Ben Tre Province is located 85 km South of Ho Chi Minh City in the Mekong River Delta, with an area of 2,315 km 2. It lies below Tien Giang Province to the north, Vinh Long to the west, and Tra Vinh to the south. Ben Tre is nestled between two main branches of the Mekong’s largest tributary, which diverges to create a fertile agricultural region and beautiful coastline.
Topography & Weather
Ben Tre is generally flat, with some surprising topographical features such as sand dunes and unique rock formations. There is a lot of farmland which takes advantage of the area’s abundance of fresh water and alluvial soil. This is a place of diverse and complex river systems, winding water channels and canals. The weather in Ben Tre is typically monsoon tropical with high average temperatures of 26 to 27 o C. The rainy season usually begins in May and lasts until October, with average rainfall of 1,250 – 1, 500mm a year. This climate provides the province with a wide variety of fruits, trees and animals, many of which are rare and valuable species.
Vam Ho Bird Sanctuary
Vam Ho is a submerged region in Ba Tri, Ben Tre, which is 52 km east of Ben Tre Borough and 120km south of Ho Chi Minh City. This spectacular place contains many wild forests with a great variety of trees including water coconut, date, mangrove, reed and Avicenna. This is a favorite destination of many animals, especially birds, to which the region is dedicated. There are about 84 species of birds in 35 classes, including 500,000 storks. From April to October is the best time to see the storks, as this is when they take refuge in Vam Ho to produce and raise their young.
The birds can be seen during the day, but early evening after 5pm is the most exciting time to watch them. At sunset, great flocks of storks thousands of members strong, fly over the Ba Lai River to turn around under a glowing sky and land within the green forest. The sound of thousands of birds mixing and playing, dancing and whooping becomes the enchanting song of the jungle. In addition to the song of the storks are the varied rhythms and calls of other wind birds mixed with the sound of leaves, which makes a silent summer’s night shimmer with excitement.
Tuyen Linh Temple
Tuyen Linh Temple was built from bamboo in 1861 near the Tan Huong channel in Minh Duc, Mo Cay, Ben Tre. The temple was firstly named Tien Linh, and led by Abbot Khanh Phong. In 1907, a monk name Le Khanh Hoa, an expert in Buddhism, was appointed to lead the temple and then in 1930, he renamed the temple “Tuyen Linh” with the term “Tuyen” referring to propaganda. This place is famous not only because of the uniqueness of its design, but the historic events that happened here. The temple became a national historic site in 1994 and on May 19th of every year, there is a festival held here to celebrate the birth of Uncle Ho.
Tuyen Linh Temple has been visited several times by Deputy Nguyen Sinh Sac, father of Uncle Ho. When staying here, Nguyen Sinh Sac opened classes to teach children, cure the residents’ diseases and discuss national affairs with Abbot Le Khanh Hoa. This was also the place that Nguyen Sinh Sac met Tran Van An, Huynh Khac Man and Le Van Phat, some of the first members of Ben Tre’s Communist Party.
Phung Le Islet
Phung Islet is on Tien River in Tan Thach, Chau Thanh, and only 12km from the center of Ben Tre City. The islet is famous for its lush array of fruits, especially the coconuts, but also for the delicious specialty dishes of south eastern Vietnam. Visitors can reach the islet by boat. After taking their time on the islet, they can continue to ride along the river, visiting the handicraft and coconut candy factories, and disembark to catch a coach ride to tropical gardens. Here they can rest under a canopy of coconut leaves, sip tea with fresh honey and blueberries, while listening to the beautiful melodies of traditional music.
Phung Islet is also known for holding the Relic of the Coconut Religion, which once spread over 1,500 km2 of Ben Tre. The Coconut Religion (or Moderate religion) was created in the 1940s by Nguyen Thanh Nam. The main policy of this belief was to combine the essences of different religions such as Buddhism and Christianity, and pray for the good of all peoples and nations. Fortunately, the relic remains intact on the 9 Dragons Ground, where cardinals would give speeches. There is also an enigmatic tower made from the pieces of broken plates, bowls and cups of the followers.
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