l Ben Tre travel guide - the untouched part of Mekong Delta Vietnam

Ben Tre travel guide - The land of coconuts in Vietnam’s Mekong Delta

Cập nhật: 01-01-1970 12:00:00 | Blogs about Vietnam | Lượt xem: 1706

Located between the two main branches of the Mekong Delta, the sun-drenched Ben Tre is one of the few unspoiled and authentic provinces that still perfectly retains the characteristics of traditional Vietnamese life. Even though it’s not far away from Ho Chi Minh City, this peaceful lush land is completely in contrast to the vibrant and bustling lifestyle of Vietnam’s largest city. Ben Tre is an ideally tranquil destination to escape from busy modern life in a day or two. If you travel to Vietnam, don't miss out these stunning Vietnam holiday destinations

If you’re planning a Ben Tre travel itinerary or wondering what to do in Ben Tre, check out our detailed Ben Tre travel guide below for a better understanding of this idyllic yet stunning location.

About Ben Tre

Ben Tre province borders the sea in the East as well as the provinces of Tien Giang in the North, Vinh Long in the West, and Tra Vinh in the South. Characterized by a series of waterways and irrigation canals, Ben Tre is one of the most fertile areas in the Mekong Delta and would be a fascinating place to visit during your Mekong Delta day trip. In addition to rice, the province is particularly renowned for its delicious tropical fruits. Since the fruit production in Ben Tre is extensive but not yet industrialized, Ben Tre’s fruits are extraordinarily tasty, especially the coconuts. In Vietnam, this place is widely known as “the land of coconuts” with a coverage of more than 40,000 hectares, and a wide range of coconut species.

Ben Tre Province was actually the location where the Vietnam War (Second Indochina War) officially began, which makes it an unmissable destination for a thorough Vietnam culture and history trip. Ben Tre was considered the homeland of the “Dong Khoi Movement” (which means “Uprise Together” in Vietnamese). This movement pioneered the armed struggle against the United States and the government of the Republic of Vietnam, most notably in 1960. It finally led to the formation of the National Front for the Liberation of South Vietnam, also known as the Viet Cong.

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The best time to visit Ben Tre

Despite being located in the tropical monsoon climate region near the equator, Ben Tre lies outside the influence of the polar monsoon so its temperature is quite high all year round and rarely changes much, with an average annual temperature of about 26 – 27 °C.

Like other areas in the South of Vietnam, the weather of Ben Tre province is mainly divided into two main seasons: the dry season which runs from November to April of the following year, and the rainy season which runs from May to October. Needless to say, the dry season is probably the better period for Ben Tre travel tours since it’s sunnier, warmer, and absolutely more enjoyable.

The ideal time for a Ben Tre full day tour is from June to August, when nature is most verdant, and the local orchards are full of juicy fresh fruits that you can freely try.

Transportation in Ben Tre

How to get to Ben Tre

At the moment there hasn’t been any direct flight to Ben Tre yet, so most people choose to reach this place from Ho Chi Minh City by shuttle bus. You can catch a bus at the Western bus station, each bus ride often lasts about 1.5 – 2 hours and costs just a few dollars per person.

Alternatively, you can also select a private car or taxi transfer departing directly from your hotel in Ho Chi Minh City. In this case, the cost of the transfer is about 60 – 70 dollars per vehicle.

Motorbikes are also worth trying if you are a daredevil who loves exciting adventures, and they can be rented easily at your motel/hotel for the cost of  4 – 6 dollars. A motorbike will come in handy if you want to explore the city by yourself too.

Another option is choosing a Ben Tre private tour offered by travel agencies, they will help design a tour that perfectly suits your needs.

How to get around Ben Tre

With plenty of canals, rivers and islets, Ben Tre is mostly recommended to be explored by boat and it will be quite an experience you can hardly forget. To arrange a Ben Tre boat tour, feel free to reach out to Bonzer Tour for pricings.

To discover the mainland and the city, you can easily catch a taxi on the street or rent a scooter. Most of these accommodations offer free bicycles for guests to borrow too.

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Must-visits in Ben Tre

Con Quy

Con Quy is an eco-tourism site located along the Tien River, about 23 km from the center of Ben Tre. As the smallest one of the four islets named after Vietnam’s four sacred animals (“Quy'' literally means Tortoise, while the other three are Dragon, Unicorn and Phoenix), Con Quy still retains its pristine beauty through time and is one of the most famous tourist destinations in the whole province. Here you can immerse in the peaceful atmosphere of the river and the gardens, enjoy a cup of honey tea, and listen to the sweet melody of “Don Ca Tai Tu” – a type of folk music flourished in Southern Vietnam that was recognized by UNESCO as an Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.

Con Phung

Not far away from Con Quy is Con Phung (the Phoenix Islet), which is often described as a miniature Western village of the Mekong Delta. Visitors can learn about the typical highlights of the culture as well as the rustic life here. Coming to Con Phung, you can visit several coconut candy processing facilities and a unique Coconut Museum – which is a small house made entirely from coconut tree trunks. Other recommended activities are picking and tasting fresh fruits on the branches, rowing a small boat via the canals, or riding a bicycle under the green coconut trees.

Cai Mon orchard village

Dubbed the “cradle of fruit trees in South Vietnam'', Cai Mon Orchard Village lies about 25 km from the center of Ben Tre City. This village is the largest fruit granary in Ben Tre province in particular and Southwest Vietnam in general with an area of about 40 hectares. You can visit Cai Mon any time of the year, since there are always seasonal fruits that you can taste right on the spot like durian, rambutan, longan, mangosteen… and varieties of citrus. In addition, this place is also famous for its gorgeous flower and ornamental plant gardens. The entry price is 0,5 dollars for visiting only, and if you want to pick the fruits and try them yourself, you should purchase the 3-dollar ticket.

Vam Ho bird sanctuary

Located 30 km from the center of Ben Tre, Vam Ho Bird Sanctuary is a tourist area that’s highly recommended in our Ben Tre travel guide with over 100 different bird species, including some almost-extinct ones. Established in 1986 with wild and majestic natural scenery, Vam Ho occupies an area of 68 hectares and features a unique ecosystem area with high biological value. The best time to visit this coastal mangrove forest is from April to August, when the birds begin to gather here to breed.

Lan Vuong tourist site

Lan Vuong is an extremely interesting entertainment destination located only 5km from Ben Tre city. In this site, you can find tons of amusing activities that are very “Southwest Vietnam” like hand/net fishing, coracle rowing, or bicycling through a footbridge. However, it’s more suitable for a large group of visitors rather than solo travelers, given that some activities require a lot of people. This site opens from 7 am – 7 pm daily and the entrance ticket costs 3.5 dollars.

Phong Nam Ben Tre

Thanks to the picturesque charm that still remains untouched despite the whole province's speedy development, Phong Nam Commune in Giong Trom District is now a rising star of Ben Tre tourism in particular and Mekong Delta tourism in general. From the city center, just head 10 km east to Giao Hoa Canal’s waterfront, and you will see the Phong Nam bridge that leads to the village. In Phong Nam, you can leisurely tour around to enjoy the unspoiled beauty and the fresh atmosphere of the place, or visit some craft production facilities such as brick kilns, coconut shell charcoal kilns, or coconut processing workshops...

Dong Khoi guerrilla village

Located in Dinh Thuy Commune, Mo Cay District – the exact place where the Dong Khoi movement started in 1960 (15 km from Ben Tre city), Dong Khoi guerrilla village is open all day and completely free to enter. It is like an exhibition area that displays many rudimentary weapons used by Ben Tre residents to fight against the invaders, as well as relics, images, and historical documents about the Dong Khoi movement. If you want to know about the heroic history of Vietnam and the brave Vietnamese people during the war, this place is definitely a must-go.

Traditional craft villages

Traditional craft villages are always a great chance to learn in a lively way about the local life and culture, no matter where you go. Ben Tre features a few amazing craft villages that you can visit for example Phu Le village in Ba Tri district – which is famous for traditional ritual songs the villagers often sing while working; Phuong Tuy weaving village with daily items made from bamboo; My Long village where you can watch how rice paper is made with your own eyes; or Son Doc village, where you can taste one of the most awesome puff rice paper in Vietnam.

Ben Tre night market

Located near the bank of Ben Tre River, on the two streets Phan Ngoc Tong and Hung Vuong, Ben Tre night market is open from 5 – 10 pm and includes about 200 stalls that sell goods at reasonable prices. Most of them are garments, souvenirs, handicrafts… and only about a quarter are fruit and food. Although it’s not big in scale, Ben Tre night market is still considered a beauty of Ben Tre’s culture. It’s a nice place for a lazy stroll, not to mention the charming view of the Ben Tre River nearby.

Literally any coconut garden around

True to its title, Ben Tre features a variety of vast coconut gardens – which is no surprise as over 200,000 families in this province grow coconuts for a living. Coconut trees are a huge part of life through many generations of the locals here, and you can see these trees everywhere on this land. Most of Ben Tre’s coconut gardens are open for visitors so you can just randomly choose one near your hotel to wander around, drink a little fresh coconut juice, and enjoy some specialties made from coconuts.

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What to eat in Ben Tre

Com dua (coconut rice)

This dish might sound simple, but it’s actually quite complicated to prepare from ingredient selecting to cooking styles. The cook must choose a special big, round and white kind of rice. The rice is put in a coconut with fresh coconut juice, and then steamed for 2 hours to retain its natural sweetness. Depending on the version, some people will add minced carrot, potato, mushroom, pea, or lotus seed, etc.

Duong dua (larvae coconut worm)

Obviously this specialty is not for the faint of heart, but it’s truly worth trying once in your life. Made from the larvae of the worm in the soft part of the coconut tree, duong dua is super rich in nutrients and has a unique fatty flavor. It has long been a famous and beloved food in Southwest Vietnam and you can easily find it anywhere in Ben Tre.

Banh canh bot xat (thick noodle soup)

Banh canh bot xat is a basic, simple noodle soup served with meat (mostly duck meat or pork leg) and ginger fish sauce. Its noodles are always handmade, and require a lot of skills and experience to look neat and even. After the broth is poured into the handmade noodles, it will instantly become thicker and less pure. Some cooks say that texture and color are exactly what make their dish stand out from other kinds of noodle soup. 

Banh xeo oc gao (crispy crepe with rice snails)

Banh xeo oc gao is a typical dish of Con Phu Da so if you happen to pass by this islet, don’t miss the chance to enjoy this flavorsome specialty. Con Phu Da is known in Ben Tre as the “Rice Snail Islet” because rice planted in this region is naturally larger, whiter, and sweeter than in other places. Con Phu Da’s rice snail dishes are unbelievably impressive, especially the crispy crepe. 

Coconut candy  

Ben Tre’s coconut candy has been widely loved throughout Vietnam for decades. This candy will be an excellent choice of Vietnamese souvenirs. Made from coconut meat, sugar and malt, Ben Tre’s coconut candy is quite hard, but will melt into your mouth only after a few seconds. This type of candy tastes extremely sweet and can last long even though it contains no preservatives or chemical sugar.

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