Ben Tre


Ben Tre

Covering an area of 2,315 km2, Ben Tre Province is located 85km South of Ho Chi Minh City in the Mekong River Delta. Ben Tre is nested between two main branches of the Mekong’s largest tributary, which diverges to create a fertile agricultural region and beautiful coastline. The seaside of Ben Tre Province is 60km of Southern Vietnam’s finest scenery, with an abundance of fascinating opportunities for the curios tourists.

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Ben Tre is generally flat, with some surprising topographical features such as sand dunes and unique rock formations. There is lots of farmland which takes advantage of the area’s abundance of fresh water and alluvial soil. This is a place of diverse and complex river systems, winding water channels and canals. The weather in Ben Tre is typically monsoon tropical with high average temperature of 26 to 27 degrees Celsius. The rainy season usually begins in May and lasts until October, with average rainfall of 1,250 – 1,500 mm a year. This climate provides the province with a wide variety of fruits, trees and animals, many of which are rare and valuable species.

At present, Ben Tre is home to approximately 1.35 million people. Like other areas of the Mekong River Delta, residents in Ben Tre are humble, generous and hard-working, but they are also courageous and indomitable.

By Bus

Direct (mini-)bus services from Ho Chi Minh City are to be found at Cholon and Mien Tay bus station. A new bridge, constructed in 2009, now connects the city to My Tho so the bus ride is direct, without a ferry. On arrival at the bus station in Ben Tre, a very welcoming man with good English will try to get you to his travelling guide rated guest house by showing books and stuff. In fact, the ride there takes you back where your bus came from, halfway to My Tho, about 10km from Ben Tre. Make sure to get from Ben Tre bus station into the town of Ben Tre, not elsewhere.

Buy

There is a big coopmart with low Air conditioning (food, department store, game center) near 'Cong Vien Dong Khoi' park and north of lake/pond

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The Food

The food scene in Ben Tre as far as sit-down restaurants are concerned is pretty threadbare. Both the Dong Khoi and Hung Vuong restaurants have reasonable restaurants, and there's a large floating barge that is being refurbished at the moment --- once that reopens it could be a good bet. Aside from that a few stalls serve up coffee and other cold drinks on the northern rim of Truc Giang Lake and there's a couple of dimly lit, lazy chair affairs within easy walking distance. The market has a few basic noodle joints open from the early hours onwards, but come the evening they mostly vacate the premises. The riverfront, which is screaming out for a few cold-drink shacks was totally devoid of eating options when we passed through.

By Boat

Ferries from Rach Mieu in My Tho (20 min/24h) arrive some 10 km north of Ben Tre, so you might want to hire a Xe Om to take you to the town center.

There is also a ferry from Vinh Long Province to the north-western part of the island, again you may want to hire some sort of transport to cover the remaining distance to Ben Tre town. There is also bus 8 from ferry pier to Ben Tre. It seems frequent, costs about 25,000 Dong for 2h trip. You will need a taxi (moto ~ 20,000 Dong for 10min ride). Pay attention when arriving in Ben Tre as the bus goes to outer bus station. Best seems to stop at the roundabout after the two big bridge and Mat Kinh Dien Bien Phu optic shop and take a taxi (moto ~ 15-20k Dong) to the town center.

 

How to get around

The town is stretched along the river, so a bicycle or a motorbike seem to be the best way, especially if you are planning to take it to the orchards on the far side of the river.

What to see

There are no real sights in their own right, but you could have a look at the unspoiled market or visit the rice wine factory on the south bank, 0.5 km west from the old bridge. You can also visit the inevitable coconut candy factory here. It’s a must if you haven’t been to one yet, since in this “factory” basically everything is done by hand.

Shopping

There is a big coopmart with low Air conditioning (food, department store, game center) near ‘Cong Vien Dong Khoi’ park and north of lake/pond

Where to drink

Coldest beer in Ben Tre? Go to the Oasis. Bar closes at 9.30pm.

Club 007: Most popular nightclub in town. Extremely loud techno(earplugs recommended). Only busy on weekends. Mostly 18-30 year old crowd with some slightly older, wealthy locals in the VIP area.

AP 1 – Xa Son Dong – QL60 – TP Ben Tre Ph: 075 3833 369

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How to get out

Either go to the outer bus station, but you can get minibus to My Tho or Ho Chi Minh City inside town

to Ho Chi Minh City: 70k Dong, on tran quoc tuan street north of the lake/pond.

to My Tho: ~20k, on dong khoi street, bus stop near school

The cargo boats also will take you to places like Tra Vinh, Can Tho or Vinh Long. The boats leave between 8h30 and 9h every day. It takes a very long time, but it’s a adventurous and cheap option (expect to pay between 60.000VND and 120.000VND each person). They leave from the area east of the new bridge. Boats are light blue.

Ba Tri: 40 minute scooter ride east of Ben Tre.