Vung Tau drones with bass-thumping action on the weekends as visitors from HCMC motor into town; weekdays, however, are blissfully dead. Vung Tau’s beaches are easily reached from HCMC, making them a favourite of that city’s residents since French colonists first began coming here around 1890.
Known under the French as Cap St Jacques, named by Portuguese mariners in honour of their patron saint. Vung Tau is a commercialised beach resort on a peninsula jutting into the East Sea, about 128km southeast of HCMC (via Bien Hoa). The business of oil-drilling here means the azure horizon is marred by frequent oil tankers, and the population flecked with joy-seeking expats.
The beaches here aren’t Vietnam’s best, nor is the water pristine due to pollution from oil-drilling, but Vung Tau is an easy, fast beach foray out of HCMC. Beachgoers looking for a tropical-holiday feel might do better making the three-hour trip to beautiful Mui Ne Beach.
Vung Tau has only two seasons in a year:
Dry season (November - April): dry and slightly cooler during winter months and around New Year Holiday. Gets hotter in April.
Rainy season (May - October): rainy, but less than Ho Chi Minh City. Usually hot at noon till 3PM. Summer is ideal for sea bathing.