When you want to travel from Ho Chi Minh to Phnom Penh, you have 2 options: you can cross the border overland by bus, or take a flight. A bus ride takes about 6 hours and costs around $12. Flying takes only 1 hour, but remember you will lose a lot of time to travel from/to the airport and have to be there 2 hours earlier!
Taking the bus is also a lot more sustainable for the environment. Taking the bus vs flying is often ten times less polluting than taking a flight on short distances like this.
Another advantage of taking the bus from Ho Chi Minh to Phnom Penh is the experience of course. Crossing the border overland makes you more aware that you are travelling to a new country. This is when the new chapter of your trip starts.
Continue reading for a more detailed description of your options to travel to Phnom Penh.
A cross-border trip offers a new travel experience. Why not have at least one in your itinerary? This route from Ho Chi Minh to Phnom Penh is one of the more popular ones and is also pretty straightforward.
Some popular bus companies that operate this route include Mekong Express and Giant Ibis Transport, Sinh Tourist. If you prefer a cheaper option you can also opt for Sorya bus. Their tickets cost only $12 and include pick-up if you are staying in District 1 in Ho Chi Minh.
The journey takes about 6 hours. See here an overview of the preferred bus companies:
Departs from the Sorya Bus Station along Phạm Ngũ Lão Street (backpacker street) in the city center, or free pick-up in district 1
Arrives at the Sorya theater, close to the railway in the city center
Departs from Kumho Samco Bus Station along Phạm Ngũ Lão Street, near Elois Hotel in the city center
Arrives at Preah Sihanouk Boulevard, near Canadia Bank in the city center
The Sinh Tourist
Departs from the Sinh Tourist office along Đường Đề Thám Street in the city center
Arrives along House 315 & 307, Preah Sihanouk Blvd. in the city center
Departs from the Mekong Express Limousine Bus Station along Phạm Ngũ Lão Street in the city center
Arrives at the Mekong Express Limousine Bus Station near Chroy Changvar II Bridge in the city center
Giant Ibis Transport
Departs from the Giant Ibis Bus Station, along Phạm Ngũ Lão Street in the city center
Arrives at Giant Ibis Bus Terminal near Sisowath Quay in the city center
Sapaco Limousine Bus
Some bus companies also operate vans through this route. While these can be quite uncomfortable, the one from Sapaco will be a totally different experience. This Limousine Bus offers a luxurious van trip for 420.000 VND ($18).
In our opinion, it’s worth spending a few extra bucks!
Vans leave at 6:00, 6:30 and 7:00 in the morning. There is also one afternoon trip leaving at 14:30.
Immigration Stop and Bathroom Breaks
There are 5 immigration points along the Vietnam-Cambodia border, but most buses pass through the Bavet/Moc Bai Border.
This entry point sells a visa on arrival for travellers who need a visa to enter Cambodia. Usually, the bus personnel will assist their passengers with the entry process. If not, you have to line up on your own. It’s not a very organized process, but you’ll make it through.
Most buses don’t stop for bathroom breaks before you reach the border. The first stop will likely be after you have just crossed the border. Here, you can also order a meal or buy some snacks with your last Vietnamese Dongs.
Tip: Always keep a lookout for the bus personnel or fellow travellers from your bus so you don’t get lost.
Many people book a flight when traveling to another country. The advantage is that the flight only takes 1 hour and that both airports are located within the city.
However, if you include the time you need to travel to/from the airport and the extra 2 hours you need to be there in advance, it will take more or less the same time as the bus.
If you still want to take a flight, you can book one from 1,370,000 VND ($59) but get more expensive closer to the travel date. Cambodia Angkor Air, Vietnam Airlines and Qatar Airways offer few trips daily.
Sla Boutique hostel is located just around the corner from the Royal Palace and there are many street food stalls nearby. The staff are very helpful and willing to arrange joint rides for guests to S21 or the Killing Fields. In the dorms, curtains and lockers are provided for extra privacy.
Located along the lively riverside area, you’ll ﬁnd plenty of restaurants, bars, and street food options around Onederz Hostel. The clean and comfortable rooms are perfect to get a rest, while the rooftop bar invites you to enjoy a cold beer and socialize with other guests!
As the name reveals, TAO Riverside Residence is located along the river and sits just 500m away from the Royal Palace. The Residence offers modern, riverfront accommodations. These spacious apartments include kitchenettes, super comfortable beds and excellent Wiﬁ connection. (Hint: Perfect time to upload all the pictures from your trip!)