The Whale Temple or Lang Ong Nam Hai as the locals know it is one of the few attractions in Vung Tau on Vietnam‚Äôs Southern coast. Vung Tau is a sleepy resort by day though it does liven up somewhat at night. The Whale Temple is an unusual little temple with a quaint history.
At times it seems that everything in Vietnam has a legend behind it and most attractions in Vung Tau are no exceptions. Story has t that many years ago a whale was washed ashore on the beach here. It was so huge that the locals could do nothing with it. They waited until it decomposed to mere bones and then the locals and the fishermen decided to give it a proper burial. They carried it inland and buried it at he site where the temple now stands.
Fishermen around the world have always had huge respect for whales and many sea based cultures almost hold them in a God like status. Vung Tau is no different. Nowadays if any whale is washed ashore the fishermen transport it to the Whale Temple and all the bones are kept here. On the occasions when this happens they parade the whale through the streets and a festival takes place with traditional dancing and folk songs. The carcass is buried for three years, after which the bones exhumed and put on display.