Buses, Ho Chi Minh City
The bus No. 152 air-conditioned airport bus is the cheapest way to the city from the airport. For 6,000 dong per person plus a 4,000 dong fee for bags which varies randomly, the bus will drop you off at the east end of the Pham Ngu Lao area, or at the bus terminal on the south side of the Ben Thanh Market roundabout.
Upon exiting the international airport terminal, turn right and you should see the bus waiting on the road opposite Burger King. There is no sign indicating where the bus stop is, but if you ask a uniformed taxi warden he or she will point it out to you. If not, walk down to the domestic terminal, which is about a three-minute walk away. Try to have exact change or you will be given coins in return.
Note: Ignore taxi drivers that may tell you there are no more airport buses. However, the bus is only available until 6pm.
The fee for bags range from an additional 4,000 dong for a smaller bag to 14,000 for two large bags. Try to have exact change or you will be given coins in return these are legal tender in Vietnam, but many places do not accept them
Taxi cost us more than 300,000 dong from the city center to the airport, as we have no time catching bus going back to the airport
During our visit to Ho Chi Minh City in May 2013, we made use of Bus #1 from Cholon Bus Station to Ben Thanh Bus Station one afternoon.
We had just visited Cho Binh Tay market in the Cholon area of the city (District 5), before making the short walk (little more than a couple of minutes) to Cholon bus station.
At Cholon bus station we found dozens of green buses parked up besides the terminal building, but none of them were heading for Ben Thanh (District 1, in the centre of the city). We asked at the information desk and were pointed, rather vaguely, towards the back of the station and out of the far exit. We followed the directions and found a modern blue bus parked up in an adjacent parking area. It displayed large #1 signs on its front and sides. This was the bus we needed.
We boarded the bus and purchased tickets from the driver. They were priced at just 5,000 VND (£0.15) each.
The bus wasn't very busy when we boarded, so we were able to sit down. It got busier as we made our way through the city towards Ben Thanh. There was plenty of standing room and a few plastic stools had been provided for those who wished to sit in the central aisle.
In heavy afternoon traffic, the journey to Ben Thanh took around 45 minutes.
Ben Thanh bus station is located on the opposite side of a very busy roundabout from Ben Thanh Market. Despite their relative proximity, it can take several minutes to walk between the two due to difficulties crossing the busy roads.
From Ben Thanh Bus Station opposite Ben Thanh Market apparently you can
travel to Moc Bai, which is the town nearest to the border crossing.
First bus at 5:40am and then every 40 minutes.
The price is 30,000 Dong in November 2012.
It should take about 2/3 hours to the border.
We booked a bus through our sweet hostel owner’s mother-Auntie (as she wanted her to be called). We took a bus of the Mekong Express going to Siem Reap, Cambodia. The travel is an enduring 12 hours. There are 2 choices of time of departure from Saigon to Siem Reap- 730am and 9am. We chose the 730am so we can arrive in Siem Reap at an earlier time. Bus ticket costs 420, 000VND. The bus also travels to Phnom Penh with time departures at 730am, 9am and 130pm and costs 210, 000 VND. We were asked to prepare at 630am because someone from the agency will fetch us. This bus is what usually the tourists take going to Cambodia. I don’t blame them since I had a very good impression of it.
The service is great! There’s an attendant who speaks a local language (I believe it’s the Cambodian local) and English. Once the bus started to move, the attendant gives an introduction and also updates the tourists to where the bus is heading. Snacks and bottled water are distributed and a little later, the attendant will ask you to hand him your passport.
Upon the arrival in the border, the travelers will be asked to get out of the bus. The bus will be waiting outside the immigration. The immigration is like a very simple office. The only problem I see here is when more buses arrive and unload tourists; the long line of waiting seems forever. After the passports are stamped, each of the attendant’s bus helps out the immigration officer by calling out the name indicated in the passport. When all the people are inside the bus, the attendant will call out again the name in the passport and that’s the only time it will be given back. The bus will be crossing the river by a big boat (that’s what I think of it) and that will indicate that you are already in Phnom Penh.
We arrived in the Mekong Express Station in Phnom Penh around 1245pm. We were asked to wait for the bus that will take us to Siem Reap so while waiting we took our lunch in their small canteen. I enjoyed their iced Cappuccino which costs 1.90USD. The canteen serves snacks like noodles in cups, breads, cookies, iced coffees & ice cream. The bus going to Siem Reap arrived at 120pm. At around 430pm, we stopped over a canteen for 15mins then arrived in Siem Reap at 745pm.
If you want to hob nob with other tourists and would want to have a cheaper rate in touring in and around Saigon and other areas like Cu Chi Tunnels, Mekong Delta, Cao Dai Temple, city tour and more, then your option will be the big tour buses. Most of the tour companies in Saigon offer both big tour busesn and private cars for touring around and we got both for different tours around the city to be able to experience both types. Again, the biggest tour operator in Saigon is the Saigon Tourist and you can book your tours via the hotel lobbies of their partner hotels listed below or if you see the Saigon Tourist Logo in a building, it means they have a help desk there where you can book tours.
IN THE SOUTH:
New World Saigon Hotel
Sheraton Saigon Hotel & Towers
Hotel Majestic Saigon
Grand Hotel Saigon
Hotel Continental Saigon
Kim Do Royal City Hotel
Bong Sen Hotel Saigon
Palace Hotel Saigon
Bong Sen Hotel Annex
Oscar Saigon Hotel
Que Huong - Liberty Hotel Group
Arc - En - Ciel Hotel
Bat Dat Hotel
Dong Khanh Hotel
Can Gio Resort
Ngoc Lan Hotel
Phu Tho Hotel
Fiditour Hotel Group
Cho Lon Hotel Group
Cho Lon Tourist Hotel Group
Thanh Binh Hotel Group
Binh Quoi Tourist Village
Thu Duc Tourist Hotel Group
Saigon - Binh Chau Ecotourist & Resort
Saigon Con Dao Resort
Saigon Can Tho Hotel
Saigon - PhuQuoc Resort & Spa
There are many bus stations around the Saigon Area
There are several bus stations around the city that each serve different destinations. Facilities are very basic and are unlikely to have more than food stands serving local snacks. Services on short journeys depart when they are full and those traveling longer distances generally depart early in the morning. It is not possible to book tickets over the telephone and visitors should go to the relevant bus station the day before to check the schedule for the following day and purchase their ticket. In addition, a very useful telephone number is 1080 where English-speaking operators can give information on timetables.
The bus to Cambodia (better known in Vietnam as Kampuchea), operated by Cong Ty Xe Khach Saigon (tel: (08) 920 3623), departs from 309 Pham Ngu Lao Street, District 1, twice daily for the nine-hour journey to Phnom Penh. The Cambodian visa should be arranged in advance but can be obtained at the border crossing point. Buses to Dalat, Buon Ma Thuot, Nha Trang, Danang, Hue and Hanoi depart from Mien Dong Bus Station (Ben Xe Mien Dong) (tel: (08) 898 4893), on Xo Viet Nghe Tinh in Binh Tan District. Other bus stations include Ben Xe Mien Tay, Kinh Duong Vuong Street, An Lac, Binh Tan District (tel: (08) 875 2953), which has a special booking service located a little nearer to the city center at 765 Le Hong Phong, District 10 (tel: (08) 752 0364); Ben Xe Cholon, 86,Trang Tu, District 5 (tel: (08) 854 8832), and Ben Xe Tay Ninh on Truong Chinh Street, Tan Phu Disctrict, for buses for Tay Ninh Province, has renamed and relocated the passenger pick up area to Ben Xe An Suong, Quoc Lo 22, Xa Ba Diem, Hoc Mon District (tel: (08) 883 2513).
There is one private bus company operating routes within the city, Saigon Star Bus Company tel: (08) 864 2762
Many times while travelling in and through Vietnam and Cambodia I have chosen to use The Mailinh Express Bus Company. I found them very handy to where I was in Saigon in Pham Ngu Lao area and are located beside the ABC bakery ..another great find..
I used this Company on many accassions and found the busses that I used were clean ,realiable and got you there on time..I travelled on these busses through Vietnam and also cambodia..They are inexpensive to use and just book the day before..There is a waiting room at the bus station and they will also look after your luggage.They have booking offices in Vietnam and Cambodia.
Location address Van phong 201 , Pham Ngu Lao, Qaun 1, tp. Ho Chi Min city. Vietnam
We only use bus between cities and not in the city, so I cannot comment of the city own bus transportation quality but in general buses in Vietnam can be very old and crowded, so be prepare for that. The good thing, they are very cheap.
Windsor Plaza Hotel, which is in District 5, is some distance from the centre of the city. The hotel provides free Shuttle Bus Service every hour on a loop route.
The red maroon mini bus can seat about 12-15 persons and would seems insufficient given the size of the hotel.
At about 10:00am, the shuttle bus arrives at the hotel promptly and only 5 persons boarded the bus (including the 3 of us).
The first stop was on the side road of the roundabout (across from Ban Thanh Market). Second stop is close the Tax Mall (shopping center with fixed prices goods/products).
On this return trip, there was only 2 persons in the mini bus and one alighted soon after leaving the 4 of us in the mini bus.
If you are staying in the central district there is not much use for you to take a public bus, except perhaps for the ride to the airport in which case you can take number 152.
For those who like to explore the surroundings/outskirts of HCMC, taking the bus is not that difficult as it looks but keep the following rules in mind:
- Standing at the busstop is not enough, hail the bus like you would hail a taxi (wave your hand).
- Get on the bus quickly, the do not stop for you, when driving slowly simply jump on and hold on tight :)
- If you pay on the bus for a ticket it costs you 6000Dong, simply sit down and the conductor will approach you and you get a receipt, hold on to it as sometimes inspectors check the bus.
- Tickets purchased in advance are only 3000Dong, you have a coupon (or a coupon booklet with more coupons in it) with 2 identical numbers, board the bus, once the conductor approaches you, tear the ticket in half and give 1 number to the conductor, hold on to your receipt.
- Getting of is like getting on, before your stop comes get up, walk to the door.. and get out. The conductor will warn you and motorcyclists wenn you can get off.. but still keep an eye out for those motorcyclists.
Ignore the taxi drivers telling you that there's NO BUS from the airport. Actually THERE IS !!
Keep walking towards domestic terminal which is located right from Intl. Airport. In the last lane you will see the buses. There fare is only 3000VND. Takes about 45min. to Bus terminal near Ben Than Market.
To the airport, from bus stop #16 ( sorry I forgot but front side ) same bus #152 is going to the airport.
Have a nice trip.
A great, cheap and easy way of travelling the whole length of the country from north to south (or vice versa) is by taking the Sinh Cafe Open Bus. They have an office in each major town/city and offer a daily service between the main sightseeing points of Saigon, Dalat, Nha Trang, Hoi An, Hue and Hanoi on modern clean buses with plenty of leg room and (where applicable) sleeper buses. If you go to their office, they'll explain everything for you along with a timetable and costs (this is also found on their website below so you plan this before you arrive in Vietnam). The first leg of my trip involved travelling between Ho Chi Minh City and Dalat which took about 8 hours with a stop for lunch along the way and cost me 100,000 VND (Jan 2009). They pick up and drop you off at their offices so it's probably best to find out where they are in each place before you arrive.
I took a Phnom Penh Sorya Transport Company bus from their office near the Central Market in Phnom Penh to Saigon. The buses depart at 06:45, 08:00, 11:45 and 13:00. The bus cost me $10 (December 2008) and took about 6 hours. Along the way you'll cross over the Mekong River by ferry and then over the border after about 3 hours where you'll stop for lunch at the border town of Bavet.
Happy Tours (139 Bui Vien Street) offer good tours, and if you take their bus to Cambodia, they have affiliates who connect with their clients at the border and take them into Cambodia (Phnom Penh). Journey time is about 3.5 hours.
Location: Bui Vien Street, Dist 1, Saigon.
Where all the tourist buses from Cambodia or Northern Vietnam stop
For anyone intersted in going from HCMC to other major tourist centers in Vietnam, I would advise taking an express "sleeper bus".
These buses are convenient and cheap (we went from HCMC to Muy Ne for $8), and travel as fast (or as slow) as a private car. They have upper and lower rows of bunks, which enable you to recline or lie down quite comfortably.
You can make a reservation in any travel agency in Pham Ngu Lao, HCMC, and that is also the area where these buses depart from.
There are good sleeper bus services between HCMC - Dalat - Hanoi, and between HCMC- Muy Ne- Na Trang - Hanoi.
One word of caution: the driver has absolute power to decide when and where to make a toilet stop! On our bus two pretty desperate girls pleaded with the driver to stop as soon as he could for toilets, but he just drove on for another hour before making a stop!