Monday, September 28, 2015

Mariner of the Seas : Shore Excursion - Vung Tau (Vietnam)

Daily schedule compass would be delivered to your room every evening & I was impressed with their creativity. They making animal with towel. 

Been 36 hours on sailing since leaving MBCCS, finally Mariner of the Seas has arrived in Phu My Vietnam around 7am on 3rd day. We got up early to avoid the crowds and met up with the group members. They were under the same group arranged by Holiday Tours, mostly were from Malaysia as well. 

Basically the day tour itinerary was about Vung Tau city, due to Ho Chi Minh city was far away & we wanted to get back to the ship on time, so the schedule changed to only visit Vung Tau. This excursion tour was USD75 per person by Holiday Tours (NOT shore excursion from Royal Caribbean).  Price might be different now, depending on your country currency & offer by your company tour. Itinerary as followed:

1. Departed from pier at 9am to Christ of Vung Tau, which took 50minutes drive.

2. Spent about 1 hour of climbing up & down the Christ Hill. 

3. At 11am leaving from Christ Hill to Summer Palace of Emperor Bao Dai. It took 25 minutes drive and another 15 minutes for visiting the museum. That's pretty fast & furious! Haha. 

4. After museum, it was another 5-10 minutes drive away to see Guan Yin, the Goddess of Mercy in Thuy Van beach. The Guan Yin statue is about 300-foot high and absolutely stunning to look at it. 
5. By 12:30pm we drove to have lunch in a local restaurant named Quán Tre. I had my birthday celebration there with the group.
6. Back to pier after lunch. It was around 3:10pm when we reached at pier because need to get on ship by 4pm. 

It was around 9am when this photo was taken. That's our tour bus for Vung Tao. 

Mariner of the Seas 'parking' at pier. Thanks to iPhone's panorama mode :) 

That's our Vung Tau tour guide. He speaks few Chinese words and quite a funny guy.

Look at that! Jesus Christ on the top of hill. Couldn't go so far to see the one in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; but grateful that I saw one nearest to my home.

Engraved words on the marble-bench. I have no idea what is it mean. It is located on the down hill before step climbing.

Few souvenir shops there. The crowds there were 50% tourist & 50% local people. 

One of the scenery after few step climbing up the hill. 

There it goes. Another few steps to reach top. Amen.

The view in 2nd rest stop, seriously it was so hard for me to do that. 

Selfie lol

Just few steps more :)

Another statue before Christ.

Eventually. Amen.

Can you see people on the Jesus's shoulder? YES, you actually can go inside the statue and take another bunch of steps to go up there. Of course I didn't, physically not able to. Kekeke

Birth of Jesus Christ in Bethlehem. 

Cannon near the Christ statue area.

Souvenir shop on the hill.

Park on the hill. That's why a lot of local people here I guess. Lepak-ing.

Last pose on this sacred hill before leaving.

I bought fridge magnet while waiting for other group members to come down. It was cheap & help the local. I wanted fridge magnet anyway. :)

Flies in the air near Summer Palace of Emperor Bao Dai Museum. 

Just before entering the mansion.

"The showroom contains a number of typical objects, recently salvaged from the wreckage of a ship which was sunk on the way to Europe, at the sea - area of HonCau - Con Dao. It belong to Ba Ria - Vung Tau province. The collection contains pottery, porcelain, and earthen, bronze and stone ware with variations in patterns and motifs that have rarely been seen so far, making them an exciting find. They were created in the late 17th or early 18th centuries, during the reign of Kang Xi of Qing Dynasty China. The collection is a national, historical, and cultural heritage of special value, due to its contribution to the enlightenment of the commercial relationship between east and west."

Found this very interesting but I had no clue what was it. It was attached to the window. Maybe it was a window opener.

Can anyone tell me what was it mean by "Photograph taken within only 2 minutes" ?

Plants were a lot in the museum exit area. 

Museum exit. 

Huge statue on the hill. Saw this during journey from Museum to Guan Yin temple.

Buddhist would come here for praying. It was sightseeing for tourist. though.

It was about 300 foot high. Astonishing. 

View from the other side angle. There was a bottle in her hand.

You can purchase birds and then release them. I was puzzled, wondering why pay to release the captive birds. I know the purpose of freeing captive living is to generate good karma, but why these living things like birds were being captured at the first place?  Well, just pay and release them, so you get good karma. Just do it!

Souvenir stall outside the temple, facing the beach :)

Just outside the temple. 

Still feeling pain after the hill climbing. Kekeke. Stretching while waiting for the others. 

Lunch in Quán Tre local cuisine restaurant. Here I got the birthday surprise, secretly arranged by my partner & Kiefe. Thank you all.

Thank you!

After back from Vung Tau tour, just perfect time for a cup of coffee. Bear in mind, below coffee bar is not providing free beverages. If you want a decent coffee, you'll have to pay for it. Just give them your cruise card & they will charge the bill to your room. No cash term in Mariner of the Seas :) 

Coffee bar next to Cafe Promenade. Chargeable beverages.

Another surprise for birthday cake. Prepared by Royal Caribbean, special thanks to Holiday Tours for the cake. 

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