Ben Tre

Ben Tre is a province that lies in the lowest part of the Mekong River basin. Ben Tre, some 85 km south of Ho Chi Minh City, borders on Tien Giang to the North, Cuu Long to the west and the East Sea to the east.

Ben Tre

Geographically, Ben Tre (Area: 2,247 sq. km) is wedged between the two main branches of the Tien Giang River, which is itself one of the two main branches of the Mekong. The province’s northern boundary is formed by the Tien Giang’s main course, while the province’s southern boundary is formed by the Tien Giang’s largest branch (which breaks away from the Tien Giang just upriver from Ben Tre province). Between the Tien Giang and its main branch are two smaller branches, passing through the middle of Ben Tre.

The entire province is criss-crossed with a network of smaller rivers and canals. The extensive irrigation that this provides makes Ben Tre a major producer of rice, but also means that the area is prone to flooding. The Climate Change Research Institute at Can Tho University, in studying the possible consequences of climate change, has predicted that 51% of Ben Tre province can be expected to be flooded if sea levels rise by 1 meter. Ben Tre province is, on average, only 1.25 metres above sea level.

Construction on the Rach Mieu Bridge, which links Ben Tre to its northern neighbour, Tien Giang province, was started in 2002. The bridge was finished and opened for traffic on January 19, 2009. Before that time, Ben Tre was only accessible to automobiles via ferry.

There are two distinct seasons: the rainy season beginning from May to November, during which there are torrential rains and strong wind between September and October, and the dry season from December to April.
The tropical climate of Ben Tre is influenced by monsoons; the rainy season lasts from May to October and the dry season from November to April. The average annual temperature is 26°C and the humidity level is quite high due to the presence of many rivers.

Ben Tre is well known as the motherland of poet Nguyen Dinh Chieu. It is also famous for the revolutionary spirit of its people during the war against the United States. Tan Vinh Islet is also a famous tourist site.

The picturesque little province of Ben Tre, just south of My Tho, sees little of the tourist traffic of its northern neighbour. Its sleepy waterfront, lined with ageing villas, and active market nearby makes for a pleasant stroll, and there’s good exploring into Ben Tre’s rustic settlement across the bridge south of the centre. The town has a tiny lake (Truc Giang), ringed with a few cafes. Ben Tre is also a good place to arrange boat trips around the area – particularly those wanting to escape the tour buses.

Ben Tre is famous for keo dua (coconut candy). Many local women work in small factories making these sweets, spending their days boiling cauldrons of sticky mixture, before rolling it out and cutting sections off into squares and wrapping them into paper for sale.


Ben Tre

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