VUNG TAU, THE FORMER CAPE ST. JAMES
Located just 100 kilometres from Ho Chi Minh City, Vung Tau is an easy seaside getaway from the bustling capital of South Vietnam. The old Cape Saint Jacques reveals pleasant beaches, a beautiful gastronomy turned towards the sea, some interesting local curiosities and a hotel offering quality. Vung Tau is also the embarkation point for the fabulous Con Dao archipelago.
The history of Cap Saint Jacques
After 4 weeks of sailing on the steamers, the Cap Saint Jacques was the first thing the passengers saw from Indochina. A strategic point and garrison town, the Cap Saint Jacques became a seaside resort for the French in 1905. Saigon settlers liked to go there on weekends to enjoy the sea air, escape the bustle of the city and take advantage of the seaside pleasures. A century later, Cap Saint Jacques was renamed Vung Tau but the Saigonians do the same and every weekend the seaside resort sees many Vietnamese families come to relax, take a breath of fresh air, a good sea bath and escape the noise and mopeds of Saigon.
The vestiges of the French presence
As you stroll through the streets of Vung Tau, you will see some vestiges of the French presence such as the "Villa Blanche" built for Governor General Paul Doumer in 1898, the lighthouse whose original mechanism is still in service, and was provided by the famous Lepaute house in Paris, the former colonial army buildings and the church.
The large statue of Christ
This monumental concrete statue of Christ is one of the emblems of Vung Tau. Located on Mount Nho and standing 32 meters high, the large statue of Christ is reminiscent of the Corcovado statue in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Its construction began in 1972 but was suspended for 20 years and was finally inaugurated in 1994. Inside, a spiral staircase of 133 steps leads to the two shoulders of the statue. From there you can enjoy a superb view of the coastline. On January 18, 1993, the statue was recognized as a "national historical and cultural vestige".
South Vietnam is home to a large community of Catholics and many come on pilgrimage to the great Christ statue of Vung Tau.
Enjoy the local gastronomy
Vung Tau is a gastronomic destination very popular among Vietnamese for the abundance of seafood. If you are a lover of iodized flavors then you will enjoy Vung Tau. Most of the restaurants in the city serve you excellent fish, crabs, lobsters, shellfish, shrimps etc. at low prices and seasoned in a remarkable way.
Best season: It is best to go to Vung Tau from November to April during the dry season. Namely, during the wet season, the rains are intense but brief, and often refreshing.