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- 20 Feb 2020, 3 nights
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Once a thriving trade port, Vũng Tàu is now a lively holiday spot favoured by Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC) residents for its relaxed beaches and delicious seafood. Set on a peninsula, this city is the place for swimming, kitesurfing and hiking. There are also a handful of markets where you can pick up bargains and graze on tasty snacks like Vũng Tàu's specialty seaside pancake, bánh khọt.
Most Vũng Tàu hostels have free Wi-Fi and some offer free breakfast with Vietnamese coffee. You can stay in a cool Vũng Tàu hostel filled with plants and aquariums, a place that's right by the beach with free bicycles or a central location with oak beds and an outdoor terrace. Some options have female-only dorms and private rooms and many have air con to keep you cool during those tropical nights.
Vũng Tàu has sandy beaches and busy city neighbourhoods to explore. The boardwalk in Bai Sau ('Back Beach') is ideal for a sunset wander and the area has plenty of places to sample local seafood. Around 49km away you'll find Ho Coc Beach, with a 5km stretch of white sand and clear water for swimming. Vũng Tàu's centre is home to wide avenues lined with grand colonial buildings and the bustle of the city's largest food and handicrafts market.
Vũng Tàu's sights include its two peaks: Small Mountain and Big Mountain. Head up 847 steps to the top of Small Mountain to see the iconic white statue of Jesus Christ, soaring 36 metres into the sky. A cable car from Front Beach is an easy way to get to the top of Big Mountain. Here you'll find more stunning vistas and Hồ Mây Culture and Ecotourism Park, which has thrilling rides, statues and gardens. You'll find excellent fresh seafood all over Vũng Tàu, whether it's cooked in front of you in the marketplace or served at a beachside restaurant.
To get to Vũng Tàu from HCMC, you can take a 2.5-hour trip on an orange Futa Phuong Trang bus. A minibus from Mien Dong Bus Station in HCMC takes around 90 minutes and driving or a taxi from HCMC takes just under 90 minutes. You can also travel by boat from HCMC. Via hydrofoil it's around 90 minutes (try and book ahead at weekends). It's easy to hire bicycles and motorcycles for getting around, or you can take a metered taxi.