Difference between revisions of "Ha Tien"
Revision as of 08:35, 21 January 2011
Ha Tien is a seaside town in Kien Giang Province in Southern Vietnam. It is at the western end of the Mekong Delta close to the Cambodian border. Although a tourist spot it hasn't yet seen many western visitors due to its remoteness. As a result the English literacy of even the hotel staff is next to nothing. However, the opening of the border to Cambodia for international travelers recently is likely to change that in the near future.
The bus terminal is west of the city center (it was moved there from To Chau on the other side of the bay around January 2008). There are buses from Ho Chi Minh City's Mien Tay terminal (about 8h) as well as from Can Tho and Chau Doc. The connection from Can Tho often requires a change in Rach Soi or Rach Gia from where it is about 1h.
The border near Ha Tien (7km to the north) was opened for tourists in 2007. It takes around 2h to go to Kampot by motorbike. As of April 2010, there are direct buses connecting Ha Tien to Kampot,Kep and Sihanoukville. Buses to Phnom Penh require one change of vehicle in Cambodia Some of the roads in Cambodia on the way to Kampot are not paved, but you will be able to see some nice rural areas there.
From Kampot you can get a motobike taxi for $9-10 or from Kep for $7 to the border on the Cambodian side. The road can vary in condition from paved and bumpy to packed dirt and bumpy, be prepared for a slightly white knuckled ride depending on the daring nature of your driver. Also, be aware that there seem to be Vietnamese drivers now waiting well inside the Cambodian side waiting to pickup (poach) prospective travelers to take them across the border into town. Your driver may stop here to talk with them and seem to suggest you go with them. A ride to town should be $3-4 or less (it is only 7 km and the road is well paved on the Vietnamese side.) If you can't agree on a price there you can simply have your Cambodian driver take you to the border where you can cross over and have the drivers on the other side fight over you.
The centre of town is easily walkable with Tran Hau the main commercial street running along the seaside between the big bridge for road traffic (Cau To Chau) and the former pontoon bridge for pedestrians (Cau Phao, removed in early 2007).
Try to get one of the tourist maps where the location of the temples are indicated.
There are several large markets in Ha Tien,on the riverfront near to the road bridge over the Dong Ho inlet is the fish,meat and fruit market and also a large new covered market for clothes and household goods.In the evening there is a large night market,which springs up around the old market hall.This is situated in Tuan Phu Dat,which is right opposite the Ha Tien floating restaurant on the Dong Ho inlet.Very cheap good quality clothing,also souvenirs and costume jewellery.Some food stalls in the old market hall also
Oasis bar- seems to be the only bar in town. Expat running the bar serving cold beer in cold glasses for less than 20,000VND each Also the only bar where you can get cocktails, spirits and gin+tonic
soft drinks,fruit juice
Vietnamese or French coffee(cafetiere)
Pedal cycle hire
There is no shortage of options for accommodation in this town. It seems that every other building is either a Khach San (hotel) or a Phong Tro (a place that has rooms to rent). The epicentre of sleeping options can be considered the area delimited by Tran Hau, Mach Thien Tich and Chi Lang streets.
Bao Tam near to the central market has ac/hot water rooms/tv for 170,000 Dong. Very clean
Ha Tien is one of the two ports that serve Phu Quoc Island.There are currently(Jan 2011) two boats daily leaving Ha Tien at 08.00 (cost 190,000VND) and 13.30 (cost 160,000VND) Boats take about 2 hours to make the crossing,and arrive at the eastern side of the island.Two boats daily from Phu Quoc to Ha Tien,leave at 08.00 and 14.00.Stories on the web about these boats being un-seaworthy are outdated,the boats are now reasonably modern purpose built fast ferries