Hello Saigon Series: Sunday Visit to Vung Tau

6:58 PM

Since most of my colleagues are not first-timers in Vietnam, we decided to visit Vung Tau to make the trip different than their previous trips. Our student volunteers suggested we book a day tour with Saigon Tours. The trip was $30 per head inclusive of all entrance fees, lunch, gas, and tour guide. I must say it was worth it.
We had the van pick us up at around 8:30am in the morning. At that time we were already staying at Saigon Hotel near Hotel Sheraton. We slept most of the way over to Vung Tau because we had a Saturday night out. I woke up hearing our tour guide said we’re almost at Vung Tau.

Vung Tau is the nearest beach to Ho Chi Minh City. It takes around two hours to get there. It has a long stretch of shoreline with restaurants at every part of the beach. We were all excited to swim at Vietnam waters however all I did was take pictures at the beach. The beach was too crowded for my taste. Vietnamese people were playing soccer on the beach, something you won’t see here in the Philippines. They have these seats at the beach which you can pay around 2 dollars for the stay.


People everywhere


We had our lunch at Con So Van as reserved by our tour guide. This restaurant has one of the tastiest calamares I had. We also had grouper, which seems to be a popular meal in Vietnam. The grouper is served on a silver plate on top of a stove. The fire is opened and we have to wait before we can cut it in the middle to eat. I don’t really like the taste of grouper. Milkfish is better in my opinion.

I could eat this all day

Grouper 

After lunch we had to proceed to the statue of Jesus. We lost count of how many steps it took to reach the top. All I know is we had more than five stops on our way. It was really tiring but seeing the view below makes it worth it. I bought souvenirs of the Jesus statue and the Mary statue that was at the other side of the mountain.

The team on our way to the Jesus statue

Half-way the climb
Finally reached the statue

After the Jesus statue, we visited a pagoda in Vung Tau. Apparently the different images of Buddha signify a stage in time – there is a past, present, future, and nirvana Buddha. The one lying is the Nirvana Buddha. I finally saw a monk and even took a picture with him.



After that we headed home. We slept again for most of the trip. The road back was not smooth due to road constructions. It took more or less another two and a half hours to get back to Saigon Hotel. The trip was quite tiring but at least we got out of HCMC even for a day.

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