Your insider's Travel Guide BLOG to VUNG TAU
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HCMC INSPIRATION TRAVEL VUNG TAU GREYHOUND RACE, THE THINGS TO DO IN VUNG TAU
What to expect at the Greyhound Race in Vung Tau, Baria
Citypassguide.com team used to go to Vung Tau to check the latest and greatest to see whether the destination still deserves a visit. We arrived on Saturday night and that means the greyhound races are the place to be. The races are very popular with tourists, ex-pats, and locals as it is the only activity in Vietnam where Vietnamese people can legally bet money. The first race starts at 7:15 pm with a total of 12 races with 8 dogs competing in each race.
Vung Tau Racers bio
The selected greyhounds belong to a tall and large hunting dog breed from Ireland. A mature greyhound that weighs 22-30kg is imported at a price of nearly US$2,000. When the greyhound is four-month-old and weighs 3-4kg, a five-month training regimen is introduced to get them in shape for the races. A mature greyhound can have a racing career that lasts at least 4 years.
Vung Tau Dog Racing Stadium
The Greyhound Racing Track – Lam Son Stadium at 15 Le Loi Street can hold up to 5000 spectators (including 500 VIP seats). Races take place there every Saturday from 7 PM until 10:30 PM. There are many monitors spread throughout the stadium that give you the current tote odds on WIN, EXACTA, and TRIFECTA betting. These monitors also televise the races. Each circuit is 450m long and involves eight dogs that run at a speed of nearly 60km/hour or about 30 seconds per lap on average.
Win – Runner must finish first
Exacta – The bettor must correctly pick the two runners which finish first and second
Trifecta – The bettor must correctly pick the three runners which finish first, second, and third
The Vung Tau Dog Racing atmosphere
Spending most of the time moving back and forth, we found that there are 3 types of spectators which make for quite a different experience depending on where you watch the races. The serious gambler is the first type of visitor. They are usually Vung Tau locals or HCMC visitors who are well-dressed. Quite a diverse crowd, there is one thing they have in common: they are very serious about betting money on the races. You can see these types of gamblers in the VIP area surrounded by waiters, waitress,es and more importantly brokers. These gamblers are constantly receiving tips from brokers and always try to get the inside scoop to beat the odds. However, for most spectators, it is almost impossible to find the excitement and enjoyment of the races in these too serious surroundings.
To experience the true excitement of the races, one must plant themselves in front of the fence next to the track. This is where you will find most of the spectators. They usually bet a small amount of money and are there for the experience and exhilaration of the races. “The purpose of this fun activity is to bring a happy night out to visitors. With a bit of luck, you can win back your entrance fee. With a bit more, you can end up a day in a local bar.” said Mr. John – a visitor from the USA.
In the middle of the stands, you will find couples, groups of friends, and families gathered together. Betting even more infrequently than the previous type of visitor, they are more concerned with spending time together than watching the races. These groups will occasionally cheer after a race finishes but they are usually there to soak up the friendly atmosphere good friends and close family bring to the racetrack.
The complete guide to Vung Tau Dog Racing events
City Pass team is happy to share our fantastic experience in the activities to do in the Vung Tau section.
As soon as you arrive at the gate, go to the ticket booth and pay VND60,000 for a regular ticket. When you are inside, head to the betting areas to receive the tote odds. If you have any questions, feel free to ask any of the English-speaking staff in and around the betting area. The minimum bet is VND10.000/race and there is no limit to what you can bet on a race. There is a total of 12 races and there is a 15-minute break between each race. Plenty of time for you to check out the greyhounds, make that last-minute bet, or just grab a beer at one of the many stands dotted around the track.
HCMC INSPIRATION TRAVEL VUNG TAU SOME SUGGESTIONS FOR THE WEEKEND DELIGHTS
With all the choices of eateries in Vung Tau, your first question might be, where should I start? Those who know a little about the region would say seafood. And they’d be right. Vung Tau is known for its vast sea food restaurant scene. However, that’s not your only choice. After a few meals of only eating Vietnamese and seafood cuisine, you may start craving some western delights. Here are some of the best boutique western bars and restaurants to get your belly full and your taste buds singing.
David Pizzeria comes highly recommended for its traditional wood-fired oven pizza, paired with a full collection of popular wine. Chatting with friends over some fine vino or enjoying the sunrise/sunset while waiting for your authentic Italian pizza is a fine way to spend an evening. In no time you’ll be satiated by the pizzeria’s large, delicious slices.
Price Range : VND 109,000 – 289,000.
Nine Café & Restaurant is one of the oldest and most popular French restaurants in Vung Tau. We recommend the Ribs dishes on your first visit (priced at around VND 200,000).
Don’t forget to try some of their daily homemade bread, chocolate and ham before leaving – they’re well-made and downright delectable.
There is also a wide selection of wine to pacify your more boozy urges.
Price Range: VND 150,000 – 205,000.
Chocolate and Bread: VND 15,000 – 25,000
YUMMY YUMMY RESTAURANT
Laugh all your want at Yummy’s name, when it comes down to brass tacks, this restaurant is indeed yummy. It’s a great place to gather with family or friends enjoy some tasty food paired with great service. The variety of western and Asian meals will more than pacify any cravings you may be having.
The waitresses dress in traditional Ao Dai, which certainly gets your attention at a top-5 western restaurant in Vung Tau.
Price Range: VND 120,000 – 240,000
Add: 6 Tran Hung Dao St.
Tel: 064 3570 511
CHALY BAR SPORT & GRILL
Located on Truong Cong Dinh Street, Chaly Bar is an excellent spot for sports and music lovers. If you want the festive crowd experience, hold your glass of wine or beer tight and see what happens during a soccer match.
The ground floor atmosphere gives youthe feeling of watching the game at home, making this bar a cozy and inviting spot for sports fans. If sports aren’t your thing, head upstairs and enjoy some great Asian and western cuisine.
Slogan: “Great food, Great music, Live sport…Everyday”.
Serving from morning to late night.
Price Range: VND 90,000 – 150,000
Add: 31 Truong Cong Dinh, Ward 1
Tel: 064-383 6252
BAYVIEW CAFE AND TAKEAWAY / THE GREAT AUSSIE PIE SHOP
This cafe is great for breakfast, brunch and dinner. Just a short walk from Statue Park, Bayview is located on Ha Long Street, where you can get a good view of the sunrise or sunset with both outdoor and indoor seating. Give the Aussie-style burger or T-Bone (Oz beef) a try, priced reasonably around VND 100,000.
The menu offers a wide range of option, including Italian and French cuisines.
Price Range: VND 100,000 – 250,000
Add: 144 Ha Long
Tel: 064 3521984
ITALIAN PIZZERIA VIET – Y
The venue is a mere 50 meter from the ferry port, where you can settle after a scenic walk and enjoy satiating pizzas, pastas, Vietnamese food and more mouthwatering dishes by Mauro, the kind-hearted Italian chef with a warm smile.
Serving lunch and dinner, the restaurant also has delivery service within the city. If you are tempted to try a large-sized pizza, piping hot straight out of the oven, Italian Pizzeria is a great choice to buckle down and give in.
The ratio of cost/quality/quantity is excellent enough to warrant repeat visits.
Price Range: VND 120,000 – 150,000
Add: 134 Ha Long
Tel: 0937474227 (Mauro)
LUCY’S SPORT BAR & HOTEL
This beach-front bar pulls guests in with its open seating area, ideal for a boozy sunrise or sunset. Food options range widely from western to Asian, along with an impressive wine selection. It might be a little tough to decide from the extensive list of dishes, so ask for recommendations if you get stumped.
Lucy’s is at heart a sport’s bar, with four HDTVs around the bar that offer you non-interrupted sports watching in air-conditioned comfort. Kick back, relax and enjoy your favorite teams.
Price range: VND 120,000 – 200,000
Add: 138 Ha Long
Tel: 064 385 8896
HCMC INSPIRATION TRAVEL VUNG TAU 10 THINGS TO DO IN VUNG TAU WITH KIDS
Quirky Vung Tau, just two hours from Ho Chi Minh City, is a great place for a family weekend away from the chaos of the big city.
We list below the best things to do there with kids.
The traffic is laid back, the people are friendly and there’s a range of accommodation options to suit most budgets. Vung Tau also has beaches for long leisurely walks (not necessarily for swimming – if you want to swim, book a hotel with a pool), temples to explore, and terrific seafood to indulge in.
The city isn’t as glitzy as other seaside tourist spots, such as Mui Ne and Nha Trang, and the locals like it this way. The local oil industry generates enough revenue so locals don’t feel the need to chase the tourist dollars. Vung Tau’s tourist infrastructure is more geared to the domestic market than to international visitors, and that’s part of what gives the city its own unique appeal.
1) Mount Nho Jesus Statue
There’s a host of rather oddball tourist attractions, the most famous being the giant Jesus statue on top of Mount Nho (Small Mountain). It’s rather a long, hot, and sweaty hike up the 847 steps to the Christ the King Statue, as it’s officially known. But at the top hikers are greeted with cool sea breezes, amazing views, and a small shop selling drinks and snacks. Inside the Jesus is a small art gallery that’s usually open in the mornings and afternoons (not during lunchtime).
2) Mary Statue
You can continue in the Christian vein with a visit to the giant Mary statue, Our Lady of Bao Dai, on the western side of Mount Lon (Big Mountain).
3) Thich a Phat Dai Pagoda
If you are more interested in Buddhism, explore the beautiful Thich Ca Phat Dai Pagoda, on the northwestern side of Mount Lon, which has a giant white Buddha perched at the top. Don’t forget to read our 12 Beautiful Pagodas in Vietnam.
4) Dog Racing
More unusual family fun can be had at Vung Tau’s Lam Son Stadium, which hosts greyhound racing every Friday and Saturday night starting at 7 pm. It’s one of the few places in Vietnam where Vietnamese people can legally gamble. Each race is over in a flash, lasting about 30 seconds, but the real attraction here is the vibe, with the crowd cheering the winners and excitedly discussing their bets. For kids, the highlight is probably the dog parade before each race.
The minimum bet is VND10,000, so having a flutter won’t break the bank, and it’s easy to place bets because the program is printed in English, as well as Vietnamese and Chinese. Children under 10 years of age receive free admission. The general entrance fee is VND50,000 while access to the air-conditioned VIP area is VND100,000.
5) White Palace Colonial Mansion
Pint-sized pirate-lovers can be entertained for an hour or so at the White Palace, also known as Bach Dinh, one of the many summer homes of the last emperor of Vietnam, Bao Dai. The upper floor of the palace is much as it would have been when the royal family used it, but the lower floor is where the real treasure is. Cabinets display 17th and 18th-century Chinese artifacts recovered from a shipwreck discovered off of Vietnam’s Con Dao Islands.
6) Ho May Park with Cable Car
For a full day of family activities, take the cable car up to Ho May Park, which has a theme park with roller coasters, dodgem cars, and other rides, as well as a play area for younger children. A range of adventure activities is offered including horse riding, horse-drawn carriage, swan-shaped paddle boats, ziplining, paintball, and rock climbing. The park is probably one of the most fun things to do with kids in Vung Tau.
7) Recommended restaurant: Lan Rung Resort and Spa (next to the Meridien resort)
For family relaxation, take a break at Lan Rung Resort and Spa’s ocean-front restaurant on Ha Long Street. The kids can play spot-the-cherub while the parents enjoy the view and a coffee. If you choose to stay here, you’ll be able to use the kid-friendly pool, which overlooks the sea (and is much cleaner).
8) Street food on the Vung Tau waterfront
In the evenings, join the locals, snacking on street food sold from hand cars, getting weighed on mobile weighing machines (which also tell your fortune); and watching couples ride tandem “love bicycles” up and down the waterfront.
9) Let’s Talk about Vung Tau’s Food
Vung Tau’s dining options are as quirky as the town itself. The must-try local specialty is banh khot, and the best banh khot place in town is Banh Khot Goc Vu Sua at 14 Nguyen Truong To Street. Every morning, the lovely ladies at Banh Khot Goc Vu Sua ladle a creamy batter into cupcake-shaped molds in a smoking-hot griddle, then place a peeled baby prawn on each little savory cake. Each cake is topped with green onion and served with a platter of herbs, including mustard leaves and a sweet and tangy dipping sauce. Banh Khot is eaten by selecting a mustard or lettuce leaf, layering on a selection of herbs and one banh khot cake, then rolling it up and soaking it in the dipping sauce. Delicious, quite messy, but a lot of fun.
The best seafood place in town is the seaside Ganh Hao at 3 Tran Phu Street. Make sure you include Ganh Hao’s special spring rolls when you order your seafood feast. They may just be the best in Vietnam. For more Western fare, you can go Australian at Matilda’s Pub or English at Haven Beach Bar, which is a great spot for sunset drinks if you don’t fancy bangers and mash or chicken pie. There’s also a Ukrainian restaurant, Kozak, which serves a range of Eastern European dishes, as well as Russian beer.
10) Stay in Family Friendly Hotel
Options include Le Meridien Resort and Spa, or the old Imperial Hotel, both within walking distance to the beach and each with a pool, or the family-run Sakura Hotel, a budget guesthouse that is a short taxi ride to the beach.
All in All, a quick trip outside of Saigon can turn into something much more than that when visiting Vung Tau. Off the beaten tourist path, this peculiar seaside city has something for every member of the family. If you have recommendations of things to do in Vung Tau with kids, don’t hesitate to post a comment in the form below.
HCMC INSPIRATION TRAVEL VUNG TAU BEST PLACES IN VUNG TAU TO ENJOY NATURE
By Phat Nguyen
Return to Mother Nature in Ba Ria, Vung Tau
• 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
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 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 neighboring 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 with their barking. However, they just bark without attacking you, so stay calm.
If you do not want to go down 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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
Should you need further advice or assistance in organizing a walking tour in Vung Tau, feel free to contact Phat Nguyen at +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.
HCMC INSPIRATION TRAVEL VUNG TAU CLOUD LAKE IN VUNG TAU
Why Should You Go Play at Cloud Lake Eco Park in Vung Tau
If you are looking to escape from the beaches of Vung Tau and get a bit active, head over to Cloud Lake Eco-Resort for some racing, some cultural activities, and the largest belly button in Southern Vietnam. You can either take the scenic 500-meter cable car journey to the top of Big Mountain but if you are averse to heights, there is a mountain road that takes about 90 minutes.
On top, the 400,000 square meter park is broken up into different sections depending on activity. Our group of guys immediately headed to the Formula 1 race track and the Alpine Coaster. We were hoping for a bit more zip on the track but the Alpine Coaster made up for it. What I really dug was the brake lever on the sled which allowed you to control your descent. I didn’t bother using the brake on my second run to see how fast the sled could go. Let’s just say pretty damn fast!
Just 50 meters away from the coaster was the large Buddha that dominates the park. Not as large as the one that has just been recognized in this article, but check out that belly button! Tucked away just behind the large Buddha is a cave which houses a bone fragment from Buddha himself! Well, at least that’s what they told me.
The last place we headed to was the Eco side of the resort. There are orchid gardens, a primeval forest, and a waterfall you can walk behind. We also headed off to the zoo and had some fun feeding the ostriches. We could have stayed a bit longer but we wanted to check out the dog races so we headed to the cable car. Just make sure to wave to the statue of Uncle Ho on the way down!
The entrance fee to Cloud Lake Ecotourism Resort is VND 200,000 for adults and VND100,000 for children