Of all Delta towns, HA TIEN, at the extreme northwest on the border with Cambodia, has been changing the fastest in recent years: where once it received only a trickle of visitors, it now buzzes with Western travellers. Two major factors have caused this: first, the opening of the border to foreigners at Xa Xia, just north of Ha Tien, meaning that it’s now possible to head directly to Cambodia’s coastal towns of Kep and Sihanoukville without passing through Phnom Penh; and the second factor is the beginning of hydrofoil services to Phu Quoc, offering a shorter and cheaper route to the island than from Rach Gia. Thus this town, which until recently had an end-of-the-line feel, is coming to terms with its newfound popularity.

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