Nui Dat, Long Tan Cross Memorial and Vung Tau day trip - review by Rusty Compass
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Nui Dat, Long Tan Cross Memorial and Vung Tau day trip

| 04 Jun 2017
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Nui Dat, Long Tan Cross Memorial and Vung Tau day trip
Baria Vung Tau

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04 Jun 2017

A visit to the former Australian military base at Nui Dat, the Long Tan Cross and Vung Tau, can be covered in a day from Saigon - this is one for those with a specialist interest in Australia's role in the Vietnam War.

Note: The information provided in this review was correct at time of publishing but may change. For final clarification please check with the relevant service

Australian interest in the Vietnam War is on the rise. New books, TV documentaries and increased awareness of battles such as Long Tan have led the trend. 

The number of travellers visiting the centre of the Australia’s wartime presence in Vietnam, around 2 hours from Saigon by road, is also increasing. 

If you would like to spend more than a day in Vung Tau, you can check out our guide to the coastal city here. And our guide to visiting Nui Dat and Long Tan from Vung Tau here.

The main areas of interest include the former combat base at Nui Dat, the Long Tan Cross memorial, the Long Phuoc Tunnels, the Long Hai hills and the Horseshoe. The locations can all be visited in a 3 - 4 hour tour from Vung Tau, or a full day from Saigon.

Vung Tau was also a base for Australians during the war, and a popular R and R spot.

There isn't a lot to see at the former Australian bases, but those familiar with the history will find plenty of interest. 

Paul Ham's book Vietnam, on Australia's Vietnam War history, is a great companion. It's available as an ebook on Amazon so you can download it to your iPad or Kindle and focus on the Nui Dat / Long Tan chapters. It's a large tome so best to avoid carrying it around in your luggage.

The 1966 Battle of Long Tan, unknown to most Australians two decades ago, is becoming increasingly important in the country's military history. 18 Australians and more than 200 Viet-Cong died in the battle in an old French era rubber plantation.

The Long Tan memorial is a replica of a cross left at the site by Australian servicemen during the war. The original Long Tan cross is located at the Dong Nai Museum in Bien Hoa.

This Google map provides an excellent resource for those interested in the battles that took place in the former Phuoc Tuy province. 

 

Practical information for visiting Vung Tau - Nui Dat and Long Tan

Since some of the areas aren't marked and aren't terribly easy to locate, it's a good idea to take a tour to Nui Dat / Long Tan. It's not presently clear whether the permission of local authorities is required to enter the Long Tan memorial site - another reason for taking a tour. 

For obvious reasons, the Long Tan memorial is a sensitive site. 

Be aware of the sensitivity when you visit. This is one of three monuments to foreign forces on Vietnamese soil - others are at Dien Bien Phu and Tien Sa near Danang.

As of 2017, ANZAC Day and other formal ceremonies are now forbidden at Nui Dat. The memorial is for private reflection only. Under the circumstances, this seems reasonable.

Companies based in Vung Tau have years of experience in leading Australian travellers through the area. Many guides have detailed knowledge of the area - though perhaps not intimate knowledge of battles and the political aspects of the conflict.

The day trip from Saigon to Vung Tau is best done by taking the early 90 minute hydrofoil from the downtown port (Ton Duc Thang St opposite Nguyen Hue St). The Russian made hydrofoils operating the route resemble seaborne Tupolovs and inspire about the same level of confidence. They will soon be replaced.

The journey costs 200,000 VND and is easy, interesting and perfectly comfortable for a short ride. Services operate every 30 minutes during the day. 

The road trip to Vung Tau has improved with a new freeway making the journey fast and straightforward.

 Tours either commence at the ferry port at Vung Tau, or with a transfer from Saigon for road travellers.

There are enough things to see around Vung Tau to spend half a day here so if time permits. Add a night in Vung Tau either at the beginning or end of your tour. It's a nice contrast to the pace of Saigon.

I toured Nui Dat and Long Tan with OSC Travel Vung Tau. They handle local arrangements for many Australia based tour operators.

Their details are listed below.

 

OSC Việt Nam Travel
Vung Tau Office:
Add: 02 Le Loi Str, Ward 1, Vung Tau City
Tel: +84 64 3852 008  /  Fax: +84 64 3852 318

Ba Ria Branch: 
52 Nguyen Tat Thanh Str, Phuoc Trung Ward, Ba Ria City
Tel: +84 64 3712 116   /  Fax: +84 64 3712 117

Email: osc-tours@hcm.vnn.vn
Website: www.oscvietnamtravel.com

 
NB. Rusty Compass has no affiliation with this company and paid full fees for the tour.Australian interest in the Vietnam War is on the rise. New books, TV documentaries and increased awareness of battles such as Long Tan have led the trend.

Mark Bowyer
Mark Bowyer is the founder and publisher of Rusty Compass.
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