What to do in Ben Tre Vietnam: The insider’s guide to hidden gems

Forget the bustling crowds of Ho Chi Minh City, Ben Tre offers a taste of serenity amidst the verdant canals and tropical landscapes of the Mekong Delta. This lesser-known province is a paradise for nature lovers and those seeking an authentic Vietnamese experience. If you don’t know what to do in Ben Tre, then in this comprehensive guide, we bring you the insider’s perspective on Ben Tre. We will guide you from highlights to unique experiences, ensuring you make the most of your time in this mesmerizing destination in your Vietnam tours.

What do you know about Ben Tre Vietnam?

  • Tranquil Escape: 85 km south of Ho Chi Minh City, Ben Tre offers a serene escape with a 60 km East Sea coastline. Flat terrain with dunes and garden fields makes it perfect for cycling and exploring.
  • Eco-Tourist Paradise: A vast network of rivers and canals provides a glimpse into the Mekong Delta’s ecosystem. Pristine landscapes with coconut gardens and vibrant fruit orchards await.
  • Tropical Bounty: Fertile delta yields extensive rice paddies and a variety of fresh fruits like pineapple, rambutan, durian, and star apple.
  • Coconut Kingdom: Renowned as the “Land of Coconut” with 40,000 hectares of plantations. Explore markets overflowing with coconut candies and handcrafted souvenirs made from coconuts.
kingdom of coconut ben tre
The land of coconuts- Ben Tre

What to do in Ben Tre?

Cruise the coconut canals

As your boat glides through the emerald waterways, towering coconut palms line the banks. This isn’t just scenery; it’s the lifeblood of Ben Tre.

You can have a chance to witness this iconic fruit at every stage, from young, green clusters to mature brown shells, learn about the traditional harvesting methods, and marvel at the locals’ skill in scaling these towering palms.

Don’t forget to stop at a local workshop and witness the transformation of coconuts into delectable candies, a quintessential Ben Tre souvenir.

boat tour along coconut canals in Ben tre
A boat tour along coconut canals is a must-do in Ben Tre

Explore Thoi Son Island in Ben Tre

For a more unique experience, head to Thoi Son Island. This island, nicknamed “Unicorn Island,” is a labyrinth of canals and waterways, perfect for exploring by boat. Glide past traditional wooden houses on stilts, and witness the peaceful local life as fishermen cast their nets and farmers tend to their vegetable plots.

While Thoi Son Island offers tranquility, it also holds a hidden thrill – “draining ditches for fish.” This unique local activity allows you to experience the traditional methods of catching fish in the flooded rice paddies.

Thoi Son island
The exciting boat trip to Thoi Son Island

Pedal through the countryside in Ben Tre

The beauty of cycling through Ben Tre lies in its immersive nature. Unlike a car, a bike allows you to truly connect with the local way of life.

Wave hello to friendly farmers tending their fields, children playing in dusty lanes, and water buffalo cooling off in mud puddles. Stop for a cool drink at a roadside cafe and soak up the laid-back atmosphere.

cycling in ben tre
Cycling in Ben Tre offers a perfect blend of relaxation and adventure

Explore local culture by staying in a homestay

Staying in a local homestay offers you a glimpse into the heart of Ben Tre’s culture, and a chance to connect with the people who make this place special. Step into a traditional Vietnamese home and be greeted by the genuine smiles of your homestay family. Immerse yourself in their daily rituals – witness the matriarch preparing a fragrant feast in the open kitchen, and the menfolk discussing the day’s harvest.

Perhaps you’ll even be invited to join in a game of cards under the starlit sky, laughter echoing through the balmy evening air. These immersive experiences create memories far more meaningful than any souvenir.

Visit orchard garden

Ben Tre’s orchard gardens offer a perfect blend of relaxation and adventure, a chance to unveil the hidden bounty of the Mekong Delta.

Bite into the refreshing sweetness of pineapple, savor the creamy richness of durian (if you dare!), or explore the exotic tang of star apple.

The beauty of an orchard garden lies in its unexpected discoveries. You may have a chance to stumble upon a hidden corner brimming with a unique local fruit you’ve never encountered before.

Perhaps you’ll even witness a traditional fruit-carving demonstration, where skilled artisans transform ordinary fruits into intricate works of art.

colorful orchard in Ben Tre Vietnam
The colorful orchard in Ben Tre

Helpful tips:

  • June to August is the fruit season. Therefore, you will have the chance to admire the colorful orchards as well as enjoy delicious fruit in these months. 
  • Durian and rambutan are two signature tropical fruits you shouldn’t miss. You can get them at a super low price in 2 districts: Cho Lach and Chau Thanh district.
  • Some orchards you shouldn’t miss: Cai Man orchard, Hue orchard, Ba Ngoi orchard

Visit Vam Ho Bird Sanctuary – A Birder’s Paradise

If you are a nature enthusiast, then you shouldn’t miss Vam Ho, a bird sanctuary brimming with colorful avian life. This is a haven for over 80 bird species, a paradise for birdwatchers of all levels. Along the way, you can observe a variety of birds, from storks and herons to kingfishers and parrots.

Vam Ho’s beauty goes beyond the birds. This allows you to explore the flooded forests, a unique ecosystem where trees rise from the water, and learn about the intricate relationship between the birds and their habitat.

Vam Ho Bird Sanctuary isn’t just about birdwatching; it’s a haven for relaxation and mindful exploration. As your boat glides through the tranquil waters, you can feel the fresh air and appreciate the simple beauty of nature.

Vam Ho Bird Sanctuary
The diversity of birds in Vam Ho Bird Sanctuary

Enjoy featured local cuisine in Ben Tre

Influenced by its rich agricultural heritage and proximity to the sea, Ben Tre’s cuisine is a symphony of flavors waiting to be explored:

  • Coconut rice: This fragrant dish features fluffy white rice cooked in coconut milk, infusing it with a subtle sweetness and creamy texture.
  • My Long rice paper: These translucent rice paper sheets, unique to Ben Tre, are made from a special type of rice and dipped in sesame seeds before being dried. Enjoy them plain or use them to wrap savory fillings.
  • Coconut core salad: This adventurous dish features the white, fleshy core found at the top of a coconut tree. Thinly sliced and served with a sweet and sour dressing, it offers a refreshing and crunchy contrast.
  • Field crab porridge: Small freshwater crabs, abundant in Ben Tre’s fields, are simmered in flavorful rice porridge. This hearty dish is a true taste of the Mekong Delta and is often enjoyed for breakfast.
  • Ben Tre flattened grilled banana: Ripe bananas are flattened and grilled over charcoal, caramelizing the sugars for a smoky and sweet treat.
  • Elephant ear fish: This dish features giant gourami, a freshwater fish known for its large size. Crispy on the outside and flaky on the inside, it’s often served with a sweet and sour dipping sauce.
  • Paddy field crab hot pot: Rich, savory, and slightly sweet with a hint of freshness. The crab adds a deep seafood flavor, balanced by the sweetness of vegetables and herbs.
Paddy field crab hot pot
Paddy field crab hot pot in Ben Tre Vietnam

Ben Tre travel guide

Weather in Ben Tre

Ben Tre has warm weather all year so you can travel to Ben Tre in any month. Similar to Mekong Delta weather, there are 2 seasons in Ben Tre: the rainy and the dry. The former lasts from December to the following April and the latter is from May to November.

Please be careful during the rainy season, as there will be dampness, which attracts a lot of mosquitoes. You should equip yourself with mosquito repellent, an umbrella, and comfortable shoes. 

How to get to Ben Tre from Ho Chi Minh city?

  • Bus: The most budget-friendly option, buses depart frequently from Ho Chi Minh City’s Mien Tay Bus Station, taking approximately 2-3 hours to reach Ben Tre. While comfortable, expect a few stops along the way.
  • Private Car: For ultimate flexibility and comfort, consider renting a private car. This option allows you to stop at hidden gems along the way and explore Ben Tre at your own pace. However, the cost is considerably higher compared to buses, around $40-55
  • Limousine (minivan): For those seeking comfort and convenience, a minivan is a comfortable way with air-conditioning, spacious seating, and sometimes even Wi-Fi on the roughly 1.5 to 2-hour journey. Expect to pay around $15-20 per person for a one-way trip.
  • Cruise: Departing from the bustling streets of Ho Chi Minh City, you can hop on a scenic boat cruise along the Mekong Delta, immersing yourself in the picturesque landscapes and tranquil waterways that lead to Ben Tre.

Accommodation in Ben Tre

Because there aren’t many options for hotels in Ben Tre, you should book the accommodation in advance to get a reasonable price. Here are some of our recommendations for accommodation in Ben Tre:

  • To experience the authentic life of Ben Tre people, you can choose Jardin du Mekong Homestay. It is located in Song Doc, Hoa Nghia, Cho Lach, Ben Tre. This homestay offers an airy space, designed in a spacious and comfortable style. Travelers will certainly have a memorable trip. The price is about $69/night.
  • Another recommendation is the Diamond Stars Ben Tre Hotel, which is located at No.140, Hung Vuong Street, 5 District. This hotel is outstanding with a river view, delicious food, and clean and convenient rooms. The price is about $60/night.

If you are on a tight budget, you can consider some low-priced Ben Tre accommodation listed as below:

  • Ben Tre Farm Stay is at Cai Suc Bridge, Hamlet 3, Xa Phu Nhuan Phu Nhuan district with $16/ night.
  • Mango Home River Side is at My Huan Hamlet My Thanh Village, Giong Trom District with $26/night.

However, if money is not one of your concerns, please take cruising into consideration. All cruises are capable of high-standard accommodations and excellent service. In addition, cruising along the Mekong River to witness its beauty can be such a memorable experience.

From Luxury Cruise Mekong Team, a brand of Indochina Voyages!


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