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Rach Gia

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Rach Gia is the capital of the province of Kien Giang, in the Mekong delta region of Vietnam. It's a very authentic Vietnamese city with few tourists. Children here are still excited to see a foreigner and walking on the streets you will be stopped all the time with people saying hello. Although primarily used by tourists as a transfer point to Phu Qouc, the city itself is quite nice and accommodation is abundant and cheap.

Get in[edit]

By Bus[edit]

Buses and minibuses connect Rach Gia and Ha Tien (2h30, 50,000 Dong), Hon Chong (2h30, 50,000 Dong), Can Tho (3 hrs), Long Xuyen (1.5 hrs), and Ho Chi Minh City (6 hrs, 165,000 Dong).

From Ho Chi Minh City there are several companies that operate bus services to Rach Gia. The one with usually the best busses is Phuong Trang [2] (website in Vietnamese only and had no actual departure times). They depart from the Mien Tay bus station at bus station 395 Kinh Duong Vuong, An Lac Ward, Binh Tan District. You can get there by bus 2 from Bin Tanh Market (5,000 VND) but this service stops at 6 PM. After that time you can take a taxi to go there. From the backpacker district this will take about 40 minutes and should cost around 140,000 VND. Another option is to go to the Phuong Trang office at 328 a le hong phong street, district 10 to buy your ticket there. They have a free bus service to the Mien Tay bus station from there. This office is only a 10 minute taxi ride away from the backpacker district and should cost around 60,000 VND. The bus ride from Ho Chi Minh City to Rach Gia should take about 6 hours. You can also go for the night bus (165,000 VND). Best option for that when traveling onwards to Phu Quoc is to catch the 11.45 PM nightbus. It has two rows of bunk beds. Seat numbers starting with A are below, B are on top. Avoid getting a bed assigned above 15 as these places are actually one big bed with 5 people sleeping cramped up next to each other. This nightbus will arrive in Rach Gia around 5 AM where you will have to change to a smaller bus. This will take you all the way to the harbor from where the boat departs where you will arrive around 5.45 AM. You will then have to wait about 2 hours for the first boat at 8 AM to Phu Quoc to depart. There is a paid toilet (2,000 VND, no toilet paper) and several stalls where you can get some food. There are stories that other bus companies than Phuong Trang do not take you all the way to the harbor but to a smaller bus station in Rach Gia instead. From there you can negotiate with a motorbike driver to take you to the harbor for 30,000 to 60,000 VND. Make sure you book your bus ticket in advance (day in advance in possible). Call the bus company to reserve seats or stop by their office as these busses tend to be full.

From the Cambodian border, motos can be hired to Ha Tien, from where buses connect to Rach Gia. The green mini-buses of Mai Linh company are faster as they do not stop to collect passengers along the way. If these are full, the marginally-cheaper local bus also plies the route. It is best to wait for the bus in one of the cafes on the road leading out of the bus station, since the bus will crawl out of the bus station at the scheduled departure time, but take 10-15 minutes to reach the main road as it tries to drum up more passengers.

By Airplane[edit]

There are flights on Vietnam Airlines to and from Phu Quoc and Ho Chi Minh City (both under 1hr).

By Boat[edit]

Hydrofoils to Phu Quoc leave at 08.00, 09.00, 12.40 and 13.00. Actual departure times and prices can be found at the website of the boat operator SuperDong [3]. A ticket on the boat costs 340,000 VND. The journey takes 2 1/2 hours. There are lots of ticket offices near the port where you can buy a ticket.

As of December 2013 there is an 8:00 AM and a 1:00 PM ferry that takes about 2 1/2 hours and costs about 160,000 VND.

As of february 2020 there is boat to Nam Du and Hon Son (also named Lay Son here) at 6:30 am and cost 170 000 VND (for Hon Son)

Get around[edit]

There are motorbike taxis which will take you from hotel to bus station etc.

See[edit][add listing]

Do[edit][add listing]

Karaokes aplenty along the promenade, and lots of hammock cafe as well.

Buy[edit][add listing]

Eat[edit][add listing]

Street food: There are numerous street food options available all around the city but unless you know a bit of Vietnamese don't be surprised to get something that's not quite what you expected, such as a soup with a raw egg in it. Some merchants will speak a few words of broken English so try those. Standards of hygiene for street food can be pretty low here. Quality varies widely with some street food being truly excellent, while others are mediocre or worse. Eaten at local place 10 metres from Leland Hotel, pork rib rice VND30,000. Iced coffee at a fancy cafe along the very much run down promenade VND22,000.

Restaurants: Some local restaurants will have English menus and staff will speak a bit of English. Some large-looking restaurants actually only serve a specific type of food, such as beef dishes. In the downtown area you can find some mid-range as well as some upscale restaurants.

Drink[edit][add listing]

Sleep[edit][add listing]

Many local hotels are available, some around the main market building adjacent to the bus station. This is not the most downtown area, but downtown is walking distance from here. Generally prices are posted and staff will speak little or no English. Rooms are great value with an ensuite, aircon, flat-screen tv, wifi, fridge room costing about 10 USD.

  • Khach San Phuc Hung, [1]. A nice place near the ocean. No views. Free wifi with a free computer in the lobby as well. Rooms are really nice, brand new, and have a flat panel TV. Map is on the website. $10 and up.  edit
  • Phuong Hong, 05 Tu Do - P. Vinh Thanh, 077.3878 777. Near Phu Quoc harbour. Rooms from $12. New building but the rooms are rather hot. Free wifi with a free computer in the lobby. Rooms are clean, with fridge and TV.</sleep>
  • nha tro hoang kim, So 01, Tu Do, Vinh Tranh, Rach Gia, 0915900011. Really nice place, very clean, everything is new, fast wifi, 3 other hotels nearby, 100 meters from harbor. Owner almost cant speak english but very friendly so body language works perfect. 9$. (10.011560,105.078865) edit
  • Leland Hotel, C9 Le Thi Tao, Khu Lan Bien, TP Rach Gia. 22 Feb 2017 - Big room with window. Bed with proper mattress, comfortable. Room is clean, with small fridge, hot shower, TV and wifi. Double room $10. Owner speaks English.  edit

Get out[edit]

Phuong Trang bus company (phone 0.77 3.691.691) connects Rach Gia to Can Tho (~every hour between 3am and 6pm, 100,000 Dong as at Feb 2017, ~3.5h) and Saigon (9 a day between 7.30am and 12am, 120,000 Dong). Several bus companies make the journey with the option of a seated or sleeper bus. Ask at the hotel reception to book the bus ticket for you. Phuong Trang(aka FUTA) will send a pick up from your hotel to the bus station.

Be aware there are two bus stations in Rach Gia. If you book a ticket (to Can Tho and possibly other places) at the Nguyen Binh Khiem bus station office, that is not the station the bus to Can Tho departs from, but they will take you to the other station an hour before departure. The staff speak absolutely no English and will quote two different departure times or tell you to be there an hour before, which is highly confusing if you don't know there are two stations.

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