Bordered by the Tien and Han branches of the Mekong, Tra Vinh's
location on a peninsula makes it somewhat isolated. Getting there is a
straight up and back trip, because no car ferries cross the rivers here
(motorbikes can be ferried by small boats). Western tourists are few,
though there are several very worthwhile things to see here.
About 300,000 ethnic Khmer live in Tra Vinh province. At first glance, they might seem to be an invisible minority since they all speak fluent Vietnamese and there's nothing outwardly distinguishing about their clothing or lifestyle. However, digging a little deeper quickly reveals that Khmer culture is alive and well in this part of Vietnam, There are over 140 Khmer pagodas in Tra Vinh province, compared with 50 Vietnamese and five Chinese pagodas. The pagodas have schools to teach the Khmer language most of the local in Tra Vinh can read and write Khmer at least as well as Vietnamese.
Vietnam's Khmer minority are almost all followers of Theravada Buddhism. If you've visited monasteries in Cambodia, you may have observed that Khmer monks are not involved in growing food and rely on donations from the strictly religious locals. Here in Tra Vinh, Vietnamese guides will proudly point out the monks' rice harvest as one of the accomplishments of liberation. To the Vietnamese government, non working monks were parasiles. The Khmer don'l necessarily see it the same way and continue to donate funds to the monasteries surreptitiously.
Between the ages of 15 and 20, mosl boys sel aside a lew months or years to live as monks (they decide themselves on the length of service). Khmer monks are allowed to eat meal, although they can not kill animals.
There is also a small but active Chinese community in Tra Vinh, one of the few remaining in the Mekong Delia region.