Ben Tre Province
|Natural land area||2,315 square kilometres|
|Administrative units||1 township & 7 districts|
|Ethnics||Kinh (Viet Nam’s main ethnic group)|
|Climate||Tropical monsoon, with rainy season from May to October, then dry season from November to April next year.|
|Rainfall||Annual average between 1,250mm and 1,500mm.Annual average temperature between 26oC and 27oC.|
BEN TRE, located at the end-stream of Mekong River, is one of the 13 provinces that make up the Mekong Delta. It faces the South China Sea and provinces such as Tien Giang, Tra Vinh, and Vinh Long. The Province’s central point is 86 kilometres from Ho Chi Minh City- one of the largest cities in the country – by road to the North-East. That is, travellers from Ho Chi Minh City should ride (bus or motorbike) Southwest through Long An and Tien Giang provinces before arriving in Ben Tre. The Province’s main rivers are Tien, Ba Lai, Ham Luong and Co Chien Rivers, depositing and enriching the soil with layers of alluvium for centuries, and cutting it into three large islets: An Hoa, Bao, and Minh. You can see on the map the land spread into a pie shape, with its peak at the upstream, and the River’s branches like the pokes of a big hand-shaped pie spreading out to the East. The Province has a natural land area of 2,315 square kilometres and a population of 1.4 million. It has a flat terrain, with sand elevations intermittantly intermingling with orchards, coconut woods and rice fields. There are almost no woodlands here, and the main land is surrounded with rivers and sea waters.
The people of BEN TRE are very generous, charitable, hospitable, and respectful of talent. They are keen not only to deferentially inherit but also to promote excellent traditional values.
Coming to Ben Tre, you will be told interesting folkstories about legendary figures such as Old Goc, Old O, The Ba Tri Old man… Historically, this “holy land of genius” has been the flourishing place of many Vietnamese distinguished personalities such as educator Vo Truong Toan, the mentor of well-known intellectuals and scholars such as Ngo Nhan Tinh, Trinh Hoai Duc, Le Quang Dinh, Phan Thanh Gian – the first Doctorate holder of Cochinchine- and Truong Vinh Ky (Petrus Ky) – who was known to gain proficiency of 27 foreign languages and was one of 18 world’s most renowned scholars of his time. (There used to be a famous high school in Sai Gon City named after him; this school has now been renamed Le Hong Phong High School located on Nguyen Van Cu Street, District 5, Ho Chi Minh City.) In Ben Tre, you can also go to Ba Tri District to visit the memorial complex of the Teacher-Poet Nguyen Dinh Chieu, visit the tombs where the Old Teacher lying in rest beside his wife and his talented artistic daughter Nguyen Thi Khue-Viet Nam’s first female journalist popularly known by her penname Suong Nguyet Anh.
Ben Tre is also the native land of such excellently known personalities as educator Ca Van Thinh, martyred poet Le Anh Xuan, painter Le Van De, artist Ba Van, architect Huynh Tan Phat, sculptor Diep Minh Chau, martyred student Tran Van On, and a lot of other heroic martyrs…
Especially, Ben Tre has had its name and position carved into Viet Nam’s history after the resonant insurgence of Dong Khoi (Simultaneous Insurgence). The legendary “long hair army” (army of female guerrillas) was born through this revolutionary movement. And, whenever you pay visit to the Province’s 12 National classified historical and cultural heritage sites, to the Dong Khoi Traditional House in Mo Cay District (known as the cradle of the movement), or to the relics of one of the important beach-head of the Ho Chi Minh Trail by Sea in Thanh Phu District along the bank of Co Chien River, you will have more insights into the precious cultural landscape of the land, and great hardship and sacrifice that the people of Ben Tre were undergoing to write the most glorious page in the history of Dong Khoi native land.
BEN TRE Province has enormous and diverse economic potentials, with a young, laborous and creative workforce. With a 500-kilometre long grid of rivers and canals, Ben Tre is rich in aqua resources such as species of freshwater fish, shrimp, … Lush in alluvial soil, Ben Tre has joined other provinces in the region to form the country’s biggest rice stock of Mekong Delta. It is also abundant in various other products. There are famous decorative flower gardens and orchards in Cai Mon – Cho Lach, Binh Dai – Giong Trom, which sell out millions of seedlings of fruit trees and decorative plants.
Exclusively, Ben Tre is very well-known as the land of coconut. With the coverage of more than 40,000 hectares, and a wide range of coconut species, Ben Tre is considered to have the largest coconut coverage in the country. Coconut is the main materials to produce coconut candy (or keo dua) – Ben Tre’s longtime best known specialty. Then there are other well-tasted products, too, such as My Long rice cake, Son Doc shrimp cake.
In line with the national course of reforms and the Government’s policies for developmental investment, BEN TRE has put into effect a number of preferential policies in order to attract investments from outside the province. It has also been seeking to gather investment resources across the province to accelerate the eco-social development between 2002 and 2004.
In July 2002, the grand works of Ba Lai Aquaduct Floodgate, endorsed by the central Government, was started off. Once finished, this project will be useful in keeping off salty water, washing out alum-contaminated water and retaining fresh water for irrigating nearly 20,000 hectares of agricultural crops. Earlier, Rach Mieu Bridge, another national project, was kick-started on April 30, 2002. This project is significantly meant to open up into the future of economic, cultural and social developments for Ben Tre Province, to dissolve the land of its everlasting isolative position, thus facilitating for its fast integrating with other provinces in Mekong Delta, and to enhance the whole region’s eco-social developments, defense and security as well.