Backpacking Teacher

Travel, teaching and things in between. Saigon is the focus for now.

What to do with a long weekend coming up? Vung Tau, Motorbike, The Herd and Museums.

with 4 comments


This Wednesday Vietnam celebrates the liberation of Saigon and the whole country has the day off. The next day, May 1st, is, unsurprisingly given that it’s recognised as an International Worker’s day, another public holiday. That gives us a much appreciated four-day weekend.

Of course that means that, like Tet, everyone’s on the move and so everywhere is busy. Flight to anywhere are pretty much booked out. Now I’m toying with two options. Stay and celebrate the liberation of Saigon by doing all those touristy museum and culture sights that I have not yet got to and spend sometime with my chocolatier friend. Alternatively I’ve been thinking about getting on my bike and riding the two plus hours down to Vung Tau. Of course I probably could, and probably will, combine these two options.

I’m keen to go for a ride on my bike. I wouldn’t say I’m keen to get out of Saigon because I’m still thoroughly enjoying my time here but I would like to see a little of the countryside. Vung Tau is appealing for a few reasons. The first is that it is the closest beach (sorta) to Saigon and that I can ferry it back from there rather than ride back on the same road I came in on. The second, more whimsical reason, is that, if like me you grew up in Sydney in the 80’s and 90’s you’ll remember these lyrics ……“from Vung Tau riding Chinooks to the dust at Nui Dat” . You’ll have had a little song about Vietnam stuck in your head from the mid-80’s that never quite went away, especially if you live in here. It came back with a vengeance lately as ANZAC day rolled around and as I watched a documentary online about The Herd remaking the  Redgum song “I was only 19”.




So, for one reason or another, I’m feeling drawn to a town that no-one I have met yet really likes. It’s described variously as drab, a tourist town, a slick and greasy would be city riding the crest of an oil boom. So I’ve no real reason to go and a thousand other more interesting places to visit and yet ……..

So there you have it … my not yet made plans for how I will celebrate the liberation of Saigon and May 1st.


Photo: original source article and photo available at


Written by backpackingteacher

April 27, 2009 at 7:34 pm

4 Responses

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  1. Will be interesting to see which one you chose. Thanks for the you tube of redgum- hadn’t heard it for a long time. Just caught up with some people from Cambodia trip 10 yo and memories came flooding back. Enjoy your long weekend. Let us know if you want to do any reports.



    April 30, 2009 at 8:50 pm

  2. Hi you know the way to Vung Tau? How does one get on that highway let’s say from phu my hung? I have always wanted to ride my road bike to that area but cannot find information on how to get there.

    Jai Gamboa

    Jai Gamboa

    April 30, 2009 at 11:47 pm

  3. Well I’m not entirely sure but I do know I need to take expressway 51A … but I have a gps on my iphone so I’m just going to head east out of Saigon and take it from there … as far as I can see you take Xa Lo Ha Noi road out of district 1 through An Phu and then east over the Saigon river. From there join up to 51A and then (according to friends) it’s a generally straight and pleasant drive into Vung Tau.


    May 1, 2009 at 12:42 am

  4. reports .. yep …nope …I have to do reports for about 12 different classes so I’m kinda not looking forward to them …
    don’t you love that redgum song …really resonates with out generation in Oz I think … funny thing is I was at a local pub the night after I posted that youtube clip and they played that song … weird..


    May 1, 2009 at 12:44 am

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