The day trip to Cloud Lake Cultural and Ecotourism on Big Mountain in Vung Tau City left us enjoyably confused and a bit dizzy from all the carousel rides. It is one of those places that makes you wonder? How did the South African ostriches and Caribbean Pine trees end up there? What role did the radar play in the war? All the questions have answers in the brochure about Nui Lon, Nui Nho (Big and Small Mountain) in Vung Tau.
As you approach Vung Tau via hydrofoil (VND200,000 one way) or mini bus (VND60,000 with TV entertainment) from Saigon you will notice the cable car ride up Big Mountain. The European designed cable cars offer a smooth ride and their colorful lights can be seen at night from all over Vung Tau. It is the most convenient way to access one of Vung Tau’s main attractions for VND100,000 return including a car tour around the mountain and a brief introduction.
It is difficult to categorize Cloud Lake because it has a bit of everything but not much of anything. It is not a theme park because there are only a few rides including a Rocking Boat and a traditional merry-go-around for VND10,000 a ticket. It is not a zoo because it’s only got ostriches and monkeys. Neither is it a natural reserve as the forest is small and the lake and waterfall are artificial. But it does have a few coffee places, outdoor festival area and bar and restaurant.
Cloud Lake is suitable for a half-day trip in the morning or the evening to avoid the hot sun. The staff are friendly, and the car cable ride was brief but enjoyable as we got a great view of the coastal city. The only disappointment was the coffee places that looked more like canteens than to the amazing cafes that Vietnam usually offers.
You can walk up the mountain by road. It’s a 1.5 hour climb and you will meet many locals on their daily exercise routine. There is a resting place halfway for a healthy fruit juice or lunch before carrying on to the top. From the top there’s an amazing view of Vung Tau including Cloud Lake. However, Cloud Lake is only accessible by the cable car.
Car cable return ticket: VND100,000, www.vcct.com.vn, tel; 064 3856078
By Kiet Tran in Vung Tau
The cable car up to Cloud Lake is European designed – Photo: Kiet Tran