Overlooking the idyllic shores of the Gulf of Thailand, and surrounded by limestone promontories, Ha Tien is one of the more attractive towns in the delta. With its riverfront having undergone a major cleanup and a vast new suburb growing to the west of the town center, it is also one of the fastest developing areas. It became part of Vietnam after a battle with the Thai in 1708. The hero of the war, Mac Cuu, was laid to rest with his family in the Mac Tombs, which are located on a hillside, Nui Lang, just west of town. On the northern side of Nui Lang, the Phu Dung Pagoda contains elegant 18thcentury tombs. Its sanctuary features exquisite highrelief panels.
Sitting snugly in a system of caves, halfway up a karst formation about 2 miles (4 km) west of town, Thach Dong Temple goes all the way through the limestone. There are altars everywhere, but the religious focus is on the stone pagoda in the largest cave. A statue of Quan Am stands near its entrance, and at a short distance is the Stele of Hatred. This monument is dedicated to the 130 people killed here by the Khmer Rouge in 1978.
About 18 miles (30 km) to the southeast of Ha Tien lies the secluded beach resort of Hon Chong. At the southern end of the beach is the Hang Pagoda, a grotto with stalactites that resonate like organ pipes when struck. Offshore, Nghe Island has many caves and shrines. About an hour by boat, it is ideal for a day trip.