SOME GULFS AND BAYS 15

Vung Tau
Vung Tau is 125 kilometers from Ho Chi Minh City and 90 kilometers from Bien Hoa City. It is like an island because it is surrounded on three sides by the sea. The fourth side is flanked by the river. The length is about 14 kilometers and the width is about six kilometers. This is where people can watch both the sunrise and sunset on the East Sea.
In the 14lh and 15th centuries the cape that is Vung Tau now was a swamp frequently visited by European trading ships. The name Vung Tau (Harbour for Ship Anchorage) appeared at that time. The Portuguese mariners passing by this cape named it after St. Jacques. The French also called it Cap Saint Jacques. The Vietnamese called it O Cap harbor (transcription of the French words “au Cap”). The southernmost headland of Vung Tau is Nghinh Phong headland (Facing Wind headland).
There are only two seasons in a year in Vung Tau. The dry, cold season lasts from November to April. The rainy, hot season lasts from May to October. Rain in Vung Tau is less than in Ho Chi Minh City.
Thanks to favorable natural conditions, Vung Tau now gets preferential investments and has quickly become a key economic zone in South Viet Nam. The first priority is utilizing the oil and gas potential of Vung Tau. On the southeast continental shelf of South Viet Nam, the successful rate of drills for oil and gas search is high. Oil fields of commercial value such as Bach Ho, Rong, Dai Hung and Rang Dong have been discovered, of which Bach Ho is the largest oil field.
In the early 1990s the economy of Vung Tau overcame great difficulties. Economic growth was high and sustainable. The structuring of industry, agriculture and services has advanced in the correct direction of industrialization and modernization. Production capacity has rapidly increased. Economic and social infrastructure has been developed. Ba Ria-Vung Tau is not only an oil and gas center, but also one of the centers for energy, heavy industry and tourism as well as a seaport of the country.
Vung Tau is a threshold of Viet Nam to the world. It has convenient sea, river and air routes. Besides its huge potential of oil and gas, Vung Tau is a charming scenic spot of mountains and sea. It is shielded by mountain ranges.
Vung Tau has Nui Lon Mountain (Big Mountain) and Nui Nho Mountain (Little Mountain). The area of Big Mountain is about 400 hectares with three major peaks–Vung May, Nui Lon and Hon Sup. Nui Lon Road (Tran Phu Road) snakes from Ben Dinh Mountain slope to Thich Ca Phat Dai Pagoda (Sakyamuni Buddha Pagoda), Bai Dau ground (Mulberry ground) and Bai Truoc Beach (Front Beach). This road is grander as it winds through the middle of mountains under which is blue sea. Along the road are many beautiful spots like the White Palace (Bach Dinh Palace) the statue of Mother Mary and the statue of Boddhisttva Guan Yin. The area of Nui Nho Mountain is about 120 hectares and there is a peak of 170 meters in height. Nui Nho Mountain is associated with the legend about the daughter of the Water King and a young fisherman. The new, wide and beautiful Ha Long Road, about six kilometers in length, runs from Bai Truoc Beach (Front Beach) to Bai Sau Beach (Rear Beach). On both sides of the road are lots of interesting places such as Bai Truoc Beach, Nirvana Vihara Temple, the Statue of the Christ, Hon Ba Islet, etc.
Nghinh Phong headland is located in the southernmost part of Vung Tau city. The beach here is narrow and the water is very clean. Waves are interminable. The scenery on three sides of the beach is extremely impressive with the surrounding magnificent cliffs. Nghinh Phong headland protrudes into the East Sea like a giant crocodile head. Around it are great fantastic rock blocks. This is a nice place for those who like fishing and adventure.
Bai Truoc Beach (Tam Duong Beach) is located between Nui Lon Mountain and Nui Nho Mountain. Along this beach are palm, willow and terminalia catappa trees. The beautiful and spacious Bai Sau Beach, about eight kilometers in length, is located southeast of Vung Tau city from the foothills of Nui Nho Mountain to Cua Lap. In the north of the beach are rows of shady casuarinas–a charming scene of the beach. Bai Sau Beach is backed by sand hills and woods facing the East Sea. The Hai Dang (Lighthouse) Mountain Beach is immediately adjacent to the beach. Bai Sau Beach is the most crowded and busiest beach in Vung Tau. Bai Dua Beach is over one kilometer from Bai Truoc. This is a beautiful beach at the foothills of Nui Nho Mountain where there are shining, black, jagged rocks and pandanuses scattered on the seashore, making the coast more pristine. Bai Dau Beach is located on the margin of Nui Lon Mountain and about three kilometers from Bai Truoc Beach. This beach is narrow and shallow but very clean. At the two ends of the beach there are many rocks intruding into the sea. The rear part of the beach is a basin with luxuriant vegetation, leaning back onto the slopes of Nui Lon Mountain.
The curving Little Mountain Road (Ha Long Road) goes from Bai Truoc Beach through Bai Dua Beach to the Nghinh Phong headland, where there is the Statue of the Christ. It was built in 1972 and then was abandoned. On 28 January 1992, at the request of the Catholic community, the Peoples Committee of Ba Ria-Vung Tau province decided to continue to build this statue on Chua Mountain. After two years of construction, on 2 February 1994, the work was completed. The statue was built on a mountain. It is over 136 meters high and is located 176 meters above sea level. The Christ is 31 meters in height with the hands outstretching for 18.4 meters. It is placed on a square pedestal engraved with portraits of the 13 apostles.

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