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Mekong - Ha Tien
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Mekong - Ha Tien Introduction

| 28 Aug 2012
Last updated 28 Aug 2012

Ha Tien's remotenss at the far southwestern border of Vietnam with Cambodia has, until recently, kept it off most travel itineraries.

Things are changing fast as this little stretch of the Gulf of Thailand gets plugged into the travel network. The opening of a border crossing to Cambodia in 2008 has connected Ha Tien with Cambodia's quaint southern coastal towns of Kep and Kampot. The commencement of daily ferry services between Phu Quoc Island and Ha Tien has created further interest in this new cross border itinerary to Cambodia's southern coast.

Ha Tien's new lease of tourism life looks likely to grow. And this surprisingly agreeable small town is more than just a convenient transit point. It's easy to fill a day here visiting Ha Tien's pleasant if imperfect Mui Nai beach and some interesting historical sights.

Ha Tien may seem a modest outpost but it's played its part in some important events in Vietnamese history. Nguyen Anh, the man who took went on to found Vietnam's last imperial dynasty, the Nguyen Dynasty, (he became Emperor Gia Long), took shelter here in the late 18th century before he commenced his conquest for control of the country. It was also here that he made a fateful deal with French missionary, Pigneau de Behaine, that gave the French a lever into his future dynasty. A journey that ended in Hue at the beginning of the 19th century, started in Ha Tien decades earlier.

In the late 1970s, Khmer Rouge attacks on Vietnamese civilians around Ha Tien provoked the Vietnamese government to invade Cambodia and end Pol Pot's reign of terror. A small monument marks the spot where Khmer Rouge troops murdered 130 Vietnamese civilians.