Vung Tau is the tourist and commercial center of Bà Rịa - Vũng Tàu (an industrial province in Southeastern Vietnam, about 125km from Ho Chi Minh City). The whole city area lies on a peninsula which is separated from the mainland by a gulf river called Co May river. Area: 149,65 km2 - Population (2007): 278.188 people.
During 14th and 15th centuries, the cape that would become Vũng Tàu was a swamp which European trading ships visited regularly. The ships' activities inspired the name Vũng Tàu, which means "anchorage". The Portuguese navigators passed Vũng Tàu many times and named it after Saint Jacques. The French invaded Vietnam afterwards and called it Cape Saint Jacques. The cliff of Vũng Tàu is now called Mũi Nghinh Phong (literally means “Cape of greeting the wind”).
Vũng Tàu was originally referred to as Tam Thắng ("Three Boats") in memory of the first 3 villages in this area: Thắng Nhất, Thắng Nhị, Thắng Tam. It was within the province of Biên Hòa under the Nguyen dynasty.
10th February 1859 marks the first use of cannons by Nguyen’s army, when they fired at French battleships from the fortress of Phước Thắng, located 100 m from Vũng Tàu's Front Beach. This marked an important period in Vietnam’s war against French invaders in South Vietnam (then called Cochinchina).
In 1876, according to a decree by the French colonialists, Vũng Tàu was merged in Bà Rịa county, a part of Saigon administration (French: circonscription de Saigon).
In 1901, the population of Vũng Tàu was 5,690, of which 2000 persons were immigrants from North Vietnam. Most of the town's population made their living in the fishing industry.
On May the 1st 1895 the governor of Cochinchine established by decree that Cape Saint Jacques would thereafter be an autonomous town. In 1898, Cape Saint Jacques was merged with Ba Ria County once again but was divided again in 1899.
On April 4th 1905 Cape Saint Jacques was made an administrative district of Ba Ria province. In 1929, Cape Saint Jacques became a province, and in 1934 became a city (commune).
The French governor of Indochina, Paul Doumer (who later became President of France), built a mansion in Vũng Tàu that is still a prominent landmark in the city.
During the Vietnam War, Vũng Tàu was home to the Australian Army and American support units, and was a popular spot for in-country R&R for U.S. combat troops. After the war, Vũng Tàu was a common launching place for the Vietnamese Boat People fleeing the communists.
On August 12th 1991, the province of Bà Rịa-Vũng Tàu was officially founded and Vũng Tàu town officially became Vũng Tàu city.Economy and society
On May 30th 1979, Vũng Tàu town was made the capital of Vũng Tàu-Côn Đảo Special Admistrative Zone.
The city is located in the south of Vietnam, and is situated at the tip of a small peninsula. It has traditionally been a significant port, particularly during Vietnam's period of French rule. Today, the city's importance as a shipping port has diminished, but it still plays a significant role in Vietnam's offshore oil industry. Vung Tau is the only petroleum base of Vietnam where crude oil and gas exploitation activities dominate the city's economy and contribute principal income to Vietnam's budget and export volume.
The first oil deposit in offshore was discovered by Russian-Vietnamese Joint venture “Vietsovpetro”. After some years two unique oil fields have been taken into exploitation – “White Tiger” and “Dragon”.
From that time Vietnam became one the largest oil producer in the region and Baria-Vungtau the richest province in the country. Foreigner specialists presence in the City is around two and half thousands but anyway many years of influence of foreign culture made its deal – now Vung Tau can be considered as a most foreigner-friendly city in the country.
At the beginning of nineties BP, Shell, Chevron, Texaco, Caltex, Occidental, Exxon, Total, Conoco, Petronas, KNOC and other international oil companies also got involved in oil production here and great number of overseas specialists brought with them the multicultural mix. Many foreign specialists stay in the City after completion of work for employer opening their own business and acquiring mix families here. By unofficial data there are more then 1.5 thousands expats living in Vung Tau now.
Climate: Located in Southern Vietnam, Vũng Tàu has only two seasons in a year :
- Dry season (November - April) : dry and slightly cooler during winter months and around Tết Holiday. Gets hotter in April.
- Rainy season (May - October) : rainy, but less than Ho Chi Minh City. Usually hot at noon till 3PM. Summer is ideal for sea bathing.