The Loooong Ride To Siem Reap (from Ho Chi Minh)

…unless 14 hours isn’t long for you. and we also took a bus going back to Ho Chi Minh!

The adventure began at 6:45 AM as we were picked up by Mekong Express Limousine at our hotel (we requested Bich Duyen Hotel to book tickets on our behalf – more convenient, and we actually saved a dollar! – website says $23 but hotel charged us only $22). The trip to Siem Reap was scheduled at 7:00 AM.

We had a fairly heavy breakfast prior to THE ride, where we each had pho from nearby Phu Quynh (VND45-60,000 per pho including water – around Php100). I love Pho Hoa’s Beef Stew so that’s what I also got in Pho Quynh. I thought I liked Pho Hoa’s better, but when I recently had Beef Stew at Pho Hoa, I realized I like the one in Pho Quynh more, with my brain telling me (quite vaguely and maybe haughtily) that there’s something that feels more real, feels more authentic, feels more like “home”, with the pho I had in Saigon. I know, I don’t get it either, but that’s how I truly felt.

Beef Stew at Pho Quynh (along Pham Ngu Lao St, a few steps from Bich Duyen Hotel)

Upon reaching the place where the bus was parked, we were given claim stubs for our big bags.

Mekong Express Limousine Ho Chi Minh to Siem Reap

The A/C worked just fine, enough legroom (at least for Asians), and the trip went as smoothly as we expected.

Inside Mekong Express

There’s toilet inside the bus. The size varies, but generally very small. Tissue was provided and there was a working faucet, so all is well.

Toilet inside Mekong Express

30 minutes into the trip, we were provided with snacks – some bread and water.

Snacks provided by Mekong Express – one in the morning and another in the afternoon

As we went along I saw a bit of Saigon. And then I fell asleep. Haha.

They weren’t kidding, Vietnam is motorcycle country!

After about two hours, we reached the Moc Bai (Vietnam) – Bavet (Cambodia) border. Prior to this, the bus assistant already collected our passports so that all we had to do was get our bags, head to the Vietnam immigration to have our passports stamped, and ride the bus again.

Upon entering Cambodia, first thing we noticed was just how dry everything was. The lands are barren, the animals malnourished, the trees very pale. The heat was too much even for them. 🙁

Anyway, at about 10 AM, we stopped at a restaurant for lunch. Prices are from $1.75 to $3.5. I didn’t eat here because I wasn’t that hungry yet. It turned out to be a bad decision, because the next stop was at 2 PM at Phnom Penh Mekong Express office, where there was no nearby decent food place. I ended up having small cup noodles from the nearby “sari-sari store” ($1), which I paired with the Skyflakes I brought. This stop lasts about 30-45 minutes, where you’ll be changing buses going to Siem Reap.

I pretty much slept through the whole trip again, only waking up for the free snacks and for the dinner stop at around 6pm. The dinner stop was at a decent restaurant, so prices were a bit higher at $4-$7. There are sizes to some of the meals, so sharing is possible. Finally, at around 9PM, we arrived at the Mekong Express office/terminal in Siem Reap, where we were picked up by our hotel. Whew!

There’s also Sapaco Tourist Bus which is cheaper at $17 (no toilet, not sure about snacks).

To see our other expenses and itinerary for Vietnam and Cambodia, click here.

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