Ben Tre Vietnam: top activities to do in the land of coconut
- on Nov 29, 2019       By: BN
Discover Ben Tre and its surroundings
Located 85 km south of Ho Chi Minh City, at the end of one of the main branches of the Mekong River, Ben Tre province is a destination off the beaten track of the Mekong Delta. This oasis of tranquility and rustic authenticity is considered throughout Vietnam as the "land of coconut". The plantations of coconut trees that extend as far as the eye can see cover a very large part of the territory of this province, to which are added the rice fields, the orchards crumbling under the tropical fruits, the vegetable gardens and the innumerable water channels. A real paradise that we like to discover on foot, bike or by boat.
The coconut tree, emblem of Ben Tre province
The locals call the coconut tree "the tree of life" so it is an inexhaustible resource for many families who live from coconut cultivation and processing. Everything is usable in a coconut tree, from palm leaf to fruit. Going to a family coconut factory is a must visit when travelling to Ben Tre province. Gourmands are at the party with the discovery of the secrets of making coconut candies, a specialty of the Mekong Delta. It’s an artisanal process that consists of mixing 80% of coconut milk, 10% of cane sugar and 10% of rice malt, to obtain a paste that will be used to make these delicious treats.
With the coconut tree, local artisans make other products such as kitchen utensils (bowls, spoons, plates, salad bowls, etc...), coconut oil, coconut soap, coconut rum, moisturizer or essential oils. The roots of the coconut tree come in traditional Vietnamese medicine, the trunk is used to make furniture or frames, the leaves are used to make mats, hats, bags, green rooves while the fiber of the coconut is used to make mats or ropes in particular. And of course we particularly appreciate the very refreshing coconut water, the pulpit and the coconut milk which are used in the preparation of succulent dishes.
What to see and do in Ben Tre?
+ Visit the refreshing gardens to taste the many tropical fruits and to meet passionate farmers who strive in the family to produce quality fruit.
+ Cycling on the few islands that can be reached by taking a local ferry. Delightful and peaceful little islands with lush vegetation, beautiful coconut groves, fruit and grapefruit gardens.
+ Rowing boat ride through the multitude of canals and creeks. A pleasant excursion that will allow you to dive into the heart of local life and enjoy the incredible nature.
+ Discovery of local crafts, of course coconut but also the factories of rice cakes and noodles or puffs.
+ Visit the Vam Ho bird garden, a bird sanctuary with many rare bird and animal species about 30 km southeast of Ben Tre.
+ Go to one of the local markets to enjoy the atmosphere and the extraordinary variety of local products including fresh fruits and vegetables.
+ Discover some religious buildings like churches, pagodas and a Caodaist temple, always surprising us with their colours and extravagance.
+ Taste some local delicacies such as the succulents of the Mekong or giant freshwater shrimp.
+ Admire the sunset on the Mekong as fishermen cast their nets to end your day in style.
+ Sleeping at home, an excellent opportunity to immerse yourself in the local culture and enjoy the legendary hospitality of the inhabitants of the Mekong Delta.
Ben Tre during the Vietnam War
With its dense and impenetrable forest, Ben Tre was an important island of resistance during the Vietnam War. Much of Coppola's film Apocalypse Now highlights the patrolmen's missions that roamed the river and its densely vegetated canals to hunt down Vietcong rebels. Several operations took place in the province of Ben Tre in order to clear the area of all the members of the Resistance who had taken refuge there.
Best season to visit Ben Tre
To stay in the province of Ben Tre in the best conditions, we advise you to go there between November and April during the dry season.
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