The picturesque little province of Ben Tre was always one ferry beyond the tourist traffic of My Tho and consequently developed at a more languid pace, although new bridges connecting Ben Tre with My Tho and Tra Vinh funnelled more visitors into the area. The town’s sleepy waterfront, lined with ageing villas, is easy to explore on foot, as is the rustic settlement across the bridge to the south of the centre. This is also a good place to arrange boat trips in the area, particularly for those wanting to escape the tour-bus bustle. Plus, the riverside promenade and the narrow lanes on both sides of the river are ideal for two-wheeled exploration.
The Ben Tre area is famous for its keo dua (coconut candy). Many local women work in small factories making these sweets, spending their days boiling cauldrons of the sticky coconut goo before rolling it out and slicing sections into squares.