Ben Tre Province in southern Vietnam is just minutes away from crowds yet seems to retain the feeling of being a complete backwater. Certainly it is an extremely scenic province in the Mekong Delta region and this Ben Tre Travel Guide recommends travellers who want to enjoy the quiet of Vietnam to look closely at this province. There are quiet waterways, palms, orchards and houses constructed with bamboo and thatch. All Vietnam tour packages covering the whole country are likely so include some travel within the Mekong Delta.
Bến Tre sits between branches of the Tiền Giang River, which is a branch of the Mekong. The province has a network of smaller rivers and canals allowing land irrigation. The result is that Bến Tre is a major producer of rice although it is also a province prone to flooding.
Early in 1960 the Viet Cong attacked and took control of several some districts within what is now Bến Tre Province. The villages were subsequently recaptured by many say these actions were the origins of the Vietnam War.
How to get there
Ho Chi Minh City is no real distance away for Vietnam family tours and bus travel is comfortable and regular. Travelling within the Delta of course is very convenient by ferry and boat.The Rạch Miễu Bridge links Bến Tre to Tiền Giang Province opening in 2009 provides greater road access.
Best time to visit
Temperatures are fairly constant throughout the year; 25 – 28C. The variations are purely in rainfall. The dry season usually starts towards the end of October and lasts until May. The rains then set in and that can lead to mass flooding. The rain generally falls as heavy, but short, showers during the afternoon. October to January has emerged as the top tourism period though people wanting fewer crowds should go off-season; it will be cheaper as well though Vietnam remains fairly inexpensive anyway.
Things to see and do
There are a number of things that this Ben Tre Travel Guide recommends:
• Within the town of Ben Tre there are museums, temples and pagodas. The Ben Tre Museumand Dong Khoi Building of Historical Value in Mo Cay are very informative about the Vietnam War and Dong Khoi Revolution. An Hoi Temple, Binh Hoa Temple, Phu Tu Temple and Tan Thach Temple are four religious sites to see.
• Nguyen Dinh Chieu Poet's mausoleum is worth a visit.
• Local markets are very illuminating and think about a visit to a local rice wine factory.
• There are traditional villages such as My Long - Son Doc Rice Paper Village, Cai Mon Fruit and Flower Village, Hung Phong Coconut handicraft village and Phu Le Traditional Alcohol village.
• Exploring the Delta byboat is a must; you might even like to rent a paddle boat and set off by yourself.
• Go to a Coconut Candy factory; everything handmade and a nice souvenir of your visit.
Those on organised Vietnam travel package shave all their arrangements made for them, travel and accommodation where required. There are hotels and hostels for those on independent Vietnam travel itineraries.
Watch video: Mekong delta with Vivutravel (including Ben Tre)