Getting the bus from Phnom Penh to Saigon/Ho Chi Minh City is not only one of most cost effective inter-country journeys in the world, but also lightning years less hassle than flying between the two cities.
So, why is it so much better? Here’s the street food guy’s guide to traveling between Phnom Penh and Saigon.
How do you take the bus from Phnom Penh to Saigon?
Well it turns out quite easily! In fact there are many different operators that run daily bus trips that range in value and price. All of which though travel throughout the day and night, thus giving multiple options.
I personally used Long Phuong, which cost only $20, with them also taking ABA (a Cambodian payment gateway), as well as major credit cards. And of course they are also take cash, which in Cambodia means the good old fashioned greenback.
As well as the company I have listed a quick look on Google will give you other options, such as the Giant Ibis, which is of the more luxury variety.
What is the journey like from Phnom Penh to Ho Chi Ming City?
It is actually really easy going and takes around 6-7 hours from downtown to downtown. Before you hit the border the bus stops one time for toilet, snacks and drinks before you get to immigration.
And it is at immigration that taking the bus from Phnom Penh to Saigon really proves the best value. The staff basically take your passports and simply “deal” with immigration for you. And I mean fully deal with them, and that even includes if you have need a Vietnamese visa, although there is an extra fee for this.
You actually cross
This is in real stark contrast to when you fly to Saigon…
This all in all takes about 4 hours, with you then passing over into Vietnam for the last 2 plus hours of the journey. The last stop, or rather the bus stop is minutes away from District 1 (Saigon) and where there are not only a plethora of hotels, but also next to the banging nightlife of Walking Street.
For leaving as well this is where most of the buses to other parts of the country, such as Da Lat also go.
Saigon walking street is somewhat different to Hua Hin.
Taking the bus from Phnom Penh to Saigon vs the train
Flying into Saigon airport is honestly one of the worst things that you can do. Not only is the airport fall quite literally to the rafters, BUT there are not enough staff and the staff that are there don’t even bother to open every counter – this quite literally makes this a shit show of epic proportions.
Remember I told you how they deal with everything for you when you take the bus? Well this is the polar opposite and unless you embark on some pushing in (which I did) then you will end up taking 2+ hours. All told this makes flying from Phnom Penh to Saigon SLOWER and more expensive than taking the bus.
You have been warned by the Street Food Guy!
Saigon or Ho Chi Ming City?
This is a good question and one which you may have noticed we have used interchangeably. Ho Chi Minh City was known as Saigon prior to the reunification of Vietnam and acted as the capital of what was known as South Vietnam.
After the end of the war it was renamed Ho Chi Minh City. Many though still call it Saigon, particularly in District 1, the main party area of the city. We hope that answers your question!