Away to Vung Tau
April is still hot season in Saigon, so the weather is often unbearable. I couldn’t wait for a getaway trip out of this busy city in Vietnam. After just a two-hour bus ride, we arrived at Vung Tau - a beach city located in the south, situated at the tip of a small peninsula.
It was still very hot there but the breeze from the sea made it a lot more comfortable. From our Airbnb apartment, I could see a vast, deep blue ocean hugging the city shore. Vung Tau is quite famous for its seafood, so in the morning we got up early to go visit some local markets. The seafood is indeed very good for steaming or grilling on hot charcoals. There is no seasoning needed because they are already packed with saltiness and sweetness from the sea.
The best time to go out in the afternoon is from 5pm (but if you want to go swimming, you can go a bit earlier when the seawater is still warm). My friend, Xuyen, took me on a city tour with her scooter.
I love sunsets on the beach. There is something sacred about that moment when the blue water turns deeper in color, and the sky color is changing from deep orange-red to purple and dark blue, slowly merging with the water line on the horizon. We stood on a high cliff, enjoying the view and the strong wind, listening to the sound of the waves until it got dark and all the city lights were twinkling from afar.
Xuyen also brought me to eat “Banh Khot” - the signature cuisine of the city. Banh Khot are crispy miniature pancakes served with herbs and vegetables. There is a sweet fish sauce for dipping and you can add in minced fresh chili according to your taste. She explained that there are two ways to eat this dish, one way is to simply eat Banh Khot alone by dipping in the sauce. The other way is to use a big mustard green leaf to wrap Banh Khot with other herbs to make into a roll. It tasted wonderful to me either way. If you have a chance to try this delicious cuisine, don’t forget to put the shredded green papaya (served along with other vegetables) into your dipping sauce bowl to soak in all the sweet and spicy flavours.
After eating Banh Khot, once again we took a bike tour around the city. This time my friend brought me to see a lighthouse up in the mountains to get the best possible view. From there, Vung Tau city looks truly magical with colorful lights embracing the coastline.
My relaxing days in Vung Tau were all about eating and going to the beaches. This city is a fantastic option for a short getaway. I would even recommend moving here if you are looking for a city in Vietnam with all the necessities but without the crowds. There is a nice balance between the slow life of local people here and the modern city infrastructure. Below are the addresses of the Banh Khot restaurant and seafood market we went to, enjoy!
Banh Khot Mien Dong CK: 59 Ba Trieu, Ward 4, Vung Tau city, Ba Ria - Vung Tau
Xom Luoi Market: Nguyen Cong Tru, Ward 1, Vung Tau city, Ba Ria - Vung Tau