Vũng Tàu's beaches are not the most stunning in Vietnam. Beach-goers often opt to stay at resorts in Long Hải, an even sleepier, more local seaside town, or Hồ Tràm, which is home to a high-end resort casino and Greg Norman-designed golf course.
Vung Tau’s famous Jesus Christ statue was built in 1974, and stands at 32 metres tall. You’ll need to cover about 800 steps up the headland to reach the feet of the statue, plus another 100 steps to its shoulders. Prepare for a steep climb, as well as amazing views from the top.
A short ride from the city, Ben Dinh is populated almost entirely with fishermen and their families. Bright, multi-coloured boats are moored by the beach and the catch is hauled in every morning before sunrise and sorted on the sand. In summer, the locals lay their fish out on nets to dry in the sun. Visitors can walk among the fishing boats, watch the morning’s catch being brought in, and buy fresh seafood to cook later.
Vung Tau is known for its wide range of mouthwatering dishes made with fresh, local ingredients. Try a fragrant, steaming hot pot of stingray and baby bamboo shoots; or crispy bánh khọt, a mini-pancake made of flour and curry powder, topped with fresh squid or shrimp, green onion and shrimp powder. Each piece is wrapped in lettuce and fresh herbs, then dipped into a mix of fish sauce, papaya and chili.
It’s only a 30-minute trek to the summit of Big Mountain, where you’ll have a panoramic view of Vung Tau city and the coastline. Along the way, stop by Villa Blanche for a quick tour. This colonial mansion was built in the late 1800s as a home for the district’s French governor. Today, Villa Blanche is a quiet museum displaying local and cultural artifacts.
Hon Ba is a miniature island off the end of Back Beach that can only be accessed at low tide. Make your way across the rocks and pebbles to the other side, where you can explore the beach for shells, or wander up to see the shrines at Mieu Ba temple, dedicated to the patroness of sailors and fishermen.