About 100km southwest of Ha Tien, though also easily accessible from Long Xuyen, Can Tho or Ca Mau, the thriving port of RACH GIA teeters precariously over the Gulf of Thailand. The capital of Kien Giang Province, it’s home to a community of around two hundred thousand people, many of whom live in new housing on reclaimed land on the coast just south of the centre. A small islet in the mouth of the Cai Lon River forms the hub of the town, but the urban sprawl spills over bridges to the north and south of it and onto the mainland. The town has little in the way of historical and cultural attractions, and for most foreign visitors it is simply a place to overnight en route to Phu Quoc Island.

It’s worth taking a walk along Bach Dang or Tran Hung Dao to watch the activity on the boats of all sizes that clutter the port. Men and women darn and fold nets, charcoal-sellers hawk their wares to ships’ captains and roadside cafés heave with fishermen – many of whom have seen the bottoms of a few beer bottles – awaiting the next tide.

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