Very popular and touristy because of provincial destinations like Phú Quôc Island and Rach Giá, the Kiên Giang Province is one of the most famous provinces in Southern Vietnam. An integral part of the Mekong Delta Region, the Kiên Giang Province relies heavily on rice farming, fishing, and tourism.
The most renowned features of the province are its scenic coastline and numerous island paradises. The growth of Kiên Giang as a tourist destination is steadily building as more and more visitors rave about how this province is a place that shouldn’t be ignored. Now is the time to visit the Kiên Giang Province, before the crowds get too big.
How to Get to Kiên Giang
The Kiên Giang Province is located on the coast of Southern Vietnam where it is bordered by 5 Vietnamese provinces, Cambodia, and the Gulf of Thailand. Within the province, there are 12 districts, 3 cities, and numerous communes. Interestingly, the provincial boundaries include both land and sea. Rach Giá, the provincial capital, is at the center of Kien Giang is located on the coast.
Vietnam’s famous southern city, Ho Chi Minh, is relatively close to the province with the distance between the two destinations being about 242 km (150 miles). Travelers who are going by car should expect to spend about 4.5 hours in their vehicle, however, you can also travel by plane, train, or public bus, which will take you to Rach Giá.
Long before Kiên Giang became a province, the area was made up of smaller towns that were ruled by Lord Nguyen Phuc Dong Khoat. One of these towns, Hà Tiên, covered a significant amount of territory, and in 1832, it became a province. Just a few decades later under French colonization, Hà Tiên was broken into two parts.
These divisions created Rach Giá, while Hà Tiên remained as a seat of power. For some time, Hà Tiên and Rach Giá were ruled as separate entities, but as development in the area grew, the government ultimately decided to combine the two to create the Kiên Giang Province. Today, both Hà Tiên and Rach Giá are popular city destinations within the greater provincial area.
While the province has undergone numerous big changes in history, the area today has become known as Vietnam’s “Pearl of the Southern Sea”. The locals are proud to show off their history, culture, and land. Historical sites in the Kiên Giang Province include the Temple and Tomb of Nguyen Trung Truc, who is a national hero and various pagodas.
Visitors to the province will not only get to explore a beautiful landscape but also the diverse cultures within Kiên Giang.
- The average elevation of the Kiên Giang Province is 1 foot 3 inches above sea level
- There are 12 districts, 3 cities, 12 towns, 118 communes, and 15 wards in Kiên Giang
- As of 2011, about 1,714,100 people live in the Kiên Giang Province
The provincial capital city of the Kiên Giang Province is Rach Giá, which sits on the coast of the Gulf of Thailand. Interestingly, Rach Giá is the only city in the country where a “lan bién” project was planned by the Vietnamese government to expand the territory out into the ocean.
This expansion has made Rach Giá one of the largest cities in Southwest Vietnam, even though a significant portion of its territory covers water. For tourists, Rach Giá is an important hub for fun activities and transport to other destinations in Southern Vietnam. Most significantly, it has both ferries and hydrofoils that can take visitors from the mainland to Phú Quôc Island.
Visitors may also choose to travel by boat to other destinations like Hà Tiên or Côn Dào Island, which is to the south in the Bà Ria-Vūng Tàu Province. Tourists who are staying in Rach Giá will find that there are many day trips and activities around the city. Main attractions in Rach Giá include Tam Quan Gate, Nguyen Trung Truc Temple, Tam Bao Pagoda, and the Phat Long Pagoda.
Visitors should also take the time to explore local areas like the markets, parks, and shops in Rach Giá. Whether you’re planning to explore the city for a few days or just staying the night, there are many quality accommodations and dining establishments ready to care for travelers on their journey.
One of the top-rated places to stay in Rach Giá is the STAY Hostel 2, which has been recently refurbished. Located in the heart of the harbor, the hostel is just steps from the ferry and 1 kilometer (0.6 miles) away from the Tam Bao Pagoda.
Rach Giá also has a mix of quality restaurants that range from small cafes to fine dining establishments that serve both local and international cuisine. Some of the traveler’s favorite restaurants in the city include the Atelier Café 68, Number One, Rock68, and the King BBBQ Buffet. All of these establishments serve a variety of cuisines and there are options for breakfast, lunch, or dinner.
Famous Towns in Kiên Giang
In addition to Rach Giá, the Kiên Giang Province has a few towns that have become tourist hotspots. All along the coast, there are seaside towns like Hà Tiên that charm visitors with their streets and shops. There are also numerous islands within the province that are open to visitors.
Phú Quôc is the most famous island in the Kiên Giang Province and it has become one of the most visited destinations in Southern Vietnam.
Hà Tiên is a border and seaside town in the northern coastal area of the Kiên Giang Province. Often called the “Jewel of the Mekong Delta”, Hà Tiên is the perfect combination of land and water. The city is famous for its beaches and riverfront areas. Visitors will have the option of exploring around the coast or heading inland to cave systems like Nui Da Dung.
Phú Quôc Island
Word is spreading about Vietnam’s Phú Quôc Island and travelers from all over the globe are descending on this tropical paradise. Located about 22 nautical miles from Hà Tiên, travelers can head to the northern city to take a boat to the island or take a ferry or hydrofoil from Rach Giá.
Phú Quôc Island is a bustling destination where the lifestyle blends itself with luxury hotels and Mother Nature. Phú Quôc City is where most travelers go first, before exploring more of the island. In the city and just on its outskirts, there are many beachfront resorts and attractions.
The best place to explore nature is in the northern part of the island where Phú Quôc National Park is open to visitors every day.
The Kiên Giang has more than a few popular cities, which makes it nearly impossible to list all of the province’s attractions. There are dozens of activities for tourists in Kiên Giang and they range from exploring the city streets to learning about the local culture, studying the history, venturing into nature, and relaxing on the beach.
Visit Nam Du Island
A lot less popular than Phú Quôc, Nam Du Island is a cluster of 21 islands that are just 52 miles from the coastal city of Rach Giá. Home to two small communes, the islands have a few small resorts and amazing scenery. In fact, the islands are known for their stunning cliffs and vibrant beaches.
Tour the Mo So Caves
Inland, near Kiên Giang Town, the jagged terrain is known for hiding some extraordinary caves. Used during the Vietnam war by Vietnamese Revolutionists, the Mo So Caves have become a tourist site where visitors can see beautiful rock formations and learn more about the local history. There are multiple caves within the Mo So system and local guides can help visitors through the maze.
Visit Amazing Beaches
With hundreds of miles of coastline along the mainland and the provincial islands, there are dozens upon dozens of beaches to explore. For the most part, the Kiên Giang’s most famous beaches are located around Hà Tiên and Phú Quôc Island. In Hà Tiên, the best beach to visit is Bāi Bàng. On Phú Quôc Island, people love Bāi Tam Sao, Khem, and Ông Lang beach.
Kiên Giang Province has become famous for two of its festivals – the Nghinh Ong Hon Son and Nguyen Trung Truc Festival. Held during the 10th lunar month on the 15th and 16th days, the Nghinh Ong Hon Son Festival is held to pray for good fortune, weather, and business as well as celebrating the local people’s relationship with the ocean.
During the 8th lunar month on the 27th and 28th day, Kiên Giang’s capital city, Rach Giá, hosts the Nguyen Trung Truc Festival, which honors Vietnam’s national hero. Celebrations are held at the temple ruins of Nguyen Trung Truc and people gather to watch performances, play games, and compete in contests.
Kiên Giang Province’s southern location is mostly mild and temperate throughout the year. The only time when the weather could impede a vacation would be during the rainy season. Most of the regional rainfall occurs from May to early November. Though, the weather begins to calm down by late October. During the rainy season, temperatures and humidity will be higher.
The best time to visit the Kiên Giang Province is from December to April, which is during the dry season. Temperatures will be cooler and with less rainfall, vacation activities won’t be ruined. However, these months are also the most popular time to visit Kiên Giang, so travelers should make accommodation reservations in advance.
With the best beaches in Vietnam, dynamic activities, and a warm welcome, the Kiên Giang Province has become Vietnam’s top vacation destination. Each year, the crowds and Kiên Giang’s reputation grow bigger as more people in the international community discover this marvelous gem.
For those who want to see the province before it becomes overcrowded, now is the time to visit.