To get to Ben Tre Province from HCMC travel to My Tho City and over Rach Mieu Bridge. Ha of coconut plantations and criss-crossing canals make up this green province of three islands - Minh, Bao and An Hoa Islands.
Bao is the largest island, separated from An Hoa Island by Ba Lai Canal and from Minh Island by Ham Luong River. An excursion around the province is worth doing, to see the rural scenes of the Mekong and learn more about Ben Tre’s architecture and history.
In the center of Ben Tre, take a stroll around tranquil Chung Thuy Lake. The lake is about two hectares in size with bright flowers and tamarind trees lining the banks. An old school overlooks the lake. In the early morning the lake sleeps under a blanket of mist and the air is brisk. The surface of the lake is as still as a mirror. In summer, it is livelier, as cicadas sing in the branches of the red flowering trees.
Nga Ba Thap park is also popular for its lines of 100-year-old cycads and coconuts. In the center of the park, Dong Khoi Statue commemorates the revolutions against the U.S. and France.
The ancient Phu Tu Temple, about three kilometers from the center of Ben Tre City, stands near a 300-year-old tree. About 7m high, the tree covers an area of about 250m².
On Road No 26, don’t miss the Temple of female general Nguyen Thi Dinh, leader of the 1960 historic uprising in Ben Tre. She later became Deputy Chairwoman of the State Council of Socialist Republic of Vietnam. The temple is built on a large area in a simple design. The bronze statue of the general set near the entrance is 1.75m high and weighs over one ton. The temple has an exhibition room displaying some of Dinh’s possessions.
Another place to see is the imposing Nguyen Dinh Chieu Temple, dedicated to the patriotic poet Nguyen Dinh Chieu (1822 – 1888). Covering an area of 1.5ha, the temple looks striking with its arched roof.