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Vung Tau Beach

Vung Tau is 125 kilometers southeast of Ho Chi Minh city. Formerly called Cap St. Jacques, Vung Tau was once the customs and immigration center for Saigon. Foreign ships were required tp stop there for clearance before sailing up the Saigon River.

As a seaside resort, Vung Tau has four beaches. The beach on the East side of the peninsula, called Bai Sau ( Back Beach ) is the main bathing area. Bai Truoc ( Front Beach ), near the downtown, is rocky and unattractive. Bai Dau ( Dau Beach ), about 3 kilometers northwest of the city, is the most beautiful and fits for relaxation. Bau Dua ( Dua Beach ), a rocky cove, also attracts many swimmers and photographers as well.

There is a lighthouse atop the Nui Nho ( Small Mountain ). This lighthouse was built by the French in the nineteenth century.

A special feature of Vung Tau is its abundance of pagodas and temples. Most of its pagodas lean against the mountain and face to the ocean.

Vung Tau is the closest beach resort to Ho Chi Minh city. People from SaiGon and from the neighboring provinces can arrive here to have a good time or just relax on its beaches, or else visit its various pagodas. For those who take interest in traditional culture, a visit to the Lang Ca Ong, Whale Temple, on Hoang Hoa Tham Street, is a must. Built in 1911, the temple is dedicated to the whale cult. Frequently visiting here are fishermen who revere the whale as their saviour from the perils of the hight seas. Skeletons of whale that have been beached on the shores in the region are kept in huge cases, some 4 meters long. The Vietnamese adopted the whale cult from the Chams. Every year, on the sisteenth day of the eighth lunar month, fishermen gather at this temple to make offering to the whales.

The most remarkable of some French-style buildings in Vung Tau is inevitably the Bach Dinh ( Villa Blanche ). Built in 1915 atop one of the hills of Vung Tau by the French Governor General Paul Doumer, who named is after his own daughter, the Villa Blanche has ever served as summer retreat for the former emperor Bao Dai, and the other highest officials of the then governments.

Not very far from Vung Tau still remains the trace of a historical site strongly influenced with folk beliefs: the Great House of Long Son. This magnificently architectural groupment of the agriculture-prevailing period, also called Nui Nua ( Nua mountain ), is an island with its three sides surrounded with the river, and the rest bordered by the sea. Nha Lon ( the Great House ) served as a memorial to Mr.Tran ( his real name was Le Van Muu ), a soldier who fought against the French at the end of the nineteenth century. It was here his followers annually gathered . Without success in his attemp to take three westerm provinces., Mr Tran regrouped his followers and removed to this santuary where they were determined to live strictly to the traditional cult of ancestors, emphasizing the filial piety. The descendants of the former followers of ‘ Mr.Tran’s religion’ still observe their forefathers’ pattern of livin: to work hard and earn their living by farming and fishing.

This island of Long Son is now a beauty spot for tourist, a symbol of patriotic and peasantry lifestyle.


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