We are currently in Kampot , headed to Kep and then onwards to Can Tho, Vietnam We have our Vietnam visas. We are having a debate about whether we should hire a minibus tour (eg Kampot Tour and Travel) to take us through to Can Tho, or just go it ourselves - take a tuk tuk to border, hire a moto to bus station in Ha Thien, get a bus to Can Tho. In some ways, the minibus tour seems easier since everything is arranged. Any advice would be welcome.
#1 Hbuttemer has been a member since 10/10/2013. Posts: 5
We took Kampot to the border, got a minibus to the Vietnam bus station in Ha Tien, wrangled up another minibus to Rach Gai as there wasn't any leaving until the next day for Can Tho direct. In Rach Gai we were lucky enough to get another bus to Can Tho . . . that took us almost a whole day with wait times and the like. We got in just in time to clean up and get some dinner in lovely Can Tho.
For that reason . . . I'd say just book the direct.
I don't know when casey did this but I'm pretty sure it's a straightforward trip to do it by yourself now. Besides the cross-border tours go often wrong and are no guarantee for a smooth trip by all means. You may find your ticket suddenly to be invalid or be forced on a really bad bus.
Google for Mai Linh bus company in Ha Tien and call their office to ask when their bus leaves. They are a reliable bus company in (whole of) Vietnam and they have added Ha Tien to their service route. Just make sure you catch one of these buses. Also be prepared for a lot of crap from sellers trying to tell you that that company has just left town and such.
Did it last year, but it was right at the tail end of Tet, so we were lucky to catch a bus in Rach Gai - there were no available buses direct from Ha Tien to Can Tho for that day. When we got to Rach Gai we also couldn't get a good Phoung Trang & Mai Linh bus and ended up taking a local - which was both a great adventure and actually comfortable as the thing was near empty. Comfortable if you don't mind the horn and weaving in and out of the wrong lane.
Now that you mention it I remember people coming into Kampot from the Phu Quoc 'direct' shuttle and they were a bit upset with all the delays and changes of transport that had been required.
Funny, I was going to include in my original msg that the trip Phu Quoc to Kampot is probably the only cross border trip that goes smooth.
In any case the OP should not have any illusion at all that the package trip will be in one car/bus all the way to Can Tho. Even in the best case scenario the agency has bought many tickets for many different legs and the traveler will have to change vehicles at least 3 times before reaching Can Tho. I had to switch 5-6 times but that was 3 years ago and with a package ticket. Later I did it myself and found hardly any difference. Neither in comfort/ease or price. Slightly cheaper if you do it yourself but I'm talking $2-3
It essentially comes down to doing it yourself. There will be no guide or busboy to help with your transfers
Thanks for all your information. We've essentially come to the same conclusion, package tour or doing it ourselves is about the same in terms of time, cost and difficulty of travel. The only real advantage of doing it ourselves is that we could get an earlier start and hopefully get into Can Tho before dark. But, as Eastwest alludes to above, one small advantage of a package ticket, is the help with transfers and the companionship of others making the same journey. Likely we will book it with Kampot Tour and Travel through our guesthouse. Either way it will be an adventure.
#6 Hbuttemer has been a member since 10/10/2013. Posts: 5
Ah, I wasn't very clear with my last comment. Also with a package tickets there is no-one to assist with transfers. It will be you and your best attempts at pronouncing place names in Vietnamese....
The package ticket is not a tour. Just pre-bought tickets.
And no other westerners to share stories with on my trips. But personally I'm quite content with that