Siem Reap to Ho Chi Minh City

Siem Reap to Ho Chi Minh City

Leaving Siem Reap
Next stop .. Ho Chi Minh City, or Saigon in Vietnam.

From almost all guesthouses in Siem Reap, you'll be able to get bus tickets to HCMC. They do differ in prices though and depending on where you stay, it might be hard to get to the different bus companies' offices to get your tickets in advance.

There are multiple bus companies that ply this route and the buses they provide differ significantly so do check with the bus company or the guesthouse about the type of bus you're getting, since it's going to be a long long ride (14 hours to be exact).

I booked mine through my guesthouse at 35 USD, which included a tuktuk to take me to the bus company to board the bus. They had a bus which left earlier and cheaper but the bus didn't sound as comfortable, so I opted for the Giant Ibis Bus as they: 1) were pretty reputable and 2) had beds. The bus ride was fortunately uneventful and 7 hours later I arrived in Phnom Penh. From Phnom Penh, I had to change to another bus to continue the trip down to HCMC, which was another 7 hours away.

Cambodia - Vietnam Border
Nearer to the border, you'll be able to see plenty of casinos catered for Vietnamese to cross the border to gamble as Vietnam has strict gambling laws and there are no casinos there, akin to what Macau is to Hong Kong, just less .. grand.

Crossing the border was no hassle, but it sure was chaotic. There were loads of people crossing the border and the clearance was slow.

Closer to the border, there will be someone on the bus to collect your passports so that immigration can clear all the passports at one go and hand it to you at the customs. This only made the entire procedure even more chaotic as passports were given out one by one in the enclosed space packed with tourists and mispronunciations by the locals trying to call names. Not a good experience.

After struggling for a good 30 minutes or so, I was on my way again. The bus (and almost every bus) stopped by this duty free complex at the Vietnamese side of the border and you'll be able to find cigarettes, alcohol, luxury goods on sale. Weren't very cheap in my opinion though.

After another 5-6 hours or so, the bus finally reached HCMC and I was dropped off at Pham Ngu Lao area, which was the backpackers' area (do check with your guesthouse/bus company beforehand where it will drop you in HCMC) where there are plenty of guesthouses/hostels, plenty of pubs/bars and plenty of tourists.

Pham Ngu Lao area
Exploring HCMC next.
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