If you’re the kind of traveler who wants to visit a less touristy spot in Vietnam, then Rach Gia should be up in your list. Situated in near the tip of southeastern Vietnam, it has a population of a little more than 200,000.
This coastal city is usually used as a transfer point for people going to Phu Quoc. But if you plan to stay a bit longer, you’ll be surprised at how many children and locals welcome the sight of foreigners walking down their streets.
This provincial city is the capital of Kien Giang Province and is located approximately 250 km southwest of Ho Chi Minh City. Rach Gia used to be under the Cambodian territory where it had the name of Kramuon-Sa.
The town became the center for rice processing and manufacturing of straw mats and today, Rach Gia is widely known in the country for their honey, beeswax and feathers of exotic birds. In 2005, the town was awarded a city status and was divided into 12 administrative units.
It has beautiful and lush sceneries as well as historic sites. Spots to visit are museums (Kien Giang), temples (Nguyen Trung Truc) and pagodas (Tam Bao). There is also the beautiful Tam Quan Gate which stands as the city’s true symbol and shows traditional Vietnamese architecture.
Tam Quan Gate – This is the perfect first stop during your visit to Rach Gia. The Tam Quan gate also known as “Three Entrance Gate” is a beautiful triple arch at the entrance of the city. This gate is considered a true symbol of Rach Gia, which bears traditional symbols of Vietnamese architecture.
Nguyen Trung Truc Temple – The historical temple was built to honor Nguyen Trung Truc who served as a leader against the French who arrived in the late 19th century. It’s one of the most important attractions in Rach Gia serving both as a tourist and religious spot.
Tam Bao Pagoda – Vietnamese Emperor Gia Long built this pagoda in the early 19th century dedicated to all the women who helped him after the Tay Rebellion. The place has a beautiful garden and sculptures for visitors to see and enjoy.
Phat Lon Pagoda – This is another beautiful pagoda that displays magnificent ancient architectures and features a zen garden. Phat Lon Pagoda is directly translated as “Big Buddha Pagoda” and is home to some ethnic Khmers monks.
Enjoy the seafood – Because Rach Gia is a port town, tourists are sure to find fresh sea food everywhere. Most travelers recommend going to Thanh Binh and Hai Au to get some traditional sea food Vietnamese dishes.
Explore the market – Get to see the everyday lives of people in Rach Gia by visiting some of its local markets. The Rach Soi is the biggest market in town and is just nearby the port.
Nguyen Trung Truc Festival – This is a massive festival that happens every year in Rach Gia. It takes place from the 26th to the 28th of August in the lunar calendar. Expect parade of gods, ritual ceremonies, cultural activities and fun games. A festival stage where locals perform is also set up. This is all to recreate the victory of Vietnam and to commemorate Nguyen Trung Truc as a national hero.