Ko Chang to Phu Quoc Island

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First published 18th January, 2008

With the 2007 opening of the Prek Chak / Xa Xia border crossing between Cambodia and Vietnam it's now possible to travel from Ko Chang in Thailand all the way along the Cambodian coastline and into Vietnam. For beach and boat lovers, this is a great trip as from Ko Chang you're able to visit Ko S'dach, Sihanoukville, Ko Russei, Kampot, Kep, Ko Tonsay, Ha Tien and Rach Gia, before finishing off on the glorious Phu Quoc Island. Here's a step by step guide taking you through the entire trip, commencing in Trat and finishing on Phu Quoc.


Trat to the Thai/Cambodian border
There are direct minibuses that run between Trat and the border town of Hat Lek. The trip takes around an hour and they leave hourly throughout the day. Once you're at the border, it's a short walk to the border facilities. There have long been complaints about the shifty Cambodian border guards at this crossing, but the complaints are mainly related to getting a Cambodian visa on arrival (the officials refuse to accept US dollars and instead level the fee in Thai baht at a crummy rate, pocketing the difference). The easiest way around this is to get your visa beforehand (eg in Bangkok).

Once you've entered Cambodia, take a motodop into Ko Kong town -- it's a five-minute motorbike ride or a 30-minute walk. The boat leaves Ko Kong for Sihanoukville early in the morning, so you will need to overnight in Ko Kong. One good way to spend the afternoon is to take a boat-trip upriver.

Ko Kong to Sihanoukville
As of mid-2008 the Ko Kong to Sihanoukville ferry was no longer running and minibus was the only route between the two. The following is retained should the ferry service restart. As of August 2009 we heard the ferry was running again, but only on an on-again, off-again basis. The Ko Kong to Sihanoukville ferry leaves at around 07:00 daily, taking 5-6 hours to reach Sihanoukville or three hours to reach Ko Sdach. If you want to get off at Ko Sdach, be sure to say so when buying the ticket as the price is lower. That the ferry is also known as the "vomit comet" should be taken as an indicator of how rough it is in wet season. The ferries are river boats and are not made for ocean travel -- meaning they get flung all over the place (along with passenger stomachs) when the seas are rough. If you don't want to take the boat, there are also get minibuses between Ko Kong and Sihanoukville. The trip time is similar, though obviously you miss out on being able to stop at Ko Sdach.

Sihanoukville to Kampot
Before you press on from Sihanoukville, be sure to visit Ko Russei, Ream National Park and of course, just hang out on the beach for a while. There are two buses a day to Kampot (one morning and one in the afternoon). If you miss the bus, share taxis also regularly do the run. Either way takes about two hours.


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Kampot to Kep
As with Sihanoukville to Kampot, there's a couple of buses a day from Kampot to Kep, taking about an hour, but you can also do the trip by moto, remorque-moto and share taxi. Share taxi is fastest, coming in around 45 minutes, remorque the slowest -- figure on at least 1.5 hours.

Kep to the border
Depending on the state of the road, the border post is anywhere between 30 and 90 minutes from Kep. In wet season, expect the trip to be closer to 90 minutes. A motodop to the border costs $7-15 -- again depending on road conditions. Tuk tuks can also do it, but cost more, as do share-taxis. Note Vietnamese visas are not available upon arrival -- you will need to get your visa beforehand (the closest consulate is in Sihanoukville). See if you can get your moto to take you all the way to ha Tien bus station.

Border to Ha Tien to Rach Gia
As with Kep to the border, your best bet is a motodop into Ha Tien. One ferry daily runs from Ha Tien to Phu Quoc at 10:30. Fishing boats may also be available but are not recommended due to safety concerns -- these boats have sunk in the past and you may have trouble even being able to get on one in Ha Tien. From Ha Tien bus station there are both express and slow buses to Rach Gia.

Rach Gia to Phu Quoc Island
In high season there are at least two boats a day, one in the early morning and the other early afternoon. In low season the afternoon boat may not run and if the weather is bad (or has been bad in the preceeding few days) no boats run at all. There is also a daily flight from Rach Gia to Phu Quoc Island around 08:00 -- seats go fast, so if you're planning to fly, buy the ticket as soon as possible. Once you're on Phu Quoc there are motos waiting to take you to your resort of choice.

In summary
Trat to border: 1.5 hours by minibus, leaves hourly throughout the day.
Ko Kong to Ko Sdach: 3 hours, one departure daily, or every other day.
Ko Sdach to Sihanoukville: 2-3 hours, one departure daily, or every other day.
Sihanoukville to Kampot: 2 hours by bus, a couple of departures daily. Share taxi also available.
Kampot to Kep: 1 hour by bus, a couple of departures daily. Share taxi also available.
Kep to border: 30 minutes by motorbike, tuk tuk or taxi.
Ha Tien to Rach Gia: 2-3 hours by bus, regular departures in the morning, fewer in afternoon.
Rach Gia to Phu Quoc: 2.5 hours, 1-2 depatures daily. Twenty minutes by plane, one flight a day.

See -- it's easy!


About the author:
Stuart McDonald co-founded Travelfish.org with Samantha Brown in 2004. He has lived in Thailand, Cambodia and Indonesia, where he worked as an under-paid, under-skilled language teacher, an embassy staffer, a newspaper web-site developer and various other stuff. His favourite read is The Art of Travel by Alain de Botton and he spends most of his time in Bali, Indonesia.


Read 6 comment(s)

  • Sounds like a great trip. We are planning to do part of it in Jan. Lonely Planet 2008 says that there may soon be a boat link between Kep and Phu Quoc. Does anyone have info on this? Ron

    Posted by ressex on 25th November, 2008

  • 2 q's anyone

    1. I take it it means you need to get a viet visa in advance easiest in bangkok(where in cambodia probably of the trail)

    2. can you reenter cambodia with your original visa is its still valid on your return?

    Posted by jano on 5th November, 2009

  • isnt there a train from bangkok to Phnom Penh to Kampot..if im not mistaken? would save the hassle of all those stops

    Posted by jasonkim8486 on 10th November, 2009

  • to answer some subsequent questions
    1)2 boats now leave Ha Tien yo Phu Quoc daily,both modern safe craft
    2)Unlikely to be a boat from Kep/PQ soon or ever
    3)Viet visa is easiest(and cheapest) in Sihanoukville
    4)Cambodian tourist visas are single entry only
    5)There are no trains in Cambodia currently
    6)The road from Kep to Ha Tien is improved,but the few Km at the border are dreadful.But you can now get a bus direct from S/ville/Kampot/Kep to Ha Tien(no changing vehicles)

    Posted by oasisbarhatien on 15th August, 2010

  • Hi,

    nice article indeed. I wonder, is there any difference if I go the exact same trip but the oposite way? Start at Phu Quoc and finish on Koh Chang. Is that feasible? Would I be able to arange visa for Cambodia in Vietnam?
    If someone has information on this, please do help me.

    Thanks in advance!

    Posted by Emo on 1st November, 2010

  • made the mistake of getting a CHEAP bus trip from phu quoc to Bangkok.It took 2 days . I sat for 4 hours on a stepstool in the bus isle. ,then the bus broke down in the middle of Cambodia.The several poor buggers that had a plane to catch in Thailand were S.O.L. I,d crawl backwards through a mile of broken glass before I,d do that again.

    Posted by terry campbell on 4th December, 2013

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