I recently came to Binh Duong Province to continue my study of Vietnamese and military history north of Saigon. I'd previously explored Coral and Balmoral but wanted to visit a few other areas and also pinpoint sites that my father had contact with the Vietnamese revolutionary forces west of FSB Coral. I'd travelled many times to the area, to a from Saigon in one day. On this occasion I wanted to find a small hotel close to Dad's contact sites and use it as a base from which to explore further afield. Using my usual method of searching via Google Maps I found the perfect place and called to book just one night, thinking I may book one or two more nights should I see fit.
With a name like Green Paradise (Thien Duong Xanh) I had imagined something pleasant but upon arrival I was immediately stunned by the tranquillity. Set back along a long entrance driveway from the busy rural highway, the comfortable bungalows surround a lush well-loved garden, centred on a most refreshing spring water swimming pool. The site is bordered on two sides by lush rubber tree forest in which you can spot the occasional squirrel scampering through the canopy. On arrival I was shown one of the smaller rooms and although I found it extremely comfortable I requested a room with a better view out to the garden and swimming pool and was graciously accommodated. At only and extra VND 50,000/night (USD$2) I was extremely satisfied! The room itself is large enough to host a small family, so there was plenty of room to roll out my exercise mat and spread out the research equipment!
Although the rooms are not fully self-contained I've made full use of the outdoor communal kitchen both to cook simple and the occasional more extravagant meal. But this communal space provides more than just a place to prepare meals. It acts as a central gathering point where I've met and had long conversations with almost all of the guests that have come and gone, and even made a few close friends in the process! In fact after extending my original booking to a 'few days' I've now been here for around 6 weeks (but who's counting). I'm not alone either, I've seen a number of travellers come on a short booking and extend there stay by days or weeks!
The bungalows appeal to a wide range of guests, from international road trippers en route to the central highlands, holiday makers looking for an escape from Saigon and even local and international workers that stay for anywhere from a few months to years. The wifi is good so it's conducive to work, and I've spent most of my computer time out in the communal space, breaking to take a meal and more often just to dive into the pool three, four, or more times a day! There's a really good small market within one or two minutes ride loaded with fresh local produce, plenty of street food and local eateries and cafe's. And with the provincial capital 'Thu Dau Mot' just a 20 minute ride away you can take a morning or evening out and enjoy everything that Saigon has to offer - only without the pollution, traffic and noise!
The hotel owner/hostess, Miss Hanh, is very friendly and extremely accommodating, giving the accommodation more of a 'home stay' feel than just another hotel. Well travelled and with a great knowledge of destinations in Vietnam and abroad, Hanh also has a good level of English so is able to discuss and help with any of her guests needs as they arise. From directing guests to local restaurants and other services, organising taxi's/grab, bikes and cars, to assisting with all manner of guests unique holiday and business needs Hanh is an asset to her hotel. The hotel has a set menu offering meals and drinks which she or one of her handful of staff gladly provide. The hotel also has a motorbike and bicycle for guest use on request for anytime you want to pop into the nearby market, town or head out to explore the local area.
Locally there's the marketplace, the large and well designed Vietnam-Singapore Industrial Park, many small roads through lush rubber tree plantations and farmland, an impressive local memorial complex dedicated to the local revolutionary martyrs and Thu Dau Mot New City which hosts an impressive government building surrounded by many international restaurants. As mentioned the provincial capital is within half an hour drive, and also within an hour along country roads you can easily visit the famous Cu Chi Tunnels. Neighbouring provinces include those of the western Mekong delta and Tay Ninh - I took an easy day motorbike trip to to visit the Black Virgin Mountain and Cao Dai headquarters in Tay Ninh. For those those interested in military history in Vietnam, Green Paradise Bungalows makes an ideal overnight stay for a two or three day tour to the Coral-Balmoral battlefields, War Zone D, Iron Triangle and Ho Bo Woods (Cu Chi Tunnels). There's a tonne of little known history in the area which Vietnam Heritage would enjoy to share with you.
Just a few of the local features and attractions in the surrounding area
In short, if you're looking for somewhere that feels like home away from home (or even better than home!) with comfortable rooms, a great meeting place where you can prepare or enjoy a meal or drink, or just relax in the pool among the garden with an extremely reasonable price tag, Green Paradise is just the thing you're looking for!
Prices at the time of writing (August 2019):
Single room (double bed): VND200,000/night
Large single room (double bed): VND250,000/night
Double room (two double beds): VND350,000/night
With prices like that you can't go wrong!
Thien Duong Xanh (Green Paradise) Bungalows
Ph/Whatsapp/Viber/Zalo: (+84) 091 372 12 19
Đuong DT 742, ap 5 xã Vĩnh Tân, thị xã Tân Uyên, Bình Duong