• Vung Tau is one of the closest beach destinations to Saigon
• Vung Tau is also known for beautiful nature hikes
• Check out our list of where to go for a little solitude and fresh air
Image source: upcgreen.com
Return to Mother Nature in Vung Tau
Vung Tau is best known as a coastal city with pleasant beaches within easy reach of Saigon. However, it can also offer more than that. As a local, I think Vung Tau can be ideal to visit if you are in search of quiet self-reflection, want to renew your link with nature, or just to take a deep breath of fresh air. With this in mind, check out these lesser known places in Vung Tau to indulge your inner self at no cost.
1. Đồi Con Heo (“Pig’s Peak”)
If you’re looking for the best place to catch the very first rays of sunlight in Vung Tau, Đồi Con Heo is the perfect spot for you. Located not far from a huge statue of Jesus Christ (or Christ of Vung Tau), the hill offers a panoramic view facing the ocean behind which the sun rises. From here, you can see a portion of the city and all of Bãi Sau (or Back Beach) and Hòn Bà (a little island with a Buddhist shrine on the top). If the sky is clear enough, you can even see the neighbouring province, Long Hai.
The best time to catch the sunrise is around 5:30 am You can either walk or ride a motorbike up here. Unfortunately it is not accessible to cars. This spot is normally not that crowded, so you can take time to find your own spot to enjoy the sunrise. One thing to keep in mind is that reaching the top requires you to pass a small alley, which is home to a handful of local people whose dogs might disturb you by their barking. However, they just bark without attacking you, so stay calm.
If you do not want to go down by the same route, you can follow a trail that leads to the statue of Jesus. The trail is safe and accessible and might take around 15-20 minutes. There will be a guard station with a fence along the way, do not worry. Tell the guard that you are heading to the statue of Jesus, then they will let you pass.
Image source: Foody.vn
2. Mũi Nghinh Phong (“Capes of Greeting Wind”)
If you have problem with figuring out the route to Đồi Con Heo as suggested above, Mũi Nghinh Phong serves as an alternative spot. Located across from the entrance gate to the statue of Jesus, this place is easier to access with a parking lot for all types of transportation.
Here, you can use not only your eyes to enjoy the sunrise but also your ears to listen to a relaxing melody of the wind and the waves, along with a comfortably cool feeling on your skin and a salty smell.
After the sunrise, you can take a staircase to go down to the beach, where you can either go swimming or just chill on the seashore if the tide is low enough.
Image source: Foody.vn
3. Trails on Small Mountain
After sunrise, when local people and tourists pour onto the streets and tourist attractions, there are still places where you can avoid the noise and crowds, for instance by exploring the short and peaceful mountain trails on both Núi Nhỏ and Núi Lớn (“Small Mountain” or “Big Mountain”).
Although Núi Nhỏ attracts tourists with man-made structures, such as the statue of Jesus or the lighthouse, it still offers green spaces for nature lovers. There is a small and quiet trail leading to a spot covered with trees, which can make you feel that you are in a small jungle. Along the trail, you can stop by some Buddhist temples to contemplate the view of Bai Dứa or Mũi Nghinh Phong. If you want to exit the trail, you have to take the same route back.
Leaving the trail, there appears a well-paved road that leads you to another experience of connecting with nature. If you are lucky enough, birds will welcome you along the way with their beautiful songs. You can find a quiet spot to enjoy the sunset here. Like the former trail, the way to exit is to go back the same route.
Image source: 12dulich.com
4. Trail on Big Mountain
In addition to Núi Nhỏ, you can find another less-crowded place to truly connect with nature by visiting Núi Lớn. Instead of going the way that local people and tourists commonly take, you can experience another way by heading to Alley 444 - Trần Phú, where the fishing village and seaport of Vung Tau are located. One of the highlights of this option is that you will traverse a small bamboo jungle.
Image source: vietnammoi.vn
Núi Lớn is a great place to view the sunset. Take the entrance starting from Vi Ba street, heading up till you find a trail. Following that trail to the top of the hill, you can easily find a good spot for watching the sunset. Unfortunately you cannot avoid some uninvited friends such as mosquitoes, so having a repellent is strongly recommended.
If you are into meditation, you can visit Chơn Không monastery, which is in the middle of nowhere and very peaceful.
5. Lý Thường Kiệt street
The intersection of Lý Thường Kiệt and Nguyễn Du street offers a line of trees so large that their shade can cover the whole street and make you feel cool and peaceful in the heart of the town.
Image source: mapio.net
Should you need further advice or assistance in organising a walking tour in Vung Tau, feel free to contact Phat Nguyen on +84 909 931 676 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org. He is more than happy to help.
He is the founder of the Chạy Nhặt project, which addresses plastic pollution in Vung Tau. He usually hosts jogging and ocean clean-up events. For further details on these, see this article.