Ho Chi Minh City to Phnom Penh
Vietnam's largest city is a huge metropolis of about 12 million people, a city and growing rapidly. Despite this, the heart of the city is still full of beautiful streets and buildings, including theaters and cathedrals that date back to the colonial period. After spending some time in this bustling city, you might want to head to another Asian gem that also features French colonial architecture.
The capital and largest city of Cambodia, Phnom Penh has beautiful architecture, temples and palaces, and is only a short drive from Siem Reap, the impressive gateway of Angkor Wat. If you are planning to visit these two cities, read our guide for the best way to travel from Ho Chi Minh City to Phnom Penh.
Travel options from Ho Chi Minh City to Phnom Penh
The straight line distance from Ho Chi Minh City to Phnom Penh is about 230 kilometers (144 miles), which is not much. However, the roads in this part of the world are not particularly good, so the trip will take longer than you might expect.
You will also need to take into account that you will be entering Cambodia from Vietnam, so allow some time for the border crossing. Buses and minibuses depart daily from Ho Chi Minh City to Phnom Penh, and there are always many different services to choose from. By far the cheapest way to get there, the bus, however, takes a long time. The alternative is much faster, but much more expensive, and that is traveling by plane.
From Ho Chi Minh City to Phnom Penh by bus
There are four main travel companies that provide frequent flights to Phnom Penh: Giant Ibis Transport, Mekong Express, SinhTourist, and Kumho Samco. Of these, Giant Ibis Transport is often considered the best in terms of safety and service, and you can pay a few extra dollars for that good idea.
There is at least one flight per day that will depart in the morning, arriving in Phnom Penh 6 hours later. At busier times of the year, an afternoon flight is often added. Service on the large buses they use to serve passengers going from Ho Chi Minh City to Phnom Penh includes wifi, drinks, and snacks.
SinhTourist is another operator that has day trips - during the busier periods they have four during the day, the first departing early in the morning and the last in the middle of the day. The buses are comparable to those used by Ibis, but there is no wifi, however, they have the added bonus of toilets and televisions.
Mekong Express runs express buses with stewards and snacks on board, departing three times a day from Ho Chi Minh City, while Kumho Samco has morning flights of about 8 hours, and they tend to be the least expensive. Their buses have VIP sleeper seats, so you'll have more room than on other buses, and you can recline to enjoy the scenery. Even though the buses are sleeper buses, there is no overnight service; after all, most flights leave in the morning.
From Ho Chi Minh City to Phnom Penh by minibus
If you like bus availability but prefer to travel a little more comfortably, you might consider taking a minivan from Ho Chi Minh City to Phnom Penh. Mekong Express, in addition to their bus service, offers a couple of minivans each day, and the seat only costs a few dollars more than the bus. You may argue that there is less space and less service on a minivan, but these buses are often preferable for people traveling as a family or in a group. Such travel gives an extra level of privacy not possible on a bus.
Flight from Ho Chi Minh City to Phnom Penh
The last option for traveling from Ho Chi Minh City to Phnom Penh is to fly. Flying can save you a day of travel on the highway and save you from the cramped conditions of a bus or minivan. But it is not without its disadvantages. First of all, the price: at least five times more expensive than the bus.
That being said, airline tickets are great if you're not traveling on a tight budget and want to get from A to B in the shortest amount of time-it's only a 45-minute flight.
There are four different airlines you can choose from, so look for the best deals on ticket prices. The airlines are Qatar Airways, Vietnam Airlines, Vietjet Air, and Cambodia Angkor Air.
In Ho Chi Minh City, Tan Sonnyat International Airport is located north of the city center, while in Phnom Penh the International Airport is located 10 kilometers from the city. Both are leading airports, so there will always be easy ways to get to and from the city itself.
When planning your flight from Ho Chi Minh City to Phnom Penh, don't forget to add the time it takes to get to and from the airport at either end, and the wait time at the airport once you have checked in and gone through security.
Even with that time, you should still save a few hours, but you'll need to consider whether the actual time savings are worth the large additional cost. Also remember that when you fly, you can't see the scenery properly.
By bus, you will travel along the Mekong River and see interesting places that you might have missed if you had taken a plane. For this reason, and with the cost savings, we would say that the bus from Ho Chi Minh City to Phnom Penh is the best way to travel!