Pages Navigation Menu

Heading to Mekong Delta, First stop, Ben Tre

[Not a valid template]

You know you’re off the beaten track, when you’ve seen no other western people on your walk around the town, when all the locals keep staring at you like they’ve seen a ghost and when the restaurant owners seem confused when you go in. That is Ben Tre in the Mekong Delta for you.

Ben Tre is three hours bus ride from Saigon to the south into Mekong Delta, the rice bowl of Vietnam. It’s a small town by the river, just south of My Tho, a slightly more tourist friendly city by the big river. However, after Kuala Lumpur, Singapore and Saigon, we thought we could do with a smaller town this time. And that’s what we got.

[Not a valid template]

[Not a valid template]

There are a few small local hotels positioned on Hai Ba Trung street, a few streets from the riverfront. Nobody will however speak any English. We went around one of the hotels with the owner (I think she was the owner) as she showed us the different rooms and always wrote the price on a piece of paper. Accommodation was basic, but cheap and surprisingly there was also a working wifi.

We walked around the city, but there really isn’t that much to see. Most action is close to the riverfront, with various fruit sellers and such showing their wares. There is also a big market near the new bridge which is still under construction. The old bridge on the other side of the town is quite narrow, barely fitting two motorcycles to pass each other. And like in Saigon, everybody rides a motorbike here.

[Not a valid template]

We managed to find a few restaurants from the town, but the whole experience proved slightly more challenging than back in Saigon. The problem with the restaurants you can find, is not the lack of English menu, it is the lack of any menu, and the fact that nobody speaks any English, making ordering quite interesting. But often the restaurants only sell one or two things. So we managed to order by pointing around a little. And at least I know that Beer is Bia in Vietnamese. You know, you have to learn the basics of the local language to survive.

[Not a valid template]

Next day we headed off for a tour on the river, which unfortunately during rainy season turns unattractive brown color. We saw some islands on the river from the boat, but we didn’t really go near to them which was disappointing. The tour was ok, but we mostly stayed on the big rivers, stopping at a few touristy places, and then coming back a smaller river on a rowing boat.

[Not a valid template]

[Not a valid template]

[Not a valid template]

[Not a valid template]

We did however stop by at Coconut candy factory, which was a fun experience. We saw the whole process of how coconut candy is made by hand. And then we got to taste all the different flavors they had (I wasn’t too impressed by the Durian flavored one), before we bought a few boxes. They were really tasty and cheap.

[Not a valid template]

[Not a valid template]

[Not a valid template]

There isn’t really that much to do in Ben Tre, but it’s a nice change from the touristy Saigon city center. However, you won’t be spending more than a few nights here. The locals here are very friendly, even if nobody speaks English.