Many Firsts in Vung Tau

A new weekend tour by Lua Viet in Vung Tau on the East Sea takes visitors to six unique sites -- like the first lighthouse in Viet Nam and the country’s only greyhound breeding center.

Vung Tau is famous for its crystalline beaches and beautiful weather (Photo: Dieu Ha)

Visitors to this city, which lies 120 km southeast of Ho Chi Minh City, possibly see many of these places without knowing the importance attached to them.

The first lighthouse in Viet Nam

Most coastal cities have a lighthouse to guide ships at night. Viet Nam has 30 of them but the lighthouse in Vung Tau was the first to be built -- in 1862, soon after the French occupied southeastern Viet Nam.

The Vung Tau lighthouse itself is just 18m high but is situated on a hill 170m above sea level. This makes it an ideal vantage point to enjoy a view of the city. The tortuous road leading up to the lighthouse is spectacular. Although cars can reach the top, a motorbike ride is likely to appeal to the more adventure-minded.

The world’s second-tallest statue of Jesus

The statue was built in 1974 on top of Mount Tao Phung. At 32 meters, it is easily the tallest Jesus statue in Viet Nam, and is second only to the one in Rio de Janeiro.

Although built of granite, the statue is actually flexible and its face looks lively with gracious eyes. From the shoulder of the statue you can clearly see every oil derrick on the sea.

The oldest hotel in Viet Nam

Not many people know which the country’s oldest hotel is. It is the Grand Hotel in Vung Tau which was built a century ago in elegant French style. Restorations over the years have changed the facade a bit but the soul of its architecture and the soothing landscapes are still intact.

The oldest canon battlefield

Vung Tau also has the oldest cannon battlefiled in the country. After conquering the southeast, the French colonialists set up an array of cannons to protect Vung Tau at Cau Da (Stone Bridge), Nui Lon (Big Mountain), and Nui Tao Phung (Meeting Mountain). The battlefield spreading from north-west to east-south created a best defense line for the city.

Viet Nam’s sole hound breeding and training center

Race hounds ready for the contest (Photo: Tuong Thuy)

Tourists can visit the country’s only hound breeding and training center and watch some exciting races. Vung Tau is the only place in Viet Nam to hold hound race. In fact, the training center here is the first and most modern one in Southeast Asia.

The first animals were imported from Australia in 1999 and now the center has over 600 of them, several of which participate in the races every Saturday.

Lua Viet Tour has begun a special tour which takes visitors over the city by helicopter. With the cost of a trip shared by all the passengers, it is not too expensive when there are several people.

Hai Dang

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