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Vũng Tàu, Vietnam

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Vũng Tàu, the capital of Ba Ria-Vung Tau Province, is a coastal city in southern Vietnam. With a population of 250,000 people (2011 estimate), it is one of the bigger cities in the south.

Vũng Tàu is today a major petroleum center for Vietnam, supporting the country's offshore oil fields. The city also has a shipyard and a port. With funds flowing in, Vũng Tàu is one of the economically well developed cities of southern Vietnam.

Statue of Christ, Vung TauStatue of Christ, Vung Tau
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The area around Vũng Tàu has been documented to have been settled as early as the 14th century. It was a swampy cape which the Portuguese named Cape Saint Jacques. The modern city of Vũng Tàu was created from the merger of Cape Saint Jacques and the Ba Ria county in the late 19th century.

In the early days, there was a village here called Tam Thang, which means "three boats", in reference to the three villages in the area. Due to its proximity to the Malay archipelago, the area became a hideout for Malay pirates until the 18th century, when the ruler Gia Long cracked down on piracy in the area.

Ho Phap Pagoda, Vung TauHo Phap Pagoda, Vung Tau
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authorshipChris Phan
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Visiting Vũng Tàu

You can go to Vũng Tàu by bus as well as by hydrofoil. The advantage of taking the hydrofoil is of course the scenery along the way. The bus trip takes two hours while the hydrofoil takes about an hour and a half.

Exploring Vũng Tàu

The city itself is quite small and can be explored on foot. For sights farther away can be reached by taking a motorbike taxi or double-bike.

Vung Tau Hydrofoil TerminalVung Tau Hydrofoil Terminal
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Places of Interest in Vũng Tàu

  1. Martyr's Memorial (Đài Liệt Sĩ)
    A hilltop stone obelisk on what is said to be the biggest traffic circle in Indochina.
  2. Statue of Christ with Outstretched Arms
    The huge 28-meter statue of Christ gazing out towards the sea is the biggest sculpture in southern Vietnam. It was built in 1971. The interior is hollow and can be ascended by a spiral staircase.
  3. Thang Tam Temple (Đình Thần Thắng Tam)
    Temple to the local deity of Vũng Tàu, said to be built during the Minh Mang Dynasty (1820-40) to venerate three men who set up the three villages of Tam Thang.
  4. Vũng Tàu Lighthouse
    Lighthouse built in 1907 (and rebuilt in 1911) on a hill in Vũng Tàu called the Small Mountain.
  5. Villa Blanche (Bạch Dinh)
    Summer holiday home for the French colonial governor, General Paul Doumer.

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