Ho Chi Minh to Vung Tau by boat – sail down the Mekong DeltaTim McDonald
For a quick getaway from the pollution and chaos of Ho Chi Minh City, most people plump for Vung Tau, Southeast of the city on the Mekong Delta coast.
It has a beach, it has bars, it has a cable car, and if you go on a weekday it’s pretty quiet.
There’s some great food to be had here too, in particular Bistro NINE, a French restaurant serving the best European food we’ve had outside of the continent.
Most people heading from Saigon to Vung Tau would do so by bus. They are easy to get and any tourist office in District 1 will sell you a one-way ticket for 110,000vnd ($5), leaving every hour.
Local buses are an option too, though it’s advisable not to travel at night as the roads are a little crazy. Still if you don’t mind it bumpy, then you can make the journey in the daytime for about $4.
Taxi is also possible, and I’ve heard you can book them for about $10, though I’ve never tried it.
However, if you want a bit of comfort and something a little different, the hydrofoils that make their way down the Mekong River from the port at phường 12 in District 4 are a great option (just look for the huge junk boat restaurant stationed at the dock).
We went with Greenlines. The boats are simple but nice and the ride is smooth, until you get to the sea anyway.
To get tickets, you can book online, though they only accept certain types of cards. Alternatively make your way down to the ticket office at the dock. There are two offices, one on the left at the main gate and one around the corner further down to the left near the junk boat restaurant.
On a weekday, you can just turn up and buy one there and then. Weekends are a lot busier, so you may need to buy ahead. We paid 1,000,000VND (about $44), for two return tickets.