Phung Islet – Holy Land of Coconut Religion in Ben Tre

Phung Islet has another name that is Tan Vinh islet, which is an island floating on Tien River in Tan Thach commune, Chau Thanh suburban district. It is just only 12km far from the center of Ben Tre. Phung islet is famous not only for its variety of fruits, especially the coconuts, but also for the delicious dishes of south-east Vietnam.

Visitors in Vietnam tourism can reach this islet by boat. After taking time on the islet, visitors can continue to ride along the river, visiting the handicraft and coconut factories, and then disembark to catch a coach ride to tropical gardens.

Here they can rest under shadow of coconut trees, sip tea with fresh honey and blueberries while listening to the beautiful melodies of traditional music.

Phung islet

Coming to Phung islet by boat

Coming to Phung islet tourist area, tourists will do sightseeing unique architectural projects of the place where used to be the holy land of Coconut religion, which once spread over 1,500 km2 of Ben Tre. The Coconut Religion was created in the 1940s by Nguyen Thanh Nam.

The name “Phung islet” existed when Mr. Nam came here and built Nam Quoc Phat pagoda. When this work was being built, they found out an ancient bowl carved with a phoenix, since then, they called it Phung islet.

Another special point about Phung Islet is about the daily life. The residents living here focus on making handicrafts from the coconut trees. Visitors in Vietnam travel coming here can witness the process of making coconut candies and other souvenirs, and pick something to take home as a present.

If tourists feel hungry, they can eat with local residents who will serve their everyday meal of simple but delicious foods. Weary travelers can also have a nap under the shadow of garden trees, or take path in exciting activities like photographing ostriches or crocodile fishing.

Now, Phung Islet tourist area has a room of amateur folk music specializing in serving tourists. This room is put in a man-made stonecave with a lot of stalactites which make the air inside the cave very cool. Coming here, tourists will be served with smooth and profound Southern folk songs.

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Coconut palms – symbol of Ben Tre

Visitors to the Mekong Delta province of Ben Tre now have the chance to enjoy its famous fruit, traditional craft products and folk culture.

They can travel in a small along the rivers or canals in the shade of coconut trees and stop on the way to relax in fruit orchards and coconut gardens.

Ben Tre is located in the lowest part of the Mekong River basin, some 85km south of Ho Chi Minh City. It has three main islands wedged between the Tien Giang River to the north and the Co Chien River to the south, with the Ham Luong River running straight down the middle. All of these rivers are offshoots of the Mekong as it splits out into many fingers before flowing into the South Asian Sea.

The province is famous for its rice and fruit cultivation, but its traditional life has changed little over time, with tourists wandering through the markets, sipping coffee, taking boat trips and visiting local museums.

Coconut palms have become the symbol of Ben Tre since land was first reclaimed in the southern part of the country. During the war, coconuts were used to make coconut oil, which served as a viable substitute for kerosene. The province now has nearly 36,000 hectares of coconut plantations that have survived through protracted wars and remain dear to the hearts of local people.

There was a time when many people in Ben Tre felled coconut trees for some economic reasons, but now they have replanted them, producing around 242 million coconuts each year.

Many handicrafts are made from coconut materials including sandals, dolls, small baskets, bed lamps and vases. Tourists can visit local coconut candy factories to watch the candy being made and also buy some to take home as special gifts for their family and friends.

In addition to coconuts, Ben Tre is also known as the “king” of specialty fruit, with 41,000 hectares of orchards yielding 375,000 tonnes of fruit a year. Some of the province’s unique specialties include milky yellow-fleshed and stoneless durians, green-skinned pomelos, Cai Mon mangosteens, high-yield “Four Season” mangos, and special Mo Cay oranges.