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I'm looking for a relatively painless but interesting way to get from Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC) and Kampot in Cambodia.

The most commonly suggested route seems to be the bus from HCMC to Phnom Pehn, and then Phnom Pehn to Kampot. My main concern with this is that the early buses seem to arrive in Phnom Pehn around 1330, and the last ones to Kampot seem to leave about 1430, which doesn't leave much of a window for delays on the first leg. Also, we intend to go back to Pnomh Pehn so don't really want to do the same route twice.

I have heard there are busses from HCMC to Ha Tien, but can't find much in the way of times/where they leave from. Can anyone advise on these? getting from Ha Tien to Kampot seems straightforward.

How can we arrange a shared minibus to Ha Tien?

If all else fails, what would be a ball park figure for a taxi/driver cost from HCMC to Ha Tien?

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up vote 4 down vote accepted

From wikitravel regarding Saigon - Ha Tien:

There are buses to Ha Tien from Ho Chi Minh City's Mien Tay terminal (about 8h).

To get to Mien Tay Bus Station (Western bus station): Take bus No. 139 from Tran Hung Dao Street.

I found this on Tripadvisor, a nightbus to Ha Tien

the bus leaves from the Western Bus Station in Saigon,at 21.00 and gets in to Ha Tien at around 05.30. It costs 185,000 VND.

Additionally I found the company that runs the buses to Ha Tien. That's what's on their website:

Departure: 09h30, 11h00, 15h30, 21h00, 22h00; box office #14 on the western bus station; 175,000 VND a seat

From wikitravel regarding Ha Tien - Kampot:

It takes around 2 hours via motorbike. You can take a minivan - you can buy the ticket at the Tourist Agency at "Oasis Bar" for USD $12 per person. The minivan departs at 12pm every day.

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I think to get from Saigon to Kampot, you have to go through Phnom Penh. The main roads and bus lines go that way. Even if there are more direct roads, I doubt they can be used by buses because of the condition of many bridges in the area.

Usually you can always get a private taxi to take you anywhere, but I doubt you'll find someone in Saigon driving you all the way to Kampot. They will drive you to the border, you can walk over and find another car on the other side. But even a taxi would go through Phnom Penh. Most roads in Cambodia are not in a very good condition, so taking small roads might take much longer than taking a bigger road even if that means a longer distance.

I don't know the current times or prices, but I would recommend to just take a bus from Saigon to Phnom Penh, stay overnight have a nice dinner and then continue to Kampot the next day on another bus.

Nobody in South Vietnam except some officials use the name 'Ho Chi Minh City'

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+1 for Saigon :) – greg121 Nov 21 '12 at 8:01

The easiest path is through Phnom Penh and Chau Doc. This is an established traveler path.

Going through Ha Tien is possible, though more adventurous. You will be very much on local transportation, unreliable and overcrowded. I'm not confident it will end up being quicker or cheaper than going through Phnom Penh, but you may get lucky.

If you are at a good guest house, they should be able to arrange some of the details for you.

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