On the 18th August 2016 marked 50 years since the Battle of Long Tan and 50 years since the Australian and New Zealand entered the Phuoc Tuy Province. This resulted in seven years of continual operations in the province until the withdrawal in 1972. In 2015 the former soldiers of the Liberation Army extended the hand of friendship to their Australian counter parts at several ceremonies that were held in Vung Tau and Ba Ria Vietnam.
With the organising committee of several veterans, a Gala Dinner was held on the 18th August 2016 in Vung Tau. In attendance were 20 plus Vietnamese members and several guests of honour from Australia including Lt Col Harry Smith SG MC (Ret), WO Keith Payne VC (Ret) along with members from all branches of the Australian military veterans, including 10 member from Delta company. Not to mention 20 Vietnamese from 33 regiment.
Australia has a strong presence in Vietnam with many Vietnamese students in Australia and a population that has assimilated into to Australia’s way of life. In 2016 a gala dinner had been organised to bring stronger bonds between both our countries.
The dinner was held at the Pullman Hotel in Vung Tau which is a new five star resort.
This was an opportunity for both sides to get together as both sides lost their youth in Vietnam and is now a time for healing.
Money raised on the night went to a young girl by the name of Thanh and her mother Phoung. Details of money raised and what was purchased can be read via the “Fundraising Recipient” tab on the information page.
The weather here in South Vietnam is very similar to that of Darwin (Australia) to those that have been to Darwin know the wet season there can get quite humid and it is the same here in Vietnam in the wet season,which it will be, at the time of the 50th Anniversary of Long Tan. So dress appropriately, keeping in mind that it may rain and the ground may get wet and slippery.
Money + Costs
Exchanging money is better done once your here in Vietnam as you will always get a better rate than that in Australia.
If you are staying in Ho Chi Minh prior to making your way down to Vung Tau and have or will be booking accomodation in Ho Chi Minh, those hotels you book should be able to arrange a airport pick up upon your own request.
Travel from Ho Chi Minh to Vung Tau is easy. For those who would like to catch the hydrafoil (ferry) down the saigon river to Vung Tau, the price is 200.000VND (less than $10 each person, each way). On weekends price is 250.000VND. When you arrive in Vung Tau give the address of your accommodation or bar of choice to the taxi driver.
Ferry info: http://www.vinaexpress.com.vn/
Travel by road. These are nice luxury 9 seater buses with leather reclining seats, airconditioning and WIFI. They take approximately 90-120 minutes to Vung Tau, and are a fixed price of 200.000VND per person. The times and phone numbers for these buses are provided.
It is recommended to stick with “Mai Linh” taxis, as there are some dodgy ones around.
Taxi bus info: http://cmdtour.vn/ (unfortunately this website is only in Vietnamese)
Ph. 0124 8277555 (Ho Chi Minh City)
Ph. 0124 3856565 (Vung Tau)
Tommy’s Sportsbar & Restaurant
Glenn Nolan +84 90738523
3 Le Ngoc Han Str., Ward 1
Vung Tau City, Vietnam
Tommy’s Sports bar and restaurant is ideal for those who are looking for great meals and service at a very affordable price, plus experienced local knowledge of the history in the surrounding areas. Our sports bar will not disappoint any sports enthusiast, with so much sporting memorabilia it literally takes 1 or 2 drinks to see everything. Not to mention our huge range our military memorabilia as well. We are also a proud sponsor of the Vietnam swans A.F.L (Asia Football League) team.
Our restaurant is located less than 100 meters from the ocean for those who enjoy a leisurely stroll or enjoy watching the sunset over the south china sea.
Our menu caters to both Western and Vietnamese pallets, served by our well trained and courteous staff. Enjoy meeting with friends inside or at our large outdoor patio area. Our prices are very reasonable and have been a hit with many visitors, look at trip adviser for reviews.
Yet, our services extend far beyond our great food, and international sports bar; where sports from around the world can be enjoyed on our large flat screen TV’s and large projector screen.
We know this area very well and can assist or advise you in any service you may require. Tours, visa services, rentals, and Vietnam Veteran/Battlefield tours, are only a few ways we can help you enjoy your stay in Vietnam, especially in Vung Tau, often referred to many locals as “Vung Wow”. So please allow us to make your stay whilst in Vung Tau a memorable one.
We also have a live band every Saturday night from 7pm till late (they are a huge hit with the local expats and locals alike), request a song or get up and sing yourself, it’s all about enjoying yourself.
FRIENDSHIP GALA DINNER
Scholarship Of Destiny
Friendship Dinner funds change through Scholarship of Destiny:
The Organising Committee for the Vietnam Australia Friendship Dinner, that was held in Vung Tau on Vietnam Veterans’ Day, 18 August 2016, is delighted to announce that Ms Thanh is the very proud recipient of a scholarship that will fund her university degree here in Vietnam.
The so-called Scholarship of Destiny is valued at USD5,100 and will cover four years of tuition fees at her University in Ho Chi Minh. Ms Thanh who will be studying several topics such as High level mathematics,introduction to law, Micro economics and military history to name a few. In addition, Ms Thanh was presented with a brand new tablet/laptop that will give her the freedom to study anywhere, anytime, without having to travel to her local internet café.
Glenn Nolan, Secretary of the Organising Committee, said that the Friendship Dinner’s main objective was to bring people of different nationalities together to collectively look forward to the future with optimism.
Australia and Vietnam’s bilateral relationship is already very strong. For example, having 25,000 Vietnamese who are studying in Australia this year gives us great confidence in the future. “But”, said Mr Nolan, “the Organising Committee also wanted to offer the hand of friendship to a local person and help her reach her destiny”.
That local person is Ms Thanh who is just 18 years old and lives near Vung Tau. Four years ago, Ms Thanh underwent triple bypass surgery. Recently, her mother was diagnosed with liver cancer.
“Here’s a family, that’s doing it tough financially and emotionally”, said Mr Nolan. “But this kid, she’s a fighter. This Scholarship is going to make a difference for Thanh and her family when it matters most”, added Mr Nolan.
On 28 September, the Organising Committee presented Ms Thanh with the tablet /laptop in HCMC. Wiping away tears, Ms Thanh simply said, “Thank you to all the people who I never knew cared so much.”
Ms Thanh has now already commenced her studies at University in Ho Chi Minh City and is doing very well.
The Organising Committee also presented the Vietnam Veterans and Friends Charity with USD200 who do a lot of great work
The Organising Committee sincerely thanks:
The Vietnamese Government and local authorities for generously allowing the Friendship Dinner to proceed on such a sensitive occasion.
The 680 guests who attended the Friendship Dinner, including a group of 20 Vietnamese from 33 Regiment, North Vietnamese Army.
The individuals and organisations who generously donated to the Scholarship of Destiny fund.
The management and staff of the Pullman Hotel, Vung Tau, for being so flexible and for providing such an excellent service.