Ben Tre  is the capital of eponymous Ben Tre Province in southern Vietnam. Although only a 20 min ferry-ride away from bustling My Tho, this seems to be barrier enough to give the town a genuine backwater feeling. Tourists are still a scarce species and locals are open and friendly. Ben Tre Province provides some of the most beautiful scenery in the Mekong delta. The milk coffee colored waters wind their way along small channels lined with water palms, thatch and bamboo houses are nestled in the lush orchards. The famous Vietnamese poet Nguyen Dinh Chieu was born in Ben Tre Province, but until now this fact hasn't spawned touristical exploitation.
Ferries from Rach Mieu in My Tho (20 min/24h) arrive some 10 km north of Ben Tre, so you might want to hire a Xe Om to take you to the town center.
There is also a ferry from Vinh Long Province to the north-western part of the island, again you have to hire some sort of transport to cover the remaining distance to Ben Tre town.
Direct (mini-)bus services from Ho Chi Minh City are to be found at Cholon and Minh Thai bus station. When the bus reaches the ferry passenger have to walk on and off the boat, so be sure to remember your vehicle. In many cases it might be easier to first catch transport to My Tho and then continue by ferry and motorbike. A new bridge is being constructed at the moment and scheduled to be finished in 2006, which will allow vehicles to bypass the ferry.
The town is stretched along the river, so a bicycle or a motorbike seem to be the best way, especially if you are planning to take it to the orchards on the far side of the river.
There are no real sights in their own right, but you could have a look at the unspoiled market or visit the rice wine factory on the south bank, 0.5 km west from the old bridge. You can also visit the inevitable coconut candy factory here. It's a must if you haven't been to one yet, since in this "factory" basically everything is done by hand.
The usual food stalls are found around the market. Be warned that one of the favourite soups in the Delta, Hu Tieu, contains boiled intestines and liver, so choose wisely. There is also a floating restaurant near the old bridge.