Bus is one of the most effective, safe, comfortable, and cheap ways to travel Ho Chi Minh City which has over 100 bus routes and hundreds of high-quality bus equipped with air conditioners, sometimes cameras, free wifi. Instead of spending your money taking taxis, motorbike taxis, cyclos, or booking tours to travel Ho Chi Minh, you can explore the amazing city by bus comfortably. You should read the detailed information about buses in the city at Ho Chi Minh City Bus Guide before reading this Guide To Travel Ho Chi Minh By Bus. Prepare small changes in VND because sometimes changes are not always available on Ho Chi Minh bus.
Arriving in Tan Son Nhat Airport, you can catch a yellow airport bus #109, #49, or green bus #152 at Column 12, International Terminal or Column 18, Domestic Terminal to reach your hotel in District 1. Bus fares are 20,000 VND or 1 USD (Bus #109), 40,000 VND or 2 USD (Bus #49), 5,000 VND (Bus #152). It takes about 45 – 50 minutes to reach your location in District 1 in non-rush hours. I would like to recommend Bus #49 which is the most expensive choice but does not charge for extra luggage. It does not stop at public bus stops but stops at some hotels on the way. I would like to recommend to stay in hotels near popular bus stations such as 23/9 Bus Station, Ben Thanh Central Bus Station from which you can catch buses to many places in the city.
Many tourists coming to Ho Chi Minh for the first time spend at least half day or full day to explore the city’s attractions in District 1 and District 5. They spend at least a half day to visit Cu Chi Tunnels – one of the most visited tourist attractions in Vietnam. If they have more time, they go to visit hidden places such as hidden alleys which are home to local people and feature lots of brilliant gems. Enjoy A O Show, water puppet show, having their meals on Saigon river, tasting street foods are great things to do in the city. I would like to recommend the program as below:
Day 1: Ho Chi Minh’s District 1 sightseeing
In the morning, you will spend your time at 2 beautiful architecture works in Saigon: Notre Dame Cathedral and Central Post Office. I choose to start at 23/9 Bus Station which is next to Saigon backpacker area. The distance between 23/9 Bus Station and the cathedral is 2.4 km. You can take Bus #18 to reach the cathedral and the post office.
23/9 Bus Station
Notre Dame Cathedral
Central Post Office
The Independence Palace is 400 m from the cathedral and it takes a few minutes to walk from the cathedral to the Independence Palace. After visiting the palace, you can walk 650 m to come to War Remnants Museum or catch Bus #18 go to Ben Thanh Market where you can see the iconic site of the city, enjoy great Vietnamese foods, go shopping for some souvenirs, dried foods, clothes, jewelry, accessories.
War Remnants Museum
Ben Thanh Market
In case you visit the museum, you should take Bus #93, #109, or 152 to reach the market from Le Quy Don High School Bus Station. The distance is about 1.4 km and the trip last 12 minutes.
You can take Bus #18 at the bus station at 163 Ham Nghi Street, Ben Nghe Ward, District 1 to come back to 23/9 Bus Station.
Ben Thanh Bus Station
The fare of Bus #18, #93, #152 is 6,000 VND, the fare of Bus #109 is 12,000 VND.
I would like to give some information about the opening hours of the attractions so that you can come to these places when they are open.
Opening hours of Notre Dame Cathedral: 8:00 – 11:00, 14:00 – 16:00.
Opening hours of Central Post Office: 7:00 – 19:00 on weekdays, 7:00 – 18:00 on Saturday, 8:00 – 18:00 on Sunday.
Opening hours of Independence Palace: 7:30 – 11:00; 13:00 – 16:00.
Opening hours of War Remnants Museum: 7:30 – 18:00.
Opening hours of Ben Thanh Market: 5:00 – 23:00.
Operating time of Bus #18 is 4:30 – 20:30
Day 2: visiting Saigon China Town
On the second day, you will take Bus #1 from District 1 to explore District 5 with diverse culture, main attractions, and hidden gems. The length of the bus is 8.6 km, the operation time is 5:00 – 20:30, the bus fare is 5,000 VND, the trip time is 35 minutes, the trip spacing is 8 – 15 minutes.
You can catch the bus at the Bus Station at 163 Ham Nghi, Ben Nghe Ward, District 1. This bus station is near Ben Thanh Market. If you stay in the Pham Ngu Lao backpacker area, you can catch the bus at 10 or 112 Tran Hung Dao Street, Pham Ngu Lao Ward, District 1.
You will get off the bus at the bus station 384 – 386 Tran Hung Dao Street, Ward 11, District 5. Then walk about 200 m to reach Thien Hau Temple, 710 Nguyen Trai Street, Ward 11, District 5. The temple with the mysterious story, beautiful architecture is a must-see attraction in District 5. The temple is open from 8:00 – 16:00.
Thien Hau Temple
After visiting the temple, you will come back to the bus station 384 – 386 Tran Hung Dao, catch Bus #1 to reach Cho Lon Bus Station, Le Quang Sung Street, Ward 2, District 6, Ho Chi Minh City. Just walk around to explore the Saigon China Town:
Trang Tu Market is located right next to Cho Lon Bus Station. This local market is full of fresh fruits and vegetables, you can choose some because the prices are very cheap there. You can also walk around to see other products such as fish and meat. It takes less than 5 minutes to walk from the bus station to Binh Tay Market, 57A Thap Muoi Street, Ward 2, District 6. There you can admire the beautiful architecture of the market, wander around to see how they sell and buy products (dried foods, toys, furniture, and household products, decoration items, etc.). Do not miss walking along Thap Muoi Street to reach Kim Bien Market, then Hai Thuong Lan Ong Street which is overwhelmed with wholesale shops selling lanterns, Chinese medicine, artificial flowers, and plants, and Soai Kinh Lam wholesale fabric market at 545 Tran Hung Dao Street, Ward 14, District 5. Then you can walk to Cha Tam Church, 25 Hoc Lac Street, Ward 14, District 5. Coming to China Town in District 5, you will immerse into this hustle and bustle area, learn more about local life, and find your trip more meaningful than taking a tour from a travel agency.
Binh Tay Market
Cha Tam Church
Lantern shops in Saigon China Town
Lastly, take Bus #1 from Cho Lon Station to return to your accommodation in District 1.
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Day 3: visiting Cu Chi Tunnels
There are some bus routes from Ho Chi Minh City center to Cu Chi Tunnels:
1. Catch Bus #13 from 23/9 Bus Station to Cu Chi Bus Station. At the Cu Chi Bus Station, catch Bus #79 to Ben Duoc site or Bus #63 to Ben Dinh. Bus #13 also pass Ben Thanh Central Bus Station – one of the most crowded bus station in Saigon. So that if you can not catch the bus from 23/9 Bus Station, you can catch it at Ben Thanh Bus Station.
2. Catch Bus #94 from Cho Lon Bus Station to Cu Chi Bus Station. At the Cu Chi Bus Station, catch Bus #79 to Ben Duoc site or Bus #63 to Ben Dinh.
If you choose 2 above options, the total bus fare is less than 1 USD. The total trip time is about 120 minutes or 2 hours.
3. Catch Bus #4 or Bus #13 from 23/9 Bus Station or Ben Thanh Central Bus Station to An Suong Bus Station, then catch Bus #122 to Tan Quy Bus Station, after that catch Bus #70 to Ben Dinh. It takes about 160 minutes if you choose this route. The bus fares are 17,000 VND.
For your information, Ben Dinh is open from 8:00 to 17:00, Ben Duoc is open from 9:00 to 16:00.
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Traveling by bus is adventurous, but exciting, and enjoyable. Taking bus to visit Cu Chi Tunnels is a great choice and you can find that it is not difficult as you think. I hope that this Guide To Travel Ho Chi Minh By Bus will help you as much as possible on your trip to Ho Chi Minh City.
Check out Cu Chi Tunnels Tour by motorbike or car if you can not arrange to travel Cu Chi Tunnels by bus