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Vung Tau to Ho Chi Minh City by Ferry

The distance from Ho Chi Minh City to Vung Tau is only sixty kilometers as the crow flies, but by road it is a hectic 120 kilometer drive that can take up to three hours. What few people know is that there is another option: the Pearl Orient ferry.

The ferry is a hydrofoil of Russian design and looks a bit like an airplane. The eighty-minute trip is amazingly smooth, though the first ten minutes out of Vung Tau in the open South China Sea can occasionally be a little rough, and the scenery is much more interesting than along the highway (if you've seen one rubber tree you've seen them all). As the ferry enters the Saigon River there are fishermen in their sampans, freighters flying the flags of many countries and peaceful views of life along the riverbank.

In March, there was only one daily round-trip, leaving Ho Chi Minh City at 8 a.m. and returning from Vung Tau at 4 p.m.. However, there is a good chance the frequency will be increased. To find out the current schedule, call 829-1498 in Ho Chi Minh City and 645-2314 in Vung Tau. The craft has three classes and a bar. The ride is comfortable and tickets range from six dollars to ten dollars one way. Vietnamese passengers (usually more than half the boat) pay half that.

In Ho Chi Minh City you board the ferry at the foot of Dong Khoi Street and in Vung Tau on the fishing pier near the restaurant Cap St. Jacques.

Published on 8/1/95

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