Today was beach day for us, which meant we got to drive two hours from Ho Chi Minh to Vung Tau and along the way observe some pretty interesting communities. As we left Ho Chi Minh, the landscape slowly began to change, with more green areas interspersed with the tall modern looking buildings. There would usually be very small, fragile looking houses within those spaces, underneath the treeline, even some floating on the river. Within 200 yards of these smaller less modern homes there was a new development complex, building upscale condominiums and apartment buildings. Most of the other buildings in the surrounding area appeared to generally be large office buildings.
The contrast of those two sections was very interesting because it provides yet another example of Vietnam’s place with one foot into the world of a modern developed country and another still in a more developing mode. It was also interesting to see that the farther we got from Ho Chi Minh the smaller the developed buildings would get as well, although the smaller houses remained the same. and the number of fields and cows increased.
When we arrived in Vung Tau, it seemed to be a lot smaller and less modernized than most resort towns. Just by looking at the stores and the people, one would not guess how pristine the resort we stayed at was or how amazing the Jesus Mountain would be. This is probably because Vietnam’s tourism industry is still growing and hospitality and future tourist haunts are still going through development changes.
The resort had an amazing pool, decadent restaurant, beautiful beach and was comparable to any extremely nice hotel in the US as far as conditions go. This shows the more refined aspect of Vietnam, and was just a really great place to spend the afternoon. Unfortunately, I suffered a pretty severe sunburn after this beach day but overall it was one of the most relaxing and nice days I have had in country so far!