Rach Gia is something of a southern boom town, flush with funds from the thriving port on the Gulf of Thailand but also benefiting from a serious injection of Viet Kieu money, as former boat people ride the wave of development. The population includes significant numbers of both ethnic Chinese and ethnic Khmers. Most travellers give the busy centre short shrift, heading straight to the port for boats to Phu Quoc Island. Those who linger can explore the lively waterfront and bustling backstreets, where there are some inexpensive seafood restaurants.
With its easy access to the sea and the proximity of Cambodia and Thailand, fishing, agriculture and smuggling are profitable trades in this province. The area was once famous for supplying the large feathers used to make ceremonial fans for the Imperial Court.
Like Ha Tien, there are big plans for the expansion of Rach Gia. New suburbs have been carved out along the coastline to the south of the centre, complete with new hotels and cafes.