Ben Tre is a province in the Mekong Delta, approximately 85 kilometres south of Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. With a prime location at the end of the Mekong River, Ben Tre is home to complex canal networks, coconut and fruit gardens and is a haven for ecotourism. The city is home to interesting museums, bird sanctuaries and a wealth of incredible food and architecture.
Begin a city discovery at Ben Tre Museum, a beautiful French colonial style building filled with artefacts, photographs and revolutionary history. The museum tells the story of the Vietnam War, Dong Khoi Revolution and the famous women’s army of the Viet Cong. It’s a fascinating insight into world-changing events. To the east of Ben Tre lies Vam Ho Bird Sanctuary, a magical place with wild forests and an abundance of birdlife. Over 80 species of bird reside here, including half a million storks which frequent the area from April to October. All visitors to Ben Tre should spend time drifting down the Mekong River in a boat, as it’s the ideal place to learn about the culture and history of the people, and explore ever-changing scenery from the water. Ben Tre is famous for its coconut candy. The region is rich with orchard fruits and coconuts, locals and tourists love it. Take a trip to one of the coconut candy factories, view the entire candy making process and enjoy a sample or two. Eating out in Ben Tre is an exciting experience, don’t forget to try local specialties of broken rice, pounded banana with coconut milk and Bot Xat bread soup made from rice flour, duck meat and fish sauce.
Ben Tre can be reached from Ho Chi Minh City by bus, with the journey taking around 2 hours. Alternatively, there are several buses which operate in Ben Tre and around the Mekong River Delta. Ferry trips are available, although a bus or taxi ride will be needed to access the city centre. Live like a local and hire a bicycle, as they can be rented on the north bank of the river and is a great way to explore the orchards and palm-lined waterfront areas.
In the 17th century, Ben Tre was wild marshland prone to flooding, the fertile terrain made it easy to cultivate rice, fruit orchards and coconuts, which the region became famous for. Today, Ben Tre produces around 242 million nuts per year. During the Vietnam War, Ben Tre played a key part and was almost destroyed by allied forces. Ben Tre is a unique area set on the banks of the Mekong with an intriguing rich heritage every traveller should explore.