A tuk tuk, a minibus and two flights eventually got us from Otres beach, Cambodia to Hanoi, Vietnam. After spending a month on Otres Beach, our next stop was Vietnam. We started off our three-month stay in Vietnam with six weeks in Hanoi, which including a month-long house sit.
1st Leg: Tuk tuk – Otres Beach to Sihanoukville
Duration of trip: 25 minutes
Cost of tickets: $6 for the trip
Where to buy tickets: Organised by the great manager at Golden River Bungalow, where we stayed while in Otres Beach 2.
Trip Details: Apart from it being early (6:30 am pickup), the trip was uneventful.
2nd Leg: Bus – Sihanoukville to Phnom Penh
Duration of trip: 4 hours
Cost of tickets: $12 each
Where to buy tickets: We chose the Giant Ibis bus company as we had heard the best things about them. You can book tickets at the Giant Ibis bus station in Sihanoukville, at various agents around town or on the Giant Ibis website, which we did (you will pay an extra $1 each for a booking fee).
Trip Details: The Giant Ibis buses are more like large minibuses seating approximately 20 people at full capacity. It will depend on the driver, but we had a crazy driver who was very keen to get to Phnom Penh as quickly as possible, but it is one of the joys of travelling in Southeast Asia. Don’t book the backseats like we did or you will having one super jumpy 4-hour trip.
We did manage to get to Phnom Penh in 4 hours, 30 minutes earlier than our scheduled time. The driver also dropped us at the airport saving us a tuk-tuk trip.
3rd Leg: Plane – Phnom Penh to Ho Chi Minh City
Duration of trip: Ridiculously short, about 40 minutes which includes taxing of the plane between gates.
Cost of tickets: $127 each. Ridiculously expensive for such a short flight.
Where to buy tickets: We booked on Qatar Airways as they were the cheapest.
Trip Details: The only reason we ended up booking this expensive flight was because we wanted to sort out Vietnam visa via the online agencies rather than heading into an embassy. The approval letter you get from the online agency is only accepted at the airports and not for land crossings. Apart from the crazy price of the ticket, Qatar Airways were great.
Getting a Vietnam visa was pain-free. For the different options and the various details and documents involved, read our Getting a Vietnam Tourist Visa post.
Don’t be like the guy on our flight who rocked up at Ho Chi Minh City airport with no visa and no approval letter to get a visa on arrival. Officials were not happy and made it very clear in front of all the passengers how angry they were, how they shouldn’t be processing a visa for him at the airport and that he wouldn’t be allowed into Vietnam if he tried this again. At least we had some entertainment while waiting for our visas to be processed.
4th Leg: Plane – Ho Chi Minh City to Hanoi
Duration of trip: The actual flight is only 2 hours and 5 minutes. However, our flight was delayed twice, and we ended up sitting in the airport for three extra hours. Incredibly painful after a long day and all you need is a comfy bed.
Cost of tickets: Once the various fees to add luggage, choose seats and pay with a credit card gets added to the base price, the flight was $80.85 each.
Where to buy tickets: We booked on Jetstar Airways. They were the cheapest option in the end.
Trip Details: After our two delays, uninterested staff and minimal legroom I swore I would never use them again. Unfortunately, they do seem to be the cheapest airline for internal Vietnam flights, and my avoidance of using them again has been short-lived as I just booked them for our flights to Ho Chi Minh City. Hopefully, the second time around will be a more enjoyable experience.
The last leg of our journey was an airport transfer arranged by our hotel for $15.
We arrived at our hotel after midnight and finally bought an incredibly long day to an end.
Have you ever traveled between Cambodia and Vietnam? Share your trip details with us in the comments below.