How to get from Phnom Penh to Saigon?
A trip between the capitals and the most important cities of Southeast Asia can certainly not be complete without Phnom Penh and Ho Chi Minh City, often still identified with the old name of Saigon. From Cambodia to Vietnam in search of history, often recent and tragic for both capitals, culture and lifestyles. The two cities are not so far apart and the journey can be made, as well as by air, also by land without too much stress and in a few hours of travel.
The distance to travel is only 230 km and probably the best quality / price ratio in this case you have it just traveling by bus. By land the journey takes only about 6 hours, including the border crossing. Alternatively, you can also fly from Phnom Penh to Ho Chi Minh. The flight takes only 1 hour, but a ticket costs much more but is a good method to avoid the land border crossing. Here are the details of this move below.
Bus from Phnom Penh to Saigon
Travelling from Phnom Penh to Ho Chi Minh city by bus is not too difficult. In fact, some travelers prefer this method because it is cheaper than flying.
The best company and the one with which I recommend you to book is the Giant Ibis Transport that provides more departures per day and recent and comfortable means. It costs a little more than the others but is, with good reason, probably the best bus company in Cambodia.
To make this trip you will pass the border point at between Bavet (Cambodian side) and Moc Bai (Vietnamese side). The immigration stop at the border is not very organized or modern, but the staff of the bus companies will explain what to do and how to get the entry stamp. If you have an Italian passport you can take advantage of the visa waiver if you plan to stay in Vietnam less than 15 days but remember that you must show an exit flight ticket from the country.
If you plan to stay longer in Vietnam you need a tourist visa, know that this border point does not issue Visa On Arrival so you will already need to be in possession of a visa previously requested at the Vietnam Embassy in Phnom Penh or at some other Vietnamese consulate in other nations.
I suggest you always pay attention to the staff of the transport company or fellow travelers from your bus so as not to get lost. The bus normally has a stop just before the Vietnamese border. This will be your last chance to spend Cambodian Riels.
If you are traveling by bus from one city to another in Vietnam, you should remember that the timetable does not include the names of the cities. Instead, the name of the bus stop in the city is indicated. In no bus schedule will you see Saigon, or Ho Chi Minh City, as the city is now called, but instead many times you will come across the name “Myen Dong”.
Flight From Phnom Penh to Ho Chi Minh City
The easiest way to get to Saigon is by plane. The city’s airport is called Tan Son Nhat and is one of the main hubs of air traffic in Vietnam. Whether you’re flying in from another country or are already in Vietnam, there are plenty of flights arriving at this airport.
Domestic flights are mainly operated by Vietnamese and other Southeast Asian airlines. These are, for example, VietJet Air, Vietnam Airlines and Jetstar Pacific. However, you can also travel from Europe with the help of airlines established in the West.
The airport is located about seven kilometers from the center of Saigon in the northwest. If you rent a car on site and go to Saigon, you will be on the road for about 20 minutes. However, depending on the intensity of the movement, it may take longer; During rush hour, you should count on hourly travel time.
If you want to get to Saigon by public transport, it is best to use the regular bus. They depart from the bus stop in front of the international terminal every 20-30 minutes and take you to the Pham Ngu Lao area.
It is in this part of Saigon that most of the backpackers who come to Saigon settle. Plus, the trip only costs around €1.50, so you won’t find a cheaper way to get to the city quickly. Only line 152 is a bit cheaper and costs less than one euro, but the bus is also quite old and extremely slow.
Alternatively, you can take a taxi to the city centre. The price is around five to seven euros, depending on the exchange rate. However, be careful, there are a lot of scammers at the airport.
Many of them offer to take you to Saigon supposedly at a lower price, but in fact they charge much more than usual in Vietnam. Therefore, it is best to ignore drivers who are trying to impose themselves on you. If you’re not sure, you can certainly take advantage of the Uber app.
If you are already in Vietnam, you can of course get to Saigon by train. Ga Sai Gon Railway Station is located at Nguyen Thong District 3. However, if you are going to Saigon on weekends, you should buy a ticket for the trip a little in advance, as many other people use the trains at this time. In this case, the train can be very crowded, and sometimes the trains are even crowded.