The Christ of Vung Tau, Vietnam

Christ the King, of Vung Tau is a statue of Jesus, standing on Mount Nho in Vung Tau, Ba Ria-Vung Tau Province, Dong Nam Bo, Vietnam. The Vietnam Catholic Association built the statue in 1974 and it was completed in 1993. It is 32 metres (105 ft) high, standing on a 4 metres (13 ft) high platform, for a 36 metres (118 ft) total monument height with two outstretched arms spanning 18.3 metres (60 ft). There is a 133-step staircase inside the statue.

The statue is treated like a church and because of this there is a dress code: your shoes must be removed and no tank tops are allowed.

A 90-minute hydrofoil ferry ride or three-hour motorbike drive from downtown Saigon, Vung Tau is a decent place to relax and unwind for a local city dweller; the average tourist on the other hand may find the city disappointing, as the beach is not nearly as nice as those you’ll find in other areas of the country. But Vung Tau does have something unique to boast of: a 32-metre tall statue of Jesus that you can climb. The statue is definitely worth a stop if you find yourself in Vung Tau but there are some things you’ll want to prepare for before you make your visit.

The giant statue of Christ the King in Vung Tau is easy to find: from the ferry terminal take a right on Vung Tau’s main road, Ha Long. When the road reaches the tip of the peninsula, and changes its name to Thuy Van, you will find the Christ of Vung Tau and its large entrance area. The statue is located on the top of a large hill and the hike to its base will take at least 30 minutes. Wear comfortable shoes and be prepared to sweat, as this is a difficult hike even for avid hikers. The stairs on the way up can be quite awkward as well; some are too tall while others are too short. Luckily, there are several places to stop along the way to rehydrate yourself, catch your breath or admire the view.

At first, they tended to construct a 10 metes height statue placed on a 5 metes height pedestal, but the construction was interrupted in 1973. Not too long after the interruption, they re-constructed the statue (become 32 meters high) on the top of Vung Tao mountain in a site of 10 hectares square.

When you finally reach the feet of the statue and are ready to go inside, you may be in for a surprise. The statue (Christ the King in Vung Tau)is treated like a church and because of this there is a dress code: your shoes must be removed and no tank tops are allowed. Yes, after your long, sweaty climb you can be turned away because your shoulders aren’t covered. If you haven’t come prepared, you can purchase a 20,000 VND T-shirt from the gift store that is on top of the hill to get in.

Once inside you’ll have more work to do: climbing the 100-plus stairs leading to the top. These narrow at the top, especially in the final exit onto the statue’s shoulders, and get quite narrow and short for a larger Westerner. Also, as the statue gets more and more crowded, traffic to the lookout areas begins to bottleneck and you may have to wait for a few minutes before you see the view. To avoid this, show up early in the day, preferably before 9:00 so you can beat the crowd and not have to rush yourself, plus it won’t be as hot. (TraveFish)

About Vung Tao, Vietnam

Vung Tau is a resort town in the province of Dong Nai 125 km from Saigon. The town is a long strip approximately 14 km long and 6 km wide. Where the southern tip of town meets the ocean stand two famous mountains Nui Lon (Truong Ky) and Nui Nho (Tao Phung) or Large mountain and Small mountain.

A big resort project has just been licensed by the Vietnamese government, the Saigon Atlantis. Upon completion, this entertainment project worth US$300 million in capital investment will include resorts, shopping, sailing. The investor of this project is proposing to raise the investment capital to USD $4 billion. Two other noteworthy entertainment projects awaiting licensing are Vung Tau Aquarium, which will cost USD 250 million, and Bàu Truong, a Disneyland-like entertainment park which will cost US$250 million. The project includes Landmark Tower, a 88-story skyscraper proposed to be built and completed by 2010 in Vung Tàu by a USA-based company, Good Choice Import – Export Investment Inc, once built will likely be the highest building in Vietnam. The project is under consideration for approval by the local provincial government.

Historically, Vung Tau used to be part of Bien Hoa. The first settlements in this area occurred during the reign of King Gia Long. During this period, there were many Malay bandits in this region. They often enter the area through Song Be entrance from the ocean. This created a threat for merchants in the Gia Dinh area.

King Gia Long sent three garrisons of troops to the area to quell the disturbance and to clear this area for settlement. A few years later, the bandits were driven away and in 1822, King Ming Mang rewarded the three officers who led the army to this region. The soldiers were allowed to retire and brought their families to this area to make a living. The first three successful settlements in this area were under the leadership of the three officers who originally led the troops here. Thang Nhat (first win) township, Thang Nhi (second win) township and Thang Tam (third win) township were led by Mr. Pham Van Dinh, Mr. Le Van Loc, and Mr. Ngo Van Huyen respectively. Ever since then, this area is known as Tam Thang or Three Wins. The name Vung Tau came about because the geography in this area also forms a natural bay where many merchant ships would stop to seek shelter. In time, this area became known as Vung (puddle) Tau (ships). Another name for this area is Cap Saint Jacques or Au Cap in French. The Vietnamese mispronunciation is

Vung Tau is the first seaside resort for the elite in Vietnam. The first hotel, the Arduzer, was built in the 1870′s and was a spa for the French leadership at the time. Over time, many more bungalows and vacation homes were built by the well to do of Saigon. Today, Vung Tau has many large and modern hotels on its 3 main beaches. Vung Tau is also known for its abundance of pagodas and temples, most of them lean against the mountains and face the ocean.

A serpentine road 6 km long hugging Small Mountain starts from Bai Truoc (Front Beach), passes by Nghinh Phong (Windy Point) and leads to Bai Sau (Rear Beach). Named Ha Long (Descending Dragon), the winding road goes up and down along the shore, offering a spectacular view of the skyline and refreshing ocean wind. Facing the ocean on three sides, Vung Tau is windy all year round and has 2 distinct seasons, rainy from May to October and dry from November to April. Average temperature is 28 deg. C.

Another winding road 10 km long circling Big Mountain starts from fishing village Ben Dinh, passes through Bai Dau and ends at Front Beach. Traditionally a weekend get-away spot for city dwellers from Saigon, Vung Tau has also a significant fishing industry. With oil riggs only 70 km off shore, the city is a center of services for the exploitation of gas and oil.

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