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Express Bus Travel (Yet Again)

Devon
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4 posts
59 reviews
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Express Bus Travel (Yet Again)

I apologise for bringing this up again but I am getting a wee bit concerned with the variation of answers in respect of Bus Travel within Cambodia.

We will be 4 x 60 year old somethings hoping to do a Cambodia/Vietnam trip next March.

Our itinerary is Ho Chi Minh City, Express Bus to Phnom Penh, Express Bus to Siem Reap, then fly to Da Nang and Overnight Train back to HCMC.

The 2 bus transfers are causing me to re-think in favour of a possible flight which would be a great shame as we would miss the countryside/people. However it appears that there is no preferred Bus Company and the whole trip is beset with scams and broken promises.We have changed the P.P. to S.R. section from the Speedboat to a Bus as our ladies were not happy with the possible over crowding,the safety concerns and lack of life saving equipment, now I find that the bus isn`t too bright either. I would greatly appreciate any comments which would help us make a safe decision.

Many thanks. John

Port Elizabeth
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1. Re: Express Bus Travel (Yet Again)

I would fly. When you are in Siem Reap, it is very easy to get out into the countryside. You can cycle, take a Tuk-tuk or an air-conditioned taxi or, even, take a bus to Battambang for the (long) day.

Torre del Mar, Spain
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2. Re: Express Bus Travel (Yet Again)

I did the bus trips earlier this year and my advice is to fly.

I did not come across any scams with the buses other than the luxury night bus from Siem Reap turned out to be something from a museum. The buses are generally uncomfortable and the scenery boring.

Don't forget you will need visas for Vietnam. Cambodia you can get on arrival. Take some passport sized photos along.

US dollars are the preferred currency for both countries. Do read about the milk scam in Siem Reap.

Phume Phnom...
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3. Re: Express Bus Travel (Yet Again)

Hello Devon John,

I am a very regular and frequent bus traveller both for cross/through border trips between Saigon/HCMC and Phnom Penh and within Cambodia. As such, I have not the slightest hesitation in advising you that provided you use either one or the other of Giant Ibis or CAT Mekong Express bus companies you will have no reasons for concern at all.

Both these companies have pro and con but for yourselves I would recommend Giant Ibis with its newer busses but less frequent services for SGN/HCMC to Phnom Penh and also PP to Siem Reap.

CAT Mekong Express, the original long distance bus company in Cambodia and for cross/through border travel with Vietnam, offers more frequent services throughout the day on both sectors but has only recently started to replace/upgrade its older fleet of buses. As such, on some days you may get an older vehicle. Nonetheless, I am a very frequent user of CAT Mekong Express as it offers me more flexibility in my travels than does Giant Ibis and has far more seats available on any given day for the sectors it operates over than does Giant Ibis so far easier to get tickets for at short notice in most cases.

So, please, if you wish to see the country and life of Cambodia, which is radically different to that of Vietnam, then please do not hesitate to use one or other of the two bus companies mentioned above.

However, given that you are in SE Asia, please be aware that toilet facilities en route at the various stopping points are best described as primitive and you should provide/carry your own toilet tissue. CAT Mekong Express has the advantage of having a toilet on board nearly all of its buses.

Under no circumstances take a night time bus.

And be very specific at the time of ticketing as to which bus company you wish to use and do not settle for anything else or be fobbed off on to another bus company buy the ticketing person if not doing this your selves with the selected company. Both these companies provide good commentary throughout the trip in English and Khmer.

best regards. Ian

Adelaide
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4. Re: Express Bus Travel (Yet Again)

And although you didn't ask. I'd seriously reconsider catching the train from Danang back to HCMC. This is an interminably long trip, on very primitive equipment. Toilets become unusable long before the train even reaches Danang, and stay that way right through to HCMC. Far better, and almost as cheap, to fly that leg too. I'm rapidly approaching 60, and at my age I wouldn't use a train for this leg.

Just use the search function in the Vietnam forums for more info and first hand accounts of this train. Trains in Vietnam are nothing like what you are accustomed to in the UK or Europe.

Devon
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5. Re: Express Bus Travel (Yet Again)

Hi.

To Lamlee, Kaneda,Angkorlad and Westendgaz I send my sincere thanks for your replies.

I think that there is enough contradiction for me to put it back to the vote with my companions.

I am fairly sure that the ladies will take up the fly option although I am still of the opinion that you do not see much of the country or the people from 30,000 feet up.

Maybe we fly the ladies and Andy & I take the bus. We will see how it goes but your advice is invaluable and I will post how we get on.

Thank you all once again.

John

Phnom Penh, Cambodia
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6. Re: Express Bus Travel (Yet Again)

Agreed that Mekong Express for PP-HCMC and Giant Ibis for PP-SR are totally fine, and nothing to be afraid of. The only real reason to fly is if you have time constraints, as both trips are 6+ hours.

Devon
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7. Re: Express Bus Travel (Yet Again)

Many thanks for your reply, MovetoCambodia, I appreciate everyone taking the time .

It looks like we will be taking the bus HCMC to PP and PP to SR but we have decided to fly from Danang to HCMC. It is only 1hr 15min as opposed to overnight arriving at 04:30 and then waiting to book in to the Hotel.

For $65 plus Taxes we have decided that the plane is best.

I will still let you all know how we got on.

Many thanks

John

Phume Phnom...
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8. Re: Express Bus Travel (Yet Again)

Cambodia and Vietnam are so very different.

Taking a flight DAD to SGN/HCM is a very sensible thing to do.

The moment you cross the border in to Cambodia you will notice the contrast between the two countries and what a low density country KH is relative to VN.

Best regards. Ian

9. Re: Express Bus Travel (Yet Again)

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