November 16th, 2007 – by: nwintarti
The Opening of Imperial Plaza
Vung Tau is a town nearby Ho Chi Minh City. Located in the Baria province, this town is important economically to Vietnam as this is an oil related town, a town that booming because of the oil industry. Maybe like Aberdeen in Scotland or Midland in Texas. In the company that I work for, we got incentive everytime we are being transferred to work in a small town with "fair" (unluxury) facilities. And for that, Vung Tau is categorized as the "not so favorite" location compared to the other available nearby location (Ho Chi Minh, Bangkok or Kuala Lumpur) in my company.
But actually today, Vung Tau has different face compared to many years ago when the oil industry just started here.
Even if we compare it to 5 years ago, the time where there isn't even any ATM (the money machine) in the country, Vung Tau nowadays is completely differents. With back beach (It also has front sea, but the beach has changed to a ferry jetty and man made park) full of people renting lazy chairs to sunbath or simply watching locals playing football, the town become more than a new attraction to local tourist.
1-1/2 hours by ferry from Ho Chi Minh City (or 2-1/2 hours by car), we can enjoy the beach and seafood restaurants. The restaurants here is amazing, and the price of seafood is much much much less compared to the one in Ho Chi Minh. One kilo of clamp for example, only cost one dollar. Beside the beach, along the main street in town (plus not so "main" street), there are lots of bars, like in Pattaya but bit less wild from outside (don't ask me about the inner side.
Jesus Statue from a distance
.. :p ). The best seafood restaurant is at the end of the road along the beach called Tran Phu. There are three of them at the end of the road, and all of them is just by the sea, so you can hear the sound of the wave while enjoying a candle light dinner (or lunch)...even sometime you got the wave on you hahahaha (only a little bit). The 3 restaurants are Ganh Hao, Binh An and Bamboo, all close to each other, Ganh Hao (with best food in the menu is grilled chopped oyster) is the cheapest among the 3 while Binh An is the most expensive due to its service and presentation, but from quality (taste) point of view - the whole 3 are the same.
Beside the beach, the town also has a Jesus statue, Mary statue and a light house on top of the hills (there are three main hills in Vung Tau...friend of my called them mountain.
View of Vung Tau from the light house
..what's the difference? don't ask me!). The way up to the statue(both statue) is pffffhhhh (i'm no athlete). You can only take taxi or motorbike to its parking space and then you need to climb around 2000 steps of stair, especially when you want to reach the top where they have cross above the Mary statue. The light house is bit better since you can drive over there. Once (actually the first and the last of my visit to the light house), I took a taxi to go up there and when i finished taking picture, the taxi already left...and there's nobody there...so i have to walk down. I feel like asking one of the local to carry me down.
And for all my friends who feel jealous on me because my posting on work is in Ho Chi Minh with a regular "once a week" visit to Vung Tau, not like them who has been posted to stay in Vung Tau, now you don't need to be jealous of me anymore.
with Mary statue on the background
Especially because most of the reasons my friends put forward is the difficulties to buy things you need. Since 27th of October 2007, the local government has open a mall called Imperial Mall which enable them to shop anything just like in Ho Chi Minh. And today was actually my first stopover to the mall, and we went up to the roof top, where there is a restaurant and bar. The interior design of the restaurant is just nice, people coming here after shopping to have coffee (haven't seen anyone having dinner here yet). With artistic wooden floor and dim light, the place is just so romantic. Especially the sofa which was put on a small island of glass, with flowing water below the glass floor...so nice. They also have some rooms for private fucntion (dinner with 10 people or more).
So...if you are in Ho Chi Minh somehow, don't rush going to Da Lat or Nha Trang...have a shot to see Vung Tau.