This iconic Vung Tau landmark is usually the first thing that travellers see when arriving by hydrofoil ferry from Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon). It's known as 'Big Mountain' not so much for its height, but the fact that its four peaks sprawl back from Front Beach for several kilometres along the west side of the Vung Tau peninsula.
There are many different trails to access the top, each with its own degree of difficulty. The asphalted bitumen road is the simplest – and used by locals for exercising every day. More challenging are the several "very steep" climbs up the side of the mountain, and the 600+ steps access further around towards the fishing village.
Views from Big Mountain are superb. On the southern side you can overlook Vung Tau Bay and the Front Beach area – as well as across to Small Mountain.
As you move around to the western side, the shipyards come into focus. Then along the ridge heading east, you have magnificent views of the residential part of Vung Tau City.
On top of the mountain is the old radar antenna (now disused) and the vast theme park accessed by cable car. Scattered around the hillside are local shops and houses, and many shrines and pagodas including the iconic “Goddess of Mercy” statue (sometimes mistaken by tourists for the Virgin Mary).
The battery of old French cannons is very popular with locals as it's not far from the main access road – the site also provides an interesting “water stop” for Hashers on the way to the top!