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Long-distance Buses

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Hey there, intrepid traveler! So you've decided to embark on an adventure in Vietnam and want to get around the country cheaply while soaking in stunning scenery. Excellent choice. Vietnam's long-distance bus network is an affordable, convenient way to travel between cities and provinces. The views from the window seats will blow you away. But before you hop on the first bus you see, there are a few things you should know to ensure you have a safe, comfortable journey. Pack light, bring snacks, charge your devices, and be prepared for interesting pit stops. Read on to learn the tips and tricks for navigating Vietnam's long-distance busses like a pro. An adventure awaits!

Why Travel Vietnam by Bus?

Traveling Vietnam by bus is a great way to experience the country affordably. Here are a few reasons why bus travel is a good option:

  • It's budget-friendly. Bus fares are very affordable, often less than $10 USD for shorter trips and under $30 USD for longer journeys. You'll save a lot of money versus flying or taking private transfers.

  • You'll see more of the countryside. Vietnam's landscape is stunning, from the terraced rice fields to the mountain vistas. Traveling by road allows you to take it all in, versus zooming over it all in a plane.

  • It's an adventure. Riding along winding mountain roads and through small towns offers a glimpse into daily life in Vietnam. While the rides may be long, the experience will stay with you.

  • You can get almost anywhere. Vietnam's bus network is extensive, reaching even relatively remote towns and cities. Most tourist destinations and attractions are accessible by bus.

  • It's generally safe and comfortable. Modern buses are air-conditioned, and many offer reclining seats. Though travel times can be long, busses stop for breaks every few hours. As with any travel, take normal precautions with your valuables.

Traveling through Vietnam by bus may not always be the quickest mode of transport, but it allows you to journey across this spectacular country in an authentic and affordable way.

Types of Busses and Seating Options in Vietnam

When traveling within Vietnam by bus, you'll have a few options to choose from. The main types are local buses, tourist buses, open tour buses, and sleeper buses.

  • Local buses are the cheapest but also the least comfortable. They stop frequently, can get very crowded, and often lack air conditioning. Only use these for short trips.

  • Tourist buses are more comfortable, with bigger seats, A/C, and fewer stops. They mainly serve popular destinations and routes. These are a solid budget-friendly choice for most travelers.

  • Open tour buses are hop-on hop-off style, letting you get off at any stop and catch another bus the next day. Great for flexibility but can be pricier.

  • Sleeper buses have fully reclining seats so you can sleep during overnight trips. These tend to be the most expensive but most comfortable for long rides, especially if you book a VIP bus with extra legroom and snacks.

Choose a reputable bus company like The Sinh Tourist, Hanh Cafe, or Phuong Trang for safety, reliability, and service. Always book tickets in advance and arrive at least 30 minutes before departure. Try to get seats near the front or in the middle of the bus for safety and the least bumpy ride.


Futa bus station in Dalat

Major Bus Operators and Routes in Vietnam

Mai Linh Express

One of the largest bus companies, Mai Linh operates modern, comfortable buses along all major routes in Vietnam. They offer various seating options from basic to VIP for overnight trips. Their extensive network covers popular destinations like Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, Da Nang, Nha Trang, and Phnom Penh in Cambodia. Mai Linh is a bit pricier but a reliable, safe choice.

The Sinh Tourist

A popular budget-friendly option for backpackers and budget travelers. The Sinh Tourist offers open bus tours where you can hop-on and hop-off at any stop, allowing flexibility in your itinerary. They also run shuttle services and bus connections between Vietnam and neighboring countries like Laos, Cambodia, and Thailand. Sinh Tourist buses are basic but affordable, perfect if you're on a tight budget.

Hanh Cafe /The Hanh Cafe Bus Lines

Hanh Cafe operates one of the largest fleets with service to all parts of Vietnam. They are a mid-range operator with a good reputation for punctuality and service. Hanh Cafe offers various bus types from standard to VIP sleeper busses for long overnight journeys. They also run open bus tours similar to The Sinh Tourist. Hanh Cafe provides a solid option for budget-conscious travelers looking for a balance of comfort and value.

Other Operators

There are many other private bus companies in Vietnam offering similar routes and services like Phuong Trang (Futa Bus), Hoang Long, Kumho Samco, and Queen Cafe Bus. In rural areas, you may find smaller local operators but the level of comfort and safety can vary.


Local buses can be very crowded

How Much Do Long-Distance Busses Cost in Vietnam?

The cost of bus travel in Vietnam can vary depending on the quality of the bus, the distance of your trip, and the season. In general, you can expect to pay between $3 to $10 USD for every 100 kilometers traveled.

Public Busses

Public buses are the most budget-friendly option. A one-way ticket for a 3-4 hour journey will cost around $3-6 USD. These buses stop frequently, so travel time can be longer. Seats are basic but air conditioning is common. Popular routes like Hanoi to Halong Bay or Hoi An to Nha Trang will be on the higher end of the range.

  • Pro: Cheapest option. Can be an adventure!

  • Con: Slow, stops frequently, basic seats.

Modern Busses

Modern busses like Thanh Buoi, The Sinh Tourist, or Hanh Cafe offer more comfortable rides for a bit more money. A one-way ticket for a 3-4 hour ride will be $6-10 USD. Busses are air-conditioned with spacious reclining seats, some with wifi and electrical outlets. They make few stops so travel time is shorter.

  • Pro: More comfortable, faster travel time.

  • Con: Cost is slightly higher than public buses.

Private and Sleeper Busses

High-end buses can cost $8-15 USD for a one-way 3-4 hour trip. These buses offer amenities like wifi, electrical outlets, snacks, and sometimes entertainment. Sleeper buses have fully reclining seats for overnight journeys. Private buses offer hotel pick-up.

  • Pro: Most comfortable option with many amenities. Convenient for long overnight rides.

  • Con: Most expensive bus option.

Buying Bus Tickets in Vietnam

Buying bus tickets in Vietnam is usually very straightforward. There are a few options for booking in advance or right before your trip.

Book Online

The easiest way is to book tickets on reputable bus company websites like SinhTourist, Phung Trang, or Hoang Long. You can reserve seats up to a week ahead and simply show up at the bus station with your booking code to claim your tickets. Fares range from $5 to $15 for most routes. Some companies offer e-tickets you can print at home.

Buy at Bus Stations

If you prefer to buy in person, head to the bus station at least an hour before your desired departure and look for the ticket counter of the bus company you want to travel with. Let the agent know your destination and they can check schedules and fares, then print you a ticket on the spot. Have cash on hand since most stations don’t accept cards.

Book Through Travel Agents

Alternatively, you can buy bus tickets at travel agencies in Vietnam. They charge a small commission but handle the booking details for you. Search online for “Vietnam travel agencies” along with the city you’re in to find options. Call or visit in person to inquire about bus schedules and fares, and the agency will reserve and print your tickets.

Important Things to Know Before Your Bus Journey

Before embarking on your bus journey through Vietnam, there are a few key things to keep in mind. Being prepared will help ensure you have a safe, enjoyable ride.

  • Arrive at the station at least 30 minutes before departure. Busses typically leave on time!

  • Note your bus number and the name/contact info for the bus company in case of emergencies.

  • Stow large luggage in the compartments below and keep essentials with you.

  • Dress comfortably for long rides. Most buses are non-sleeper, though a few routes offer sleeper buses.

  • Bring snacks, a jacket, hand sanitizer, wet wipes, toilet paper, and any important medications.

  • Get a local SIM card in case of emergencies. But avoid being on your phone during the journey out of courtesy.

  • Remain vigilant of your belongings at rest stops. Though rare, some tourists report petty theft.

  • Motion sickness medicine may come in handy for winding roads. Ginger or peppermint can also help.

Check the bus class and amenities

Long-distance buses in Vietnam range from basic to luxury. Know what class of bus you're booking and what amenities are included. Basic buses are cheaper but less comfortable, while luxury buses have spacious reclining seats, snacks, and sometimes WiFi. For longer rides, the extra comfort is worth it.

Bring essential supplies

Pack a blanket, pillow, hand sanitizer, wet wipes, snacks, and water. Bathroom breaks are infrequent, so you'll want to be prepared. Don't forget any important medications that you may need.

Secure your luggage

Keep your carry-on luggage with you under your seat or overhead. Checked bags will go under the bus and may not be accessible during your trip. Lock your luggage and don't leave valuables in checked bags.

What to Expect Onboard a Vietnam Bus

When traveling long distances in Vietnam by bus, there are a few things you can expect for your journey. Be prepared for an experience that may differ from bus travel in your home country.


  • Seats are basic but relatively comfortable. Expect reclining seats, footrests, and sometimes entertainment units for longer rides.

  • For local buses: seating is open, so you don’t book a specific seat number. It’s first come, first served when boarding the bus. For the best choice of seats, arrive early.

  • Busses can get very full, especially around holidays and festivals. You may end up sitting next to strangers, so be ready to get cozy!


  • Bring snacks, water, hand wipes, toilet paper, and any medications you may need. Don’t rely on the bus to provide them.

  • There are periodic stops for food, toilets, and stretching your legs. But stops may be less frequent on shorter routes.

  • Most buses are equipped with air conditioning and sometimes a toilet, but quality and cleanliness can vary. Be prepared for a range of conditions.

Last but not least, road safety is important. The number of traffic accidents in Vietnam is high, and bus drivers are notorious for driving recklessly. Keep that in mind when traveling by bus, and always use reputable operators to minimize risks.