Today was by far my favorite day of the study abroad program so far. It started off a little rough with us leaving the hotel at six in the morning, but by the end of the day I realized that getting up early was well worth it. We then embarked on a three-hour drive to Vung Tau, which is a beach resort town on the southern coast of Vietnam bordering the South China Sea. On the drive there we passed through many of the smaller towns and villages in Vietnam that we had not yet seen. It was a lot calmer in the streets and surrounding buildings, with only a few people standing outside most of the stores and shops. Also, most of the signs for these stores were solely in Vietnamese, compared to Ho Chi Minh City where many of the signs have a split of Vietnamese and English.
Once we got to the Vung Tau, we embarked on a hike up a mountain. At the top of the mountain was a big statue of Jesus that we could climb up to the top of to see all of Vung Tau and the surrounding area. Getting up the stairs in the statue proved to be a pretty difficult task. The stairs were only really wide enough for one person to go up or down, but they were the only staircase in the statue, so people were forced to go opposite directions at the same time, forcing people going down to squeeze by the people going up. However, the beautiful view we got to see at the top of the statue made it well worth the struggle.
After our little hike up the mountain, we went to the resort and enjoyed a delicious five-course meal consisting of salad, pumpkin soup, fried squid, seabass, and crème brûlée. After the meal, we had a few hours to hang out at the beach and enjoy the warm ocean water and infinity pool at the resort.
Vung Tau was a lot nicer and bigger of a town than I was expecting. I was surprised to see a lot of tourists at the different resorts and the resorts were a lot higher class than I anticipated they would be considering Vietnam is still a developing country.
Overall, the day trip was a really fun and enjoyable experience and the view from the statue was one of the most beautiful views I have ever seen.