So today was by far the most relaxing and tourist oriented day of our trip, at least thus far. We had an early start to the day with a 6 am wake up time, but that was because of our 2 hour bus ride to Vung Tau which is the top tourist area near Ho Chi Minh City. Breakfast was a to-go box provided to us by the hotel, and it contained some very strange material that I suppose Is meat but I ended up only eating the three pieces of bread in the box plus a cliff bar to satisfy my diabetes.
I must admit I slept most of the way to Vung Tau, but I did pay attention to the environment on the way home (I will discuss that in a minute). So once we arrived at Vung Tau the first thing we did was visit the statue of Jesus at the top of the mountain near the resort we would end up visiting. You will see this in the pictures at the bottom of this blog, but the statue at the top of the mountain overlooking the ocean along the beach and tourist town really resembles Rio in Brazil. Anyway, we hiked the beautiful path to the top of the mountain (over 800 stairs) and then climbed the spiral staircase within the statue to get this phenomenal view of the entire coastline!
Once our time with Jesus on top of the mountain came to an end, we made the trek down to the bus and proceeded to this beautiful resort a few minutes down the road. We spent some time in the refreshing pool as well as the beach and ocean* too. We spent most of our day relaxing at the pool and playing frisbee, and no matter where we went there was no avoiding the sun. All of us are burned at least slightly, but it’s all a part of the experience! I especially have a nice tan line around where my insulin pump was on my arm (lol). This resort also served us a delicious salad, salmon and beef lunch too!! It doesn’t top the Tokyo deli lunch but it’s a close second!
It’s important (and required) for me to mention the surrounding area of this tourist town on our way home since this trip does have a focus on development. I will say that while I was at the top of the Jesus statue overlooking the area as well as at the resort, I was under the impression that this was a very standard tourist town with a lot of income causing it to be a much nicer and more built up area. This idea stood strong for as long as I was at this 5 star resort, but once leaving the coast line it seemed like the farther I got from the ocean the quality of living certainly had a noticeable decline. It went from nicer buildings and apartment complexes to the standard shacks and marshy land at the edge of the city that a person might imagine when thinking of a Lower income area. I believe this observation speaks to the strong divide in the distribution of wealth here in Vietnam. I also want to mention that regardless of area or situation, every local person I’ve met thus far has been very kind and courteous. They seem excited to have us here and proud of Vietnam, even the lower class areas too.
*Quick side note: after some time in the ocean, which was warmer water then I expected, every one of us moved back to the pool or at least the showers because we all were a bit itchy afterwards. We have had a debate as to whether it was the salt levels or other minerals but no definite explanation has been found so stay tuned (lol)
Enjoy the pictures! Until tomorrow!