Oh, time really flies and it’s already my fourth day in Ho Chi Minh City! No going for guided tour today and will be exploring on our own – We will be going to Vung Tau, which is a popular destination with beautiful beaches.
After breakfast, we took a cab from Elios Hotel to Bach Dang Passenger Quay (Ton Duc Thang Str., Dist. 1). The journey took a while due to the morning traffic and cost us VND 30,000. Initially, I have planned to take a bus to Vung Tau from Mien Dong Coach Station (Bến Xe Miền Đông) as it’s cheaper at VND 40,000 but at a longer duration (2 hours). Lucky thing is that I consulted the staff at Sasa Cafe the night before and they told me that Mien Dong Coach Station is quite far away and we need to take a cab (or bus #26 from Ben Thanh station) first. Then I decided that we should opt for the quick and easy way to Vung Tau via Hydrofoil fast ferry (Tàu cánh ngầm). Above photo is Bach Dang Passenger Quay.
There are 3 Hydrofoil operators in Bach Dang Passenger Quay and the hydrofoils depart for Vung Tau almost hourly. Above photo shows Greenlines and Petro Express.
Vina Express on the other side of the Bach Dang Passenger Quay. All three operators charge the same fare at VND180,000 per person. Although it’s a little more expensive but it’s much faster (1 hour 15 min) and comfortable than bus.
Waiting area at Bach Dang Passenger Quay.
Our tickets from Greenlines. We decided to go for Greenlines due to the timing as they are the next hydrofoil schedule to leave and we only require to stick around less than 30mins.
Just around 15mins of wait and the hydrofoil arrived. Seats are allocated so there is no need to rush!
As our tickets was bought rather last minute, we got seats that face the rest of the passengers. Haha!
It was a rather pleasant ride and we reached Vung Tau in around 1 hour 15 min. Vung Tau is the capital of Ba Ria-Vung Tau Province and is the first tourist city in Vietnam. With beauty beach and fresh air, Vung Tau is a very popular destination for weekends.
First thing after alighting the hydrofoil is to go get return tickets back to Ho Chi Minh City. You may choose to stay in Vung Tau but we decided to stick to just a day trip. Better get return tickets earlier, otherwise you will get stuck in Vung Tau if all the tickets are sold out. Hehe!
Went for Vina Express for our return trip back to Saigon. Fares are the same at VND180,000 per person.
Seems like a house to me… and it’s very nice! Sea view for all the rooms!
Long and lonely road. A vast difference from the traffic at Ho Chi Minh City.
Passing by a Chinese temple.
Passing by another Chinese temple.
Vietnamese temple dedicated to Tran Hung Dao, the Vietnamese military hero. (Thanks to Walter for the correction!)
If you are spending more time here in Vung Tau, you may want to visit “Statue of Jesus Christ with outstretched arms” which is on top of small mountain.
Stopping at Coffee Ocap for a breather and to hide from the extremely hot weather! It’s burning our skin!
1 Soursop Shake and 1 Saigon at a total of VND 33,000. Ice-cold tea is provided free-of-charge and WIFI is available too!
After the rest, we continued to walk around. Passing by “The Etta Pub”, which seems like a nice place to chill out.
Buying and selling crabs! Think crabs are a specialty seafood which is very popular in Vung Tau as everyplace have cooked crab on their menu.
Passing by Cafe Chong Chong.
The hot weather made us stop again but this time more for lunch.
Menu at Bayview. Lots of food selection available!
Our lunch – 2 sandwich (as above), 1 Saigon beer and 1 Heineken, which totaled to VND 125,000. Gotta have the beer to cool us down in the hot weather! LOL!
View from our seats at Bayview. It’s nice to hide away from the sun! Haha!
The interior of Bayview. Believed that the owner is an Australian.
Time’s up – gotta board the Vinasun Express hydrofoil back to Ho Chi Minh City.
This time round, we are given seats at the back of the hydrofoil. Personal opinion is that the Vinasun Express condition is worse off then Greenlines.
We sat facing 2 LCD TVs but they are not on throughout the journey. In fact, it wasn’t even plug in! Check out the right LCD TV! Haha!
Anyway, beyond the door is actually the engine room so you get free diesel smell here too!
After alighting the Hydrofoil, it was raining heavily in Ho Chi Minh City so we waited for a while for the rain to become smalller. Then, we grabbed a cab to Zen Plaza and paid VND 25,000.
Explored Zen Plaza for a while and then took cab to Parkson at VND 30,000.
La Dolce Vita Café at Continental Hotel Saigon.
Passing by Saigon Opera House.
Walking along Dong Khoi Street.
Lucky Plaza. Well, not the Lucky Plaza in Singapore.
The reason why we are roaming along Dong Khoi Street – French restaurant Augustin (10 Nguyen Thiep).
The interior of Augustin. We reached early for dinner (7pm) so we were the only customers.
A bottle of house red. Think it was around VND 250,000.
Grilled Duck Confit. VND 150,000.
Grilled Chicken Breast with Cream Sauce. VND 120,000.
Lime Sorbet with Vodka. VND 110,000.
Night view of Saigon Opera House.
Passing by Hotel Continental Saigon while we are walking toward Ben Thanh Market.
Water fountain where locals as well as tourist hang around.
Ho Chi Minh City Hall. It was renamed after 1975 as Ho Chi Minh City People’s Committee.
Passing by Trung Nguyen Coffee. Didn’t really try it as we can also find Trung Nguyen Coffee back home in Singapore (in Liang Court). I remembered always going there to stock up on G7 instant coffee!
Next to Trung Nguyen Coffee is our destination – Bach Dang Ice Cream. A favourite place of young Saigonese.
A recommendation from the staff of Bach Dang Ice Cream – Ice cream in coconut at VND 62,000. Nice!
Night market at Ben Thanh. Never really explore around as it’s likely to be a tourist trap!
Leaving you with a video at Ben Thanh Market. Generally, the traffic in Ho Chi Minh City is somehow similar!