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Cambodia Border Advice - Enough time?

Posted by richardhjan5 on 29/10/2010 at 08:10

Hi there

I'd really appreciate any advice going on this one.
We are crossing from VN into Cambodia at the Ha Tien border in Jan 2011.
Our route is currently Phu Quoc - Flight to Rach Gia - Then overland to Kep
Since booking, our flight time from PQ has changed from 9am to 1.30pm!!

Arriving at Rach Gia at 2pm approx: does that give us time to get across the border before it closes?? I couldn't find times in the Border Crossings FAQ section.
We have our 2 young children ( 6 & 8 ) with us so we are trying to work out whether to try and rush onwards or hold fire until the next morning. It's no fun bundling kids around too fast!

Is it perhaps possible to pick up transport from Rach Gia that can take us all the way through? That would presumably make the process a bit smoother. If anyone has a contact i'd love to get that. Would I factor in about 2--3 hrs for this journey?

Also - Visa on arrival at this border is definitely available at this stage isn't it?

Many thanks in advance!!


#1 richardhjan5 has been a member since 4/3/2010. Posts: 10

Posted by eastwest on 29/10/2010 at 08:58

2-3 hours is probably correct but more likely 3-4 hours (to Kep ).

As far as I know there's no transport all the way to Kep (from Rach Gia ) but you should easily be able to make it to the border in time. Rach Gia to Ha Tien took 2 hours or so if I remember correctly. Once in Ha Tien the most common thing is to go on the back of a moto-taxi to the border (2 km only) but with your family it might be a little bit more difficult. I've also seen a few meter taxis (cars) driving around in Ha Tien.
Getting visa at the border is no problem and hassle free.

Now, only concern would be to get transport from border to Kep. There's usually a few motos waiting there for backpackers and the occasional tuk tuk but by that hour they probably will have gone and there's no proper town on the Cambodian side with a guesthouse.

Because of last point I advise you:
Either make a reservation at a guesthouse/hotel in Kep and tell them about your plan and they can send a tuk tuk to meet you at the border. You will have to pay for it but at least you're certain of transport.
Spend a night in Ha Tien and take the tourist(mini)bus to Kep which leaves around midday (but check once you arrive since it's scheduled together with the ferry to Phu Quoc which sometimes varies). It's not a bad town and I actually find it quite charming if you wander around in the backstreets for a few hours. For the rest there's not much to do in Ha Tien but hotels and guesthouses are good.

#2 eastwest has been a member since 17/12/2009. Posts: 778
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Posted by richardhjan5 on 31/10/2010 at 14:35

Many thanks for the tips, East West.
That certainly helps a great deal.
I'll try and make arrangement with the place where we're staying in Kep, but it sounds like a night in Ha Tien might be a pretty sensible option.
It's our first time to Vietnam so I reckon we'll probably find anywhere we end up pretty interesting:) We are looking forward to exploring a few little towns as we go.

#3 richardhjan5 has been a member since 4/3/2010. Posts: 10

Posted by oasisbarhatien on 31/10/2010 at 21:47

Posted from within Vietnam.

It would be a lot easier for you to go from Phu Quoc Island directly to Ha Tien by ferry from Nam Binh on the east side of Phu Quoc.From Ha Tien,you can get a bus directly to Kep/ Kampot/ Sihanoukville.It really doesn't make sense to fly from Phu Quoc to Rach Gia,and then travel to Ha Tien by road.You may have read a lot of things about the boats to/from Ha Tien being un-seaworthy etc.It's no longer the case.The journey takes about 1+1/2 hours by boat from Phu Quoc to Ha Tien,then you wait in Ha Tien for perhaps an hour,and then take the bus to Kep.Much easier all round,especially with two children

#4 oasisbarhatien has been a member since 12/8/2010. Posts: 113
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Posted by eastwest on 1/11/2010 at 11:45

Completely agree with oasis on the alternative but since the changing of flight was mentioned I assumed that flight was already booked.

one point though:
I am absolutely not sure that you will be able to find a bus that leaves immediately for Ha Tien . I somehow thought you would take a taxi.

If you have the budget and arriving in Kep on the same day is important (if you made the booking for tuk tuk) you should take a taxi from Rach Gia (can not say what price should be but I'm pretty sure that you should ask for the meter to be turned off) and that can also drop you off right at the border.

If you prefer (mini) bus your schedule is a bit more uncertain. Assuming you need 1 hour to collect bags and get to busstation you need to be lucky to find a bus that goes immediately otherwise you don't have much margin for error.

You can give it a try (don't make Kep reservation yet) and if you arrive in Ha Tien in time you can make that reservation. By the time you have crossed the border you'll only need to wait a few more minutes for the tuk tuk to arrive.
If you don't make it you can spend the night in Ha Tien.

#5 eastwest has been a member since 17/12/2009. Posts: 778
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Posted by richardhjan5 on 1/11/2010 at 14:51

Hi guys
Yes, the flight is already booked so we are going to stick with that route.
The reason we booked the flight in the first place was because it was a nice early flight at 9.15am out of Phu Quoc and all seemed very leisurely! The flight change threw out the plans a bit really. Good to know about the other boat options though.

You are right though, I am planning on just jumping straight into a taxi at Rach Gia and negotiating a fare all the way to the border.
Seems like we are in luck too as the place we are staying at in Kep has offered to sort us out with a car to meet us at the border.

Still, always good to know that if somehow it doesn't all work out, we can take it easy in Ha Tien and move on the next day.

Thanks heaps for the info!


#6 richardhjan5 has been a member since 4/3/2010. Posts: 10

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