Exploring Minh Dam base in Ba Ria-Vung Tau Vietnam
During a two-day stay in the city of Vung Tau, my friend and I decided to journey by motorbike to Minh Dam base in Long Dat District along the beautiful coastal road from Ba Ria - Vung Tau Province to Binh Thuan Province.
Hiring a motorbike in Vung Tau is quite easy. As we disembarked the hydrofoil, a man offered to lend us his motorbike for two days for VND200,000. After some bargaining, the price dropped to VND120,000.
We started the journey early the following day. We left Vung Tau behind as we crossed the Cua Lap Bridge toward Phuoc Tinh Commune in Long Dien District. Previously, when tourists traveled from Vung Tau to Minh Dam base or Long Hai, they had to take a roundabout route through Ba Ria. However, the journey today was only half the distance due to newly built roads.
Riding along the coastal road to Minh Dam, we were thrilled by the beautiful scenery, especially the sections of road straddled by mountains and beaches. The road is planted with white and pink cherry blossoms. According to locals, the road is most beautiful in the springtime when the trees are in bloom.
Minh Dam is located in the Chau Long-Chau Vien Mountains on the southeast side of Long Dat District. Minh Dam reaches 355 meters and extends eight kilometers. The mountains were renamed in 1948 after Minh and Dam, two revolutionary martyrs in the liberation troops.
The mountain is bordered on three sides by the sea and has many natural caves and fresh spring water. The mountain served as the military base for the liberation troop against the French and the Americans.
The base is comprised of four main sections - Da Che (split rock), Gieng Gach Pagoda, Chau Vien and Da Giang. Da Che is where important troops were stationed during the war. Gieng Gach Pagoda is located on the north side of the mountain. It is named after an ancient pagoda that was completely destroyed. Chau Vien, the west side of the mountain provided shelter for the army medical corps and security units, while Da Giang is located on the foot of the mountain. Da Giang no longer exists today.
During the two wars, Minh Dam suffered from intense bombing. In fact, bullet holes still remain on the mountain.
We also visited Bach Van Cavern and Bach Van Temple, remnants of Cao Dai religion. We spent two hours exploring the base's caves and climbing to the cavern and the temple where we were able to see a view of the beaches of Long Hai and the coastal road. While we explored the sites, we caught glimpses of wild squirrels and monkeys.
Without enough time to visit near by sites like Monkey Pagoda, we left the base with regret. On our ride back to Vung Tau, we passed by temples, resorts, crescent-shaped beaches and the Co Temple.