We decided to take the bus from Ho Chi Minh City to Phnom Penh. It’s super easy to do and I’ll give you this simple guide to follow.
After speaking with a bunch of expats in HCMC, it was determined that Giant Ibis bus company is the best to go with. Naturally, it’s also the most expensive. You can find prices around 210,000vnd… we paid 378,000vnd each to ride with Giant Ibis. Was it worth the extra money? Probably not but I haven’t taken other companies so it might be.
Other big companies are Kumho and Mekong Express. But for now I’ll just tell you about Giant Ibis.
Their office in at 237 Pham Ngu Lao st in district 1 in the backpacker area or you can book the bus online.
The bus leaves at 8:30am everyday. That’s it. One bus. They ask you to be at the office at 8am, I think we boarded the bus at 8:15am and we’re gone by 8:25am.
We had an English speaking guide which made things easy. He gives out bottled water and snacks. They also have coffee if you’d like. Along with movies playing on the TV and free WiFi, it’s easy enough to stay entertained. Actually the best part was the bus had outlets to charge devices!
You give your passport to the guide on the bus. This is standard with any of the busses.
If you need Visa on Arrival, just tell your guide, and he’ll give you paperwork to fill out. Give him the paperwork back and $35usd.
First you stop at the Vietnam boarder to get your exit stamp. This takes much longer than is necessary. Took us around 30minutes but I’ve heard horror stories of it taking over an hour. There’s toilets there and a bar in case you want to get wasted… They also have money changers… don’t bother. Cambodians take any form of currency you want to pay with. Their main currency preferred is USD and it’s all I’ve used.
Once you get your exit stamp, your guide will call your name and give you your passport back.
We stopped for lunch in between the borders. Meals here are roughly $3 each.
Then on to the Cambodian boarder. They check your paperwork, fingerprint you and send you through with a shiny new 30 day visa. They’ll stop you and point a white x-ray like gun at you. This is a “health check” and sometimes they try to charge you. Just say you’ll pay if they provide a receipt and they’ll let you go. If you’re with a big group like we were, they usually don’t ask.
We did have friends that crossed on their own. They were asked to pay for it. I suggest bringing exact change for your Visa to avoid being overcharged. Then just act like you don’t have any money until you can get to an ATM.
3ish hours to Phnom Penh and you’ll be dropped off on the north end of the night market at the river front.
Our trip took 7.5 hours. They will tell you it’s 6 hours but expats will happily assure you it’s usually closer to 8 hours with border wait times.
Cheers! Safe Travels!