USA to Ben Tre, Vietnam

Hello All.... I will be travel to Ben Tre, Vietnam in November and looking to rent a car for 30 days... Any information would be great!  Thanks all.... :)

Not sure what the requirements are for renting a car in VN. Cars in VN are 3x or more than the same car in Maryland so they will be strict. I'm sure they are going to want to make sure you have a valid driver license at a minimum and international license is not recognized in VN from what I've read. Ben Tre is not as crazy as Saigon but unless you are familiar with driving in VN, maybe use Grab to be on the safe side. Also hiring a driver w/car is an option too. When I was in Saigon, I hired a driver w/car to drive us to Vung Tao and back and it was about 9 hour day or so and it was 1.3M which comes out to be about $60. Ben Tre might even be cheaper for a driver.

Great! Thank you.... I usually paid around $60 USA for one day from Ben Tre to Saigon and back.... I just though it would be more fun and be able to explore Vietnam more when you drive by yourself...

Rahj_Devon :

Great! Thank you.... I usually paid around $60 USA for one day from Ben Tre to Saigon and back.... I just though it would be more fun and be able to explore Vietnam more when you drive by yourself...

What year was this?

You are saying you hired a car from HCMC to Ben Tre and back for about ₫700,000 VND each way???

Calculating using Grab rates, I would think the best rate possible would be closer to about ₫1,100,000 each way IF you negotiate a 30% discount off of the Grab rate.

Somebody correct me if I'm mistaken...

OceanBeach92107 :

Somebody correct me if I'm mistaken...

Not going to correct you on the rates but I do know that if you have local people make the arrangements, there are plenty of independent operators for car and driver with no app company taking a cut.  Besides the regular fee, the driver usually has his meals paid and his hotel room for multi-day trips.

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THIGV :
OceanBeach92107 :

Somebody correct me if I'm mistaken...

Not going to correct you on the rates but I do know that if you have local people make the arrangements, there are plenty of independent operators for car and driver with no app company taking a cut.  Besides the regular fee, the driver usually has his meals paid and his hotel room for multi-day trips.

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   (Correct) way to go.   Locals you know well will recommend an independent car+driver
   
   I use mine on a regular basis; fraction of taxi price, no meter or signage, clean, a/c (etc)

   Works for me       :cool:
.

Me two.

This isn't the kind of place where you arrive and are faced with a dozen Hertz, Avis, National etc car rental counters. If there is even such a thing, it is early days for that industry. Collision insurance, liability insurance waivers, road breakdown service, credit card coverage: I don't think so.  There are car rental counters in Bangkok, but that is a more developed country.

Rent a motorbike for puttering around Ben Tre area. Maybe your hotel or travel agent can fix you up with a driver with a flat daily rate on days you want to explore farther. We had a car and driver one time, he charged about $60 a day I think, plus gas, and we bought his food, and tipped.

Bazza139 :

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THIGV :
OceanBeach92107 :

Somebody correct me if I'm mistaken...

Not going to correct you on the rates but I do know that if you have local people make the arrangements, there are plenty of independent operators for car and driver with no app company taking a cut.  Besides the regular fee, the driver usually has his meals paid and his hotel room for multi-day trips.

.
   (Correct) way to go.   Locals you know well will recommend an independent car+driver
   
   I use mine on a regular basis; fraction of taxi price, no meter or signage, clean, a/c (etc)

   Works for me       :cool:
.

My point in mentioning Grab is only to give the inexperienced and unconnected a starting point for negotiating.

Grab rates are generally cheaper than taxis and private car services.

Grab charges a 30% commission, so for starters, offering 70% of the Grab rate is a place for a newbie to begin with a driver who is willing to work without the app.

My experience (with the assistance of some locals) has shown that a driver and car for most longer routes can be had for 50% of the Grab rate.

I have regular drivers now in Hanoi, Danang/Hoi An, Quy Nhơn and HCMC, and all give me a significant discount from prevailing rates.

Thank you all......


OceanBeach92107 - The year is 2019 and the rate is current.

gobot :

Rent a motorbike for puttering around Ben Tre area.

I too have explored Ben Tre by motorbike.  That is fine for the whole province, but the city and nearby areas are excellent places to ride a bicycle.  After all it is pretty much flat with the exception of the two bridges.  Unlike in HCMC, where the xe đạp seems to be considered a mode of transportation only for children and the very poor,  you won't attract that much attention on a bicycle. At the lower speed you should attract plenty of smiles and waves.

I might briefly comment that Ben Tre is a place that contradicts the common wisdom that everyone has gotten over the war.  It after all was the place where the infamous "We had to destroy the village to save it" or words to that effect were spoken.  Almost everyone in what at the time was just a village was a VC member or sympathizer.  In fact, when we were married, my wife's mother was approached by one of the neighbors as to why she "let" her daughter marry an American.  Of course my mother-in-law gave the neighbor an earful in reply.  I do think that the anecdote indicates that not everyone in Ben Tre is "over it."  It is not a booming city of 20 and 30 somethings, but a place that exports its more educated and adventurous to HCM.  That is not to say that people are not friendly.  They are, but there will be the contrary individual, particularly among the elderly.

Hello, I am looking thing to do... Place to go and People "Expats" to meet in Ben Tre!~ Does anyone have any suggestion? Thank you so much....

Apparently you didn't like my bicycling suggestion.  :sosad:  In my relatively short times in Ben Tre I met only two expats not counting a few tourists.  One was a retired Viet Kieu from Texas.  I met him while sitting in front of the tiny coffee shop at the end of the lane that my in-laws live on.  He saw me an stopped to chat and we spoke on a few other occasions as he passed by there in his morning exercise.  The other was a Englishman who had arrived in Vietnam via Australia.  I met him as he was sitting in front of the house next door to a place where I was having my bicycle tire tube repaired.   After about 15 minutes of conversation, I suspected that he was suffering from early signs of dementia.  I suspect that neither of these individuals would be who you are looking for.   :par:   

The last time I was in Ben Tre there was only one English language center.  It was on the northwest corner of the lake/park near the center of town.  Even if you have no intention of teaching, you might stop by to see if there may be expat instructors there who may themselves be somewhat lacking in opportunity to speak to other expats.

Ben Tre is a very relaxed and lovely small city but certainly not a place where you will find a lively expat culture or even anything lively.  As i mentioned elsewhere, I once was asked to do a temporary teaching job there by my HCMC school.  I had a time conflict that meant I couldn't go, so the Vietnamese owner of my school went instead.  She told me that she ran out of things to do at the end of the first few days.   :sleep

THIGV :

Ben Tre is a very relaxed and lovely small city but certainly not a place where you will find a lively expat culture or even anything lively.  As i mentioned elsewhere, I once was asked to do a temporary teaching job there by my HCMC school.  I had a time conflict that meant I couldn't go, so the Vietnamese owner of my school went instead.  She told me that she ran out of things to do at the end of the first few days.   :sleep

Yeah I get the feeling it's very similar to Rạch Giá city, where I'm going to be spending six months. The nightlife is probably a bit more "vibrant" in RG (lots of clubs and bars because of oversea money pouring in) but when there's no expat community, town/cities die down after 10PM unless you know the late night street bars/restaurants spots which are very local. We're all different but I really enjoy simply drinking coffee by the ocean, the occasional relaxing motorbike ride around town, good seafood and great weather. Give me a good internet connection and I won't run of things to do at home when I feel bored  :D

THIGV :

Apparently you didn't like my bicycling suggestion.  :sosad:  In my relatively short times in Ben Tre I met only two expats not counting a few tourists.  One was a retired Viet Kieu from Texas.  I met him while sitting in front of the tiny coffee shop at the end of the lane that my in-laws live on.  He saw me an stopped to chat and we spoke on a few other occasions as he passed by there in his morning exercise.  The other was a Englishman who had arrived in Vietnam via Australia.  I met him as he was sitting in front of the house next door to a place where I was having my bicycle tire tube repaired.   After about 15 minutes of conversation, I suspected that he was suffering from early signs of dementia.  I suspect that neither of these individuals would be who you are looking for.   :par:   

The last time I was in Ben Tre there was only one English language center.  It was on the northwest corner of the lake/park near the center of town.  Even if you have no intention of teaching, you might stop by to see if there may be expat instructors there who may themselves be somewhat lacking in opportunity to speak to other expats.

Ben Tre is a very relaxed and lovely small city but certainly not a place where you will find a lively expat culture or even anything lively.  As i mentioned elsewhere, I once was asked to do a temporary teaching job there by my HCMC school.  I had a time conflict that meant I couldn't go, so the Vietnamese owner of my school went instead.  She told me that she ran out of things to do at the end of the first few days.   :sleep

Thanks Sir... "THIGV"..... You are so funny......, lol.... lol....
I am really appreciated for the info though! Please let me know when you go there... I will be there in November for one month and go back to the U.S after that but I am planning to retire there in 5 years.... I chose Ben Tre is because of the people and it is a beautiful City and it is only an hour and half from Saigon.

Rahj_Devon :

I chose Ben Tre is because of the people and it is a beautiful City and it is only an hour and half from Saigon.

As I said I have in-laws in Ben Tre which is enough reason for my wife to want to visit but to never want to live there.  :joking:   Personally, if I had to choose I might select My Tho right across the river.  It is a little bigger and may have a few more amenities but still has the small town feel.  If you really want to visit a nice place, check out the island in the river between the two cities.  I think it is administratively part of My Tho but you drive on from the Ben Tre side of the bridge.  There are river cruises that launch from there with mostly Vietnamese tourists.  Despite that, it is still very peaceful.

THIGV :
Rahj_Devon :

I chose Ben Tre is because of the people and it is a beautiful City and it is only an hour and half from Saigon.

As I said I have in-laws in Ben Tre which is enough reason for my wife to want to visit but to never want to live there.  :joking:   Personally, if I had to choose I might select My Tho right across the river.  It is a little bigger and may have a few more amenities but still has the small town feel.  If you really want to visit a nice place, check out the island in the river between the two cities.  I think it is administratively part of My Tho but you drive on from the Ben Tre side of the bridge.  There are river cruises that launch from there with mostly Vietnamese tourists.  Despite that, it is still very peaceful.

Great! Thanks THIGV.... I def going to check it out! Wish I would talked to you sooner but it is too late now... :( .... My house already being build and it should be done by Jan2020.

Rahj_Devon :

My house already being build and it should be done by Jan2020.

I expect we may meet face to face some time after that.  Good luck.

THIGV :

I might briefly comment that Ben Tre is a place that contradicts the common wisdom that everyone has gotten over the war.  It after all was the place where the infamous "We had to destroy the village to save it" or words to that effect were spoken.  Almost everyone in what at the time was just a village was a VC member or sympathizer .

:offtopic:
Did not know that about Ben Tre. Thanks, just caused me to spend hours worming my way through wartime internet blogs! Living in Saigon in 2019 I never even think about that time. I had no personal connection to Vietnam before I came here to explore in 2014, and I've never been interested in visiting war remnants or museums. In fact I consciously avoid it. That murky stuff is depressing.

Surprised to learn of the VC stronghold and the battle, as I just passed through Ben Tre some weeks ago. Gives me this dark feeling now, thinking about the same place I was, but 50 years ago. Some little bit of the horror of the time comes through to me. Just my physical presence there, now, connects me more than reading and photos about it. Ok, starting to understand better the the impact on returning GIs when touring the old sites.

gobot :
THIGV :

I might briefly comment that Ben Tre is a place that contradicts the common wisdom that everyone has gotten over the war.  It after all was the place where the infamous "We had to destroy the village to save it" or words to that effect were spoken.  Almost everyone in what at the time was just a village was a VC member or sympathizer .

:offtopic:
Did not know that about Ben Tre. Thanks, just caused me to spend hours worming my way through wartime internet blogs! Living in Saigon in 2019 I never even think about that time. I had no personal connection to Vietnam before I came here to explore in 2014, and I've never been interested in visiting war remnants or museums. In fact I consciously avoid it. That murky stuff is depressing.

Surprised to learn of the VC stronghold and the battle, as I just passed through Ben Tre some weeks ago. Gives me this dark feeling now, thinking about the same place I was, but 50 years ago. Some little bit of the horror of the time comes through to me. Just my physical presence there, now, connects me more than reading and photos about it. Ok, starting to understand better the the impact on returning GIs when touring the old sites.

I know it's not the same for all U.S. Veterans who served here.

In my case, I think I've adjusted well and had closure about a lot of things, especially the guilt I felt at leaving our Vietnamese domestic helpers behind when I left in 1972.

In general, the country and the people are even more beautiful than the memories I've retained for almost 47 years.

Two personal things:

It's helped me to adopt the words of many of my hosts. I no longer refer to The Vietnam War but rather, The American War in Vietnam.

Also, I personally feel I was an invader, not a liberator. It's a mindset that helps me be at peace with my past here.

gobot :

Did not know that about Ben Tre. Thanks, just caused me to spend hours worming my way through wartime internet blogs! Living in Saigon in 2019 I never even think about that time. I had no personal connection to Vietnam before I came here to explore in 2014, and I've never been interested in visiting war remnants or museums. In fact I consciously avoid it. That murky stuff is depressing.

Surprised to learn of the VC stronghold and the battle, as I just passed through Ben Tre some weeks ago. Gives me this dark feeling now, thinking about the same place I was, but 50 years ago. Some little bit of the horror of the time comes through to me. Just my physical presence there, now, connects me more than reading and photos about it. Ok, starting to understand better the the impact on returning GIs when touring the old sites.

Gobot... Did you got treated any differences than any other places you have been through in Vietnam?  I am just curious because I have not been interact much with people around there.... Thanks.

OceanBeach92107 :

I know it's not the same for all U.S. Veterans who served here.

In my case, I think I've adjusted well and had closure about a lot of things, especially the guilt I felt at leaving our Vietnamese domestic helpers behind when I left in 1972.

In general, the country and the people are even more beautiful than the memories I've retained for almost 47 years.

Two personal things:

It's helped me to adopt the words of many of my hosts. I no longer refer to The Vietnam War but rather, The American War in Vietnam.

Also, I personally feel I was an invader, not a liberator. It's a mindset that helps me be at peace with my past here.

Sir... Thank you for your service! My father was a veteran too and I believed he was stations in Da nang or pleikeu but I haven't able to find him yet.  Hopefully one day I will.

Rahj_Devon :

Gobot... Did you got treated any differences than any other places you have been through in Vietnam?  I am just curious because I have not been interact much with people around there.... Thanks.

I mistakenly may have given a wrong impression.  I did  not mean to imply that there is a general hostility to westerners and Americans in particular in Ben Tre.  On the contrary, most people are very friendly.  It is only an isolated few who still hold feelings of resentment. 

Take my wife's family for example.  Her father was a VC who very fortunately was moved, probably on foot, to take an office job with the army outside of Hanoi.  Having returned to Ben Tre after the war he held a government job as some kind of game warden and was of course a Party member.  My wife still likes to mention with amazement that "He had a gun" which he brought home, surely a sign of trust from the government.  He did die prematurely during the Le Duan era because of inadequate medical care.  My mother-in-law is a northerner who still wears her blue houndstooth checked scarf to the market daily and who lives off a small government pension from her work as an accountant with the city of Ben Tre.  My wife once explained to me a heated discussion between her two brothers over the merits of the Party, one for one against.  Both of her brothers are actually modern capitalists who run a business exporting coconuts, the main crop of the province, to Hanoi and HCMC.  The past figures significantly in their lives but they still face it going forward.  This family has been nothing but welcoming to me, despite the fact that my wife steadfastly affords her mother only very limited charity.  They know who the tight-fisted one is.

THIGV :

I mistakenly may have given a wrong impression.  I did  not mean to imply that there is a general hostility to westerners and Americans in particular in Ben Tre.  On the contrary, most people are very friendly.  It is only an isolated few who still hold feelings of resentment. 

Take my wife's family for example.  Her father was a VC who very fortunately was moved, probably on foot, to take an office job with the army outside of Hanoi.  Having returned to Ben Tre after the war he held a government job as some kind of game warden and was of course a Party member.  My wife still likes to mention with amazement that "He had a gun" which he brought home, surely a sign of trust from the government.  He did die prematurely during the Le Duan era because of inadequate medical care.  My mother-in-law is a northerner who still wears her blue houndstooth checked scarf to the market daily and who lives off a small government pension from her work as an accountant with the city of Ben Tre.  My wife once explained to me a heated discussion between her two brothers over the merits of the Party, one for one against.  Both of her brothers are actually modern capitalists who run a business exporting coconuts, the main crop of the province, to Hanoi and HCMC.  The past figures significantly in their lives but they still face it going forward.  This family has been nothing but welcoming to me, despite the fact that my wife steadfastly affords her mother only very limited charity.  They know who the tight-fisted one is.

Thanks THIGV.... No worry,  I am just trying to get a different perspective from all different angle since I am new to the city.... I do really appreciated tho for all your info.

Very Interesting THIGV.  My experience has been very different.  My wife's family, extended, friends etc. etc. do not support the communists, not even from the war.  My wife's grandmother is famous or infamous, depending who you ask, she got so upset with the communist that she did what buddhist do when they want to make a point about abuse from the government, she set herself on fire in public for all to see.  Government refused to give her body back to the family.

It's almost a truism but I have actually met families in which one brother was with the VC while another was in the ARVN.  Of course neither one was ideologically motivated.  Both were essentially draftees just like their US allies and opponents.

Rahj_Devon :

Gobot... Did you got treated any differences than any other places you have been through in Vietnam?  I am just curious because I have not been interact much with people around there.... Thanks.

Sorry I didn't have any interactions in Ben Tre, I just was surprised to find out it was a war zone many years ago.

A question that often comes up with untraveled Americans is, "What do the Vietnamese think about Americans now? Do they hate us?". My few interactions with old Vietnamese men is that they like Americans. Americans are only a small percentage of expats here, I meet many more Canadians and Australians, and it seems like Americans are more special to Vietnamese. One reason is about half of overseas Vietnamese live in the US.

America is weirdly a country of guilt and fear. They've been brainwashed to feel guilty for simply being American, guilty for having soldiers and weapons, for trying to keep peace around the world, for having a successful economy, for buying too much, having too much. They fear not being liked, and resentment, as well as fear of strange food, and lower levels of sanitation.  It is just ignorance that can be overcome easily by getting out of their living rooms and RVs, and visiting just one foreign country.

gobot :
Rahj_Devon :

Gobot... Did you got treated any differences than any other places you have been through in Vietnam?  I am just curious because I have not been interact much with people around there.... Thanks.

Sorry I didn't have any interactions in Ben Tre, I just was surprised to find out it was a war zone many years ago.

A question that often comes up with untraveled Americans is, "What do the Vietnamese think about Americans now? Do they hate us?". My few interactions with old Vietnamese men is that they like Americans. Americans are only a small percentage of expats here, I meet many more Canadians and Australians, and it seems like Americans are more special to Vietnamese. One reason is about half of overseas Vietnamese live in the US.

America is weirdly a country of guilt and fear. They've been brainwashed to feel guilty for simply being American, guilty for having soldiers and weapons, for trying to keep peace around the world, for having a successful economy, for buying too much, having too much. They fear not being liked, and resentment, as well as fear of strange food, and lower levels of sanitation.  It is just ignorance that can be overcome easily by getting out of their living rooms and RVs, and visiting just one foreign country.

Not to make this political, but you speak of America as a country of guilt and fear?  That is only about 50% of the population and that guilt and fear belongs to the Democrats.  The rest of the country and the majority, have no guilt and no fear.  You need to turn off your cable and hollywood.  I think you might have got the US confused with some western Euro countries like the UK and France.  :)

So your MAGAT crowd is any better than the Democrats?

QuidProQuo :

So your MAGAT crowd is any better than the Democrats?

Don't associate what you don't know.  Simply put, it is a matter of perspective, does not make it better or worse or right or wrong.

Rahj_Devon :

Sir... Thank you for your service! My father was a veteran too and I believed he was stations in Da nang or pleikeu but I haven't able to find him yet.  Hopefully one day I will.

My father was wounded in VN and lucky to get out alive, but destroyed our family, as it did to so many in both countries.

With respect to the people today in VN and based on my experiences throughout south vietnam, I cannot think of any person or any place where the war was even a thought, except in my in laws home and that was because they were curious about my dad.  I spent a lot of time in VN and I cannot recall not one time where we were out in public or with friends and the war was a topic of discussion, never.  To be honest, my time in VN, I never gave it much thought and people rarely talked about it. 

However, based on my experiences, the North and the South are still fighting.  LOL.  The North don't like the South and the South don't like the North.  The accents are different and the attitudes are different (e.g., I have been told by a wise woman, people in the South are nice and sweet while people in the North are cold and not so nice).  :)

Rahj_Devon :

Hello All.... I will be travel to Ben Tre, Vietnam in November and looking to rent a car for 30 days... Any information would be great!  Thanks all.... :)

If you have a local person who's is living in  Ben Tre, It will be cheaper then if you rent a car in Saigon. You can ask a local person to get more information about rent a car in Ben Tre. There was a penalty of Privet bust company operate in District 5. I often take a bus to go there, and it will take about 2 hours to get there.

Contem talk :
Rahj_Devon :

Hello All.... I will be travel to Ben Tre, Vietnam in November and looking to rent a car for 30 days... Any information would be great!  Thanks all.... :)

If you have a local person who's is living in  Ben Tre, It will be cheaper then if you rent a car in Saigon. You can ask a local person to get more information about rent a car in Ben Tre. There was a penalty of Privet bust company operate in District 5. I often take a bus to go there, and it will take about 2 hours to get there.

Thanks for the info... Yes, my wife is from there.

I find it interesting to read that many Americans think Vietnamese should "hate" them because of the war. As far as I know, the South at the time had its own government and resented the North, and the Americans were backing the South. So South Vietnamese were allied with the Americans. The only reason a typical South Vietnamese would dislike an American (relating to the war) is the fact they they gave up on the South and let the North invade. Quality of life went drastically lower after the North invaded. I saw a few photos of Saigon in the sixties, you had cars and Vietnamese people with expensive dresses... then you look at photos from the early eighties and you go "wow".

So I'd say, if you're American and you ask yourself if the Vietnamese people "hate you", you should really ask about North Vietnamese. Even at the time though, many North Vietnamese were against the communist party, but you certainly had the ones who saw the Americans (and French before that) as the invaders.

WillyBaldy :

I find it interesting to read that many Americans think Vietnamese should "hate" them because of the war. As far as I know, the South at the time had its own government and resented the North, and the Americans were backing the South. So South Vietnamese were allied with the Americans. The only reason a typical South Vietnamese would dislike an American (relating to the war) is the fact they they gave up on the South and let the North invade. Quality of life went drastically lower after the North invaded. I saw a few photos of Saigon in the sixties, you had cars and Vietnamese people with expensive dresses... then you look at photos from the early eighties and you go "wow".

So I'd say, if you're American and you ask yourself if the Vietnamese people "hate you", you should really ask about North Vietnamese. Even at the time though, many North Vietnamese were against the communist party, but you certainly had the ones who saw the Americans (and French before that) as the invaders.

Only place I have been refused service was in Ha Noi,two shop owners told me to get out. Obviously, the fighting age owners thought I was American.

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