Nowaday in Vietnam the bus system has been covered almost every part of the country, and this is the cheapest and most convenient means of transportation for foreign travellers. If you are traveling in Vietnam I recommend you should try and experience the thrill impression of traveling by bus.
The interprovincial buses
In Vietnam, each province has its own bus stations, especially in big cities such as: Ho Chi Minh City (Mien Tay Bus station, Mien Dong Bus station); Hanoi (Gia Lam Bus station, My Dinh Bus station, Giap Bat Bus station – read The bus stations in Hanoi); Hai Phong city (Lac Long Quan Bus station, Tam Bac Bus station, Niem Nghia Bus station, Cau Rao Bus station – Read The bus stations in Hai Phong); Da Nang city (Da Nang Bus station); Hue (The South Bus station, The North Bus station, Dong Ba Bus station, Nguyen Hoang Bus station – Read Travel by BUS in Ho Chi Minh city) you can find buses going to every tourism destination as well as other province in Vietnam. To use bus for travelling, you have to buy tickets from registered ticket booths with your routes. Normally, there is no limitation for the size of baggage but you maybe asked fee if oversized.
The price depends on each route (depend on the distance) and type of seats chosen (chair or chair-bed). I recommend you should ask your travel agencies, your hotels to purchase ticket. The popular payment method for bus ticket is cash, internet booking bus ticket is not very popular (except a few big enterprise as Mai Linh, Hoang Long). You can use small routes to get your destinations if there is no direct route, that mean you should go to the big cities as Hanoi, Hai Phong city, Hue, Da Nang city, Ho Chi Minh city and then change the bus routes here.
The local buses
In some major tourism destinations as Hanoi, Hai Phong city, Da Nang city, Ho Chi Minh City… there is public bus system for people both local and foreigners. Those system covers almost streets in cities (the buses may belong Goverment or private). Passengers can catch bus at bus stops (must Hanoi) and scattering around streets and the ticke will be sell directly from the conductor on the bus. Almost the tickets are very cheap (in Hanoi around VND 5000), but there are some inconvenience as: low service, you can not get the support by English from conductor, normally the number of passengers more than seats so sometime have to stand instead of sit, the bus may not have air conditioner. However, travel by bus is one interesting way to understand and make friends with local people.
Tips for travel by BUS
- Only buy tickets from registered booths in bus station. These are name of bus enterprises: Hoang Long, Mai Linh, … Do not catch the bus along the way for your own safety reasons (may be that bus take for long time than others cause it collects enough passengers).
- The ticket price is the same for everyone but you must ask the price before hopping on or you may be overcharged
- Cause driver may not speak English, so write your questions and destinations on a piece of paper, this is the best way to make the communication with bus driver.
- Ask what ever you need help and confused about something.
- Always keep a keen eye on your luggage and wallet, especially if using public and local bus.