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How To Go From Ho Chi Minh City To Phnom Penh


Modified: December 27, 2023

by Mireielle Good



Traveling between Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, and Phnom Penh, Cambodia, offers a unique opportunity to explore the vibrant culture and rich history of two Southeast Asian countries. Whether you’re a backpacker looking for an adventure or a traveler seeking a seamless journey, there are several options available to make this trip.


Ho Chi Minh City, formerly known as Saigon, is Vietnam’s largest city and a bustling metropolis with a vibrant street food scene, historical landmarks, and a mix of modern and traditional architecture. On the other hand, Phnom Penh, the capital city of Cambodia, boasts a captivating blend of French colonial charm, ancient temples, and a thriving arts and culinary scene.


With a distance of approximately 230 kilometers separating the two cities, there are three primary modes of transportation to consider: by bus, by boat, or by plane. Each option offers its own advantages, and the choice ultimately depends on your time constraints, budget, and personal preferences.


In this article, we will explore the different transportation options and provide insights to help you decide the best way to travel from Ho Chi Minh City to Phnom Penh, ensuring a memorable and hassle-free journey.


Option 1: By Bus

Traveling by bus from Ho Chi Minh City to Phnom Penh is a popular and economical choice for many travelers. Several bus companies operate daily routes between the two cities, offering varying levels of comfort and amenities.


The journey typically takes around 6-8 hours, depending on traffic and border crossing procedures. Buses usually depart from the Mien Dong Bus Station in Ho Chi Minh City and arrive at the Phnom Penh International Bus Terminal, making it a convenient and direct option.


One of the advantages of taking the bus is the affordability. Tickets are relatively inexpensive compared to other modes of transport, making it an ideal choice for budget-conscious travelers. It’s important to note that different bus operators offer different levels of comfort, so it’s worth researching and reading reviews before booking your ticket.


While the journey is relatively straightforward, there are a few important considerations to keep in mind. First, make sure to have your passport and visa documents ready for the border crossing. It’s recommended to check and confirm any visa requirements in advance to avoid any last-minute complications.


Another consideration is the possibility of encountering traffic congestion, especially when leaving Ho Chi Minh City. Plan your departure time accordingly, allowing for extra time in case of delays. It’s also wise to bring some snacks, water, and entertainment to make the journey more comfortable.


Overall, traveling by bus provides a convenient and cost-effective option for those looking to explore the route between Ho Chi Minh City and Phnom Penh. It offers the chance to observe the scenic landscapes along the way and interact with fellow travelers.


Option 2: By Boat

Traveling by boat from Ho Chi Minh City to Phnom Penh is a unique and scenic option for those seeking a more leisurely and adventurous journey. The route takes you along the Mekong River, providing an opportunity to witness the picturesque landscapes and rural life of the region.


There are several companies that operate river cruises between the two cities, offering various itineraries and durations. The journey typically takes around 4-9 hours, depending on the specific cruise and water conditions.


One of the advantages of traveling by boat is the immersive experience. You’ll have the chance to observe local communities, floating markets, and stunning natural scenery along the riverbanks. It’s also a great opportunity to learn about the Mekong Delta region and its importance in the daily lives of the people living there.


Another benefit of choosing this option is the comfort and amenities provided on board. Most river cruises offer spacious seating, air conditioning, and the opportunity to enjoy a meal or refreshments while taking in the scenic views.


However, it’s important to note that traveling by boat may not be the fastest option. The journey can be longer compared to other modes of transportation, and it’s essential to plan your schedule accordingly. It’s also recommended to check the availability and schedule of the boat cruises in advance, especially during peak travel seasons.


Additionally, it’s crucial to be aware of any visa requirements or border crossing procedures before embarking on the boat journey. Ensure that all necessary travel documents are ready to avoid any unexpected complications.


Overall, traveling by boat offers a unique and memorable experience, allowing you to immerse yourself in the beauty of the Mekong River and its surroundings. It’s a great choice for those who prefer a slower-paced journey and wish to explore the enchanting landscapes of the region.


Option 3: By Plane

For travelers seeking convenience and time efficiency, flying from Ho Chi Minh City to Phnom Penh is the fastest and most convenient option. Several airlines operate regular flights between the two cities, providing a seamless and comfortable journey.


With a flight duration of approximately 1 hour, traveling by plane allows you to save valuable time compared to other modes of transportation. It’s especially beneficial for travelers with limited time or those who prefer to reach their destination quickly.


There are multiple airlines to choose from, offering different flight schedules and fares. It’s advisable to book your flight in advance to secure the best deals and ensure availability.


One of the advantages of flying is the convenience of departing and arriving at major airports. In Ho Chi Minh City, flights typically depart from Tan Son Nhat International Airport, while in Phnom Penh, flights land at Phnom Penh International Airport. Both airports are well-connected and offer various facilities for travelers.


While flying offers convenience and speed, it’s important to consider the cost as well. Flights are generally more expensive compared to bus or boat options, making it less budget-friendly for some travelers. It’s recommended to compare prices and consider your budget before making a decision.


Additionally, keep in mind any specific baggage restrictions or visa requirements for your flight. Ensure that you have all the necessary travel documents ready, such as your passport and visa, to avoid any potential complications.


Overall, flying from Ho Chi Minh City to Phnom Penh provides a convenient and time-saving option for travelers. It allows you to reach your destination quickly and comfortably, making it a popular choice for those with limited time or a preference for air travel.


Things to Consider Before Traveling

Before embarking on your journey from Ho Chi Minh City to Phnom Penh, there are a few important factors to consider to ensure a smooth and enjoyable trip:

  1. Visa Requirements: Check the visa requirements for both Vietnam and Cambodia. Ensure that you have the necessary visa documents and that they are valid for your entire trip.
  2. Health and Safety: Research and follow any health and safety guidelines for the countries you will be visiting. Stay updated on vaccinations, travel advisories, and take necessary precautions to protect your health.
  3. Transportation Options: Evaluate the pros and cons of each transportation option – bus, boat, or plane – based on factors such as time, budget, comfort, and personal preferences.
  4. Travel Insurance: Consider purchasing travel insurance to protect yourself against unexpected events such as trip cancellations, medical emergencies, or lost luggage.
  5. Currency Exchange: Familiarize yourself with the currency of both Vietnam and Cambodia and exchange money before your trip. It’s also advisable to carry some cash for small expenses and emergencies.
  6. Language: Learn a few basic phrases in Vietnamese and Khmer to help you communicate with locals and make your travel experience more enjoyable.
  7. Local Customs and Etiquette: Research and respect the local customs, traditions, and etiquette of both Vietnam and Cambodia. This will help you navigate cultural differences and show respect to the local communities.
  8. Climate and Packing: Consider the climate of the region during your travel dates and pack accordingly. It’s advisable to carry lightweight and breathable clothing, as well as essentials like sunscreen, a hat, and insect repellent.
  9. Itinerary Planning: Create a rough itinerary, including the places you want to visit, the activities you wish to do, and the duration of your stay in each location. This will help you make the most of your time and ensure a well-organized trip.

By considering these factors and preparing in advance, you can ensure a stress-free and enjoyable journey from Ho Chi Minh City to Phnom Penh.



Traveling from Ho Chi Minh City to Phnom Penh offers a captivating journey through two dynamic Southeast Asian countries. Whether you choose to travel by bus, boat, or plane, each option has its own advantages and caters to different budgets, time constraints, and preferences.


If you’re looking for an economical option, taking a bus is a convenient and budget-friendly choice. It allows you to enjoy the scenic landscapes along the way and interact with fellow travelers. On the other hand, traveling by boat offers a unique and immersive experience, allowing you to witness the beauty of the Mekong River and its surroundings.


For those seeking convenience and time efficiency, flying from Ho Chi Minh City to Phnom Penh is the fastest option. It allows you to reach your destination quickly and comfortably, making it ideal for travelers with limited time.


Before embarking on your journey, take into consideration factors such as visa requirements, health and safety guidelines, transportation options, travel insurance, currency exchange, language, local customs, and climate. Being prepared and informed will help you have a smooth and enjoyable trip.


Whichever mode of transportation you choose, the journey from Ho Chi Minh City to Phnom Penh promises to be filled with cultural richness, stunning landscapes, and memorable experiences. Embrace the adventure, immerse yourself in the vibrant cultures, and create lasting memories.