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Vung Tau

Vung Tau is a resort town in the province of Dong Nai 125 km from Saigon. The town is a long strip approximately 14 km long and 6 km wide. Where the southern tip of town meets the ocean stand two famous mountains Nui Lon (Truong Ky) and Nui Nho (Tao Phung) or Large mountain and Small mountain.

Historically, Vung Tau used to be part of Bien Hoa. The first settlements in this area occurred during the reign of King Gia Long. During this period, there were many Malay bandits in this region. They often enter the area through Song Be entrance from the ocean. This created a threat for merchants in the Gia Dinh area.

King Gia Long sent three garrisons of troops to the area to quell the disturbance and to clear this area for settlement. A few years later, the bandits were driven away and in 1822, King Ming Mang rewarded the three officers who led the army to this region. The soldiers were allowed to retire and brought their families to this area to make a living. The first three successful settlements in this area were under the leadership of the three officers who originally led the troops here. Thang Nhat (first win) township, Thang Nhi (second win) township and Thang Tam (third win) township were led by Mr. Pham Van Dinh, Mr. Le Van Loc, and Mr. Ngo Van Huyen respectively. Ever since then, this area is known as Tam Thang or Three Wins. The name Vung Tau came about because the geography in this area also forms a natural bay where many merchant ships would stop to seek shelter. In time, this area became known as Vung (puddle) Tau (ships). Another name for this area is Cap Saint Jacques or Au Cap in French. The Vietnamese mispronunciation is

 

Vung Tau is the first seaside resort for the elite in Vietnam. The first hotel, the Arduzer, was built in the 1870's and was a spa for the French leadership at the time. Over time, many more bungalows and vacation homes were built by the well to do of Saigon. Today, Vung Tau has many large and modern hotels on its 3 main beaches. Vung Tau is also known for its abundance of pagodas and temples, most of them lean against the mountains and face the ocean.

A serpentine road 6 km long hugging Small Mountain starts from Bai Truoc (Front Beach), passes by Nghinh Phong (Windy Point) and leads to Bai Sau (Rear Beach). Named Ha Long (Descending Dragon), the winding road goes up and down along the shore, offering a spectacular view of the skyline and refreshing ocean wind. Facing the ocean on three sides, Vung Tau is windy all year round and has 2 distinct seasons, rainy from May to October and dry from November to April. Average temperature is 28 deg. C.

Another winding road 10 km long circling Big Mountain starts from fishing village Ben Dinh, passes through Bai Dau and ends at Front Beach. Traditionally a weekend get-away spot for city dwellers from Saigon, Vung Tau has also a significant fishing industry. With oil riggs only 70 km off shore, the city is a center of services for the exploitation of gas and oil.

           
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