Binh Duong

Binh Duong Province, a satellite of Ho Chi Minh City, encompasses historic destinations and fruit orchards, showcasing specialties such as mangosteen chicken salad amidst ongoing urban development.

The central city of Binh Duong is Thu Dau Mot, located approximately 30 kilometers from Ho Chi Minh City.

Binh Duong has a climate that allows visitors to travel year round. The best time to visit Binh Duong falls around January, marked by clear skies as the rainy season ends.

April is an ideal time for outdoor activities such as picnics and camping. Moving into the months from May to August, Binh Duong transitions into its fruit harvest season. This season offers an opportunity for visitors to pick and take home a variety of fruits as gifts.

A part of Thu Dau Mot City in Binh Duong viewed from above. Photo by VnExpress


Within a 40-kilometer radius from the center of Thu Dau Mot City, Binh Duong offers several places for tourists to explore.

Dai Nam Park

Dai Nam Park is nestled in lush green surroundings. Photo courtesy of Dai Nam Park

The Dai Nam Park, in Hiep An Ward, Thu Dau Mot City, stands out as one of Southeast Asia's largest tourist areas, covering approximately 260 hectares.

Offering panoramic views of mountains, rivers, and lakes, Dai Nam features various entertainment services such as the Kim Dien - Golden Temple, Dai Nam Beach, an amusement park, an "open" zoo, and the Dai Nam racetrack.

The area operates daily from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Hoi Khanh Pagoda

Built in 1741 in Thu Dau Mot City, the Hoi Khanh Pagoda stands as an ancient temple with significant cultural and historical value. Recognized by the Asian Records Organization, it houses the longest resting Buddha statue in Asia.

The pagoda preserves several relics and antiques for hundreds of years. Hoi Khanh is representative of the common characteristics found in ancient pagodas across Binh Duong.

Additionally, it holds historical significance, being associated with the activities of Nguyen Sinh Sac, the father of President Ho Chi Minh. From 1923 to 1926, Sac, along with two others, established the Patriotic Honor Society at this site.

Kawazo Phu Thinh ecotourism area

The ecotourism area provides a temporary escape from the city's hustle and bustle. Upon visiting, you'll discover a tranquil miniature countryside featuring green gardens and fish ponds. Visitors can participate in activities, such as catching fish in the pond, enjoying zipline games, or paddling on the lake using standup paddle boarding.

Guests have the opportunity to engage in activities such as strolling across a rope bridge. Photo courtesy of Kawazo Phu Thinh

Phu Cuong Cathedral

The Phu Cuong Cathedral, also known as Diocese of Phu Cuong Diocese, dates back to 1864 and boasts Gothic architecture crafted from brick. Having undergone several renovations, the most recent in 2014, the cathedral stands in its current form. The architectural marvel combines typical Catholic church features, such as a dome, pointed roof, and arched windows, drawing parallels to the My Tho Cathedral.

Phu Cuong Cathedral boasts a Gothic architecture that sets it apart from the modern designs of the surrounding city buildings. Photo courtesy of Phu Cuong Cathedral

Visitors can stroll through the spacious, airy campus adorned with green spaces. A particular time to visit is during Christmas when the church opens its doors to everyone.

Phu An Bamboo Village

The Phu An Bamboo Village is nestled in the heart of the first bamboo ecosystem conservation area in Vietnam. The village is home to approximately 1,500 bamboo bushes, featuring a diverse collection of 17 bamboo varieties, accounting for 90% of Vietnam's bamboo varieties, including rare species.

Phu An Bamboo Village offers a fresh, green and inviting atmosphere for visitors. Photo by VnExpress/Nguyen May

Phu An was honored with the Equator Award from the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) in 2010 for its commitment to biodiversity protection, community development, and climate change response.

In 2016, it earned membership in the Association of Botanical Gardens in the French-speaking region of the world.

Dai Hung Pottery Village

The Dai Hung Pottery Village, in Hamlet 1, Tuong Binh Hiep Commune, Thu Dau Mot City, is approximately 3 kilometers north of the city center. This pottery kiln has a history of 150 years, specializing in crafting various jars and pots for agricultural, fishery, and daily life purposes.

The village maintains traditional, manual production methods, showcasing distinctive and authentic craft products. Spanning nearly 11,000 m2, it stands as the largest handmade ceramic production facility in Binh Duong.

Truc Lam Thanh Nguyen Monastery

The Truc Lam Thanh Nguyen Monastery, the first Zen monastery associated with the Truc Lam Yen Tu Zen sect in Binh Duong Province, is situated in Cay Kho Hamlet, Tam Lap Commune, Phu Giao District. Covering an expanse of over 10 hectares, the monastery is nestled in the heart of a rubber forest.

The surroundings feature the rubber trees and flower forests. Within the monastery, green trees further enhance the sense of harmony with nature, providing a relieving experience.

The Truc Lam Thanh Nguyen Monastery offers a calming atmosphere. Photo courtesy of Phu Giao District’s official website

Dau Tieng Lake

The Dau Tieng Lake, an artificial reservoir spanning three provinces—Tay Ninh, Binh Duong, and Binh Phuoc—began construction in 1981. Today, the lake has transformed into a popular destination for tourists.

At Dau Tieng Lake, visitors can enjoy strolling along the lake, and engaging in various games. Setting up a tent for an overnight camping experience on the lake's shore is also a worthwhile activity to try with friends and family.

A woman fishes at the Dau Tieng Lake in Binh Duong. Photo by VnExpress/Bao Tran

Thai Son Pagoda

Thai Son Pagoda is situated halfway up the Cau Mountain, approximately 50 meters above sea level, in Tha La Hamlet, Dinh Thanh Commune, Dau Tieng District. The pagoda's campus covers more than 5 hectares and features notable structures such as the three-entrance gate, the Cuu Trung Dai Pagoda standing at 36 meters with 9 floors, a 12 meters-tall statue of Avalokiteśvara Bodhisattva.

A massive statue of Avalokiteśvara Bodhisattva is positioned within the pagoda. Photo courtesy of 52hz

Upon exploring Thai Son Pagoda, visitors can ascend about 1,000 stone steps to reach the mountain's summit. From there, a panoramic view unfolds, showcasing the Cau mountain range and Dau Tieng Lake. Additionally, the site boasts a 300-year-old fig tree and a variety of rare trees.

Thien Hau Pagoda

Thien Hau Pagoda, commonly known as Ba Pagoda, is located on Nguyen Du Street in Thu Dau Mot City. It is a well-known pilgrimage site for people from Binh Duong, Ho Chi Minh City, and nearby provinces.

The Ba Pagoda Festival, celebrated annually for three days from the 13th to the 15th day of the first lunar month, is regarded as the largest cultural festival in Binh Duong. The festival features various special programs, including worship ceremonies, lantern auctions, and a procession of Thien Hau's palanquin.

The Ba Pagoda Festival draws in hundreds of visitors, showcasing dragon dances. Photo by VnExpress/Thanh Nguyen

Phu Loi Prison

Located on December 1 Street, Phu Loi Ward, Thu Dau Mot City, Phu Loi Prison stands as one of the prominent historical prisons in the south, established in 1957 to detain and torment thousands of revolutionary soldiers over eight years (1957-1964). The prison is divided into three camps and separated by barbed wire walls. Positioned in the center is a towering dome for observation. The prison features four entrance gates and is surrounded by four heavily guarded bunkers.

Phu Loi Prison, just 3 kilometers from the city center, symbolizes the harsh realities of the Vietnam War. The reconstructed prison portrays the challenging conditions faced by prisoners, including limited amenities, torture, inadequate medical care, and other difficulties. Beyond its historical importance, a visit offers a cultural and educational experience, showcasing Vietnam's fight for independence. Open daily from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., admission is free, inviting all to explore and understand Vietnam's history.

Lai Thieu fruit garden

Lai Thieu fruit garden spans approximately 1,200 hectares across six communes, including Vinh Phu, Lai Thieu, Binh Nham, Hung Dinh, An Thanh, and An Son. It's a place where visitors can visit and harvest fruits like rambutan, mango, and durian. Growers are available to share insights on plant care for those interested in applying them at home.

If you're with a large family, you can coordinate with the garden owner to rent a mat or tent, hang a hammock, and unwind beneath the trees. The best time to visit is from March to July. Currently, Lai Thieu Fruit Garden offers free admission, with charges only for the fruits you pick or additional food and services.

Tuong Binh Hiep Lacquer Village

Tuong Binh Hiep Lacquer Village, with centuries of tradition, reveals the intricate art of crafting lacquerware. Artisans use materials like wood, ceramic, and fabric to create a variety of products, from tables and chairs to paintings and vases.

Creating a traditional lacquer piece involves approximately 25 stages, demanding time and effort, with some stages requiring repetition. The painting process alone takes 3-6 months to ensure top-notch quality for each product.

Local artisans in the village hand-paint lacquer wares. Photo by VnExpress/Hong Ha

Broken bridge left from Vietnam War

The broken bridge in Be River is a historical landmark in Phu Giao District, visible on DT 741 Street. Its split appearance, reminiscent of an unfinished project, tells the story of the Vietnam War. Originally constructed by France in 1925-1926 for colonial purposes, it played a vital role in expanding rubber plantations in Phu Giao and Phuoc Long districts, serving as a crucial route to the provinces in the Central Highlands.

In 1975, during the Vietnam War, Vietnamese forces launched a successful attack on U.S.'s positions in Binh My and Binh Co communes. Faced with overwhelming opposition, the enemy forces in Phu Giao District withdrew across the broken bridge. The U.S. commander ordered the destruction of the bridge using mines to impede the pursuit by Vietnamese forces. Today, the bridge remains as a testament to history.

The broken bridge is divided across the Be River. Photo courtesy of Binh Duong Newspaper


More than 50% of the population in Binh Duong Province, home to many industrial parks, consists of immigrants, resulting in a diverse and rich cuisine that combines various ingredients.

Mangosteen chicken salad

Although available in many restaurants, this dish can only be enjoyed during mangosteen season, typically from April to June. The dish is particularly suitable for hot weather.

Mangosteens are cut into bite-sized pieces, then mixed with boiled chicken along with onions and herbs to create the mangosteen chicken salad. Photo by VnExpress/TT

The mangosteens selected should be firm and green, ensuring a blend of sour and sweet flavors. The chicken is boiled and torn into bite-sized pieces. Some restaurants replace boiled chicken with steamed salted chicken. Mangosteen chicken salad is often served with a bowl of hot porridge cooked with straw mushroom.

Banh beo bi (Steamed rice cake with shredded pork skin)

Banh beo bi has a history of over 100 years at Bung Market, An Thanh Commune, Thuan An City. The steamed rice cake from this locality is served along with shredded pork skin and lean meat compared to other regions.

Each piece is spread with green beans, covered with a layer of shredded pork and pork skin, and topped with raw vegetables and cucumber. Before consumption, visitors sprinkle sweet and sour fish sauce mixed with radish and carrot, and add chili.

Banh beo bi, along with eel porridge and mangosteen chicken salad, are three dishes from Binh Duong honored by the Vietnam Culinary Culture Association for highlighting Vietnamese cultural values.

Roasted chicken with puffed sticky rice

After the sticky rice is cooked, it is fried, causing it to swell to the size of a ball with a crispy outer layer and a sticky, fragrant inside. Before roasting, the chicken is marinated and coated with honey to give the skin an attractive yellow color.

Both the roasted chicken and puffed sticky rice feature a golden brown color. Photo courtesy of luhanhvietnam

Grilled beef on tile

True to its name, this dish features beef grilled on tiles. The beef's natural thin layer of fat eliminates the need for additional cooking oil or fat. As the meat is placed on the hot tile, the smoke spreads with the fragrant aroma of beef.

Grilled beef is commonly served with bread, lettuce, and pickles. Photo courtesy of Binh Duong Province portal

The dish is served with herbs, bananas, and star fruit rolled in rice paper, dipped in fish sauce. The sweetness of the beef, the astringent taste of banana, the sourness of star fruit, and the aroma of fish sauce blend together.

Pork tongue crab noodle soup

One of the popular dishes in Binh Duong, this noodle soup features rolled pork tongue prepared in the style of char siu meat. This noodle soup offers a savory and sweet flavor, blending a mix of meat, bones, tongue, and tofu. Each eatery also offers its distinct seasoning secrets.

A bowl of pork tongue crab noodle soup features various toppings, all immersed in a rich tomato-based broth. Photo courtesy of MIA

Taro and eel porridge

Taro and eel porridge, made from swamp eels, taro, and white rice, features hearty meat with a sweeter flavor upon cooking. The dish's quality relies on the eel preparation, as it should be neither slimy nor has a fishy odor. The blend of simple ingredients results in a rich specialty, perfect for comforting the body, particularly on rainy days.

A bowl of taro and eel porridge paired with a side of chili fish sauce. Photo courtesy of MIA

Lai Thieu mangosteen

Compared to mangosteen varieties from other regions, Lai Thieu mangosteen stands out with its smoother skin, fewer rough spots, absence of cracks or pus, and dark red or light red coloring.

Lai Thieu mangosteen is relatively smaller in size compared to other varieties of mangosteen. Photo courtesy of MIA

Additionally, mangosteens grown in Lai Thieu are easy to distinguish due to their small size, short stems, uneven roundness, thin skin for easy peeling, and sweet, slightly sour pulp that is soft and smooth. The harvest season typically begins around June and lasts for three months.

Binh Nham candied ginger

Crafted from selected fresh ginger, combined with lime, and covered with a layer of sugar, Binh Nham candied ginger offers a mildly spicy taste with a hint of sweetness from sugar. The candied ginger is available in various types, although the traditional, thinly sliced candied ginger remains a favorite.

Binh Nham candied ginger is still made according to traditional methods by the locals. Photo courtesy of Binh Duong Newspaper

Roasted cashew nuts with salt

Binh Duong benefits from a suitable climate and soil for cashew cultivation. The production of high-quality cashew nuts has elevated this dish to a specialty of Binh Duong, making it a perfect choice for gift purchases.


Traveling from Ho Chi Minh City to Thu Dau Mot City is easily accessible by car, motorbike, bus, or train.

For those traveling from Ho Chi Minh City, passenger bus tickets to Binh Duong are available from various companies like Thanh Cong, Thien Duong, My Hang, Tien Phat, and Viet Hung, with prices at VND60,000 ($2.40) per person. Alternatively, bus tickets cost VND20,000.

Travelers seeking flexibility in timing and the freedom to make stops can opt for a personal car or motorbike journey from Ho Chi Minh City along Highway 13. The travel time ranges from 45 to 90 minutes, depending on traffic conditions.

Travelers from Hanoi and other central or northern provinces can choose to fly to Tan Son Nhat Airport, take a train to Saigon station (some trains stop at Di An - Binh Duong station), and then catch a bus or rent a motorbike to reach their destination. Long-distance buses from Hanoi typically take around 35 hours, with an average ticket price of VND900,000 ($37).

Trains from Ho Chi Minh City to Di An in Binh Duong have multiple departures throughout the day, and the ticket price is VND40,000.


High-end hotels such as The Mira, Fairfield by Marriott, Becamex Hotel, Hiive by Fusion, and Citadines Central Binh Duong have prices of around VND1 million ($41) per night. 3-star hotels like Long Bao Chau, Saigon Park, Elizabeth, Hoang Hung, as well as homestays and serviced apartments, are available at prices ranging from VND400,000 to VND600,000.

For those considering Binh Duong for a weekend getaway, visitors from Ho Chi Minh City can opt to stay at An Lam Retreats Saigon River, situated on the banks of the Saigon River. Traveling by river from the center of Ho Chi Minh City takes approximately 30 minutes. Room prices per night at An Lam Retreats Saigon River start from VND3 million ($123).

Story by Nguyen Nam, Tam Anh