right next to one of the most famous Liberty Central River Side hotels, close to the Ho Chi Minh Museum and the main walking avenue leading to the City Hall building.
Tickets can be purchased online or at the customer service office located right next to the marina.
The route is operated by Greenlines DP. A company that offers hydrofoil transport to Vung Tau, from which you can also move in a similar way to the island of Con Dao, the second most beautiful island of Viet Nam.
I recommend online shopping. The website is in English, tickets will be sent via e-mail. Everything quickly and conveniently. In the event of a mistake or need to correct, you can call the hotline. They will be happy to help you change your departure date or seat.
A return ticket costs VND 540,000, which is about 20 USD per adult. Of course, driving your own car is cheaper. We cover the cost of fuel for a distance of approximately 150 km, which is probably only 15-20 liter of fuel, which is very cheap in Viet Nam. It costs 0,8 USD per liter of gasoline. However, considering the traffic jams on the road, hydrofoil travel is much more comfortable. 5-6 hour traffic jams are avoided, especially on the way back to Sai Gon.
As already mentioned, the journey to Vung Tau takes about two and a half hours. The route runs along the Sai Gon River at the beginning. So there is an opportunity to see the city from the water, watch the bridges being built, swim under the largest road bridge in the city, which connects District 7 with District 9. It is also an opportunity to observe many reloading quays, where large container ships are handled. Soon after leaving the city, we enter the Long Tau River, where we will sail along the mangrove forests. This is another opportunity to see what the structure of the forest looks like, where the roots stick out of the water. These forests are unlike those you see in Poland on a daily basis.
We pass dozens of small fishing boats that are used by entire families. The traffic on the river is quite big. This is due to the large container ships sailing to and from the port of Saigon. In addition, bulk carriers of various sizes that transport rice, metal ores and many other loose materials.
The pushers or tugs that handle huge barges full of gravel, which flows straight to Singapore, are an invaluable building material here.
I did not expect that while wandering through the countries of Southeast Asia, I would see so often how much depends on having construction gravel. Without it, practically all of Singapore's development would be impossible. I don't know if you know, but there is a sand war between Malaysia and Singapore right now. Malaysia suspends the supplies of this raw material, which is strategic for the development of the city-state. So Singapore is looking for gravel suppliers in the area and Vietnam is the closest natural area. Who would have thought that construction gravel would be so valuable.
The journey is quick and pleasant. A breeze of the sea breeze, rolling waves, amazing views overboard. There is also a bar on board the ferry. So you can buy cooling drinks, ice cream and even the famous Vietnamese soups - Vifon.
It is also an opportunity to take some interesting photos or short video clips.
After about 2 hours of fast cruise, we pass Monkey Island - the island of monkeys, which is also one of the islands in the Sai Gon area accessible to cars and motorbikes. You can get here from District 7 by taking the ferry to the other side of the river. After about 50 km we reach the island where there are also very nice beaches. I am planning a trip to this place soon.
Right after passing the island, we enter the East Viet Nam Sea Bay, which offers a beautiful view of the hills surrounding our destination town - Vung Tau.
We reach the marina, which is located in the southwestern part of the peninsula, right next to the valley station of the Vung Tau Cable Car, connecting the beaches with one of the local attractions, which is a water amusement park located on the nearby hills.
There is a wide availability of taxis near the marina. You can also order Grab transport or use city buses.
It all depends on where you ordered your accommodation. If you are in the south-west of the city then you can walk. If you are in the Northeast, you have to move by taxi. The cost ranges from 60,000 to 100,000 VND per course.
Accommodation offer in this area is really impressive, you have five-star hotels with an overnight price of $ 300-500 per night, but also hotels that cost you no more than $ 15 per night.
It all depends on the size of the wallet and, of course, individual preferences
If it's a weekend getaway, I recommend one of the many hotels run by the local community.
Almost every house near the beach is a small hotel offering accommodation in double or shared rooms. These are not front line beach hotels. Most often in the second, but generally still accessible, a five-minute walk from the hotel to the beach.
If you like sunbathing, this is the best place for you. Inexpensive and within a few minutes walk to the sea.
If you like stays in typical holiday resorts, I recommend Ho Tram.
It is a place north of the center of Vung Tau, which offers closed holiday resorts with bungalows or in comfortable multi-storey buildings. From color to choose whoever prefers. The only downside to this location is that it is remote from the city and if you like evening walks from bar to bar you will miss it.
So I take a taxi to the hotel in the center of Vung Tau. On the second row of streets, of course. Inexpensive and at the same time close to the beach, restaurants and also close to local attractions.
If it is hot, it is mainly the beach and seafood. It is for the latter that the inhabitants of Sai Gon go to this region.
It is worth taking this into account, especially if you are not a seafood fan. Why?
Well, most of the restaurants and bars in the area base their menu almost exclusively on seafood. Sometimes they add rice to their offer in a variety of flavor configurations. This is with garlic and this is with vegetables. It is difficult to find a restaurant that offers typical Western dishes such as chicken, pork or beef. Take this into account when going to Vung Tau.
However, if you are a seafood lover, this is the place for you. The number of dishes made of snails, shrimps, fish, squid and octopus is impressive.
The beaches of Vung Tau are wide, sandy, punctuated by rocky peninsulas, which are attractions in themselves and are worth visiting to, for example, spend an hour or two watching the wonderful sunsets.
The water in the sea is very warm, the waves are high and have strong countercurrents, so be careful when you bathe or swim so that you do not get carried away by the wave.
After 7 p.m. the beaches are empty. Lifeguards leave their place and sunbathers are called by loudspeakers to leave the water. Late in the evening and at night, you can walk on the beach, but in this arrangement at your own risk.
So what to do with time apart from sunbathing? Take a walk, no doubt. Besides, there are four volatile attractions worth visiting. This is just enough to take two days in Vung Tau:
Of course, local cuisine, you can eat or buy only in Vung Tau - Banh Khot fried pancakes and cookies baked on an open fire - Banh Bong Lan.
But about all this in the next article. Be watchful!
Xin cam on Anchorage!
(translated name of Vung Tau)
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