Kampong Trach - Ha Tien road is now open?

Discussion in 'Cambodia - General Discussion Forum' started by rectravel, May 19, 2005.

  1. rectravel

    rectravel Ol'Timer

    Rumor has it that some foreigners have succeeded in crossing between Ha Tien (Vietnam) and Kampong Trach (Cambodia) in the past few months. If anyone in Phnom Penh has a free day or three on a motorcycle, a loop into Cambodia's southeast is a very nice ride. Kampong Trach is the gateway to this crossing. The border gate is called Prek Chak on the Cambodian side of the road, Xa Xia on the Vietnamese side. You probably will not be able to take a motorcycle across, but it would be a great place to visit during a short weekend trip. What do the Khmer border guards have to say? Is this Prek Chak crossing now open or was it just a fluke that a couple people got through?
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  3. JimCA2

    JimCA2 Ol'Timer

    a couple of years ago we made the trip but came in from kep, made the right turn just beyond damnak changaur. that route takes you through some villages and mangroves before it connects to the main road from kampong trach. there was an old bridge that sure could have used some repair. as far as the border opening, we have been sitting on the rumor for some time and road construction along the southern route between the two to kep and on to kampong som would indicate that its not far away. as for any bike crossings this I would agree with your assessment as being a fluke. I will check on some updates from a buddy that lives in kampot and see what he's heard.
  4. tourista

    tourista New Member

    Hi there...I'm new on this forum and I would like to get into the whole prek chak/xa xia-discussion, as i'm very curious about latest developments.
    so apparently the cambodian officials will open the border by the end of the year...
    how reliable is this information? did any foreigner ever cross it? is it just rumours - you reckon it's worth a try (if you get a vietnam visa in advance & that special stamp from sihanoukville)?is it true they are actually building a small building at the border, has anybody seen it?
    I would love some updated 2005 info, as most of the stuff on the web was fairly old...
    Please feel free to get in touch and share the news...cheers, Nana
  5. BobS

    BobS Ol'Timer

    I would treat this entire thread as rumor.

    No matter how many rumors, speculations, or rehashed articles are posted here, they are all meaningless until you read a current report of a crossing by motorcycle.


    "The true secret of giving advice is, after you have honestly given it, to be perfectly indifferent whether it is taken or not and never persist in trying to set people right."
  6. rectravel

    rectravel Ol'Timer

    tourista, guten tag. Where did you hear about the "special stamp" being issued by the Consulate of Vietnam in Sihanoukville? If it was in my old April of 2001 Bayon Pearnik story on


    you can forget about it. Probably, the Vietnamese officials who work there are still trying to sell this "special permit" to unsuspecting tourists, but it was always a worthless piece of paper. The story was always and still is good for a laugh. It is only another local scam. If you pay a visit to the Vietnamese officials in Sihanoukville, ask them about it but don't actually buy it. You do not need a "special permit" to cross the Cambodian border with Vietnam no matter which border gate you are using. You need only a standard every day tourist visa.

    BTW, even though the Vietnamese consular officials in Phnom Penh and Sihanoukville still sometimes hand out the old visa application forms which ask for your date of entry and your entry point into Vietnam, the new visas being actually issued by the Vietnamese do not list this information. The new visas being issued for Vietnam are valid for any entry gate on any date within something like 30 days of the date of issue of the visa. No worry at all.

    If you want to try to take a motorcycle between Cambodia and Vietnam, via the Prek Chak / Xa Xia gateway or elsewhere, your real problem is the motorcycle that you are on. See the thread on


    In Phnom Penh, the most popular motorcycle today is a 250 cc dirt bike, but you are not going to be able to take this motorcycle across the border into Vietnam. It is nearly impossible to find a 125 cc Minsk in Phnom Penh, because this old Russian motorcycle is not popular in Cambodia, so you are going to need to find something else. A 90 cc Honda Dream step-through is an idea, but these small motorcycles are not good for touring on Cambodia's often terrible roads. The only real option is a 4 stroke 125 cc Honda Degree, the same motorcycle that is often seen pulling small trailers full of people and vegetables around in both Cambodia and Vietnam. Most likely, this is your only hope. Ask about these motorcycles at the shops in Phnom Penh.

    Not even mentioned here is the question about legal registration papers and licence plates... Having never bothered with this myself, I can't answer questions about it. You have a lot to do in Phnom Penh if you want to try to figure out about how to take your own motorcycle across the border into Vietnam. The motorcycle shops in Phnom Penh might have information for you.

    Lastly, if you haven't been there before, understand that Cambodia's Kampot Province is a very small place. It is only three hours from Phnom Penh to Kampot on Hwy 3, and less than an hour from Kampot to Kampong Trach, the gateway to the Prek Chak / Xa Xia crossing. Even if you are not able to cross at Prek Chak / Xa Xia, it is a simple ride back to Phnom Penh on these main roads. From Phnom Penh, it is less than 2 hours down Hwy 2 to the Phnom Den / Chau Doc crossing, which has been a fully international crossing open to even foreigners on motorcycles for a number of years now. There is also a dry season only road directly between Kampong Trach and Tun Lop on Hwy 2, which is only 15 minutes to the north of the Phnom Den / Chau Doc crossing. The trip takes only two hours or so, but I do not recommend doing this particular road without a local guide, because it really is nothing than ox car tracks. Whatever the case, the point here is that Kampot Province is a very small place. Even if you cannot take your motorcycle across at Prek Chak / Xa Xia, you are only a couple hours away from the Phnom Den / Chau Doc crossing, where you should have no problems at all >>if your motorcycle is less than 175 cc and all your papers are in order.<<

    A stay in Kampot itself is worth a couple of days at least, because there are many things to see nearby, including Bokor Mountain and Kep and the new dam project mentioned above. If you make it to the area on a motorcycle, please do upload your trip report here, whether you are able to cross at Prek Chak / Xa Xia or not. Everyone here is interested in such reports. At a minimum, maybe you can take some new pictures of the new buildings on the Cambodia side of the Prek Chak / Kampong Trach road?

    Enjoy your visit.
  7. rectravel

    rectravel Ol'Timer

    Below is a news report from Phnom Penh today that suggests that the border crossing immediately to the south of Kampot in Cambodia at Prek Chak / Xa Xia is about to become fully international. For riders coming from Vietnam's Mekong Delta, this border crossing is about 3KM to the north of Ha Tien, which is on the coastline just to the east of Vietnam's Phu Quoc Island. The other border crossings mentioned in the article are uninteresting "locals only" crossings.

    Thursday, June 22, 2006
    Cambodia, Vietnam To Open Three Border Crossings Soon in Kampot-Kien Giang Area
    Koh Santepheap Daily Online
    Phnom Penh, 20 Jun 06
    Translated from Khmer

    Koh Santepheap Daily, a pro-government newspaper, carries in its online edition in Cambodian on 20 June 2006 a report saying that the Cambodian province of Kampot and the Vietnamese province of Kian Giang will set up three new border crossings: one international border point at Prek Chak in Kampong Trach District; and two "bilateral" ones in Toan Hon, also in Kampong Trach District, and in Thnaot Chong Srang in Banteay Meas District.

    The Koh Santepheap Daily report said that the authorities in the two provinces made this announcement on 15 June 2006 and that the new border crossings "will be opened soon". The precise dates of the opening, however, have not yet been announced. According to the Koh Santepheap Daily report, Sot Yea, deputy governor of Cambodia's Kampot province and head of the Kampot provincial delegation at the meeting with the Vietnamese side, confirmed the report that agreement has been reached with Vietnam's Kian Giang province on the establishment of the three border crossings.
  8. Hovis

    Hovis Active Member

    The border in Kg Trach has been open for six months, it is now an international crossing point. If you are coming from Vietnam it's only about 30 km to Kep at the seaside, cheap accomodation, great seafood, but very quiet, nothing happens there on weekdays. Some locals during weekends

    Scandinavian riders Banlung
  9. Philippe

    Philippe Ol'Timer

    I am a Kampot resident for 9 years. I went 2 weeks ago to the border post. Border official told me that this border IS NOT OPENED YET to foreigners. It will be in a " near future", so we can assume that sometime in 2007 it will be OK! Many more border crossing will be opened along the Kh-VN border. The question is to know how many of them will be opened to foreigner!
    Keep waiting!!

  10. Philippe

    Philippe Ol'Timer


    I don't see the relation between dog hip problem and VN border crossing. I know VN have reputation to eat dog, but they prefere BLACK color with purple tongue, not Golden Labardor! Very sorry about your dog problem, it was not an inbreed dog! I don't breed dog with the mother of your puppy anymore. Even dog with Certified pedigree from Europe may have problem. Just a bad luck.
    Well, I will go to have a look on the border when I have time.
    Thanks to your kind attention to have put this info on the web anyway!
  11. rectravel

    rectravel Ol'Timer

    Salut Philippe. On some other newsgroup, a correspondent just confirmed that the Ha Tien / Kampong Trach / Kampot crossing is amazingly still not officially open to foreigners. "Maybe later this year?"

    On the other hand, if any riders here are touring the Vietnamese side of the Mekong Delta and end up in Ha Tien, the border crossing just to the north at Tinh Bien / Phnom Den is definitely open. To get there from Ha Tien, see the very top left hand corner of the map on

    http://www.nexus.net/~911gfx/vietnam/ma ... 8_06f.html

    Follow the coastline road a few KM to the south of Ha Tien and then turn left at the road labeled 102 on this old map. This is the entry point to the Ha Tien / Tinh Bien / Chau Doc road. After a small ferry crossing, this dirt road is easy to follow to the north and is passable by motorcycles only. This is the route used by the moto taxi drivers in Ha Tien and Chau Doc respectively. Tinh Bien is a junction road about two hours to the north from Ha Tien. Turn right at Tinh Bien to continue on to Chau Doc, but turn left at Tinh Bien to get onto the old Hwy 2 to Phnom Den, Takeo and Phnom Penh.

    A youtube.com user now has a video up about this crossing on

    An old map of Hwy 2 from Tinh Bien to Takeo is on

    http://www.nexus.net/~911gfx/vietnam/ma ... 8_06b.html

    Tinh Bien is in the very bottom right hand corner of this old map. The road from Ha Tien parallels the borderline itself.

    Have any motorcycle riders here already crossed at Tinh Bien / Phnom Den?
  12. rectravel

    rectravel Ol'Timer

    Xa Xia in southern Kien Giang province is the border gate at Ha Tien. Maybe it is finally officially open to foreigners?


    Vietnam has three more int’l border gates
    12:34' 16/03/2007 (GMT+7)
    So#7841;n: HA 1058962 g#7917;i #273;#7871;n 996 #273;#7875; nh#7853;n #7843;nh này
    Mong Cai international border gate.

    VietNamNet Bridge - Deputy Prime Minister Pham Gia Khiem has signed a decision recognizing three more international border gates.

    They are the Dinh Ba in the southern province of Dong Thap, Xa Xia in southern Kien Giang province and Le Thanh in the Central Highlands province of Gia Lai.

    In addition, three sub-border gates are upgraded into national border gates and two more sub-border gates are opened.

    The three new national border gates are: Dak Rue in the Central Highlands province of Dak Lak, My Quy Tay in the southern province of Long An and Giang Thanh in the southern province of Kien Giang.

    The two new sub-border gates are Vak Sa in the southern province of Tay Ninh and Ta Vat in the southern province of Binh Phuoc.

    These are the results of the 8th meeting of the joint Vietnam-Cambodia Committee on Economic, Cultural, Scientific and Technological Cooperation. The decision has taken effect as of March 13, 2007.
    (Source: Dan Tri)
  13. jimoi

    jimoi Ol'Timer

    Blah Blah Blah. I'd say you should mount up, pull the throttle and ride out there. Blah blah blah Vietnamese officials love to make Grand Useless statements. Blah blah blah, this is really useless information given that you can't get a big bike into VN now or in the near future and it seems the only people exiting are on Minsk.

    Blah blah blah. Ride Eat Sleep Repeat.
  14. rectravel

    rectravel Ol'Timer

    Agreed, jimoi. I've been there already. There is nothing to be seen around that area anyway except for rice fields.
  15. rectravel

    rectravel Ol'Timer

    Here is still another worthless announcement about the official opening of the Prek Chak / Xa Xia border crossing point. If it is true, it is interesting only because it could now be possible to ride a 125cc Minsk or some such all the way along the Vietnamese / Cambodian coastline from Ha Tien to Kep and Kampong Som (Sihanoukville) and then on to Koh Kong. Would anyone bother taking a Minsk into Thailand?

    http://www.thanhniennews.com/business/? ... wsid=28428

    Vietnam, Cambodia inaugurate int'l entry points

    Officials from the two countries attended Thursday a groundbreaking
    ceremony for putting up a marker along a Vietnam-Cambodia entry point
    and another one to inaugurate two international border gates.

    Local leaders inaugurated the Xa Xia and Prek Chak international
    border gates in southern Vietnam's Kien Giang and Cambodia's Kampot
    provinces respectively.

    This would help develop the economy along the border in the two
    countries and boost bilateral cooperation in fighting drugs,
    controlling epidemics, and protecting the environment, Bui Ngoc Suong,
    head of the Kien Giang government said

    Trade through the area amounts to US$15 million a year now, the Saigon
    Times Daily reports.

    Reported by Truong Cong Kha - Translated by A.N.O.N
  16. mikethevigo

    mikethevigo Ol'Timer

    Hovis i think you should keep your personal feelings and dealings with other members just that, personal, it has no relavance here whatsoever,..
  17. Pauche

    Pauche Ol'Timer

    Hi there, I'm not a local and I guess I wouldn't be riding a rented Cambo bike into Ha Tien. Are there any form of transport (bus or boat) that sends you from Phnom Penh to Ha Tien, or Kampot to Ha Tien? Appreciate if you can link some info here.

    Also, are there any tour agents in Phnom Penh that organise a 3/4 days tours via Ha Tien, Phu Quoc, and then onto Saigon eventually?? I know they have the Phnom Penh-Chau Doc-Saigon trip, but have not seen/heard any tours via the Ha Tien border.
  18. rectravel

    rectravel Ol'Timer

    Hi Pauche. I haven't heard of any through trips via Ha Tien yet, such as the trips via Moc Bai and Chau Doc, but it doesn't matter. Getting from Phnom Penh to Kampot is the easiest thing in the world. Buses and share taxis operate every day of the week. It is a three hour ride to Kampot. In Kampot, simply ask any of the moto drivers to take you all the way to the border crossing, called Prek Chak on the Cambodian side. That one way ride on the back of a moto can probably be done for well under 10 dollars. The road between Kampot and Kampong Trach seems to be paved all the way now. Otherwise, get into a share taxi between Kampot and Kampong Trach and take a moto from there to Prek Chak for maybe 3 dollars. No problem at all to get from Phnom Penh to Ha Tien in one day at this point, maybe even in half a day if you got up early enough.

    About the boat ride between Ha Tien and Phu Quoc Island, there is a boat dock right behind the central market in Ha Tien, but foreigners may still be forbidden to use that particular boat. It is because that particular boat crosses contested territory on the way to the villages on the northern tip of Phu Quoc. If this is still the case, any moto driver in Ha Tien will take you to Ba Hon, about 30 minutes to the south of Ha Tien. Small fishing boats converted into freight boats depart from there every morning for usually Ham Ninh, on the eastern side of the island. Motos will take you from there to anywhere on the island. The best beach on the island is called Bai Kem, just to the south of Ham Ninh, but most people stay on the long beach to the south of Duong Dong on the western side of the island, probably of the sunsets and the greater number of places to stay.

    Getting back to the mainland from Phu Quoc, you can return to Ba Hon, but a better idea is to take one of the bigger ferries to Rach Gia. Of course there are regular buses from Rach Gia to Saigon, but if you want to tour around a bit on the way, it is easy to get a moto driver in Rach Gia to drive you to for example Can Tho. Spend a night there and then get one of the Can Tho based moto drivers to take you to My Tho, for example. From My Tho, it is less than three hours into downtown Saigon on a motorcycle. In short, if you are not in a hurry, you can get the local moto drivers to take you all from Rach Gia into Saigon. Highly recommended. If you find a good driver, you will probably end up seeing a lot more than you know about along the way.

    For other ideas, here is a recent post about the crossing from a guy who lives in Phnom Penh and who gets down to Kampot and thereabout fairly regularly. While you are at the border station itself, you might ask the border guards about taking motorcycles across. Maybe that too is now possible??? Enjoy your visit.

    The much anticipated, oft rumored, magical mystical Cambodia/Vietnam border crossing near Ha Tien is now open to foreign travelers. CONFIRMED. Yes, it's true. The coveted Ha Tien crossing has been wrongly rumored open more times than Pol Pot was reported dead. But this time it is true. Ha Tien is both officially and truly open and functioning.

    Until the end of last month Ha Tien was a locals-only crossing - no foreigners allowed. As such, the Ha Tien crossing was the last road block in the overland coastal travelers trail from Thailand, through Cambodia and into Vietnam. In the past, from Kampot/Kep, beach-trailing overlanders were forced to detour north to the Phnom Den or Chau Doc crossings into Vietnam and then work their way back south to the coast. But as of May 24 2007, the Ha Tien Crossing near the coast - officially known as the Prek Chak crossing in Cambodia and the Xaxia crossing in Vietnam - became an operational international border crossing. Now travelers can roam from Koh Chang Thailand through the coastal towns of Cambodia and on to Phu Quoc Vietnam without ever having to leave the beach road.

    Guesthouses in Kampot and Kep are still giving mixed reports, some saying the Ha Tien crossing is open, others remaining justifiably skeptical, saying they are not sure, but the Khmer motodups and tour operators in town all agree that the crossing is now open to foreigners. For definitive confirmation, I rode out to the border crossing myself today and got it from the horse's mouth. There is a brand new immigration building at the border and the immigration cops were ready and happy to talk to me about their new international crossing. They told me the border is now open and that they have been seeing 2 or 3 foreign travelers a day for the last couple of weeks. They also said that the crossing is open from 7AM - 6PM and, importantly, that neither Vietnamese nor Cambodian visas are available at the border. You must get your visas in advance. They predicted that they would be able to issue Cambodian visas at the border within the year. He also claimed that the Cambodian e-visa could be used at the Ha Tien border crossing, but I have not confirmed this.

    The road from Kampot/Kep to the border crossing is, for the most part, in good condition, taking about 1h15m from Kampot to the border. I checked out two routes to the border. 1) Route 33 east from Kampot to Route 31 at Kampong Trach town. This is also the road from Kampot to Kep. Just bear left at the White Horse monument and continue on to Kampong Trach (instead of bearing right to Kep). This leg is all in good condition, sealed, about 40 minutes. Turn south on Route 31 in Kampong Trach. All but the last few kilometers to the border are sealed. This leg takes about 35 minutes. 2) Route 33 east from Kampot. Bear left at the White Horse monument and continue about 10km more to a good dirt road. This leg is in good condition, sealed, taking about 30 minutes. Turn south at the dirt road and continue about 15km+ to the border. Hardpack dirt that will probably flood in the wet season. Now, in the very early wet season, this leg took about 35 minutes. Both routes may deteriorate in the later wet season, but #2 will probably be much worse than #1.

    The Ha Tien destination is so new that the tour operators and motodups in Kampot haven't settled on a standard price for a moto to the border for foreigners yet. I talked to four different people and was quoted $5-$15 for a motodup and $10-$25 for a tuk tuk. The real price will probably settle around $8-$10 for a motodup and $15 or more for a tuk tuk.

    There is not much at the crossing point. Checkpoint shacks and the new immigration building. Smugglers trail opposite the checkpoint servicing what seemed like a constant stream of bicycles overloaded with crates Hero cigarettes. A few little restaurant/coffee shops and some small houses along the road. No foreigner services. Nobody except one of the immigration cops seemed to speak English. No obvious waiting onward transportation. Maybe it's there but I didn't see it.

    A guy in a coffee shop on the Cambodian side of the border told me that once you are on the Vietnamese side, a motodup to Ha Tien town costs about $2-$3 and to Ba Hon a bit more. he said you can catch a boat to Phu Quoc from either town but that Ba Hon was better.
  19. Pauche

    Pauche Ol'Timer

    I'm impressed with your excellent + detailed report!!!!

    Your reply came a little late, and I've already bought my air tix to Saigon. I'll be flying to Phu Quoc from Saigon, and then make my way to Rach Gia, Ha Tien, Chau Doc, Long Xuyen, Can Tho, Vinh Long and then back to Saigon.

    Nevertheless, I'm sure your above info will benefit lots of forumers reading it.
  20. rectravel

    rectravel Ol'Timer

    Pauche, while you are in Ha Tien, please do take a few minutes to visit the Vietnamese side of this crossing. Xa Xia is only 2 or 3 KM to the north of downtown Ha Tien. Please do go up there simply to ask the Vietnamese border guards about taking a small motorcycle across into Cambodia at this crossing. Readers here will certainly appreciate to read your report.

    Also, note that there is a most excellent beach just to the west of Xa Xia. You can see up the coastline into Cambodia from there as you eat some of that most delicious seafood. Enjoy.

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