Phu An Bamboo Village
Forty kilometers to the north of Saigon, Phu An Bamboo Village, also known as Phu An Ecological Bamboo Museum and Botanical Reserve, is one of the biggest bamboo museums in Southeast Asia.
With over 350 varieties of bamboo, including 20 rare, endangered ones, the reserve at 124 Street 744, Phu An Commune, Ben Cat District is a research center and conservation site for bamboo.
The village made its debut in 1999 and won the biennial UNDP Equator prize, which recognizes community efforts to reduce poverty through the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity, in 2010.
The village serves local dishes like banh xeo (Vietnamese pancake) and grilled meat. However, these have to be ordered in advance. An entrance ticket costs VND20,000 ($0.9) per person.
Tay Tang (Tibet) Pagoda
Tay Tang Pagoda. Photo by VnExpress/Quynh Tran.
Located on a hill in Chanh Nghia Ward of Thu Dau Mot Town, 25 minutes by motorbike from Phu An Bamboo Village, Tay Tang Pagoda is surrounded by lush foliage.
Enclosed by tall towering trees, its square-shaped presbytery features a 15-meter-tall stupa, the pagoda’s focal point.
Behind the presbytery is the record-holding statue of Bodhidharma, a semi-legendary monk. The statue is the biggest made of hair in Vietnam. It was sculpted in 1982 and is nearly three meters high.
Except for the frame made of iron, the main material is hair collected from Buddhist followers. After a major restoration in 1992, the pagoda, built in 1928, now resembles a Tibetan Tantra temple.
Hoi Khanh Pagoda
Hoi Khanh Pagoda. Photo by VnExpress/Quynh Tran.
Two kilometers from Tay Tang Pagoda is Hoi Khanh Pagoda, home to the longest Reclining Buddha statue in Vietnam.
Resting on the pagoda’s roof is a statue of the Buddha attaining Nirvana that measures 52 meters long and 12 meters wide. Its impressive measurements gained it the title of “Asia’s Longest Reclining Buddha Statue on a Pagoda’s Roof” from India-based Asia Book of Records in 2013.
The Reclining Buddha can be reached via 49 stairs, each stair symbolizing a year that the Buddha spread the message of Buddhism in the world.
Covering around 13,000 square meters, the pagoda, built in 1741, is mainly made of wood and stands out for its meticulously carved gilded Arhat and terracotta sculptures of spirit animals. Outside the main hall, the ancient Tu Van Tower is intricately carved.
Wind and Water Cafe
Wind and Water Cafe. Photo acquired by VnExpress.
Six minutes by car from Tay Tang Pagoda is one of Binh Duong’s prides and joys, a green-oriented cafe that goes by wNw for wind and water.
Set in a tropical landscape, this work of art is built from 7,000 bamboo trees, a hallmark symbol of Vietnamese culture. What’s most special about the architecture is how natural wind energy and cool water are used to boost air ventilation.
Enclosing the dome-shaped cafe/bar is an artificial lake. The shallow lake is lined with black stones to give off the illusion of depth. The level of the building is lower than the surrounding lake, creating an opening for the breeze to enter.
It spans over 1,403 square meters in Alley 6/28T, Zone 3 of Phu Tho District in Thu Dau Mot Town. The cafe serves all kinds of food and beverages ranging from VND25,000 to 55,000 and converts into a bar at night.
Lai Thieu Fruit Garden
Lai Thieu Garden. Photo by Bui Huu Nghia.
Measuring over 1,200 hectares, the fruit garden at 67 Tran Sao Street, Hung Dinh Commune in Thuan An Town boasts a wide range of fruit trees.
Although its most fruitful season falls between May and August, a mandarin orchard offers an abundance of fruit at the end of the year.
The only fee pertains to picking fruit, renting sedge mats, and food or beverages, from around VND100,000 ($4.3) per person.
Binh Duong New City Park
Binh Duong New City Park. Photo by VnExpress/Quynh Tran.
Binh Duong New City Park is a hangout loved by young people and families for its modern infrastructure, greenery, and Instagrammable corners.
Built in 2009 on 70 hectares, the park has anything from a water fountain, lake, stream, to an entertainment zone for the little ones. Twice a month, a fishing tournament takes place.
Visit the park in the afternoon and tune in to its daily water concerts. The park is also a go-to camping site for Binh Duong youth and households. There is no entrance fee.
Dau Tieng Lake Sunset
A group of visitors camps by Dau Tieng Lake. Photo by Phan Tuan.
End your day with some wholesome sunset watching at Dau Tieng Lake, one hour and 30 minutes from the park via motorbike. Here, you can set up a little camp, catch the last sunrays of the day, and breath in some fresh air.
Bring your own food and tent or rent one at the price from VND100,000 to VND280,000 for the first two days. Other camping equipment include sleeping bags, insulated mattresses, insulated ice containers, foldable chairs, and flashlights. These are priced from VND10,000 to VND35,000 per item.
There are also fishing and paddleboarding at the site, costing from VND300,000 to VND500,000 per day.