Ben Tre is located downstream in the Mekong River, emptying into South China Sea and embraces a complex network of rivers and channels, stretching for approximately 6,000 kilometers, some of which are Ham Luong River (71 kilometers), My Tho River (83 kilometers), Ba Lai River (59 kilometers), and Co Chien River (82 kilometers). The great concentration of rivers is considered as a favorable condition for traveling on water, farming fish, and irrigation, which makes the area rich in farm products.
What makes Ben Tre special is the fact that it is home to coconuts, for which people call it Coconut Kingdom. With this wonderful ingredient and the locals’ creativeness, numerous unique coconut products and handicrafts are made and imported everywhere through Vietnam.
Ben Tre is not a large province of the Mekong Delta, so it just takes you one or two days to gain insights into its quintessence. Normally, joining a Mekong Delta tour, nobody just picks Ben Tre as the only destination, but they will discover Tien Giang en route before hitting this coconut land.
It will be a 1.5 or 2 hour bus drive from Saigon to Ben Tre. You can choose one of the following transport companies:
Making a trip to Ben Tre, you are advisable to visit eco-tourism destinations where there is a wide range of fascinating activities to experience whereby you can immerse yourself into the life of the Vietnam’s water area. Besides, there are also a lot of other places you should not miss out:
Thoi Son Island
What you can do during the excursion to Thoi Son Island are enjoying fresh fruits in local lush gardens, listening to traditional folk music, learning how to make coconut candies.
Con Phung (Phoenix Island)
Con Phung is the hometown of the founder of Coconut Religion Nguyen Thanh Nam. Plenty of architecture and relics closely associated with Coconut Religion were found in the island, so the excursion here is a chance for you to learn about its reputation in the past. With the area of 28 hectares, it is emerging from Tien River and seen as a pearl of the Mekong Delta.
Con Oc (Oc Island)
Con Oc is one of the most attractive eco-tourism destinations in Ben Tre. Coming here, you can savor local delicacies while submerging your soul into the idyllic lifestyle and witnessing rural charms.
Vam Ho Bird Sanctuary
For those who love birds and desire to observe their wildlife, Vam Ho is actually an ideal place. It is worth a visit since the sanctuary is supposed to be a miniature version of famous U Minh Ha National Park.
Cai Mon Orchard
Cai Mon is well known for its fruit provider almost through the country. Come and enjoy this destination while it lasts because it may not be lush anymore in the future. What you can do here are visiting orchards, picking and tasting delicious fresh fruits, savoring other specialty dishes, such as chicken porridge, mussel porridge, and Vietnamese pancakes with small snails.
Some tombs and memorial houses in Ben Tre are also considered as deserving spots anyone should visit when making a Mekong Delta tour, such as Nguyen Dinh Chieu Tomb, Phan Thanh Gian Tomb, Vo Truong Toan Tomb, Nguyen Thi Dinh Memorial House, and Truong Vinh Ky Memorial House.
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This specialty dish is served at a food stall next to Truc Giang Lake. It is depicted as bananas crushed, grilled and then enjoyed with coconut milk. The stall just opens at noon and in the afternoon.
Thay Ton Sweet Soup
The eatery is located on Nguyen Hue Street and next to Dong Khoi Kindergarten. It just costs VND10,000/glass of sweet soup.
Compared with broken rice in Saigon, it in the Mekong Delta and especially in Ben Tre is absolutely awesome. Broken rice is carefully chosen and perfectly cooked. Grilled pork is tender and sweet; it is indeed fantastic in both texture and taste. You can find lots of eateries serving broken rice through Ben Tre, but Chi Broken Rice may be a good recommendation.
The best grilled corn is found in a tiny food stall next to Kien Vang Bridge. It just opens in the afternoon and until 9:00PM.
There are also other kinds of specialties you will regret if missing them, such as Mekong Delta pancakes, banh canh bot xat, hu tieu pate, coconut rats (a kind of field mouse destroying coconut trees) which are cooked with curry, roasted, or steamed, and coconut worms which may scare you at the first time of seeing them, but please you by their taste.