Vung Tau is a go-ahead kind of place. In the first six years that I lived here, the city hosted the World Youth Chess Championships, the International Women’s Beach Volleyball Championships, Mrs World, the International Kite-flying Championship, the World Food Festival, and the Russia-Vietnam Surf Championship.
Expats in Vietnam don’t rank Vung Tau highly on their lists of ‘must-visit’ places. They’re inclined to view it as a slightly run-down beach resort that may appeal to local weekenders from Ho Chi Minh City, but with nothing of note to attract a foreigner. At the risk of sounding like a know-it-all, they’re mistaken about that. Vung Tau is a pretty cool place.
Everyone loves a beach holiday; cocktails and beer by the pool, swimming in the sea, sunbathing on the sand, freshly cooked seafood on the terrace. People love it so much that they fly thousands of miles for the pleasure. Yet for those of us who live in Vietnam, it’s right on our doorstep.