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Daily direct bus service between Sam Neua and Thanh Hoa

  • tf_geckozy

    Joined Travelfish
    2nd September, 2008
    Posts: 73

    Now there exist several direct bus services beteween Sam Neua and Thanh Hoa , and the massages at Sam Neua East & South bus stations & Luang Prabang North bus station & Nong Khiaw bus station are telling us about those direct bus services, but all of them are not daily service but 3~4 buses a week at least now.

    DAILY DIRECT BUS SERVICE
    To the contorary, there exists another one "Daily" direct bus service between Sam Neua and Thanh Hoa operated by a Vietnamese bus company "Ban Chung & km 88" in Thanh Hoa city and it’s covering 7 days a week(=every day) by 2 micro buses from both sides of Sam Neua and Thanh Hoa , and this direct bus leaves not East or South bus station in Sam Neua but “a Vietnamese restaurant” in city center.

    I took this direct bus for going to Sam Neua Mar.25.2010, but not at Thanh Hoa city but at Quan Son(=55 km before Na Meo) after 1 overnight there, and before that i travelled from Ha Noi to Mai Chau via Thanh Hoa for checking the existence of direct bus, so actually i left Mai Chau for going to Sam Neua after staying at Mai Chau 4 nights before crossing NaMeo/NamXoi border.


    *DEPARTURE POINTS & TIME
    *Departure point in Sam Neua is a Vietnamese restaurant near the bridge after crossing it, and opposite side of "Internet Service" along the road that leads to Sam Neua East bus station & Vieng Xai village & NamXoi Lao border gate . This restauarnt has no original name on the board but have a letter in Vietnamese "Quan An"=restaurant. Bus picks up passengers here around 08:00am every morning.

    *Departure point in Thanh Hoa city is Thanh Hoa West bus station(=Ben Xe Phia Tay) same to other direct buses and buses going to Quan Son and Na Meo town. Departure time is 08:00am(no ticket).
    *THE BUS FARE
    The ticket counter at Thanh Hoa West bus station and a Vietnamese restaurant in Sam Neua don’t sell tickets to us for this direct bus so we have to pay it in the bus and now i'll show you several “sample fares” for avoiding too much overcharging and useless confliction as below.
    1) If you buy a ticket for a direct bus at the ticket counter of Sam Neua East or South bus station ---180,000Kip (about 21.4 USD=official ticket price) now.
    2) A woman working at the ticket counter of Thanh Hoa West bus station replyed to my question---between Thanh Hoa to Sam Neua is 300,000VND (about15.4 USD) and betwewn Thanh Hoa and Na Meo is 200,000VND (about10.5 USD).
    3) A Vietnamese guy working at a Vietnamese restaurant(departure point in Sam Neua) told me secretly--local Vietnamese pay 200,000VND(about 10.5 USD) for a “Daily” direct bus from Sam Neua to Thanh Hoa.
    4) Money collector in the bus asked me to pay 200,000VND for only a short section from Quan Son(=55 km before NaMeo border) to Sam Neua but i paid half of the price he asked --100,000VND only.( he was maybe tired of my “non stop-machine gun talk”??? and was exausted with it)

    HA NOI TO THANH HOA/MAI CHAU
    And if you want to take a direct bus after leaving Ha Noi, your arrival time to Thanh Hoa is not be in time for the departure time of 08:00am morning, so you have to stay at Thanh Hoa city 1 overnight or stay at Quan Son or Na Meo town on the same day you leave Ha Noi (and then catch a direct bus next day on the road). From "Ha Noi Giap Bat"=south bus station to Thanh Hoa North or Lien Tinh bus station along NR.1, it takes about 4 hours, and from Thanh Hoa West bus station to Quan Son, it takes about 4.5~5 hours. This direct bus leaves Thanh Hoa West bus station at 08:00am every morning and arrives Sam Neua city center(=a Vietnamese restaurant) at around 17:30pm evening.

    For taking a direct bus going to Sam Neua,you have to shift to West bus station=departure point of direct bus after arriving Thanh Hoa North or Lien Tinh bus station, but if you take a direct bus next morning at West bus station, you had better stay at around North or Lien Tinh bus station because there are many small guesthouses=“Nha Tro” around West bus station but almost of them are not permitted by Cong An police to let us foreigners stay and actually they will refuse us.

    Between "North" bus station and "West" bus station, a small city bus is running as a cirquit bus every 20 minuites from morning to evening(5000VND/10minuites) Of course, taxi or motorbike taxi is available.

    And if you can spend your time for 1 overnight on the way before NaMeo/NamXoi border, for example, at Quan Son or Na Meo town, it’s easy for you to catch this direct bus next day on the road and also easy to cross border and reach to Sam Neua or Vieng Xai village by it.

    MAI CHAU TO SAM NEUA
    If you can also spend your time for a few nights at Mai Chau before crossing this border, it's also OK for you to catch this direct bus at Quan Son or Na Meo as below.
    *Ha Noi Ha Dong bus station around 07:00~07:30am→Quan Hoa12:30pm/13:00pm by local bus(**) going to Thanh Hoa→Dong Tam junction13:30pm/14:30pm catch a bus leaving Thanh Hoa going to Quan Son→Quan Son16:00pm.--(**) 13:00pm local bus leave at a small grosary shop just in front of Quan Hoa Post Office every day.

    ACOMMODATION
    *at Quan Son(2Ghs)
    *at Quan Hoa(4Ghs+1big Gh under construction Mar.2010)
    *at Na Meo(2Ghs+1 small & poor Gh
    *Thanh Hoa, Mai Chau, Vieng Xai village, Sam Neua--enough

    PS) 2 ROUTES FROM HA NOI TO SAM NEUA
    1) from Ha Noi to Sam Neuai via Thanh Hoa:
    *Ha Noi(Ha Noi Giap Bat=south bus station)→Thanh Hoa(West bus station)→Dong Tam junction→Quan Son→NaMeo/NamXoi border→(Vieng Xai village)→Sam Neua

    2) from Ha Noi to Sam Neuai via Mai Chau:
    *Ha Noi(Ha Dong bus station)→Mai Chau→Quan Hoa(=Hoi Xuan)→Dong Tam junction→Quan Son→NaMeo/NamXoi border→(Vieng Xai village)→Sam Neua

    #1 Posted: 19/5/2010 - 01:39

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  • geezus

    Joined Travelfish
    22nd September, 2010
    Posts: 1

    Posted from within Vietnam.

    Thank you so much for this helpful post.

    I'd like to go to Sam Neuai via Mai Chau . Can this be done one day, ie. take the bus to Quan Hoa and then hop on the bus there that goes from Thanh Hoa to Sam Neuai. Also when does the bus leave from Quan Son to Sam Neuai, is it at 1300pm?

    Also wondering if there's a public bus going from Mai Chau to Quan Hoa at all. Thanks so much.

    #2 Posted: 22/9/2010 - 18:59

  • Terezita

    Joined Travelfish
    3rd February, 2011
    Posts: 8

    Posted from within Vietnam.

    Hi,
    we did a trip from Sam Neua to Thanh Hoa yesterday and it was quite easy. First, we had to quarrel a lot at the bus station at Sam Neua, because we stepped into a wrong bus. Normally, the bus leaves from the station at 8 a clock, so we came one hour earlier as we were told by officer. When we came to the station, two Vietnamese guys took our bags into the bus (and we strongly didn´t want!) and because the counter was closed, we had to get into the bus and pay to the driver. He didn´t want to give us a ticket and left with us from the station as fast as it was possible. After a short ride through the city, we turned back to the bus station and there we found out, that we are in a wrong bus. It took exactly one hour to get the money back. We won when half of a bus station got involved in our fight with "fake driver".
    We payed 180 000 LAK at the counter, crossed the border easily and after 10 hours lasting ride on a bumpy road we arrived to Thanh Hoa. At the bus, the driver tried to sell us a ticket to Hanoi for 120 000 LAK more, but we refused. We wanted to take a different bus from Thanh Hoa, because the ticket should cost 1/6 of this price. We weren´t lucky and there were no other buses after our arrival, so we were offered to buy a ticket directly to the Hanoi for 10 more dollars (from the same driver that took us from Laos). The normal price was 2,5 dollars but we were told that "We are foreigners and yesterday ended Vietnamese New Year, so we have to pay more than locals do". It took 15 hours to reach Hanoi, but we did all the trip in one day and arrived to Hanoi at 11 P.M. Good luck!

    #3 Posted: 10/2/2011 - 19:33

  • tf_geckozy

    Joined Travelfish
    2nd September, 2008
    Posts: 73

    After arriving Thanh Hoa, if we shift to one of several pick-up points on NR.1, express bus(many) comng from direction south & heading to Ha Noi pick up passengers with cheap price(about 3USD a few years ago) and local people know well where pick-up points on NR are in the city.

    And normally we can arrive Ha Noi Giap Bat=south bus station at around 21:00pm and arrive Old Quarter area at around 22.00pm by taxi or Xe-om if you want to stay there.

    #4 Posted: 14/2/2011 - 19:50

  • LD

    Joined Travelfish
    27th September, 2011
    Posts: 2

    HANOI - SAM NEUA VIA THANH HOA (Na Meo / Nam Xai Border)

    I recently went from Hanoi to Thanh Hoa to Sam Neua (it was not necessary to go via Mai Chau) and thought I would add the details in case they were helpful.

    HANOI - THANH HOA
    - see seat61.com for train information or get a bus from Ben Xe Nam Hanoi bus station
    - bus takes 3 hours, tickets can be bought a day in advance. In Thanh Hoa, the bus may drop you off at a different bus station to the one from which the Sam Neua bus leaves
    - note, Hanoi buses do not necessarily depart at the scheduled time. May only leave when full

    THANH HOA - SAM NEUA
    - the Sam Neua bus station is off Tran Phu. From a Thanh Hoa map this looks like Ben Xe Noi Tinh station on Nguyen Trai (double check it when you get there)
    - bus from Thanh Hoa to Sam Neua is scheduled to leave at 8am in the morning, it can and does leave earlier. Be there an hour beforehand, particularly if you want a seat
    - if you need accommodation, try hotels on Tran Phu (eg Lam Son 253 Tran Phu - Ba Dinh - VND 390,000) for an easy walk to the station.
    - could only buy tickets on the day and needed kip for these, though VND prices were quoted in the station. VND 250,000 or 130,000 kip. Cost / currency may vary depending on the ticket seller on board the bus
    - bus had a sign in the window with Xam Neua on it

    Travelling and times:
    - Thanh Hoa - Na Meo / Nam Xai Border - approx 6 hours
    - Border - approx 45 mins. Visa on arrival available for USD $30
    - Border - Sam Neua - approx 2 hours

    Long trip, but the scenery from Thanh Hoa - Sam Neua was great, particularly on the Laos side of the border.

    LAOS
    - all through my trip, banks were available to change money and there were international ATMs (even though they will advise you have zero kip available, your money will still come out)

    SAM NEUA
    - there are lots of guesthouses by the bridge straight down from the central 'diamond' shaped monument (50,000 - 100,000 kip a night)
    - restaurants are available around these guesthouses
    - the Sam Neua tourist office have great information and speak very good English
    - is a good base to do hill tours, visit the Vieng Xai caves and to go on to Phonsavan etc

    VIENG XAI & VIENG XAI CAVES
    - the Vieng Xai caves (1 hour from Sam Neua) are where the Pathet Laos hid out from the Americans and co-ordinated their campaign for an independent, communist Laos
    - 60,000 kip for audio tour and mandatory guide. Great audio tour (the stories of Laos people who stayed in the caves told by them and translated into English)
    - tours go at 9am or 1pm. At other times there is an additional 50,000 kip charge

    Getting there from Sam Neua
    - 25,000 kip 3km tuk tuk ride to Nathorn Bus station for local bus to Vieng Xai
    - 20,000 kip local bus (tuk tuk) to Vieng Xai. These only leave when there are enough passengers, not on the hour and will stop by 3pm (not 5pm)
    - the drivers will try to inflate prices for foreigners (eg 150,000 kip). Try to get tickets at the ticket office or go and return early in the day or stay overnight in Vieng Xai if you have time
    - otherwise, hire a scooter from approx 60,000 kip in Sam Neua

    SAM NEUA - PHONSAVAN
    - at the top of the hill past the central 'diamond' shaped monument (approx 20-30 min walk)
    - bus leaves at 8.30am. 80,000 kip. Go half an hour - an hour before departure time
    - approx 10 hour trip

    PHONSAVAN
    - lots of hotels on the main street to chose from
    - a number of hotels / agencies cater for tours and you can create itineraries with them
    - the Plain of Jars sites are the main draw card for the area
    - across from the UXO museum in Phonsavan is a bar that has an interesting one hour video about the American Secret War on Laos
    - cost for 1 day 4 - 5 group trip in a mini van, approx 200,000 kip per person

    PHONSAVAN - LUANG PRUBANG
    - tuk tuks to either bus station are approx 10,000 kip per person
    - the mini van station is beside the night market
    - public buses leave from close to the old town
    - go early. Approx an hour for public buses / half an hour for mini vans
    - mini van (takes only 10-12 people) leave around 8.30 am. 110,000 kip
    - approx 8 hour trip by mini van
    - from Phonsavan you will be dropped at the bus station where you can either walk or take a tuk tuk. Tuk tuks prices are higher for foreigners (eg 50,000 kip) for a trip into central Luang Prubang (3 - 4 km to the town centre).
    - in central Luang Prubang, walk to the Mekong River-there are loads of B&Bs/hotels alongside it

    LUANG PRUBANG
    - info centre at the main intersection (start of the night market) in the centre of town
    - numerous tour companies covering everything you can do in and around the town eg waterfall, caves, monastries, Mekong River trips etc etc

    #5 Posted: 28/9/2011 - 07:26

  • MandAtravel

    Joined Travelfish
    18th March, 2014
    Posts: 1

    A March 2014 update to the following from above:

    "THANH HOA - SAM NEUA
    - the Sam Neua bus station is off Tran Phu. From a Thanh Hoa map this looks like Ben Xe Noi Tinh station on Nguyen Trai (double check it when you get there)
    - bus from Thanh Hoa to Sam Neua is scheduled to leave at 8am in the morning, it can and does leave earlier. Be there an hour beforehand, particularly if you want a seat
    - if you need accommodation, try hotels on Tran Phu (eg Lam Son 253 Tran Phu - Ba Dinh - VND 390,000) for an easy walk to the station.
    - could only buy tickets on the day and needed kip for these, though VND prices were quoted in the station. VND 250,000 or 130,000 kip. Cost / currency may vary depending on the ticket seller on board the bus
    - bus had a sign in the window with Xam Neua on it

    Travelling and times:
    - Thanh Hoa - Na Meo / Nam Xai Border - approx 6 hours
    - Border - approx 45 mins. Visa on arrival available for USD $30
    - Border - Sam Neua - approx 2 hours"


    Took this bus on March 11th - bus station location and timing (8 am) still the same. Price of 300k VND posted in station but driver insisted that it was 180k kip which he allowed us to pay in Vietnamese Dong at a poor exchange rate coming out to 500k dong. We saw some locals pay 300k dong, some pay 500k - perhaps depends on whether you have a seat. We arrived an hour early and were just in time to get a seat. Bus was so loaded down with cargo and about 30 people crammed in to 14 remaining seats that it could barely go up hills or rough road patches. This meant frequently disembarking and walking up the hills and over rough patches and also 2 flat tires. Worst though, was how slow it was - it took over 16 hours by the time we got off in Sam Nuea. The slow speed meant no motion sickness, though. : )


    Border crossing easy, however, visa on arrival no issue for Lao. There was one lunch stop at about noon, some bathrooms stops but coincided with walking sections or tire changes for the most part.

    #6 Posted: 18/3/2014 - 03:27

  • somtam2000

    admin
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    Thanks for the update :-)

    #7 Posted: 18/3/2014 - 05:19

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