Less visited by tourists due to its remoteness from HCMC, it's a nice Vietnamese town where it's easy to cheaply overnight if coming or going to/from Cambodia by land. Don't expect to find any KFC or McDonalds here. A Coop Mart (Supermarket) has now opened (Dec 2017) which has a Jollibee Fast Food outlet attached.
The bus terminal is west of the city center over the bridge, which is for cars / bikes only. NO ATMS at the bus station (Nov 16). Nearest ATMS in the centre only. Bus station will take dollars at rate of $1 to 20,000VD. Moto from centre 20,000VD or will take 1$ bills or 15 minute walk with risky bridge walk. Not much food at the bus station either.
Bus station was moved there from To Chau on the other side of the bay around January 2008). Since December 2015, it has now moved back over the bridge, next to the new hospital, about 1.5 km from the To Chau bridge. The old bus station is now a (very poorly run) supermarket.
Buses to Ho Chi Minh City's Mien Tay terminal, some companies offer free shuttle to tourist centre, district 1 or take bus n.14 45 minutes to D1. (about 8h) Sleeper bus (160,000VD) (Nov 16). Kumho Samco buses to Mien Tay go for 180,000 VND for the regular sleeper (Jan 2020). Companies will charge $12 inc transfer to bus station from Ha Tien centre. Also Can Tho (6 hours) and Chau Doc. The connection from Can Tho often requires a change in Rach Soi or Rach Gia from where it is about 5hs. There are now direct buses from Ha Tien to Can Tho as a by-pass has been built around Rach Gia. If you (stupidly) opt for a bus via Rach Gia then not only do you have to change bus but also bus station.
The border near Ha Tien (7km to the north) was opened for tourists in 2007. As of 2015, it is easy for tourists of some nationalities (UK, Germany is ok, but currently not USA) to enter Vietnam via this border crossing without a visa for visits of up to 15 days.
To get to the border from Cambodia you can hire a motorbike taxi from Kampot ($10), Kep ($7), or Kampong Trach ($5), from Kep by Tuk-Tuks ($10). 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 and the road can also be very dusty in the dry season.UPDATE-as of late 2013,the road (RN33) is now widened, raised and asphalted all the way from Kompong Trach to Kep and Kampot. 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.
Unfortunately,as ha Tien gets busier,some scams have recently surfaced. Coming by bus from Can Tho(especially,but not confined to "local" buses)the bus stops at a petrol station about 500m before the bus station. where foreigners are told this is the end of the line,and get off to be met by "helpful" moto drivers who charge an inflated price to get to Ha Tien town. There are also a few moto drivers who hang around the bus station,or cruise around town,approaching tourists and quoting inflated prices to get to the border or into Cambodia.Several instances have been reported of the driver,having got you to the border,gets a phone call,has to go back to town,and tells you his friend,waiting further on,will take you to Cambodia.Surprisingly-this person doesn't exist.The correctt price for a moto to Kep is 220,000VND (10USD) to Kampot 260000VND (12USD)
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). Many moto drivers situated at various strategic points all over town. Any journey in town, no more than 20,000 dong, e.g.to the ferry port, or bus station. To the border 40-50,000 dong.
There are also two main metered taxi companies, the omnipresent Mai Linh, and Trang Ngoc Phat (white taxi's)who also run small coaches from Ha Tien to Rach Gia.
It is possible to rent motorbikes by the day (approx 6USD) or pedal cycles (approx 2USD) in several locations in the town.
Warning do not use the motos - motorbike taxis in the area. There are reports of them doubling the fare at the end of the journey. Be especially wary of the motos who take you from Prek Chak to Ha Tien and a driver with the numberplate 1F 01 20. In addition,be wary of a moto driver who speaks good English (Mr Cuong),and who will tell you his mother/sister/brother/uncle,owns/manages(fill in the blanks as necessary) the hotel or restaurant you are in .He has a long thin face and currentlty a black moto 65 F1.he has scammed many tourists here over a period of several years.
Try to get one of the tourist maps where the locations of the cave temples are indicated.
- Chua Tam Bao is probably the best of the temples.
- Chua Giai Thoat
- Tinh Xa Ngoc Ho
- Thach Dong is a large limestone rock,containing a few tombs and a small temple(and about a million bats), 10 minutes from Ha Tien bus terminal on the way to Cambodia.Entry fee 5000 VND,but well worth seeing.If approaching the rock from the border,look for the gigantic face that appears to be carved on the side of the rock.As you get closer,it's apparent that it is an optical illusion,it's not man made at all.
- Cho Ca is Fishery market on riverside.
- Dao Tre (or Dao Doc) Now referred to as "Hai Tac" island-was called pirate island around 100 years ago. 22 km off from Ha Tien. boat from Ha Tien 9:30 am, returm 3 pm, boat fee 40,000 dong per perso(slow boat) or 100,000 VND p/p (fast boat)
Plenty of small hidden Chinese temples, scattered all over town, often down small back streets. The Mac Cuu Family tombs, set on a sprawling hillside at the end of Mac Cuu street. At the border with Cambodia (actually in Cambodia) are 3 casinos - only one sizeable one, the others smaller gambling dens featuring mainly Chinese games.
- A nice and easy bicycle ride can be done by first going to Mui Nai then continuing along the Cambodian border until finally ending up in Ha Tien again. On the way there's a barrel-shaped hill with a temple inside (entrance: 2000 dong).
- Ha Tien Vegas, Hà Tiên, Vietnam International Border Prek Chak, Cambodia Internation Border (directly across the border from Hà Tiên in Cambodia), ☎ +84 (0) 1688 977 977, . 24/7. Hop over to the Cambodian side to visit, this casino/hotel. The entertainment resort has more than 100 slots, over 40 table games, internet gaming and a Sports Book. For non gamblers, Ha Tien Vegas Hotel provides a 5 star luxury hotel complemented by 24/7 room service, Chinese and International dining venues/cafes. Offers 24-hour shuttle service from the Hotel & Casino into downtown Hà Tiên. editUPDATE-as of early 2013 the Ha Tien Vegas Casino was closed but the casino is now open again,from late 2015, and welcomes all the guests.
- motorcycle tour to Moso Cave, Ba Hon, and Hon Chong (Mr. The Trinh Ngoc), ☎ 0918574780. The road south of Ha Tien (to Ba Hon fishing village and Hon Chong Harbor) makes for a beautiful day-trip (about 37km each way). The road passes by green mountains, rice paddies with water buffalo, Moso & Crocodile Caves, lovely beaches, Pagoda Cave, and Hon Chong Bay (similar to a miniature version of Halong Bay). Mr. The lives in Ha Tien and is a kind, honest, and knowledgeable tourguide. He is associated with the excellent Oasis Bar and can often be seen hanging out there talking to his guests for the following day. $10-$15. edit
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 night market in the same area as the daytime food markets.
- Kayak. Off the 28 near the coast you can easily rent Kayaks for 80,000 dong ($4). It's the best way to gain access to breath taking views of the area. edit
- There's a cheap and delicious eatery (around 20,000 dong/dish) on 47 Mach Thien Tich half way between Chi Lang and Mach Cuu. Look for the two woks on the sidewalk. An English menu is available. Try the stir fried squid with cucumber. Dinner only.
- Along the waterway on Tran Hau there are numerous open air eateries serving various fresh seafood every night. Squid, snails, and other seafood/shellfish available here.
- Pho 66 is a recommended Pho place on the east side of town on To Chau just south of Chi Lang.
- Ha Tien Fresh Seafood. Right on the beach is a great local seafood restaurant with a very private upstairs area overlooking the best parts coast. edit
- Oasis Bar, 30 Tran Hau ("on), . 09.00-21.00. "Western style" bar/bistro with range of food from breakfasts to all day bar meals and snacks.Cooked Full English breakfast,fresh fruit and muesli,fresh fruit shakes/smoothies,home made soups,salads,curries and snacks edit
- Oasis Bar, 30 Tran Hau Dong Ho, ☎ 0297-3701553, . 8:30 am to 8 pm or later. A great place to go in Ha Tien to meet others and exchange information. The owners are English speakers and are very friendly and have a wealth of knowledge of the region. Expat running the bar serving a good selection of cold beers in cold glasses for less than 20,000 dong each. Also the only place where you can get cocktails, spirits and gin+tonic. Full English Breakfast at 90,000 dong, (English back bacon and sausages,imported from UK, tomato, beans etc.), or bacon and egg with baguette; top that off with a pot of P G Tips and you almost forget where you are. They also serve coffee. 15000 dong - 20000 dong. edit
- Pum's Coffee, 47, Phương Thành, Bình San, ☎ 0297 3852 404, . 07:00 to 22:30 7 days a week. Great place to go for coffee and cold drinks such as iced mint green tea. Only place in town where you can get a good CAPPUCCINO. Small place but can be busy and noisy as they have a TV with the remote being 'free for all'. edit
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. In some hotels they speak absolutely no English, don't let this put you off, as the rooms are decent and great value for the money, with an ensuite, aircon, fridge, wifi, flat screen tv room for about 10 USD.
- SeleHouse Homestay, 38 street, the new city in Ha Tien. Very nice modern room! super clean. the staff was super friendly and helpful. The room was clean and had a small balkony as well.
- Viet Toan, 74 Chi Lang, is one of the best budget places. The staff is very friendly and one of them even speaks some English. The rooms are decent and come with TV (lucky if you get anything in English though), fridge, private bathroom and fan or aircon. From 130,000 dong for a fan room, 180,000 dong for A/C room. Bus tickets are cheaper than at agencies in the city and include pick-up from the guesthouse.
- Hai Yen, 15 To Chau, has probably the best rooms in town for the price. The superior rooms (300,000 dong) are huge, have balcony and a good view onto Dam Dong Ho (the bay).
- River Hotel, Newly opend 4 star hotel. Tran Hau Buisness Center, Need to check promotion rate (from 1,050,000 dong), included free wifi, buffet breakfast, swimming pool.
Bao Tam near to the central market has ac/hot water rooms/tv for 170,000 Dong. Very clean
- Crossing the border into Cambodia is very easy as you can get a 30 day tourist visa on the spot for USD $30 (January 2016). However, the visa official will ask you for USD $35. Once you insist on paying the true fee, you might get delayed for no reason at the border crossing even for a few hours. If you can stand the wait, you might try and get the lower rate. The health official next door will also ask you for a USD $1 fee, but if you just keep saying that you know there is no fee, he will back down. If you carry your personal vaccination document, you can show it there and avoid any additional pay.
- Crossing the border into Cambodia with a Vietnamese motorbike
Crossing the boarder with a Vietnamese motorcycle is easily possible. Try to park your motorbike in such a way that the Vietnamese check-out officer doesn't see it (leave your helmet outside!). After you got your stamp you can just go. The Cambodian officers don't care about it.
- Kampot, Cambodia: it takes around 2 hours via motorbike. You can take the minivan; same service as Kep (see below))
- Kep, Cambodia is the first town over the border in Cambodia. The quickest and easiest way to get there is by motorbike - it costs around $10 to Kep and $12 to Kampot (January 2016). You hire a motorbike that will take you to the border crossing, wait for you to get the paperwork and stamps, and then deliver you to the guesthouse of your choice in Kep - this will take 1-1.5 hours in total. Note that the motorbike guy may try to take you to certain guesthouses where they get a commission. It is easy to safely arrange the travel in Oasis Bar, using the help of owner Andy.
The other way to get to Kep is via minivan - you can buy the ticket at Trân Hâu 7, 150m north-west of the floating boat-restaurant and the big Green Island hotel. The van departs at 12 and 16 or at 14 o' clock, depending the demand and season. It costs US$ 12 (feb/13). In Kep they stop at the pier, but pass further along the "bus station" at Kep beach, and follow the main road along several guesthouses.
Buses to Phnom Penh require one change of vehicle in Cambodia.
- Mui Nai is a seaside resort that has a tiny but sandy beach on offer (2000 dong entrance fee). The hotels are expensive and run down. Rooms are usually booked by the hour by Vietnamese tourist on day trips to the beach. Do note that after 18:00hrs the place more or less shuts down. No night life and no restaurants open.
- Crossing to Phu QuocThere are currently (Dec 2017) four Fast boats (Superdong) daily leaving Ha Tien at 07:30, 08:00, 12:00, and 13:15 (cost 230,000 dong). Occasionally there may also be an additional boat at 14:15 during holiday periods. Boats take about 80 minutes to make the crossing,and arrive at the eastern side of the island. There will soon be another Company operating a fast ferry service to Phu Quoc with only 2 crossing a day and cost 250.000vnd. The start date was supposed to be 11/12/2017 but as of yet am not sure that it is actually running. Departure times are said to be 07:15 and 13:30. For more details on the Fast Ferries:- CLICK HERE
Please note that I have no idea how reliable the (so called) online booking is.
There is also the Slow Ferry (car ferry) that have 8 crossing a day starting at 05:00. There is now 3 Companies that do the crossing.
Do note that none of the tour guides or hotels will tell you about the car ferry (Slow Ferry). This is because they do not get commission. If you arrive after the last Superdong (Fast Ferry) or it is fully booked then make your own way to the car ferry port.
Be aware of a bus company called [email protected] The fare to Can Tho is 180,000 dong/US$9, distance 210 km. Bus was in very bad condition, reckless driver who honked the entire time on board, very rude ticket seller who threw tourists off the bus in the middle of nowhere and made them pay and take another bus in even worse condition to the destination. Apparently some individuals do this in Vietnam for their dislike of tourists. Avoid this at all cost and try to travel with a trust-worthing bus company.
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