Though regular buses leave Mien Dong Bus Station in Ho Chi Minh City and cover the journey to Vung Tau in around two hours, it’s much more fun to take the hydrofoil, zipping along waterways to complete the journey in just 75 minutes.
Three different companies operate hydrofoil services – Petro Express, Greenlines and Vina, which depart hourly from Bach Dang Wharf at the southern end of Nguyen Hue in Saigon; the one-way fare is around US$10 (~200,000 Dong).
The bus station in Vung Tau is just north of the city centre, while hydrofoils usually dock at Cau Da Pier, a short way south of the centre. In bad weather, however, hydrofoils dock at a more sheltered spot and passengers are put on a shuttle bus into the city.
Another alternative, if you are curious to explore the coast in more detail, is to rent a motorbike or car and driver in Ho Chi Minh City.
After the short ride to Vung Tau and exploring the city for a couple of days, you could then set off east along the new coast road to Long Hai, Ho Tram and Ho Coc.
All of these areas have much prettier beaches than Vung Tau although facilities are admittedly a little bare. A few luxury resorts have already opened along this route, which promises to be a new favourite weekend destination for the residents of Saigon.
Getting Around Vung Tau
The city centre is very compact, so most visitors to Vung Tau get by with taking a taxi, motorbike taxi or cyclo for a short ride now and then. Mai Linh is one of the most reliable taxi companies.
Bicycles are easy to rent, costing around US$5 a day, and are ideal for exploring the area, though not the two mountains, which are a bit steep. Interestingly, tandems are also popular among Vietnamese holidaymakers. Motorbikes can be rented at around US$10 a day; just ask at your hotel and they’ll fix you up.