Photo: Chua Chim in Tra Vinh.


Our rating:

Once a dead–end province, thanks to the bridges that have gone in over the last decade, little visited Tra Vinh is now well connected to most regional centres and, for the traveller with some time on their hands, is worth at least a couple of nights.

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As with a number of other Delta provinces, Tra Vinh demonstrates significant influence from ethnic Khmers—most obviously in its Khmer style pagodas, but even the same-named provincial capital has a Khmer tint that is difficult to put your finger on.

Meet Tra Vinh. Photo taken in or around Tra Vinh, Vietnam by Stuart McDonald.

Meet Tra Vinh. Photo: Stuart McDonald

Lush and fertile, you’ll see a thousand shades of green as you travel through the province and although the town has little in the way of amazing sights, it does have a low key appeal. If you’re into Khmer temples, those in the capital and the immediate surrounds will be of interest, but even if temples aren’t your thing, if you have your own wheels this can be a fun province just to pick a road on and go explore for a day.

The eponymous capital is a very pretty little town, where a hodgepodge of colonial–period shopfronts face onto broad, tree-lined streets clustered around a fine central market. In the shade of the trees you’ll find plenty of eating and drinking opportunities—especially with regard to coffee, as there seemed to be a near endless supply of red plastic chairs and the coffee to go with them. While few people speak English, there’s certainly no shortage of smiles—Tra Vinh may be well off the tourist trail, but it is an amazingly friendly place.

Beautiful Khmer pagodas. Photo taken in or around Tra Vinh, Vietnam by Stuart McDonald.

Beautiful Khmer pagodas. Photo: Stuart McDonald

The province has a large ethnically Khmer population and the area immediately around the market feels (and looks) particularly Khmer—first impressions brought Tachmau or Takeo to mind. This Khmer influence is even more obviously seen in the pagoda’s that are dotted around both the town and the province.

Aside from the Khmer temples and the coffee stalls, Ong Pagoda (at 44 Dien Bien Phu) shakes things up a little, presenting a Chinese pagoda, the origins of which date back to 1556. There is a small tourist office (on Le Loi, just down from the Gia Hoa 2 Hotel) who can give you a decent city and province map, though their advice on what to go see and do can be a bit hit and miss.

Visiting a butcher in Tra Vinh market. Photo taken in or around Tra Vinh, Vietnam by Stuart McDonald.

Visiting a butcher in Tra Vinh market. Photo: Stuart McDonald

Outside of town, as the suggestion of the tourist office, we did a long day trip down to the coast of Vietnam at Ba Dong. While the beach is pretty ordinary, it did make for an interesting scooter ride—just try and take the back roads to enjoy more rural scenery and to avoid the relatively heavily trafficked QL53. Also pack a raincoat so you don’t need to ride home in the rain as we did.

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Tra Vinh is centred around a large roundabout and Cho Tra Vinh which is on Doc Lap and stretches from Dien Bien Phu east to Bach Dang. North–south running Bach Dang runs along the Tra Vinh canal and the market area along here is worth a walk in the early morning for photos and a bit of a poke around.

Get some wheels and go explore. Photo taken in or around Tra Vinh, Vietnam by Stuart McDonald.

Get some wheels and go explore. Photo: Stuart McDonald

At the roundabout (you can’t miss it, take our word for it) Dien Bien Phu runs south, eventually reaching the bus station some 5 kilometres away. North of the roundabout the same road is Pham Thai Buong and runs north to the post office and telecom centre. ATMs are scattered around the centre of town.

All the hotels we mention are budget–focused and within easy walking distance of the central market, though at the time of research, only one of these could be booked online. Most of the online properties are inconveniently set to the southwest of the city. Unless you really must have a higher standard room, we suggest staying close to town and just showing up rather than booking in advance.

A small town vibe. Photo taken in or around Tra Vinh, Vietnam by Stuart McDonald.

A small town vibe. Photo: Stuart McDonald

Tra Vinh sees very few foreign travellers, so don’t come expecting to meet other travellers here. In three days we saw a couple of backpackers but that was it. English language is limited, but the locals appreciate any effort you make with the local language. In the event of an emergency, some of the staff at the tourist office can speak good English.

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What next?

 Browse our independent reviews of places to stay in and around Tra Vinh.
 Check prices, availability & reviews on Agoda or Booking
 Read up on where to eat on Tra Vinh.
 Check out our listings of things to do in and around Tra Vinh.
 Read up on how to get to Tra Vinh, or book your transport online with Baolau.
 Do you have travel insurance yet? If not, find out why you need it.
 Planning on riding a scooter in Tra Vinh? Please read this.
 Browse the web securely while travelling with TunnelBear. Try with a 7–day free trial.

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