January 2010
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Saigon Buses

Green City Bus

I’ve already mentioned the 2 most common modes of transportation used around Saigon (taxis and xe om), yet another way of getting around the city are the ubiquitous green and blue buses.  The buses run pretty frequently throughout the day….wait times at most stops are around 10 minutes.  From my observation, the green buses seem much more common than the blue buses and are much older and worn down.  I rode a couple of the green buses and it cost 3000 Dong (16 cents) per ride….and the 1 ride in the blue bus cost 5000 Dong (27 cents).  The bus fare is a flat fee that is paid per ride….not by distance.   All the buses are air conditioned…but the ride inside seemed a bit rough.  I don’t know if it was the lack of a suspension system or the roads that caused the rides to be so bumpy.  Aside from the bus driver, there is a person that collects the fare from the patrons.  That person also calls out the stops and at times helps people on and off the bus. 

There are many bus stations located around the city….but the one that most tourists will use is conveniently located in District 1, right in front of the Ben Thanh Market……close to the most popular hotels and the backpacker area (Pham Ngu Lao).  The bus station in Cholon (the Chinese market) offers routes to the Mekong Delta, the Mien Tay bus station in the Binh Chanh District offers routes to the south of Saigon, but perhaps the biggest and busiest bus station is the Mien Dong bus station in the Binh Thanh district about 5km (3.1 Miles) from central Saigon.  Mien Dong services areas North of Saigon.

Inside the blue city bus

Just for kicks I took the #14 bus which took me to the Mien Dong Bus Station from my Aunt’s house, right off of 3 Thang 2 street and Ly Thai To street, just to see where it was and what it looked like since I would have to use it later on to get to Vung Tau to visit an uncle and cousin that live there.  Vung Tau is pretty quiet fishing town about 125km (78 miles) north of Saigon.  A ticket to Vung Tau  from Mien Dong bus station costs 55,000 Dong (about $3).

Buses are an economical and easy way to get around the city (although not the quickest) without worrying about getting into a car/moped accident or getting run over.  As one of the biggest vehicles in the city…the bus is the king of the road…all other vehicles/pedestrians must make way for this beast.

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5 comments to Saigon Buses


    The intracity bus terminal, across the traffic round-about in front of the Ben Thanh market, is actually located right at the beginning of Pham Ngu Lao street.
    Interestingly the 23/9 Park (September 9th Park) along the length of Pham Ngu Lao street is where the main Saigon train station was once located. That is probably why there are so many inexpensive lodging options available around there.
    Some buses do charge different prices depending on the distance you are traveling, like the #12, and some blue busses are only 3000 Dong, like the #11 & #102.
    Actually I love the busses, they are pretty nice considering the low fares structure and are even often air-conditioned and airing music through the sound system.
    The high-speed hydrofoil ferries to Vung Tau are pretty reasonably priced, and a quick way to travel there and back from downtown Saigon.

  • odgnut

    Thanks for the info Clifton. I still have a lot to learn about the transportation system here.

    I had heard about the hydrofoil to Vung Tau…and since I am making a trip up there soon I asked my Aunt about it. She said she took it once but the boat was buffeting in the water so much that it made her sick. I’ll probably try the hydrofoil when I make a trip up there on my own.

  • Paul

    Don’t take hydrofoils to VT. On my trip out to VT last year, it broke down in the middle of the river just 15″ into the trip. Plus the noisy engine, gas fume, the flat screen TV didn’t work. Thumb down on the hydrofoils. I took the bus on the way back.

    • odgnut

      I’m in Vung Tau now, my Aunt and I took something more akin to a Shuttle/Van than a bus. It’s much smaller and cleaner than the buses in Saigon. The driver drove like a maniac and I had to put up with some backseat karaoke singers….but the ride itself was relatively comfortable. The company that runs the shuttle I took is named “Thien Phu” I believe. We were picked up near Ben Thanh bus station….which is much closer than the ride to Mien Dong.

  • Craig N

    Not ALL of the buses are air-conditioned. They are a great deal though.

    I was there in 2003, and the buses weren’t there as I remember. In Feb. 2009, the were there. We took a bus to Bien Hoa (not sure if that is spelled right) to the amusement park, and the one we took had no AC. My wife and I (with our 2 and 5 year old sons) traveled with about 4-8 of her family members. On prior trips, we took rented vans. But as a visitor to the country, the buses are a much more “real” way to travel. Even without AC, I preferred the bus.

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