The Complete Guide to Booking Buses in Vietnam
Traveling by bus in Vietnam, as overwhelming as it may seem, is an easy and cheap mode of transport, especially in a country like Vietnam which is an established backpackers destination. Even with the advent of a number of low-cost airlines, riding a bus is still considered to be the ideal and most popular way to cover ground between places in this country.
Surprisingly, the bus system in Vietnam, both modern as well as local, is quite extensive and extends to all its corners. Moreover, bus travel in Vietnam is affordable and just about perfect for a foreigner intending to visit the country’s far-flung places. Having said that, it requires nerves of steel to getting to grips with traveling by bus in Vietnam.
This quick and simple guide should have you on board in no time and soon speed you on your way to your next Vietnamese destination.
Related reading: North or South Vietnam for a Two Week Vacation?
Why Travel by Bus in Vietnam?
Traveling in Vietnam by bus is popular both with locals and foreigners as it is one of the cheapest mode of transport available in the country. Moreover, the bus routes are well developed and allow travellers to access the most remotest places which otherwise cannot be traversed by train or air.
Types of Buses in Vietnam
Choosing the type of bus for your transfer from one place to another in Vietnam will only determine from where to book seats for them. For traveling within the city, local buses are the best option, in spite of them being overcrowded and uncomfortable.
Tickets for these buses can only be bought once you board the vehicle, usually from the bus conductor who spells out the fare. This could be a daunting task for a foreigner, as English is rarely spoken, and one ends being charged extra. Still, the cost is so low(under 1 USD) that the traveler rarely feels the pinch. In short, use local buses only if you have to.
Deluxe or Interprovincial Buses
These high-end buses have all the trappings of comfortable and spacious vehicle, complete with WiFi, air conditioning, sleeper seats, reclining seats, TV and even toilets. These buses ply on important tourist destinations and every major city in Vietnam has a terminal for them.
A number of reputed operators like, Ma Linh Express and Hoang Long run these services across the country. Tickets can be booked directly from the company website or from other online agencies, which allow you to compare rates from different operators on one portal.
A standard AC seat on Hoang Long service, between Hanoi and Hue would cost about 20 USD. If you book a week in advance, then the fares are around 10% less.
For long-distance travel, it is recommended to go by Vietnam sleeper buses. These have limited seats, more space and one can actually catch a nap on them, something you can’t do on regular deluxe buses. Prices are affordable, plus you save on a night’s stay in a hotel by choosing to travel overnight.
One can easily book the seat of his or her choice from an online booking site which we’ll discuss later. A sleeper ticket from Hanoi to Hue would cost about 15 USD, which is half of a second class AC seating ticket.
Open Tour Bus
These Vietnam buses are comfortable and air-conditioned and extremely popular with backpackers as your Open ticket, as the name suggests, allows you to break the journey at any point along the route.
The only drawback is that the more journeys you break, the more expensive the ticket becomes. Open bus tickets are not economical but are flexible in case you need to change travel plans midway. The Sinh Tourist is a good option. A ticket from Da Lat to Nha Trang costs just 119,000 VND.
The Best Way to Book Your Vietnam Bus Travel
There are three ways for booking Vietnam bus tickets:
- On the bus (local buses only)
- At the bus stations
- An on the ground travel agency
- Online booking sites (our recommended option)
One will come across many different agencies offering to sell bus tickets online in Vietnam, but their reliability is a source of concern. Therefore it is important to book through a reliable and responsible agency, especially when you are visiting the Vietnam for the first time. You can use your computer or smartphone to book bus/train tickets from Bookaway Vietnam.
When you book your Vietnam bus ticket, you can choose the seat you want (seats in the middle of the bus are the most comfortable). There will be many other sites available, but most of them are resellers and charge much more.
Popular Vietnam Bus Routes
The bus network in Vietnam is huge and getting to know the best routes is not an easy task especially for visitors. With the advent of the internet, it has now become possible and easy to get the relevant information about any Vietnam bus trip. Some of the most popular bus routes in Vietnam are as follows:
From Can Tho to:
- Ha Tien
- Ho Chi Minh
- Long Xuyen
- Phu Quoc
From Ha Tien to:
- Ho Chi Minh
- Long Xuyen
- Phu Quoc
From Ho Chi Minh to:
- Phu Quoc
- Long Xuyen
Tips for Traveling by Bus in Vietnam
To make your Vietnam bus travel easy, follow these simple guidelines:
- Purchase Vietnam bus tickets only from the registered booths and never from the middlemen
- Even better to book your Vietnam bus tickets from our already recommended website
- Keep an eye on your belongings at bus stations. Never leave them unattended
- Keep your valuables with you when on the bus
- Always board the bus from the terminal and not by waving one down on the road
- Buses stop enroute for meals, so if you cannot eat the local food, carry some of your choice
- Make sure to carry some cash or a credit card in case of an emergency
- If taking a bus overnight, pack an eye mask and earplugs to help aid sleep
- Download a language translating app on your phone to easier communicate with the Vietnamese bus staff and drivers
Is Bus Travel Safe in Vietnam?
Most of the major cities and we’ll established routes are safe for bus travel, provided you do not wander away from these areas. All in all, Vietnam is a safe country to travel in and reports of robberies and rape are rare as the police keep a tight grip on the social law and order front.
Vietnam is a changed travel destination these days, and though daunting as it may seem to the first-timer, bus travel in Vietnam is no longer a hassle. Just remember to carry a piece of paper with your destination written on it as many persons in the smaller towns may not understand English.