Toby Keps

Travelled to 12 countries / regions

Written 42 briefs
Traveled by bus from Phnom Penh to HCMC in 2020



Asia > Cambodia > Phnom Penh > Useful Info
Updated on Feb 20, 2020 Useful Info

How to get to Phnom Penh from Ho Chi Minh City and vice versa

  • Phnom Penh is situated about 200km northwest of Ho Chi Minh City. The two cities aren't that far apart but because they're in different countries travelling between them takes some planning
  • There are only two ways to get Phnom Penh from Ho Chi Minh City and vice versa: 1) by flight and 2) by bus. Of these two, my recommendation is to fly because it's fast and you don't have to deal with land border crossing; but for visitors with lots of time and little budget, coach bus is a much better option. Below are more details

  • Option 1) By Flight
  • This is the easiest and quickest way to travel between these two cities, and by far the most common way to travel for tourists
  • Flight time is 1 hour
  • Fare is about $70-$80 one way, and double that for return (I don't seem to find any fares that have roundtrip discounts)
  • Flights are primarily operated by Cambodia Angkor Air, which is the main airline of Cambodia, as well as Vietnam Airlines and Qatar Airways. Here's their current schedules
  • Cambodia Angkor Air: this is the cheapest airline but also rated 2.5/5 on Tripadvisor
  • HCMC to Phnom Penh: 8:25am, 12:00pm (noon), 6:30pm
  • Phnom Penh to HCMC: 6:45am, 5:45pm, 9:05pm
  • Vietnam Airlines: about $30 more expensive each way than Angkor Air, but rated much better at 4/5 on Tripadvisor
  • HCMC to Phnom Penh: 3:55pm
  • Phnom Penh to HCMC: 2:15pm
  • Qatar Airways: about $40 more expensive each way than Angkor Air, but also rated much better at 4/5 on Tripadvisor
  • HCMC to Phnom Penh: 2:55pm
  • Phnom Penh to HCMC: 5:15pm
  • The main advantage of flying Qatar Airways is the aircraft used. This is actually a flight that travels mainly between Doha and Ho Chi Minh City (the leg between HCMC and PP is just a connecting segment to pickup/drop off Cambodian passengers going to Doha), so the aircraft used is a twin-aisle Boeing 777 used for long haul flights. Which means the seats are much better than Angkor Air and Vietnam Airlines (both use regional jets for this flight), and you get full seat back entertainment system and power plugs, neither of which are available on Angkor and Vietnam airlines. Additionally, if you're feeling like shelling out for a business class, this flight will actually have lie-flat business class seats. Of course, given the short flight time of just 1 hour, you won't get to enjoy any of these amenities all that much, so you're going to have to decide if the additional $40USD is worth it
  • You can use websites like Skyscanner to look at the current flight schedule and prices of all these options

  • Option 2) By Coach Bus
  • A much cheaper way than flying is to take a bus from HCMC to Phnom Penh. This is much more popular with locals as well as budget travelers. The downside is that this will take pretty much the entire day to travelUser submitted photo of Phnom Penh
  • Cost: just $10-$18USD per person each way depending on bus company and departure time
  • Travel time: 6-7 hours depending on traffic condition in HCMC. Most of these buses buses are not overnight buses, because it involves a border crossing that's closed in after business hours
  • Schedule:
  • HCMC to Phnom Penh: over 20 buses a day departing from 4am to 4pm
  • Phnom Penh to HCMC: over 30 buses a day departing between 1am and 4pm
  • You can find the current schedule on the bus companies' websites as well as bus ticket booking websites for Vietnam/Cambodia. You'll find both information below
  • Bus companies: here are all the major bus companies operating on this route, ordered by their ratings from various websites
  • Giant Ibis: website, Tripadvisor (rated 4/5)
  • Kumho Samco: no website, Tripadvisor (3/5)
  • Khai Nam: no website, Google review (3/5)
  • Mekong Express: website, rated 3/5 on Tripadvisor
  • Phnom Penh Sorya: website, Tripadvisor (rated 2.5/5)
  • Fami Express: Facebook, rated 2.3/5
  • Virak Buntham Express: website, Tripadvisor (rated 2/5)
  • How to buy tickets: I used a website called BookMeBus that's got the largest number of buses companies on its platform for Vietnam and Cambodia. The website is pretty easy to use; you can use it to check the bus schedule as well as making your booking by credit card. Another good website you can use is 12Go, which doesn't have as many buses as BookMeBus but it has Giant Ibis, which is the best bus operator on this route (although you can just book direct through Giant Ibis' own website)
  • Border crossing:
  • The buses will be using this border crossing, located in the town of Moc Bai on Vietnamese side and Bavet on the Cambodian side
  • It takes about 3 hours to get to this border crossing from HCMC as well as Phnom Penh
  • This border is open between 8am and 8pm everyday, but when taking the coah bus you don't have to worry about these hours because the buses are timed to cross it while it's open
  • Both Cambodia and Vietnam require tourist visa for most nationalities outside of Southeast Asia (visa policy for Cambodia, Vietnam)
  • From HCMC to Phnom Penh: you can get the Cambodian visa on arrival at this border if your nationality qualifies for it. Alternatively, you can also get an e-Visa for Cambodia that gets emailed you to to print out after an online application. The e-Visa is accepted at this border. Read here for more details
  • From Phnom Penh to HCMC: for Vietnamese visa, you'll need to get the e-Visa if you want to use this land border to get into the country. While Vietnam offers visa on arrival to many nationalities, the emailed/printed approval letter can only be used at airports. At land borders like Moc Bai, they require the original letter, not the emailed/printed one. So practically speaking this is not feasible, meaning you should get the e-Visa if you want to use land border to get into Vietnam. How to get e-Visa to Vietnam