The province shows significant influence from ethnic Khmers -- most obviously in its Khmer style pagodas, but even the same-named provincial capital looks and feels like a Khmer town.
Lush and fertile, like most of the Delta provinces you'll see a million shades of green as you travel through here and although the town (and the province) 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 hinterland will be of interest, but if temples aren't your thing, you may be better of spending an extra couple of days on the beaches of Phu Quoc than kicking around Tra Vinh.
The capital, Tra Vinh is a very pretty little town. A hodgepodge of colonial shopfronts face onto broad, tree-lined streets clustered around a fine little market and while very 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.
The province has a large ethnicly 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 more obvioulsy seen in the pagoda's that litter both the town and the province.
Unlike many Mekong Delta cities, Tra Vinh sits on the bank of a small festy canal rather than a large river, so there's not quite the scope for boat trips that there is in other regional cities, and smiling faces and Khmer pagodas aside, the town isn't exactly bursting at the seems with textbook attractions.
It's a laid back place, the market is interesting and photogenic, and its just a downright pretty place.
Note there are no large car ferries heading further south, so unless you're on a motorbike (or own your own boat) you'll be returning to at least Vinh Long -- infact Tra Vinh town is easily visited on a day trip from Vinh Long.
Nevertheless, if you're looking for an off-the-beaten-track destination, then you're in the right place. We've heard good things about the hinterland of the province, which can be explored from the town, but given the torrential rain when we visited (there was a rush on wood as Noah was building) we didn't do too much exploring outside of town -- we're not unhappy about needing to revisit in the future!
By Stuart McDonald.