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Bus from Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon, Vietnam) to Phnom Penh. Is it safe?

Posted By : Threeland Travel / Getting around Vietnam & Indochina

As the matter of fact, there is no passenger train from Ho Chi Minh City (aka Sai Gon) in Vietnam to Phnom Penh in Cambodia, many travelers opt for taking a bus as the cheapest mean and also to contemplate the views of two countries on the long way of 280km. In this blog, Threeland Travel will guide you in detail on how to cross from Saigon to Phnom Penh, what to prepare for the requirements at the border checkpoints.

Note: Just so you know, for those who prefer an express mean than a bus, direct flights between Ho Chi Minh City and Phnom Penh are good to opt for. 

How long does it take to travel from Saigon to Phnom Penh by bus?

Travel by bus from Saigon to Phnom Penh takes around 6 hours or more depending on the bus companies, the traffic condition, and the border between Vietnam and Cambodia. There is a stop-over point on the way from Saigon to Phnom Penh. You have 20 minutes to rest and buy something to eat and drink. There is also a money-changer here in the cafeteria. 

Which is the best bus to take from Saigon to Phnom Penh? Conditions of buses?

There are many bus companies for you, just make sure to get a reliable one. Here are our suggestions:

Giant Ibis Bus to Phnom Penh from Ho Chi Minh

-    Giant Ibis bus: good reviews, comfortable berth beds, having toilet, and free bottled water, moist tissues, and snack food. Print your e-ticket and show up at the bus at least 30 minutes before departure.
-    Mekong Express bus: regular seats, having toilet, free snack and bottled water. Print your e-ticket and show up at the bus at least 60 minutes before departure.
-    Kumho Samco bus: mostly preferred and popular by the locals. Print your e-ticket and show up at the bus at least 30 minutes before departure. It’s cheaper than Mekong Express and Giant Ibis.

Bus ticket prices range from $11-18$/pax. In general, the buses going to Phnom Penh City in Cambodia from Saigon in Vietnam are all clean, air-conditioned and comfortable with armrest seats or berth beds.

Most bus companies in Saigon have their ticket offices in Pham Ngu Lao Street where you can buy your tickets from Saigon to Phnom Penh. The bus terminal is also at the western end of Pham Ngu Lao Street where you board on the bus. 

Tip note: Ideally, you should book and buy e-tickets from Saigon to Phnom Penh in advance (E.g: on Your e-tickets will be sent via email, ready to print, or download on your mobile phone/tablets to present them before boarding on the bus in Saigon. 

Limousine from Saigon to Phnom Penh

Limousine from Saigon to Phnom Penh

For a more comfortable option, you may consider taking a luxury limousine/minivan from Saigon to Phnom Penh at costs only around $15-20. Contact Threeland Travel at [email protected] or chat What's App via +84342620068 or call +842439262056 to book a limousine/minivan seat.

Road condition update from Saigon (Ho Chi Minh city) To Phnom Penh

From Saigon to Phnom Penh, the overall condition of the highways on this route is well-paved and bus ride is smooth. Highway 22 connects Saigon and Mocbai border gate between Vietnam and Cambodia is overloaded for some time due to the increasing demand in traffic.

However, in the next few years, there will be an expressway running from HCMC to the Moc Bai border gate in Tay Ninh Province with more lanes. The expressway will surely shorten your travel time from HCMC to the international border gate Mocbai.

Bridge crossing Mekong River from Saigon to Phnom Penh

Bridge crossing Mekong River from Saigon to Phnom Penh

Ferries to cross Mekong River

Ferries to cross Mekong River, in the past

The sceneries along the road are mainly flat plains with mountains. In the past, before the bridge crossing the Mekong River was built, all vehicles have to get on the ferry to cross the river. It’s a bit more cultural and rustic in experience. However, the bridge now makes your move faster without waiting time. 

What to prepare for crossing from Saigon to Phnom Penh

Moc Bai Border Gate
 Mocbai border gate in Vietnam

Before boarding on the bus from Saigon, make sure you have all these documents with you:

-    Your passport valid for at least 6 months.
-    Visa to Cambodia, unless you are exempted. 
-    You can apply for e-visa beforehand by yourself or ask for a travel/visa agency in Vietnam. Remember to carefully check for a reliable and reputable agency in Vietnam. 
-    While you are on the bus, the bus steward will collect the passports of passengers to give all the passports to the Vietnamese immigration officer at the passport checkpoint when the bus reaches the border exit gate in Mocbai. The purpose is to save time and effort. It’s more efficient than the passengers presenting their passports individually. No worry, your passport will be returned to you after it’s handed to the bus steward by the immigration officer at Vietnam border gate. 

However, if you yet have your Cambodia visa or visa letter, you need to inform the bus steward. You have to get a visa-on-arrival at Mocbai border passport checkpoint. Or you may ask the bus steward to help you out to grab a visa-on-arrival. And sure, usually US$5 at least for his service. 

Tip note: 
-    If you have to get a visa-on-arrival and it may take some time, make sure that you tell the bus steward to wait for you. 
-    Be sure to not get on the wrong bus after finishing all your procedures at the border points. This is due to there are many buses parking near the exit door that look alike your bus. Then it’s smart to take note or remember the plate number of your bus.

Still, we highly recommend you apply for a Cambodia visa/e-visa beforehand. Threeland Travel is a reliable company with offices in Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar. Threeland operators can instantly support you to arrange for bus and visa alike.

Read more:

Phnom Penh Guides: Awesome Restaurants for Vegan and Vegetarian

Weather in Cambodia by month and How to travel properly?

Explore the Nightlife by Visiting These Places On Your Vietnam Cambodia Tour