How To Travel From Can Tho (Vietnam) To Kep, (Cambodia) via Rach Gia and Ha Tien

Vietnam to CambodiaDespite my best efforts to find out the best and quickest route to travel from Can Tho, Vietnam to Kep, Cambodia, I could not find any definite answers.

I thought, therefore, that I’d share my experience for other travellers who are taking the trip from Can Tho to Kep.

I took two buses and one moto taxi to do the trip, which took a total of eight hours. Contrary to what I thought before I set off, it was a smooth journey, with easy connections along the way.

Here’s how to get from Can Tho to Kep in one day.

Can Tho, Vietnam to Kep, Cambodia – Quick Links

Can Tho to Rach Gia by Bus

I reserved a seat on the Can Tho to Rach Gia bus via my hotel. They called this a ‘tourist bus’ which generally means this is more modern, cleaner and more often faster than ‘local’ buses.

At 7.30am I was picked up by an orange minibus. After a couple of more pick-ups we were taken to the Futa Phuong Trang office at the bus station in Can Tho.

I bought a ticket for 95,000 Vietnamese Dong to travel on the Futa Phuong Trang bus from Can Tho to Rach Gia.It was scheduled to leave at 8.00am, however, we departed at 8.15am.

After boarding the coach we were given a small bottle of water and a refreshing towelette. You can take local buses, however, I wanted to get to Kep as quickly as possible.

The journey time from Can to Rac Gia was just under three hours, which included the hotel pick-up, delayed departure and a 20 minute rest break along the way.

Arriving in Rac Gia – Moto Taxi Driver Shenanigans

As we embarked at Rac Gia, I encountered the only tricky part of the journey. Unfortunately, I was the only foreigner left to deal with the marauding swarm of moto taxi drivers.

I couldn’t get away from one insistent who was ushering me away and telling me I had to trarvel to another bus station five kilometres away, to get the bus to Rach Gia. I took on board his advice, smiled politely and ignored him.

He was not giving up, however, and continued to say ‘let’s go’ at least 10 times. Each time I smiled at him and firmly said that I was OK.

He was not going to give up that easily, no matter where I turned he was there in front of me. I got out Google Translate on my iphone and tried to communicate with a security guard followed by another moto taxi driver.

As it turned out the second driver spoke some English. Despite the best efforts of the first driver to continue his scam, I asked the second driver where I needed to go to catch my next bus. He pointed to the other side of the bus station.

Travel Tip: When dealing with moto taxi drivers at bus stations in Vietnam be polite and firm. Do not accept what they say, always get a second opinion from someone else.

When speaking to them always remain calm and keep smiling. Sometimes they offer useful advice, however, it’s also very common that they’re looking to make easy money from you.

Rach Gia to Ha Tien by Bus

The Futa Phuong Trang office instructed me to go to the Malinh Express counter to get a bus from Rac Gia to Ha Tien. At the Malinh Express office I bought a bus ticket from Rac Gia to Ha Tien for 65,000 Dong.

Whilst I waited for the bus, I saw a couple of local buses heading to Ha Tien. There are cheaper options available, however, you always need to weigh up time and convienience.

The Malinh Express mini-bus from Rach Gia to Ha Tien left on time. I’d been approximately one and half hours in Rach Gia before I’d departed.

The journey from Rach Gia to Ha Tien took two hours in total. On reaching Ha Tien, I knew it was just one transfer to complete the journey from Can Tho to Kep.

Ha Tien to Kep Moto Taxi

By the time we reached the Ha Tien bus station there was only a few of us left on the bus. I was the only foreigner, and was not surprised to see a scrum of taxi drivers waiting for me.

I started negotiating my onward journey to Kep, with the only English speaking taxi driver. I’d read about a difficult experience with the taxi drivers at Ha Tien, so to my surprise everything was agreed very quickly.

I agreed to pay $8 USD for the moto taxi from Ha Tien to Kep. I made it clear that I would not pay for any extras such as fuel or waiting time at the border.

Within minutes I was on the back of a moto heading towards Kep.

Ha Tien, Vietnam to Prek Chak, Cambodia Border Crossing

Ha Tien Vietnam and Cambodia Border

Ha Tien Vietnam border gate at the crossing with Prek Chak, Cambodia

The border crossing was straightforward. I went through the Vietnam gate at Ha Tien which only took a few minutes.

My moto taxi driver then ushered me on to walk towards the Cambodian border at Prek Chak. Just a few hundred metres later I arrived at the Cambodian side of the order.

I filled in the necessary forms and took it to the window to get my visa.

After handing over my passport, the immigration official requested a $30 USD fee, which was $5 USD more than I thought. I asked for a receipt, and quizzed the official on the $30 USD charge for my Cambodia visa.

I was told that the $5 USD was a stamping fee and that there was no receipts. After a long journey I was in no mood for arguing over the stamping fee, so paid the $30 USD.

After receiving my visa I started to walk away, when a Cambodian health official waved me to his counter.

I’d heard about this before, and thought it was a scam to get some more dollars from me. I made it clear that I was not going to pay.

The health official shone a light into my eyes, gave me the OK, and allowed me to get on my way. It was a slighly bizarre experience and am sure I would have been asked for money, had I not been clear I was not going to pay.

Ha Tien to Kep Moto Taxi

I got back on my moto taxi to continue my journey and we headed towards Kep. Immediately, I noticed that the roads were more basic in Cambodia.

The journey from the border to Kep despite the bumpy roads was a real treat. Everything felt more relaxed now, having crossed the border and travelling through beautiful Cambodian countryside.

My driver switched between pot-holed roads and dirt track country lanes to get to Kep. He had obviously done this route before and knew some short-cuts.

Just over an hour after I’d left Ha Tien, I arrived in Kep.

Welcome to Kep crab

The giant crab in the sea was a giveaway that I’d arrived in Kep!

I was happy to go with the flow whilst the moto taxi driver took me to a hotel as I didn’t have a booking. Within five minutes I’d accepted the room and paid my efficient and speedy moto taxi driver.

Travel Tip: Tuk-tuk and taxi drivers are more often than not useful if you need to find a hotel. It’s best to listen to what they recommend and reserve judgement until you arrive at the hotel.

The journey from Can Tho, Vietnam to Kep, Cambodia took a total of eight hours:

  • Can Tho to Rach Gia – three and a half hours by bus (including hotel pick up in Can Tho)
  • Rach Gia bus station – one and a half hours from arrival to departure on a different bus
  • Rach Gia to Ha Tien – two hours by bus
  • Ha Tien to Kep – one hour, including the border crossing

Have you done this journey? If so, how did you travel and how long did it take?

About Chris P King

Chris King is a travel writer, publisher and digital business consultant spending his time as a digital nomad in Asia and London, UK. You can hook up with Chris on Google+ and Twitter.