Hotel Name: Ben Tre Farm Stay
Address: Cai Suc Bridge, Hamlet 3, Xa Phu Nhuan, Ben Tre, Vietnam.
When exploring the Mekong Delta region I suggest staying for at least some of your time at a home or farmstay. Part of the appeal of the Mekong is exploring the rural roads and the many waterways that criss-cross the land. With this in mind I booked into the Ben Tre Farm Stay in Ben Tre Province.
The Ben Tre Farm Stay is about 5km from the city of Ben Tre, on the other side of the Ben Tre River. Once I made the booking I got an email explaining how to get there. If you are coming from Saigon (as I was) you can get the FUTA Bus from Mien Tay Station to Ben Tre. FUTA (or Phuong Trang) is one of the biggest bus companies in Vietnam, and they offer a free shuttle service to hotels at most of their destinations. On the bus you will be asked where you are going, and they will arrange a van to take you there.
It took 1 hour and 45 minutes to get from Mien Tay Bus Station to Ben Tre, and from there I got taken in the van to a little bridge, where I was met by staff of the homestay.
From there it’s a short walk through the jungle. And to think that only hours earlier I was in the concrete jungle of Saigon.
The farmstay is on a clearing of land next to a small river.
The reception is in an open building that also doubles as the dining and common area. I checked in with the friendly proprietor and got some ideas of what to see and do in Ben Tre.
The accommodation is in private bungalows in a tropical garden setting.
There was a canal in front of my bungalow with a cute little bridge made of old coconut trees.
One of my biggest concerns was staying in a bungalow with gaps in the wood. While flimsy bamboo bungalows are ok in a beach setting, it’s not something you want in a jungle with mosquitos. Fortunately the bungalow appeared to be sealed tight, and it even had proper glass windows. There was also a mosquito net for an added layer of protection.
With the room being sealed tight they can include an air conditioner. I prefer to sleep with a fan, but this was easy to say in the relatively cool month of December. Ask me at the hot end of the dry season in April and I might be singing in praise of A/C.
Some emergency snacks, should you wake up in the middle of the night hungry (after all there are no 7-Eleven’s within walking distance).
When I booked I made sure the bungalow had it’s own bathroom as I didn’t fancy a midnight walk to a toilet block. The bathroom was clean and spacious, though I don’t know if it came with hot water. Not that it matters too much in this part of the world.
And of course the other thing I made sure of was wifi access. When I booked it said there was wifi in the room, but being in a bungalow away from the main building I wasn’t holding out hope for a good connection. To my surprise I had a good signal in my room.
The property felt more like a jungle than a farm (at least the kind of farms I’m used to). Ben Tre is coconut country, so the farms here are dense forests of coconut trees. This land is so fertile that there is greenery growing everywhere.
Jackfruit trees are in abundance as well, so be sure to try some in your travels.
Staying in the jungle means you are having dinner here. I got the set dinner for 80,000 VND. This is what a $3.45USD meal looks like.
A breakfast is also provided as part of your room price. The typical Vietnamese hotel westerner-friendly egg and bread roll combo is served, along with a Vietnamese coffee.
There are bicycles available, and it takes about 15 minutes to cycle into Ben Tre Town. The road is flat and there is not much traffic so it’s a pleasant way to get into town.
There are also different tours available from the farmstay. I did a 3-hour morning tour for 300,000 VND ($12.95 USD), which combined a boat trip with cycling (with the bikes being carried on the boat). This is a good option if you want to get on the next bus by lunch time.
In addition to the bus company dropping you off, they can also pick you up for free. Ask the reception to call the FUTA bus company and a van will come and get you before the next bus. Ben Tre is a stop between the Saigon to Tra Vinh bus service. From here I got the bus to Tra Vinh.
Overall this was a great place to stay to explore Ben Tre and surrounds. staying here can be done quite comfortably as an overnight trip from Saigon. During my stay I was able to spend half a day in Ben Tre and then do a morning tour the next day before getting the bus. If you are looking for a quick city break from Saigon then this is ideal.