Getting to Sai Gon: By bus
If you take a bus, you will end up at one of the following bus stations:
- Cho Ben Thanh Bus Station – This is right in the centre of HCMC, in walking distance of the tourist sites and accomadation
- Mien Dong Bus Station – Buses heading north leave and arrive here.
- Mien Tay Bus Station – Take bus 139 from Tran Hung Dao Street to get here.
- Cholon Bus Station
From these stations, public buses in around the city will cost you about 3,000 dong.
The multitude of private tour company buses usually drop passengers off on Pham Ngu Lao just west of De Tham, giving easy access to accommodation in the backpacker area. Of course, this means that you’ll have at least 40-odd people shopping for the same rooms, which can be daunting as the nearby spots get snapped up. Patience will reward those who dig deeper into the tiny alleys, which have a (surprisingly safe) life of their own.
As you hop out of the bus, taxi drivers will surround you with questions “Where you go?”. You might be confused about your location in the city and the taxi drivers will probably try to benefit from that. You’ll most likely already be in Pham Ngu Lao and when you tell taxi driver to head to the same place, he’ll just go zigzag around few blocks getting easy money from you.
Bus travel is available from Phnom Penh via several different companies, at approximately $12 per person. Visas to Vietnam cannot be obtained at the border, so have one organised before you arrive (see Cope). Capital Tours operates a popular bus line from the Capital Guest House in Phnom Penh that takes passengers to the border, then after securing visas, passengers board a partner Vietnamese bus to continue travel to HCMC