Situated at the mouth of the Ca River, Bên Thuy is a small Port city in Vietnam’s North Central Region. Acting almost like a suburb, Bên Thuy is frequently overlooked because of its close proximity to Vinh City, which is the region’s largest urban area.
Although, for people who want to explore Vinh but also escape the crowds, Bên Thuy is the perfect location to hunker down for the night. Attractions in Bên Thuy include its waterfront area, restaurants, and shops. In addition, tourists can also take day trips to Vinh City too.
Port City on the Ca River
Bên Thuy is a part of the Nghê An Province in North-Central Vietnam. As a smaller town, Bên Thuy’s urban area tends to bleed into its neighboring communities like Vinh City. In fact, it can be difficult to tell when one area ends and a new one begins. For travelers in Vietnam, this is actually beneficial because it provides more opportunities to see different parts of a province.
Bên Thuy’s proximity to Vinh means that visitors can easily hop between the two destinations. About 10 minutes south of Vinh City, when measured, the two destinations are 3.4 km (2.1 mi) apart. For many travelers, that is a walkable distance.
Further away from Bên Thuy, but where most of the town’s visitors come from, is Hanoi. Vietnam’s capital city is about 301 km (187 mi) to the north. Travelers have the option of driving directly to Bên Thuy, which takes about 6 hours. The other options are to board a flight or train in Hanoi and travel to Vinh City and from there, they could take a taxi into Bên Thuy.
Throughout the centuries, Bên Thuy and the surrounding area have been an important port for the country’s North-Central Region. The city’s location on the Ca River means that ships could transport goods and people to large urban areas like Vinh. Even before these cities became modern-day destinations, locals from ancient times would use the river for transportation.
Early ethnic groups in the area include the Khmer and Cham. When the Vietnamese claimed the area, it became a revolutionary stronghold. Vietnam’s ex-president and ex-Communist leader, Ho Chi Minh, was born not too far from Bên Thuy in the Nghê An Province. As a northern city, Bên Thuy and the neighboring Vinh became targets during the Vietnam War.
Particularly, Bên Thuy’s ports and ferried were targeted because they were used to send supplies and soldiers to North Vietnam. Even before the Vietnam War, history has told stories of Bên Thuy’s resilience. When the French arrived to colonize Vietnam, Bên Thuy and Vinh were two places where foreign forces faced heavy resistance.
Uprisings against the French were common and multiple Vietnamese revolutionary figures were born in the area around Bên Thuy. Some of these leaders include Nguyên Du and Trân Trong Kim. Today, Bên Thuy pays tribute to its past in the form of memorials and statues. Throughout the city, there are monuments dedicated to prominent figures like Ho Chi Minh.
Unfortunately, because Bên Thuy was a wartime target, there are not many original parts of the city left because they were bombed. Much of Bên Thuy and even Vinh City, had to be rebuilt after the war with the assistance of foreign forces.
- Bên Thuy’s climate is classified as humid subtropical.
- Currently, the largest ethnic groups in Bên Thuy include the Thô and Tai.
- During the Vietnam War, a telegram listed Bên Thuy’s Power Plant, Port, and Ferry as targets.
As a quiet town, visitors will find that most of Bên Thuy’s attractions are located on the waterfront. Tourists can peruse the town’s shops and restaurants or explore nature and visit the nearby historical sites. Treated almost like a neighborhood in Vinh City, Bên Thuy is best for travelers who want to sleep away from the noise of a large urban area.
Cruise Along the Waterfront & Main Street
while visiting Ben Thuy guests can stroll on both the waterfront and main street. The waterfront area is quiet and peaceful, with large sidewalks as well as a few shops and restaurants. The main street in Bên Thuy, named Nguyên Du, is lined with markets, shops, and restaurants. A few hotels and hostels are also located nearby, so visitors won’t require transportation.
Boat the Ca River & Visit Bên Thuy Bridge
Boat tours are a great way to cruise along the Ca River. Local guides can take you out on small boats or canoes along the banks and tend to last for about half the day with the early morning being the best time to go. Fishing excursions can also be arranged.
Connecting Bên Thuy to neighboring provinces is the Bên Thuy Bridge. One of the highest points in the mostly flat landscape, the bridge gives visitors the best view of both the town and the Ca River. A pedestrian/bike lane on the bridge ensures that people are safe from cars, should they choose to walk or ride across the bridge. Large in size the bridge spams for just over 3.6 km (2.2 mi).
With Bên Thuy being a smaller destination, visitors will be quite limited in their accommodation options, however, there are budget, mid-range, and luxury hotels. The three most popular places to stay are the Tokyo 3 Hotel, Khách San Toàn Câu, and the Muong Thanh Grand Phuong Dong.
Tokyo 3 Hotel – Bên Thuy’s most affordable hotel is the Tokyo 3. Featuring a bar, terrace, and 24-hour desk, visitors can make themselves right at home in this comfortable accommodation. Rooms come with a private bathroom, wifi, and AC. Located in the Yên Dung neighborhood, the Tokyo 3 Hotel is within walking distance to Nguyên Du, the main street.
Khách Son Toàn Câu – A mid-range option, Khách Son Toàn Câu is located on the edge of Bên Thuy and overlooks Vinh City. Rooms are equipped with a balcony as well as a private bathroom, AC, and TV. There is a 24-hour front desk and free Wi-Fi. Hotel guests will also have access to room service that has a full menu for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
Muong Thanh Grand Phuong Dong – The most upscale hotel, Muong Thanh Grand Phuong Dong, is situated at a major intersection between Vinh and Bên Thuy. Highly rated, facilities at the hotel include a restaurant, bar, fitness center, and outdoor swimming pool. Staff is available 24/7 and there is free Wi-Fi throughout the property.
Rooms include all of the basics as well as a balcony, mini bar, desk, and safety deposit box. Part of the guest package is a complimentary breakfast buffet.
Throughout Bên Thuy, there are restaurants and food stalls to keep visitors full and satisfied. Providing a mixture of dine-in, take-out, and delivery services, the best places to grab a bite in Bên Thuy are Gin’s Pizza, Thuy Ha, and Quán Sinh Viên.
Gin’s Pizza – Gin’s Pizza is a favorite spot amongst international travelers. Serving pizza and burgers, the restaurant is highly rated for its friendly staff and flavorful food. Patrons love the restaurant’s atmosphere, which can be both laid back and upbeat.
Thuy Ha – For a traditional Vietnamese meal, Thuy Ha is a good place to go. Prices are affordable and portions are fair in size. At Thuy Ha, visitors can try a variety of soups, noodles, and rice-based dishes. The restaurant also has take-out and delivery options.
Quán Sinh Viên – Another great local option is the Quán Sinh Viên Restaurant that is in the heart of town. Like Thuy Ha, Quán Sinh Viên serves traditional Vietnamese dishes. Tourists can either dine in at Quán Sinh Viên or order take-out.
While Bên Thuy celebrates big national holidays, one new festival in the area was created to honor Vietnam’s ethnic communities. Officially held in Vinh City, the festival was designed to promote the area’s cultural identities and ethnic minorities by allowing them to showcase their products, goods, cuisine, and souvenirs. Common activities include games, parades, and performances.
One benefit of Bên Thuy’s smaller size is that it is easier to navigate. Many destinations are within walking distance of each other, so you may not need transportation. However, if you do you can either rent a bicycle or hire a taxi. Taxis are also a good option, especially when visiting places like Vinh. Visitors can also ask their hotel for assistance.
When planning a trip, taking into consideration the weather is always important. In Bên Thuy, there is a wet and dry season. The wet season, which starts in May and lasts until October, is the least popular time for tourists. This is because the months are hot and the humidity is high, not to mention the frequent rain showers.
The time when most tourists visit Bên Thuy is from late October to April. These months are the driest of the year and they also have lower humidity levels and temperatures. The months of December and January are especially popular for tourism because of the major holidays that fall during those times.
Although a small and nondescript destination, Bên Thuy’s proximity to Vinh actually makes it a great spot for tourists. Allowing visitors to stay away from the bustle, Bên Thuy is still close enough that it takes just minutes to get to the best restaurants, shops, hotels, and attractions. With peaceful riverside views, the city has just enough to keep guests entertained during their stay.
Activities near Ben Thuy
- Pu Mat National Park (114 km)
- Vinh (3 km)