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Cambodia forum

Phnom Penh to Phu Quoc island

Posted by Lodestar on 8/9/2009 at 23:20

Basically that is it - looking for any tips, advice and info on how to get from PP to Phu Quoc in Vietnam.

After researching crossing the Cambodia-Vietnam border, thought that instead of doing the direct PP-HCMC bus and from there Mekong Delta and Phu Quoc islad, it would be more interesting (though more time consuming i imagine?) to cross the border via Neak Luong and Chau Doc . So far, so good.But having trouble finding how to get from Chau Doc to Phu Quoc. Anyone done the trip recently? How about the frequency of transportation on the route?
Or, maybe there is a better (faster, easier) way of going from PP to Phu Quoc?

So, any info on the route is welcome!
Thanks

#1 Lodestar has been a member since 7/9/2009. Posts: 19

Posted by somtam2000 on 9/9/2009 at 07:15 admin

Hi Lodestar,

There's three main routes:
1) Overland by Phnom Penh to Ho Chi Minh City bus, then bus to Rach Gia and ferry (or fly from Saigon)

2a) Boat from Phnom Penh to Chau Doc , then bus from there to Long Xuyen and change for bus to Rach Gia then boat. There may be a direct bus between Chau Doc and Rach Gia, not sure. I'd recommend overnighting in Chau Doc anyway.

2b) There is a canal that runs from Chau Doc to Ha Tien , so you could also do it that way then get a ferry from Ha Tien, but I've not heard of anyone doing the canal boat route in eons -- the boats run (they're freighters and you just nego a ride on one) but it is a very long, very exposed trip (12-14 hours from memory) -- pack about 4.2 litres of sunscreen.

3) Overland from Phnom Penh to Kep then cross the border to Ha Tien and then either ferry fro there to Phu Quoc or bus to Rach Gia and boat from there. This is detailed in the last part of this story: http://www.travelfish.org/feature/113

My personal pref would be (3)

#2 somtam2000 has been a member since 21/1/2004. Location: Indonesia. Posts: 7,434
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Posted by Lodestar on 9/9/2009 at 18:53

Thank you so much, somtam.
Just wondering if time-wise it would be sensible to do 2a or 3 instead of 1, which seems to easiest and maybe fastest... Any idea on the time required for 2a and 3? i checked the link you suggested, but not all time estimates were there. any idea how long the boat from ha tien takes? and if i should overnight in chau doc, then i guess it's pretty unlikely to make it phu quoc the next day? as i'm planning on going diving in PQ, then checked a website of a diveclub, and there it said that the local boat takes 7 h from rach gia and 4 from ha tien. are they wrong or are there different boats then?
for some reason 2a seems easier/faster to me. plus i hear it's supposed to be a nice boat trip to chau doc. any idea how long it takes by bus to rach gia from there?

On the way back to HCMC planning to go through can tho, but i guess that's pretty doable. just wondering about the travel time again...

thank you so much for bothering to think along :)
L.

#3 Lodestar has been a member since 7/9/2009. Posts: 19

Posted by somtam2000 on 9/9/2009 at 21:47 admin

Unless you fly, 1 is the slowest.

Quickest will be a showdown between 3 and 2a -- if I had to pick I'd say via Kep will be quickest as you can certainly get from Phnom Penh to Rach Gia or Ha Tien in a day via that crossing (then get the morning boat). The ferry from Ha Tien is a fairly new thing and I can't help on the time for the trip.

Yes if you overnight in Chau Doc you won't get the boat from Rach Gia, you'll need to overnight there as well. They're both fine spots for an overnight -- Rach Gia has great late night dessert stalls...

You can't do the trip in one day because you'll miss the ferry, so if you want to get there asap and don't want to fly, get the first car out of town from Phnom Penh to Kep. As soon as you're there get a ride to the border to Ha Tien and then onwards to Rach Gia (unless you decide to get the boat from Ha Tien) either way you'll need to overnight somewhere.

If you go via Chau Doc, the boat trip is very pretty and you could probably get a bus connection onwards to Long Xuyen, but I'd think it's unlikely you'd get a bus all the way to Rach Gia in the same day. Could be wrong though as I don't have timetable info on these routes.

Hope that helps -- it's a straightforward trip, but very difficult to do in a single day!

#4 somtam2000 has been a member since 21/1/2004. Location: Indonesia. Posts: 7,434
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Posted by jasonkim8486 on 25/11/2009 at 02:47

hey lode, wondering if you went through with the trip? im planning the same trip and wondering which route you took?

#5 jasonkim8486 has been a member since 15/9/2009. Location: United States. Posts: 81

Posted by Danwowski on 25/11/2009 at 04:18

Hey Jason,

I did this trip earlier this year and used a version of Somtam's option 2a:
Boat from Phnom Penh to Chau Doc , overnight in Chau Doc, bus to Rach Gia and boat to Phu Quoc.

I can confirm that there was a direct bus to Rach Gia (or at least the bigger, out of town bus station at Rach Soi) that left Chau Doc early in the morning and got you to Rach Gia a couple of hours before the afternoon Super Dong departure. This means that PP to Phu Quoc can be done in 2 days with only one overnight required.

The trip was very scenic and the border crossing quicker and less hassle than the crossing experienced by friends who went by option 1 via HCMC. And given the choice, I'd do it the same way again if I repeat the trip.

Hope that helps.

#6 Danwowski has been a member since 18/11/2009. Posts: 14

Posted by jasonkim8486 on 25/11/2009 at 04:49

dan thanks for the response, very informative and i will follow the same beat as you. much appreciated!

#7 jasonkim8486 has been a member since 15/9/2009. Location: United States. Posts: 81

Posted by jasonkim8486 on 25/11/2009 at 05:21

one more thing dan do you remember how much the entire trip cost you roughly..??

#8 jasonkim8486 has been a member since 15/9/2009. Location: United States. Posts: 81

Posted by Danwowski on 25/11/2009 at 17:45

There are a number of operators running PP to Chau Doc trips in PP, so you can shop around. We went with Capitol Tours as they were reasonably priced (I think around $20 US, but it was back in March so don't take that as gospel) and we hadn't had any problems with them when we'd used their buses previously.

The trip involved a bus trip to the jetty, boat to the border, stamping of passports on Cambodian side, back onto boat to Vietnamese border point, more stamping of passports, change of boat into a Sinh Cafe operated boat and then on to Chau Doc. This sounds more complicated than it actually was! We arrived in Chau Doc about 3-4pm after departing PP at 7:30am.

The bus to Rach Gia was a local bus rather than a chartered mini bus, with tickets bought from the ticket office at Chau Doc bus station (a few dollars per person). A couple who overnighted at the same hotel booked it all through the hotel and paid more than we did by doing it ourselves, despite being put on exactly the same bus and boat as us. Probably the best idea is to go straight to the bus station when you arrive to check times/prices - generally displayed on boards on the ticket office. There were a number of people offering mini buses but these were much more expensive.

The bus drops you at the larger bus station at Rach Soi, a short moto ride from the docks in Rach Gia. We then took the Super Dong (around 100,000 Dong) to Phu Quoc. The new dock where the boat arrives is fairly out of the way, so transport will generally need to be taken to your hotel, or prebook a hotel that offers pick-ups from the boat. There is a bus from the boat to the main beach south of Duong Dong (which we did in the opposite direction when leaving) but we got together with a few people on the boat and took a minibus taxi when we arrived.

A bit of an essay, but hopefully useful for you! Sorry I can't be more exact with costs etc, but it was back in March and my memory took a bit of a bia hoi beating!

#9 Danwowski has been a member since 18/11/2009. Posts: 14

Posted by Lodestar on 26/11/2009 at 02:44

Did the trip. Also the same route. Also Capitol, but did have problems. not really related to the company, but one guy on the boat had a problem with the visa, so were stuck on the border for 2-3 hours, and so missed the chau doc - rach gia bus the same day. theoretically it should be possible to get from chau doc to rach gia in the same day when you arrive. the last us should go at around 2-3. so if there are no problems the capitol boat should be there in time. that would be better, cuse then youd get to take the morning boat to PQ. also - good idea to buy tickets to PQ in advance, as only superdong boat is running and it gets sold out quite fast. so once we got to rach gia they told us that the afternoon boat was full. we were persistent and stayed at the ticket office and finally got the tickets (they needed to wait until the deadline for buying the reserved tickets). still - better to be there the night before, get the tickets and get to PQ earlier the next day.
the prices as far as i can remember - PP-CD 17 USD, CD-RG no idea. maybe around 3 usd? RG-PQ was 200000 VND. that was in october then.

oh, capitol is the cheapest and the only choice that goes in the morning. other boats leave from pp and in the afternoon/at noon. with capitol its first a minivan, then boat.

Chau doc is actually quite nice, so even if you can't leave the same day, it's worth the afternoon.

enjoy!
L.

#10 Lodestar has been a member since 7/9/2009. Posts: 19

Posted by Lawoat on 26/11/2009 at 12:35

I can maybe help you with option number 3

- Phnom Penh bus to Kep : Price around 5USD, takes about 6 hours
- Kep to Ha Tien : might be a bit difficult but I am pretty sure you can arrange a taxi to the Cambodian border; about 40 km, but a very scenic drive at the Vietnamese side just take a moto taxi to Ha Tien (probably around 3-4 USD
- Ha Tien to PQ: there are 2 boats, one leaving early in the morning and 1 early afternoon; price 130.000 VND; takes about 1h45

I have done the same but inreverse order. Maybe spend a night in Kep; nice little sleepy town

#11 Lawoat has been a member since 29/6/2009. Posts: 59

Posted by WonderingTsar on 6/2/2010 at 23:35

Posted from within Vietnam.

[quote]- Kep to Ha Tien : might be a bit difficult but I am pretty sure you can arrange a taxi to the Cambodian border; about 40 km, but a very scenic drive at the Vietnamese side just take a moto taxi to Ha Tien (probably around 3-4 USD[/quote]
Just for future viewers - this is actually pretty easy. You can get a motorbike from Kep right through to Ha Tien for $8-12, or I believe that there are a few buses a day that do the same journey for $13. You would be able to arrange this through your guesthouse or there's a little travel agency by the string of restaurants at the north western end of the bay that can arrange it.

#12 WonderingTsar has been a member since 28/1/2010. Posts: 31

Posted by eastwest on 11/2/2010 at 09:35

hi

for future travellers wanting to do this trip:

there is a new service (since feb 1st 2010) now in Kep that sells trips to Phu Quoc. The company is Virak Buntham. I believe they charge $23 for the trip and apparantly this covers transport to border, to Ha Tien and ferry to Phu Quoc. I have no first hand experience though.

The great advantage of this is that the previous hassles of changing transport (and haggling) can now be easily dealt with. Although it might be a bit sad for the "travellers" who enjoyed a bit of that.

So the itinerary would then be to take afternoon bus (or taxi) from PP to Kep, spend a night there (you could do a lot worse), book ticket and
depart for Phu Qouc the next morning

#13 eastwest has been a member since 17/12/2009. Posts: 778

Posted by eastwest on 11/2/2010 at 09:36

hi

for future travellers wanting to do this trip:

there is a new service (since feb 1st 2010) now in Kep that sells trips to Phu Quoc. The company is Virak Buntham. I believe they charge $23 for the trip and apparantly this covers transport to border, to Ha Tien and ferry to Phu Quoc. I have no first hand experience though.

The great advantage of this is that the previous hassles of changing transport (and haggling) can now be easily dealt with. Although it might be a bit sad for the "travellers" who enjoyed a bit of that.

So the itinerary would then be to take afternoon bus (or taxi) from PP to Kep, spend a night there (you could do a lot worse), book ticket and
depart for Phu Qouc the next morning

#14 eastwest has been a member since 17/12/2009. Posts: 778

Posted by eastwest on 11/2/2010 at 09:41

hi

for future travellers wanting to do this trip:

there is a new service (since feb 1st 2010) now in Kep that sells trips to Phu Quoc. The company is Virak Buntham. I believe they charge $23 for the trip and apparantly this covers transport to border, to Ha Tien and ferry to Phu Quoc. I have no first hand experience though.

The great advantage of this is that the previous hassles of changing transport (and haggling) can now be easily dealt with. Although it might be a bit sad for the "travellers" who enjoyed a bit of that.

So the itinerary would then be to take afternoon bus (or taxi) from PP to Kep, spend a night there (you could do a lot worse), book ticket and
depart for Phu Qouc the next morning

#15 eastwest has been a member since 17/12/2009. Posts: 778

Posted by Virg on 19/3/2010 at 16:34

Hi!

Do you know how I can find the phone number of Virak Buntham?
And do you know if we have to pay a visa by this way? Because I know now we don't need a visa to go to Phu Quoc, but if we don't fly to, is it really possible?

Thanks!

#16 Virg has been a member since 19/3/2010. Posts: 1

Posted by Doniwarner on 7/4/2010 at 01:12

Can this be done in reverse? I'd like to go from Phu Quoc to Ha Tien and on to Kep . Does Virak Buntham offer anything going back to Kep and has anyone found a method to contact them yet? I'll do some searching and post what I find.

#17 Doniwarner has been a member since 12/2/2010. Posts: 19

Posted by eastwest on 8/4/2010 at 14:46

Virg (hope this is not too late)

That bus ticket can be bought from any guesthouse (or in the travel shop at crabmarket or near bus stand) in Kep on the evening before you depart. It is a new service and therefore a big empty bus so no need to book far in advance.
About the visa: Don't know about not needing visa. Would be very surprised if that was the case but check before you go at consulate since it is a normal border crossing (as opposed to one right at the ferry-dock). You might have a big problem if you show up without and if one is needed. My advise: get a visa beforehand if you take this route.

As for the reverse: You can buy anywhere (at least in the obvious places) on Phu Quoc a ferry ticket to Ha Tien. But the all-inclusive deal might be harder to find. Shouldn't be a problem however since you can probably get on that bus and pay on site once you've landed in Ha Tien. Route is Border-Kep-Kampot-Sihanoukville. Price according to where you get off but be preared for a higher price.

#18 eastwest has been a member since 17/12/2009. Posts: 778

Posted by oasisbarhatien on 15/8/2010 at 13:15

Posted from within Vietnam.

About not needing a visa.I believe that if you fly into Saigon from outside Vietnam and transit through to Phu Quoc on an internal flight, that this is the only case when you don't need a visa for Vietnam.Going by boat there you need a visa since the only boats leave from ports in Vietnam.As far as Viraks bus goes,yes the reverse journey is available,in fact it's the same bus.It leaves S/ville at about 07.15 arrives at Ha Tien about 12.00,and goes back to S/ville at around 12.30,via Kep and Kampot.It's 20usd to S/ville,less to Kep and Kampot,but I am not sure of the exact price

#19 oasisbarhatien has been a member since 12/8/2010. Posts: 109
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Posted by technum on 27/10/2010 at 18:53

Posted from within Vietnam.

Just wanted to post my recent experience in case it's helpful to anyone. I took a bus from PP to Kep (Sorya bus company - but I'd recommend looking at Capitol), departing PP at 9:30 and arriving in Kep around 15:00 (stopped for lunch along the way). I checked into my guesthouse in Kep and there was a sign at the counter for Virak Buntham Express Travel advertising their new direct travel to Vietnam. I got a ticket for US$22 from Kep to Phu Quoc, including the fast ferry ticket. The minibus picked me up at the guesthouse at 10:30 and we were at the border in 40 minutes. The agent helped the two of us through the procedures to exit Cambodia and enter Vietnam - it was really painless. We got back on the minibus (we left our bags on) and headed for Ha Tien , where we were dropped at a tourist cafe and handed off to a Vietnamese agent who gave us ferry tickets and sold us a US$3 ride from the boat on PQ to our hotel or to stop at hotels along Long Beach (they knew of some US$7/night rooms also). At 13:00, after we had a good lunch there, she sent us off in prepaid taxis to meet the 13:15 ferry. The boat arrived at PQ at about 15:00 and there was a van there to meet us with our transfer tickets and we were at the guesthouse on PQ by 15:30. On board the boat, the ferry company was selling similar van transfer tickets that I suspect were cheaper. You'll need some transport to the other side, and there were only motorbikes there waiting for the ferry - and they couldn't take big backpacks. Also, I was told that in the high season the minibus from Kep to Ha Tien is replaced by a coach bus; there were only two of us on mine the other day.

#20 technum has been a member since 27/10/2010. Posts: 1


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