Beautiful Gems of Vietnam: Vũng Tàu Top Attractions

Vũng Tàu is a coastal city located in southern Vietnam, approximately 125 km from Ho Chi Minh City. Known for its beautiful beaches, lively seafront promenade, and rich cultural heritage, Vũng Tàu has become a popular tourist destination for both domestic and international travelers.

Originally a small fishing village, Vũng Tàu's strategic location on the East Sea (South China Sea) made it an important port during the French colonial era. The city's name translates to "Anchor Cape," reflecting its significance as a maritime hub. Today, remnants of its colonial past can be seen in the architecture and landmarks scattered throughout the city.

Aside from its historical charm, Vũng Tàu's main draw is its stunning natural scenery. The city boasts a long stretch of sandy beaches, including the famous Front Beach, which is lined with restaurants, bars, and hotels. Visitors can also explore the nearby mountains and islands, offering opportunities for hiking, water sports, and island-hopping adventures.

With its unique blend of natural beauty, cultural richness, and vibrant coastal atmosphere, Vũng Tàu has become a beloved destination for travellers seeking a taste of Vietnam's coastal charm.

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Top Things to Do in Vũng Tàu
Beautiful Gems of Vietnam: Vũng Tàu Top Attractions

Beautiful Gems of Vietnam: Vũng Tàu Top Attractions

Vũng Tàu Front Beach

Vũng Tàu's main attraction is undoubtedly its picturesque Front Beach, a long stretch of golden sand hugging the city's coastline. This lively beach area is the perfect place to soak up the sun, take a refreshing dip in the inviting waters, or simply stroll along the promenade and admire the stunning ocean views.

Front Beach boasts a wide expanse of sand, ideal for sunbathing and beach games. The gentle waves make it a great spot for swimming, especially for families with children. Visitors can rent sun loungers and umbrellas for a relaxing day by the shore.

Along the beachfront, you'll find a variety of dining options, from casual eateries serving fresh seafood and Vietnamese delicacies to upscale restaurants with ocean-view terraces. Grab a refreshing coconut or indulge in a delicious banh mi (Vietnamese sandwich) from one of the many street food vendors.

As the sun sets, Front Beach transforms into a vibrant nightlife hub, with bars and clubs offering live music, entertainment, and a lively atmosphere. Stroll along the promenade, take in the cool sea breeze, and enjoy the bustling energy of this coastal paradise.

Vũng Tàu Front Beach
A stunning view of Vũng Tàu Front Beach, where golden sands meet the crystal-clear waters of the South China Sea, framed by lush green hills and bustling city life in the distance.

Christ of Vũng Tàu

There are a few impressive statues in Vũng Tàu that you wouldn't have imagined existed. The most famous one is the 32-metre high Jesus Christ statue with outstretched arms, which is said to be one of the tallest statue of Jesus in the world. Such a beautiful sight and spot obviously takes effort to get to. The statue stands on the top of the 170-meter-tall Nho Mount facing the Eastern Sea, and it takes 30-minutes of climbing on concrete stairs to get to the feet. Fret not, because you can take frequent stops to enjoy the breath-taking panoramic view of the expansive sea on your way up.

Once you are there, you can choose to climb the 129-step spiral staircase in the hollow interior of the statue to get to the arms, which were cleverly designed as balconies so up to six people can fit in to enjoy the aerial view at each side.

At the base of the statue, there is a spacious viewing platform where you can admire the intricate details of the sculpture up close. The Christ statue is depicted with arms outstretched, welcoming visitors to the coastal city. The surrounding gardens and religious shrines add to the serene atmosphere.

For the best views and photo opportunities, time your visit for either sunrise or sunset when the golden light casts a warm glow over the statue and landscape. The Christ of Vũng Tàu is an unmissable sight and a must-visit for any traveller to this beach destination.

Christ of Vung Tau
The Christ of Vũng Tàu in Vietnam is the top attraction here.
Vung Tau sunset
Catch the beautiful sunset from the top of Nho Mountain in Vung Tau, Vietnam

Núi Nhỏ Small Mountain

Vũng Tàu's Small Mountain, known locally as Núi Nhỏ, offers a rewarding hike with breathtaking panoramic views over the city and coastline. The 147-meter tall mountain features well-marked trails winding through lush greenery, making it an accessible outdoor adventure for most fitness levels.

The hike to the summit takes around 30-45 minutes at a leisurely pace, with periodic stops to take in the scenery. Along the way, you'll pass by interesting rock formations, hidden caves, and even a small Buddhist shrine. Bring water and wear proper footwear, as some sections can be steep and slippery, especially after rain.

Upon reaching the peak, you'll be rewarded with sweeping vistas of Vũng Tàu's skyline, the winding coastline, and the shimmering waters of the East Sea. On a clear day, you can even spot the towering Christ of Vũng Tàu statue in the distance. The summit offers several viewing platforms and seating areas where you can catch your breath and soak in the scenic beauty.

For the adventurous, there are more challenging hiking trails that traverse the mountain's ridges and offer even more dramatic viewpoints. However, these require more experience and preparation. Overall, hiking Small Mountain is a must-do activity for nature lovers and those seeking a unique perspective of Vũng Tàu's charms.

Núi Nhỏ Vũng Tàu
A breathtaking shot of Núi Nhỏ (Small Mountain) in Vũng Tàu, Vietnam, showcasing its lush greenery and the iconic Lighthouse perched at the summit. This scenic spot offers panoramic views of the city and coastline, making it a must-visit for nature lovers and photographers alike.

Island Hopping

The coastal city of Vũng Tàu is a gateway to a breathtaking archipelago of islands dotting the East Sea. Island hopping is a must-do activity for any visitor, offering a chance to escape the mainland and immerse yourself in the region's stunning natural beauty.

One of the most popular destinations is Hòn Bà, a picturesque island known for its pristine beaches, crystal-clear waters, and vibrant coral reefs. Snorkeling and diving excursions allow you to explore the underwater world teeming with colorful marine life. Hòn Bà also boasts several hiking trails that wind through lush vegetation, leading to viewpoints with panoramic vistas of the surrounding islands.

Another highlight is Hòn Nghệ, a small island with a unique charm. Here, you can relax on the white sandy beaches, indulge in fresh seafood at local restaurants, and even try your hand at squid fishing – a popular local pastime. Adventurous travelers can also explore the island's hidden caves and rock formations.

For those seeking a more secluded experience, Hòn Tre and Hòn Tằm are perfect choices. These relatively untouched islands offer tranquil beaches, crystal-clear waters for snorkelling, and opportunities for hiking and picnicking amidst the natural surroundings.

Numerous boat tours operate from Vũng Tàu, catering to different interests and budgets. Whether you prefer a leisurely day trip or an overnight camping adventure, there's an option for everyone. Many tours combine island hopping with other activities like fishing, kayaking, or even visiting traditional fishing villages for a truly immersive cultural experience.

Vung Tau Hakka Thien Hau Temple

Thien Hau Pagoda is a captivating Buddhist temple that offers a glimpse into Vietnam's rich cultural heritage. Nestled in the heart of Vũng Tàu, this pagoda is a revered spiritual sanctuary that has been a beacon of peace and tranquillity for centuries.

The pagoda's architecture is a stunning blend of Chinese and Vietnamese influences, with intricate carvings and vibrant colours adorning every inch of its structure. As you step through the ornate gates, you'll be greeted by a serene courtyard adorned with towering incense coils and fragrant flowers.

At the heart of the pagoda lies the main hall, where a magnificent statue of the Goddess Thien Hau takes centre stage. This deity is believed to protect seafarers and is deeply revered by the local fishing community. The air is thick with the aroma of incense and the soft chanting of prayers, creating an atmosphere of profound reverence.

Visitors are welcome to light incense sticks and offer prayers, while taking in the intricate details of the temple's decorations. Colourful frescoes and intricate wood carvings depict scenes from Buddhist folklore, while the ceiling is adorned with elaborate dragons and phoenixes.

Beyond the main hall, you'll find tranquil gardens and smaller shrines, each with its own unique charm. Take a moment to sit on one of the benches and soak in the peaceful ambiance, letting the gentle sound of wind chimes and rustling leaves transport you to a state of serenity.

Thien Hau Pagoda is not just a religious site; it's a living embodiment of Vietnam's rich cultural tapestry, where ancient traditions and spiritual practices coexist in harmony. A visit to this sacred place is an opportunity to connect with the local heritage and gain a deeper appreciation for the country's diverse beliefs and customs.

Thien Hau Temple
At the Vung Tau Hakka Thien Hau Temple, you can pray, make a wish, or bless someone dear to you

Ho May Park

Perched atop Nui Lon, affectionately known as Big Mountain, Ho May Park in Vung Tau is a veritable treasure trove waiting to be explored by those who dare to venture beyond the conventional. As you ascend the mountain aboard the scenic cable car, a panorama unfolds before you, showcasing the brilliant blues of the sea against the vivid greens of the Vietnamese countryside—a prelude to the enchantment that awaits at the summit.

This unique amusement and cultural park is a delightful amalgamation of nature's splendour and human ingenuity, offering a multifaceted experience that caters to the whims and fancies of all visitors. From the rush of adrenaline-pumping rides that make your heart leap to serene nooks perfect for a moment of reflection, Ho May Park is a bastion of diversity. Yet, the excitement doesn't end with amusement alone; the park serves as a vibrant stage for the rich cultures of Vietnam. Here, you can immerse yourself in traditional performances that tell tales of the nation's soul or savour the plethora of culinary masterpieces that are a testament to the local's love affair with food.

Ho May Park vung tau
At the Ho May Park, you can hop onto the cable car and immerse yourself in traditional performances 

Whale Temples

Vũng Tàu is renowned for its unique whale worship traditions, and visiting the various whale temples is a must-do activity for any traveller. The coastal city has a long-standing history of venerating whales, which were once crucial to the local fishing industry.

One of the most iconic whale temples is the Cà Ná Whale Worshipping Temple, located in the heart of the city. This temple features intricate carvings and statues of whales, along with altars where locals make offerings and pray for bountiful catches. Visitors can witness the daily rituals and learn about the fascinating beliefs surrounding these marine mammals.

Another notable site is the Thạnh An Whale Worshipping House, a more modest yet equally captivating temple. Here, you'll find a collection of whale skeletons and jaw bones, which are believed to possess spiritual powers. Locals often come to seek blessings and guidance from these sacred remains.

For a more immersive experience, consider visiting during the annual Whale Worshipping Festival, typically held in the third lunar month. This vibrant celebration features colourful processions, traditional dances, and offerings made to the whale deities, providing a unique glimpse into the city's cultural heritage.

Most of the Vietnamese are religiously unaffiliated, but Buddhism is a fast-growing faith. Temples can be found scattered here and there, and can easily be spotted with the bright red paint and huge, multi-coloured dragon sculptures. Tips: It is always a nice gesture to make a donation (regardless of how small the amount is) when you are at a temple.
Vung Tau Whale Temple
The serene interior of a Whale Temple in Vũng Tàu, Vietnam, adorned with intricate decorations and sacred whale bones. These temples, deeply rooted in local folklore and fishing traditions, serve as places of worship and cultural heritage, reflecting the community's reverence for the sea and its creatures.
vung tau temples
There are many famous temples in Vũng Tàu, including the Whale Temple.

Seafood Restaurants in Vũng Tàu

Vũng Tàu is renowned for its fresh and delicious seafood, thanks to its prime coastal location. Visitors should make it a priority to indulge in the local seafood delicacies during their stay.

One of the best places to sample the local seafood is at the bustling seafood markets, where you can find an array of fresh catches straight from the fishing boats. The Vũng Tàu Fish Market is a must-visit, offering a vibrant atmosphere and a wide variety of seafood, including crabs, shrimps, lobsters, and an assortment of fish.

For a more upscale dining experience, head to one of the many seafood restaurants lining the beachfront. Some of the top-rated establishments include Ganh Hao, which serves up delectable seafood dishes in a charming beachside setting, and Quan Oc Loan, known for its exceptional grilled seafood and seafood hotpot.

When it comes to must-try dishes, the local specialty of banh khot, small savoury turmeric and coconut milk pancakes topped with shrimp and pork, is a must. Other popular choices include ca ngu sot chua ngot (sweet and sour fish), tom nuong muoi ot (grilled shrimp with salt and chilli), and goi ngo sen (lotus stem salad with shrimp and pork).

Best Food in Vung Tau
The best street food in Vũng Tàu may just be around the corner from your hotel

Vietnamese Coffee

There is absolutely no reason for you to stop drinking coffee as long as you are still on the grounds of Vietnam. You can find traditional Vietnamese coffee served with the Phin filter everywhere, from the side of the street to 5-star hotels. It could be the distinct, robust taste from the exquisitely-brewed coffee, or the pleasure of waiting for your drink to be ready with each drip - having coffee is just so gratifying here!

Vietnamese coffee phin
A perfectly brewed cup of Vietnamese coffee, its rich aroma wafting through the air. Served with a layer of sweetened condensed milk, this beloved beverage exemplifies Vietnam's unique coffee culture, offering a delightful balance of bold flavours and creamy sweetness.
vung tau food
Non-coffee lovers can opt for beer instead, which is dirt-cheap in this part of the world

Bach Dinh Museum

Vietnam has a long history of being ruled by foreign powers, and it is manifested in the building structures and food. Visiting a local museum would be an insightful experience as you will be able to learn about the influences of the Chinese and Western cultures, as well as the people's struggle for independence.

During our trip there, we've given Bạch Dinh (White Palace/Villa Blanche) a visit. It was built by the French and was used for many purposes and was resided by different people over the years. Today, it is used to exhibit antiques collected from Cau Islet-Con Dao, and broken Chinas salvaged from wrecked ships of distant traders from centuries ago.

vung tau museums
The museums & galleries in Vũng Tàu offer you a rare glimpse of its history

Vũng Tàu Food Tour

Vũng Tàu is a culinary paradise for seafood lovers, and taking a food tour is one of the best ways to experience the local cuisine. Local guides will lead you through the city's vibrant street food scene, introducing you to the most authentic and delicious dishes.

On a food tour, you'll have the opportunity to sample a variety of seafood delicacies, such as grilled squid, steamed clams, and fresh shrimp. You'll also get to try other local specialties like bánh khọt (crispy mini pancakes), bánh mì (Vietnamese baguette sandwiches), and cơm tấm (broken rice dishes).

One of the highlights of a food tour is the chance to explore the bustling night markets, where you'll find an array of street food vendors serving up mouth-watering dishes. From sizzling bánh xèo (Vietnamese crepes) to fragrant phở (noodle soup), you'll be spoilt for choice.

Experienced guides will not only introduce you to the best food stalls but also provide insights into the local culture and culinary traditions. They'll share stories and anecdotes that will deepen your appreciation for the food you're tasting.

Whether you're a seasoned foodie or simply looking to immerse yourself in the local culture, a food tour in Vũng Tàu is an experience not to be missed. Prepare your taste buds for a flavourful adventure through the vibrant streets and markets of this coastal city.

fishing in vung tau
Fishing in Vũng Tàu is another must-do activity here.

Vũng Tàu Day Trips

Vũng Tàu's central location makes it an excellent base for exploring nearby attractions on day trips. One popular option is the Fairy Stream (Suoi Tien), a unique natural water park located about an hour's drive from the city. This whimsical destination features vibrant blue and orange waters flowing through sculpted grottoes, creating a surreal, fairy-tale-like landscape perfect for swimming and photography.

Another worthwhile excursion is to the Nhơn Trạch district, home to several impressive temple complexes. The Bà Châu Đốc Tôn Nữ Temple is a stunning example of Vietnamese religious architecture, with intricate carvings and vibrant colours adorning its shrines and pagodas. Nearby, the Miếu Bà Xuân Tường temple complex dates back to the 19th century and is renowned for its ornate statues and peaceful gardens.

For those seeking a beach escape, the coastal town of Hồ Tràm offers pristine stretches of sand and luxury resorts just over an hour from Vũng Tàu. Visitors can relax on the beach, try their hand at water sports, or tee off at one of the world-class golf courses in the area.

Give Back to Local Communities

Despite Vietnam's significant strides towards economic growth and improved governance, there remain areas where poverty persists and support is crucial. For the discerning traveller, engaging directly with these communities presents a poignant opportunity to contribute meaningfully while gaining a deeper understanding of the local culture.

Providing support can take many forms, whether it involves participating in community projects, supporting local businesses, or engaging in educational programmes. Such interactions not only assist those in need but also enrich your travel experience, adding layers of understanding and appreciation of the complexities and resilience of the Vietnamese spirit.

what to do in vung tau vietnam
A street vendor in Vũng Tàu, Vietnam

Best Time to Visit

The best time to visit Vũng Tàu is during the dry season, which runs from November to May. This period offers sunny skies and comfortable temperatures, making it ideal for outdoor activities and beach days. However, the months of February to April can get quite hot, so plan accordingly.

Getting Around Vũng Tàu

As you make your grand entrance into the charming city of Vũng Tàu, nestled along the coast of Vietnam, you'll find an urban landscape perfectly tailored for the adventurer at heart. This city's manageable size invites you to lace up your walking shoes and meander through its bustling streets, where every corner turned unfolds a new discovery. Should the wanderlust tug at your spirit more strongly, consider embracing the local way of life by renting a motorbike or bicycle. Feel the wind in your hair and the warmth of the sun on your skin as you zip through the vibrant streets, fully immersing yourself in the vivacity of Vũng Tàu.

For those who prefer a more laid-back approach, or when distances stretch a bit further than comfortable for walking or cycling, a fleet of taxis and the modern convenience of ride-sharing services like Grab stand at the ready, both strikingly affordable, ensuring that exploration is never hampered by logistics. 

To truly peel back the layers of Vũng Tàu’s rich culture and hidden gems, why not consider the luxury of hiring a private car or indulging in the personalised touch of a guided tour? Allow yourself to be whisked away into the heart of this storied city, each twist and turn in the road offering a new angle, a fresh perspective, enriching your travel experience with every passing moment.

Whether through the independence of your own two wheels or the insightful narratives of a seasoned guide, Vũng Tàu awaits to share its secrets with you.

Where to Stay in Vũng Tàu

Vũng Tàu offers a range of accommodation options to suit various budgets and preferences. For beachfront luxury, consider resorts like the Imperial Resort Vũng Tàu or the Grand Xala Resort. Mid-range options like the Seaside Resort Vũng Tàu and Chez Huyen Homestay offer comfortable stays at more affordable prices. Budget travelers can find cozy guesthouses and hostels in the city centre.

Travel Requirements

For most international visitors, a valid passport with at least six months of remaining validity is required to enter Vietnam. Depending on your nationality, you may need to obtain a visa in advance or be eligible for a visa exemption or visa on arrival. It's essential to check the latest entry requirements with the Vietnamese embassy or consulate in your country before traveling.

vung tau attractions
Vung Tau is not quite Beverly Hills, but it's pretty damn close!

In the sun-kissed embrace of Vũng Tàu, every corner tells a story, every gust of sea breeze brings tales from afar, inviting the cultured traveller to embark on an odyssey of discovery and delight. From the serene sanctuary of Ho May Park, perched atop its verdant perch, to the historic lighthouse offering panoramic views that meld sea and sky into one endless horizon, Vũng Tàu is a canvas painted with adventures waiting to be experienced.

Here, amidst its golden beaches and bustling streets, culinary adventures abound, promising a journey for the palate as much as for the soul. As you gaze out from the Christ the King statue, with the city’s heartbeat thrumming below, you'll realise that Vũng Tàu isn't just a destination; it's a gateway to an immersive experience that marries the thrill of exploration with the warmth of its people and the rich, cultural heritage they hold dear.

Step off the beaten path, and let Vũng Tàu reveal its secrets to you—one sun-drenched, memorable moment at a time.


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