Ride to the Border

Ha Tien Travel Blog

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Tuk tuk water stop

My Lucky Bus Service mini-van ticket from Sihanoukville to Ha Tien was a twenty dollar mistake. It would have been much better to read my own review from last year and take the $7.50 ride to Kampot then find my own transport from there. Fortunately two couples rode all the way to Kep so the three of us heading to the border at least got that close before being passed on to a tuk tuk.

 

That ride seemed somewhat smooth along the narrow black-top road but was painstakingly slow. Our advance was delayed further by several unscheduled stops.

Road to the border
The first was for the driver to fetch muddy water from a roadside stream. The underpowered motorbike looked like the Chinese copy of a very old Russian model and the beast overheated even on level ground. A three gallon water jug was mounted to the front of the towed carriage and a flexible rubber tube dripped water onto the normally air-cooled engine. Shortly afterwards, we coasted to a second stop - out of fuel. Fortunately a nearby roadside kiosk had glass bottles of gasoline and we were quickly on our way, slow as it was.

 

I was surprised that the driver turned off of the main road to follow the back-country short-cut that motorbike taxis normally used. The graded gravel road was smooth at first but quickly changed to mud and water-filled ruts as we bounced, swayed, and wound through a couple of small villages and around rice paddies, salt farms, and mangrove swamp.

At the Thien Long
Our progress slowed even further. At several points I thought we were actually going to tip over. The driver made a third stop - pre-arranged by cell phone - where three of his cohorts waited with motorbikes. Fortunately my two fellow passengers included a Khmer woman who demanded the tuk tuk continue to the border. As we finally neared, other motorbikes swarmed behind us and at our sides like hungry mosquitoes parading for our business beyond the crossing. But like the other two, I made the crossing, walked to the Vietnam check-point, then got a Vietnamese driver for the final few miles into Ha Tien.

 

I checked into the Thien Long Hotel where I had stayed last year. The family was thrilled that I returned and went out of their way to make me feel welcome. Their English-speaking daughter was still up in Ho Chi Minh City attending university but her younger brother, about thirteen, had a good grip on the language and got me checked in. Prices had gone up from 100,000 Vietnamese Ðong for an air-conditioned room to 120,000, still a bargain at about US$6.65.

tj1777 says:
always fun to go crossing borders ;) and you didn't really have any excuse not to read that review :P
Posted on: Nov 23, 2009
Dr_Seuss says:
Don't think I would have any confidence in something called a Lucky Bus
Posted on: Nov 22, 2009
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Tuk tuk water stop
Tuk tuk water stop
Road to the border
Road to the border
At the Thien Long
At the Thien Long
Walking to the Vietnam checkpoint
Walking to the Vietnam checkpoint
Thien Long staff and family
Thien Long staff and family
Market area from the Thien Long
Market area from the Thien Long
Workers on break
Workers on break
Duck
Duck
Grilling pork parts
Grilling pork parts
Street vender
Street vender
Ha Tien food venders
Ha Tien food venders
Recycler
Recycler
Sunset on the Ha Tien River
Sunset on the Ha Tien River
Ha Tien
photo by: rotorhead85