Open Bus Tickets in Vietnam
Since most people are traveling from Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) or vice versa, an open bus ticket is a very popular option for backpackers. The ticket gives the customer certain stops on the route, and one can choose how many stops. The stops are on the main tourist destinations in Vietnam.The tickets are very well priced and make it easy to plan out a trip. If anyone wanted to get off the beaten track, they could easily buy a different bus ticket but then later get back on the same route.
Having just about two weeks, we decided to book the open bus ticket from Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh City with stops in Hue, Hoi An, Nha Trang, Mui Ne, and then finally HCMC. The entire bus ticket costs $45, a great price for this many trips and this distance.
The mistake we made was not researching the bus company beforehand. There are several different companies offering the same routes, but we just bought the one that a booking agency was selling. The bus company is called Hung Thanh Travel. We got on the bus in Hanoi heading to Hue, usually a 12 hour journey, and the bus was absolutely horrible. I’m okay with buses that aren’t comfortable or the cleanest, but this bus was infested with small cockroaches. They were mainly on the floor but would also crawl up on the seats. Obviously, everyone on the bus was disgusted by it and it would’ve been tough to make it through the night with this. Several people got off the bus, and others were calling to complain to their booking agency about the bus. After waiting for about an hour, they finally told us that they would take us to another bus. After a 10 minute drive, we were dropped off at one of their offices and waited for about an hour before the bus came, which was fortunately much better. Later in the night, at about 3am, the bus got a flat tire which took about 3 hours to change. The bathroom was incredibly dirty and smelly to the point that one Swiss girl could not even use it. Her and her boyfriend begged the bus driver and bus attendant to stop. They continually brushed him off rudely. Finally, an hour and a half later, we stopped at a roadside restaurant. We were at 16 hours without a stop at that time.
This was the worst experience we’ve had with the Hung Thanh Travel. However, the bus drivers have always been extremely rude. They treat all passengers like dirt, never respectfully.
Since the first bus, the buses have been fine. All buses are sleeper buses which are like bunk bed bus seats that lay almost completely flat. The seats are pretty comfortable for sleeping and very nice to have for the two overnight buses we’ve had.
I’m glad that we booked the open bus ticket, but I wish that we had booked with a different agency. Having this ticket has made things very simple to plan, as we just need to visit the booking office the day before the bus leaves to confirm the bus. Having these planned stops means that we have not needed to plan out where we are heading next, as it’s already set. And the $45 price tag from Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh City is an awesome price. Just make sure to research the company a bit before booking!