Pete Townsend once wrote ‘The beach is a place where a man can feel, he’s the only soul in the world that’s real’.
And his sentiments echo greatly in this man’s head as I just love beach life, sadly it is resigned to being only short weekend breaks at the moment and the best destination from the city has to be Vung Tau.
Most Saigonese heading to the local seaside are resigned to the fact that its beach may not have the powder-white sand like those in Nha Trang, Mui Ne or Danang, but its close proximity ensures that it is the number one destination during holiday weekends.
For me Vung Tau is one of the most beautiful beaches in Vietnam, although it is not as popular as its East Coast rivals.
It is only 125 kilometers from Saigon and therefore it is only a 90 minute drive, plus it offers unique views and a different experience.
I really love the gentle front beach here, the water is so calm and clear. One of my favorite adventurous activities is accompanying fishermen to catch eels dubbed sea serpent in Vietnamese folklore due to its fierce nature.
It is great fun to see how the fishermen here catch the eels. Since they usually live in deep caves, fishermen have to wait for the tide to rise gradually before using chum or ground fish, as bait to lure them out.
But as much as I love to get out there and be active during a weekend break with the watersport activities on offer or shadowing the local fishermen, I do love to kick back in one of the many resorts in the seaport city.
One place really hit the spot last weekend – Lan Rung Resort &Spa. It is one of the city’s best and with its amazing landscapes, tropical gardens to die for and of course the small matter of a beautiful, blue sea with its hillside and seafront views it certainly does the job of putting heads on beds.
Of course as with all the local resorts in Vung Tau you have your own private stretch of beach. I love to walk from a resort for a handful of meters and be on a beach, it is one of the best feelings in the world, living on the beach for a short time and if you are honest you want to stay there forever.
And of course if you do feel really, really, really lazy you can sit at the outdoor swimming pool in the complex and order cocktails from the skilful bartenders and enjoy the good life. There is also a gym complex to work off the excess alcohol and spa but let’s be honest it is all about the sea and the beach.
I have always dreamed of owning a house on the beach and until I get there I suppose places like Lan Rung will just have to do. They are not bad runners-up prizes. By James Phan in Vung Tau
The beautiful balcony at Lan Rung Resort & Spa looks onto the beach- Photo: James Phan