‘Backwater’ province of great canals and DIY motorbike rides

Mekong boatWorth It? Good stop on back-roads route from My Tho to Vinh Long; best of ‘My Tho’ boat trips are actually Ben Tre’s canals
What to Do: Explore backroads, canal boat trip
Best Time to Go October to March
How Long? A day
Gateway: Easiest is ferry to My Tho (just north)
Fact: Ben Tre is the town the US army had ‘to destroy in order to save’ during the Vietnam War


Cut off from the delta by ferry crossings – and famed for its coconuts – Ben Tre province seems more like an island. Many Mekong travelers make it here, without realizing it – at least half of a ‘My Tho’ day trip weaves through Ben Tre’s lovely narrow canals (just across the river from My Tho, 75km southwest of Saigon). If you go farther into the province, you’ll find no tourists, little infrastructure, and not that much to do but take it in. Ben Tre’s humble namesake town, 11km south of the Ben Tre/My Tho ferry, has its own buzz, but keeps to itself. The backroads can make for great motorcycle drives – and you can move on via a fun alternative, ferry-hopping route to Vinh Long without backtracking to the main highway (see Attractions).

Read about my experiences here from my research trip.