Ben Tre is a perfect place to relax and enjoy the silence. It is located 85 km south of Ho Chi Minh, being one of the 13 provinces at the end of Mekong River. Ben Tre is known as being the world coconut capital with more than 70.000 hectares and it’s also famous for its exported tropical fruit orchards, ornamental flowers, and seafood. It has the most typical landscapes of the Mekong Delta region with rice fields, narrow waterways, and peaceful villages.
We had the chance to spend the Lunar New Year in a homestay – Ben Tre Stay, being able to see how Vietnamese people are celebrating this holiday.
I was amazed by the coziness of this place, the location, the people and the garden were exactly what I needed for me. They were waiting for all the family to come to visit so the grandfather was preparing a New Years Corner in the yard for taking photos with the family.
The tradition says that on the first day of the year, they visit all the relatives from the father’s side. They make a big family reunion and they start to talk and eat together. On the second day of the year, they visit the family from the mother’s side having the same purpose.
My big surprise was to find out that the third day of the year is dedicated to the teachers. They respect teachers considering that they have a big impact in their life, so they visit some of their teachers and spend some time together eating and remembering moments from the school’s time. We were lucky to have such a nice host all the time smiling to us and being open to sharing their traditions.
For New Year’s Eve we went to assist the celebration in the main market and to watch the fireworks show. We enjoyed the traditional dances, music, and even a Vietnamese play. I was surprised to see how decent they celebrate avoiding the excess. During the fireworks show, everybody was speechless and amazed by the beautiful colors in the sky. It was a different kind of New Year for me and I totally enjoyed it.
If you travel in the south of Vietnam, I recommend to visit Ben Tre City, ideally situated close enough to bigger cities to allow easy access and yet distant enough to ensure peace and tranquility.