Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Crossing Cambodia to Vietnam

I have been attempting to leave Kep for a few days now, but the weather is not so permitting. I was thinking that it was not smart to stay in Kep though, as it is more expensive than Kampot; I thought I'd probably be better off staying in Kampot If i were just to wait for the weather to go better; besides, it's just $2 to get there.

Today, everyone from the guesthouse is set to leave Kep for Kampot. The weather is partially ok and in a minute, can go worse.  My decision was to at least make the attempt to Ha Tien in Vietnam, and if weather goes really bad, then I'll catch whatever vehicle there is to Kampot.

I rode the same tuktuk that the other guests to Kampot took. I hitched with them until the horse roundabout in Kep, where I'll catch another hitch to Ha Tien.

It didn't take so much time to successfully get a hitch. A van was passing by, flagged it, kept saying Ha Tien, and showed them my request letter written in Khmer.


Rain was pouring hard, people at the back were talking khmer, while I and driver were just quiet. 

I was looking for some road signs, or perhaps commercial establishments that would have their address in their signages, but none. It was but a highway at the middle of the vast ricefields, and hills and mountains on the far end.

I assume the family was supposed to stop somewhere in between Kep and Ha tien (as they dropped one of their passengers, I assume their kid, along the way), but as they have me, and it was raining, I think they drove all the way to the border.

From the border, you have those usual motor taxi, scamming every unsuspicious and willing tourist. I told them I'll walk and they were telling me it was 15km away; I just ignored them and continued to walk.

Just about 100m from there was already the cambodia gate. I took out my passport, and got the stamp hassle free.

From there, you can also see the vietnam gate; Between was just probably 100 meters too. Looking at both the gates, you can estimate the gap between the economic gap in these countries.

I entered vietnam without any hassle too (except that I had to call the attention of an officer to get an entry stamp). There was also another post for another officer just after the immigration, to ensure that the passport has been stamped.

Rain was pouring heavy, and took a stop for coffee at a cafe right after the border. It seemed they were the same drink-only cafes I've seen all over cambodia.

I am starving though, so tried somehow asking if they have food; They offered noodles, and further asked if they probably have rice (and had to act how rice is planted, just for them to understand what rice is).

The guy looking after the restaurant smiled, and asked me to wait. A little while later, he walked out with a whole pot of rice and fish ( a leftover from their lunch, I suppose). It was a good looking fish cooked in Pepper. I asked how much, and he said $1.00. I agreed; After all, it was even cheaper than the local restaurants, and this time, UNLIMITED.

After making a point that I won't be hungry til at least the next 5 hours, I restarted walking again, til I got to the town. All eyes of every passer by on me as I looked half a local, half a traveller (because of my big bag).

From there, signs were saying only 6kilometers to town proper... walkable indeed. In just less than an hour, I was already in Ha Tien town... Welcome to Vietnam :-)

This post is part of the #limbonisASIA tripSee link for more stories, detailed expenses and itinerary

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