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Phu Quoc Boat Shakedown

  • petrarch1603

    Joined Travelfish
    1st May, 2010
    Posts: 7

    Posted from within Vietnam.

    So I bought a ticket from Kampot to Phu Quoc island from my guesthouse. We cross the border and its mostly fine. One girl didn't have her visa, so she got stuck, but other than that it was a breeze. So the minivan drops us off at a tour agent in Ha Tien. The tour agent give me the boat ticket and tries to sell me transportation to my hotel once I get to Phu Quoc. I politely decline and she continues trying to sell it to me. It was only $3 but I didn't like the hard sell and just wanted to try to find a moto when I got there. She said that if I don't buy it, then I'll have to find my own way to the boat dock about 1 km away. I didn't have time to argue, the boat was leaving in 15 minutes, so I just gave her the money. I am just a little upset because I bought the ticket to go to Phu Quoc and the tour agent was quite willing to let me out to dry. This is my first experience of Vietnam and I have a feeling that this is pretty typical for this country.

    #1 Posted: 28/9/2010 - 18:47

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  • eastwest

    Joined Travelfish
    17th December, 2009
    Posts: 771

    Sorry to hear about your experience. I just returned from Phu Quoc and I know what you mean since there is only one agent in Ha Tien (organizing the Kampot - Phu Quoc trip) and some backpackers on my trip also had problems with that agent. Won't go into detail (since it wasn't directly related to your problem) but the lady (middle aged with glasses isn't it?) is a difficult one indeed.
    Perhaps it was telling that she started complaining to me about tourists... A bit strange for a travel agent.

    It is a first taste of Vietnam yes but don't be put off by that. There are also plenty of good and friendly vietnamese. Just try to avoid the main tourist areas where they are much harder to find. And be very sharp when you do have to go to these areas.

    #2 Posted: 28/9/2010 - 19:21

  • petrarch1603

    Joined Travelfish
    1st May, 2010
    Posts: 7

    Posted from within Vietnam.

    Yep, that's the lady. I just hope I can avoid dealing with her when I go back to the mainland.

    #3 Posted: 28/9/2010 - 19:54

  • eastwest

    Joined Travelfish
    17th December, 2009
    Posts: 771

    You should be able to.
    When you book a ticket back you can either book a boat to Rach Gia which is closer to your next probable destination (Can Tho or HCMC and this will save you time on the bus then) or go back to Ha Tien .
    Plenty of travel agents sell single tickets (for boat only) to both destinations. Those are located on outskirts of town on the main road towards the tourist area (with dog bar, Carole, Pepper pizza) between that area and the nightmarket.

    When arriving in Ha Tien just pick up one of the moto drivers looking for customers (you can't miss them). Tell them to take you to the bus station. Be prepared for stories about "there's no bus station in Ha Tien" and be friendly (this will be hard after a short while) but firm. Don't buy any of that nonsense and give them the silent treatment when they keep talking to you (they deserve it). Should cost 1 dollar but settle for 2 if you get impatient and it takes too much time.

    But if you have the choice and it fits your itinerary, choose Rach Gia and tell moto driver there to take you straight to Mai Linh busstation (or take a Mai Linh meter-taxi which will be even easier). These green (mini)buses are reliable and have some sense of order and organization. From there you can pick your next destination in relative comfort.
    Save the more local buses/experiences for when you feel more comfortable in Vietnam.

    #4 Posted: 28/9/2010 - 21:00

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