How to get from Saigon to Vung Tau by ferry

Saigon to Vung Tau by ferry

Vung Tau is the closest beach town to Saigon, so naturally it’s a popular city escape for Saigonese. The easiest way to get there is by the fast boat service. This used to be the quickest way before the Long Thanh expressway opened. Now getting a minivan takes about the same time.

There was some confusion over the future of the ferry after the Vina Express hydrofoil caught fire in 2014, and services were suspended.

The service restarted but then the government announced that the Soviet-era hydrofoils used by Vina Express were to be retired by December, 2016. There are now other operators so this isn’t the end of the Vung Tau ferry.

Ferry operators

Vina Express was the hydrofoil operator whose service has since been suspended.

The other two operators are Pacific Express and Greenlines. The tickets are the same price and from the same location, so I went with Greenlines for the departure time that suited me.

The pier for boats to Vung Tau used to be at Bach Dang pier in District 1, near the Majestic hotel. The departure point has since moved down the river to District 4. The jetty is off Nguyen Tat Thanh Street near the Ho Chi Minh Museum.

Greenlines and Pacific Express

Greenlines Ferry Review

Greenlines on Saigon River

The Greenlines catamaran looks like a little tug boat so I was surprised at how fast it goes.

I’ve been on many ferries in Southeast Asia with narrow and broken seats. It was a welcome relief to see that the seats weren’t crammed into a small space.

Onboard

The seats are wide and provide plenty of leg room, and they are made of a soft netted/mesh fabric that are comfortable to sit on. The life vests are easily accessible from under the seat as well.

Seats

There is wi-fi onboard and video entertainment. They were playing traditional Vietnamese music and it wasn’t too loud, which is usually the case. They also had the air conditioning set at a reasonable level and not set to “freezing”.

Entertainment

Part of the appeal of this trip is putting Saigon in context to the surrounding waterways. While the rivers the boat travels on aren’t part of the Mekong Delta, there are sections that felt like being in the Delta. Being in urban Saigon I didn’t realise how big the ports and waterways were here.

Phu My Bridge

There is a small deck out the back but it’s not really suitable for sitting. This a fast boat service and not a pleasure cruise, so I made do with looking at the scenery from the window. There is a clean western toilet at the back, and there is no snack bar onboard (you get a small bottled water though).

Toilet

Most of the trip is smooth sailing (so to speak) along the rivers. It is only on the last section where the river meets the sea and the boat cuts across the bay that it gets a bit rough.

Ferry at Vung Tau

The trip take about 90 minutes and the from the jetty at Vung Tau you can walk to the downtown area of the Vung Tau Front Beach.

Saigon – Vung Tau Boat Route

Here is a map of the Saigon to Vung Tau boat route, which starts on the Saigon River, then joins the Soai Rạp River, and finishes in the Ganh Rai Bay.

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Comments

  1. Tommy Smith says:

    Traveling is always a good thing in life, it fills your soul.

  2. This is the place which is very clean and clear where you can get from Saigon to Vung Tau by ferry.

  3. You are never stuck in traffic on the water! 90 minutes to the beach isn’t bad at all. Thanks for sharing.

  4. Where we can buy the ticket .

  5. Useful information and tips about Saigon to Vung Tau by ferry. This is so useful! Thank you!

  6. Ferries are great! Amazing post, James!

  7. Thanks for the info, was wondering why I still see boats going out in my area after the rumored stoppage. I’m wondering though, was there anywhere to park motorbikes for a few days there at the pier in d4? Or did you have to take a taxi/grab etc?

  8. Alastair Munro says:

    It seems the demise of the hcmc to vung tau ferry is because the new expressway makes the journey by road doable in about 90 mins. You can book a ticket from your vung tau hotel straight to the airport and the price is about 100k dong.

    We travelled from hcmc to vung tau by greenlines, but they cancelled our return ferry at 08:30 because there was not enough passengers and bumped us onto the 10:30 ferry. This would mean we miss our flight so had to go by bus instead. Needless to say the bus takes us straight from the hotel to the airport; saving us time/connections/costs. Hence why the ferry is doomed. We did enjoy the ferry; maybe its a good idea to take it one way, knowing they may bump you to the next ferry if there isnt enough passengers?

  9. Alastair Munro says:

    The other thing is they take a very direct route. The ferry comes out of the Song Long Tau river, and then crossing the bay is quite bumpy!

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