Ben Tre, the provincial capital in the Mekong Delta area in Southern Vietnam, is a pleasant and industrious town that makes an agreeable contrast to the tourist bustle of nearby My Tho. Ben Tre is fairly untouched by tourism, enabling it to be a raw and authentic Vietnamese town. Though short on specific sights, the surrounding countryside is lush and photogenic. It’s a relaxing and friendly place to hole up for a couple of days, with a buzzing town market and a new riverside promenade, which makes a pleasant place to stroll in the morning or evening. With a bicycle or motorbike, you can explore the maze of trails on both sides of the river. For more of an adventure, head out of town on a boat trip along the Ben Tre coastline, where labyrinthine creeks afford marvellous scope for exploring, and sometimes include stops at apiaries, rice-wine and sugar-processing workshops.
Ben Tre Markets, Vietnam © Claudiovidri / Shutterstock
History of Ben Tre
Ben Tre played a significant part in the Vietnam War, although none of the wounds of its past are displayed today (apart from a heavily populated cemetery and proud war memorial). Many argue that Ben Tre was the initial birthplace of the war, as in 1959 a female Viet Cong general led an uprising against US-backed Saigon from this exact place. The town is virtually famous for a controversial line that a US Major quoted when questioned about the 1,000 civilian deaths and numerous casualties in the area, "It became necessary to destroy the town in order to save it" referring to making the disastrous decision to kill the citizens of Ben Tre rather than let them be led by communists.
Featured Image, Ben Tre, Mekong Delta © Aleksandar Todorovic / Shutterstock