I am going to be in HCMC for a few weeks. My friend is going to meet me here. I wanted him to have a few nights in HCMC, then head to Phnom Penh (2 nights) then Sihanoukville for like 2 or 3 nights.
I guess the Mekong express would be good to get me from HCMC to PP. I heard there is a bus from Sihanoukville to HCMC but very long!
Anyway, is it reasonable to cover all three destinations in 8 nights?
Yes, it's doable, but personally, I think it's a bit rushed for 8 days, given you would spend a day getting from HCMC to PP, then another getting from PP to Shihanoukville (by the time you include checkin/out times, travelling to/from bus depots, and the usual phaffing around time). On the other hand, the travel does allow you to see interesting things, albeit through the bus window.
Ultimately, it depends on what you want to do in those places - what are the priorities?
You would have 2 nights in PP, but essentially only one full-day for sight-seeing. You could have a full-on day and manage to see S-21, the Killing Fields, a museum and a sunset river trip if you wanted.
S'ville... well, I wasn't that enamoured with it. I guess if you are wanting beach, head for there. But maybe also consider Kampot for something a little bit different and a much more relaxed pace - and it would cut your travel time down by an hour or two each way.
The main thing is - you just need to be aware of factoring in the travel time. Whilst the roadtime to somewhere might be 4 hours, the reality is that you may as well double it!
Also - I'm not sure what the Mekong Express is exactly, that you refer to (ie bus or bus/boat combo?) Anyhow - I would recommend getting to PP by boat as a nice alternative to the bus.
I think you can organise bus/boat combination trips. I overlanded to Chau Doc over a few days than organised the boat from there so am not too sure about options from HCMC. There have been recent discussion here - do a search and you should find some useful info,
Thank's for your kind help.
I've been to PP and Sihanoukville before but am showing my friend around. I was afraid the tentative itinerary might be rushed...luckily I arrive in HCMC 3 days before him and will stay there for a few days after he leaves.
Nothing worse than wasting precious vacation time on a bus....how about flying, anyone ever flew from HCMC to PP...and where can I get a cheap ticket for that...sadly airasia doesn't have that route.
I'd scrap Sihanoukville if I have to. I liked the relaxing atmosphere, and the cheapness of everything.
If I fly from HCMC to PP, would you still condsider my itinerary too rushed?
I'm not sure who flys HCMC-PP without googling. Maybe have a look on www.adioso.com - it's a budget flight search engine.
This also begs the question - how are you getting back to HCMC? Might be better to overland one way and fly the other (at least).
For a more interesting trip, and assuming PP is a 'must', I think I would be more tempted to go overland from HCMC via Ben Tre, Can Tho and Chau Doc - spending 4-5 nights along the way then take the boat to PP from there. I really enjoyed this area, and would recommend it over S'Ville anyday. Mind you, this was part of an EasyRider trip so we had a guide take us to some interesting places, local businesses and markets. But you could find these places on your own and I can't help but think this would be more of an adventure (if that's what you are looking for...?)
This would mean being on the move every other day or so, but the travelling distances are much shorter.
From Chau Doc, take the boat along the river into PP - and then have 3 nights or so there. This would give you just a bit more time to explore PP.
However, if you are definitely wanting to get to S'ville, and if the budget allows it, then yes, consider flying at least one way. Otherwise... be prepared for the long bus ride!
I have flown from PP to HCMC .... Vietnam Airlines do the route but it is operated by CAMBODIA ANGKOR AIR. I didn't think it was a cheap route. Maybe I booked too late. But if you were to fly, only go from HCMC to PP. Going out from PP you get stung for $25 USD departure tax. It's a short flight and certainly beats spending time on a bus but then you have to hang around in airport terminals etc.
I'm actually looking at going to Sihanoukville myself in the next week or so and the fares I've seen in the backpackers area of D1 in HCMC certainly are far cheaper than flying but what the time element is......... I'll be finding out tomorrow. I do know from PP to HCMC takes around 6 hrs. Someone told me from PP to Sihanoukville is about the same. Whether true or not, long time.
#6 69bertie has been a member since 22/12/2009. Posts: 90
I went from HCMC to Sihanoukville yesterday. Cost with Mekong Express $38 return. Left HCMC at 7am and arrived in PP at just after 1pm. Then had to wait for the connecting bus to Sihanoukville which left at 2.30pm and arrived at about 6.30pm. Pretty good trip considering the time on the bus. One stop on each leg. Reclining seats, aircon etc Toilet on board. There are a hoard of tuk-tuks and motorbikes that greet the buses at PP and S'ville.
#7 69bertie has been a member since 22/12/2009. Posts: 90
Thanks for the info. I'll probably take the Mekong Express to PP then just take a shared taxi. I heard it's only 3 hours if you do that.
How's Snookville? I promised my friend some decent nightlife so I hope I can deliver. When I was there last year it was pretty decent. Especially Bar Ru.
regarding shared taxi: those will not do it in 3 hours.
There is a huge difference in a "shared taxi" and "sharing a private taxi".
Sharing a private taxi with your friend (and perhaps some people you meet along the way) will get you to Sihanoukville in 3 hours or so and is reasonably cheap if you divide costs. A little more than busticket (per person) but speed and comfort will make up for it.
A shared taxi in Cambodia means that you have to wait till the taxi fills up with strangers (usually not long for that trip) but the taxi will be overcrowded and most certainly won't be able to do it in 3 hours. It will stop along the way to drop off and pick up people. I would prefer to take the bus over a shared taxi unless you have some budget reasons to take one. If you decide to buy two tickets per person on the shared taxi (as I sometimes do to occupy the front passenger seat (which normally seats two) for short trips) you will pay roughly as much as a bus ticket.