Today, the group went to Vung Tau, a private beach resort located around an hour outside the city. The journey to the beach was typical. There were trees and random shops scattered along the highway, but of course with Vietnam there were some differences as well. Traffic, for example is something I’ll probably never get used to. The slower the speed of traffic, the faster and more chaotic motorbikes drive. Also, the scenery outside the city was just as beautiful as inside. There were mountains and neatly pruned shrubs with flowers in them and stray bulls that roamed the grass.
If before the trip, someone asked me what I thought of a resort town, I couldn’t give a more descriptive summary than pools, coconuts, and maybe a random comparison to Splash Lagoon. Vung Tau was all of that, and then some. There were beach umbrellas constructed from palm trees, beautiful intact seashells poking out from the sand, and restaurants where you can be without shoes, shirt and still get service. The service was mostly was Americanized, including the English menu and food, but that made it no less enjoyable. As for the food, all of it seemed very fresh. I wonder if the seafood came from the ocean itself.
Near the beach, we climbed endless flights of stairs to visit Tượng Chúa Kitô Vua, a statue of Christ on Mount Nho. The 105-ft monument was was visible from the bottom, but the view from every point on the mountain was incredible. Flower bushes and butterflies were visible in every step from bottom to top of the incline. There were many resting areas and even concession stands along the way as well. Inside the statue, there was another 133 steps spiraling to the top, but more than the 30 people we brought were inside. Despite each step having enough space for 1.1 people, the same staircase used for going up the mountain was for going down. Squeezing past so many people without shoes (you cannot wear them in the statue for religious reasons) was honestly my most uncomfortable moment of the trip. Regardless, it was a wonderful experience perfectly placed in the middle of trip so that we could relax- just as we live- as the Vietnamese.