Buon Ma Thuot airport (BMV) is a small but modern airport nine kilometres from the city centre. Metered taxis are plentiful at the front of the airport. Buot Ma Thuot has regular domestic flights, with destinations including:
Da Nang (Vietnam Airlines)
Hanoi (Vietnam Airlines, VietJet Air)
Hai Phong (Jetstar)
Ho Chi Minh City (Jetstar, Vietnam Airlines, VietJet Air)
Chu Lai/Tamky (Jetstar)
Vinh (Jetstar, Vietjet)
Vietnam Airlines booking office
17 & 19 No Trang Long
T: (0500) 395 4442; F: (0500) 395 2591
Open Mon-Fri 07:30-11:30, 13:30-16:30, Sat-Sun 08:00-11:00, 13:30-16:00.
Jetstar Pacific booking office
01-03 Phan Chu Trinh St, in lobby of Saigon-Ban Me Hotel
T: (0500) 376 6888, (0500) 381 1550
Open daily 07:30-17:00.
There is no train station in Buon Ma Thuot.
The Buon Ma Thuot bus station is five kilometres northeast of the city, on Nguyen Chi Thanh/QL14. Your hotel can book tickets for you for a small fee and some bus companies include pick up from your hotel so you don’t necessarily have to make your own way to the station. If you have to go to the station, the truly frugal can catch any local bus at the central roundabout heading out of the city northeast on Nguyen That Thanh St. Fare should be no more than 5,000 dong.
Be wary of people at the station or in front who will tell you anything to get you onto their bus: “Your bus is cancelled,” or, “We can get it for you cheaper.” These touts get a commission from selling at an inflated price the same ticket you can buy at the station yourself.
Bus companies have individual booths, plus there is a booth for the government’s centralised booking agency. They can book most bus companies/destinations for you over the phone and/or you can pick up the tickets at their window. Look for “Phong Ve Uy Thac” or someone who speaks Vietnamese can call T: (0500) 3876 833, (0500) 398 9292.
MaiLinh Express is the best bus company in town and their fleet of hunter green Mercedes Benz buses are very civilised. They cost the same or even less than some of the ordinary buses. There’s even WiFi on the bus. However, they only service two destinations. T: (0500) 3877 078.
HCMC: sleeping air-con bus departs at 20:00, 21:00. Costs 215,000 dong and takes 7 hours.
Da Nang: sleeping air-con bus departs at 17:00. Costs 290,000 dong and takes 11-12 hours.
There is frequent service throughout the day to HCMC by numerous bus companies. Most are comparable, though Kum Ho (formerly Rang Dong) has the edge. No need to go to the station as Kum Ho includes free pick-up from your hotel. Book through your hotel or call T: 3999 898.
HCMC: sleeping air-con bus departs at 09:00, 20:00, 21:30, 22:00. Costs 235,000 dong and takes 8 hours.
The city is well connected by bus, this list is not exhaustive. Sample times and fares with other bus companies:
Cam Ranh: Sitting bus departs at 06:00. Costs 120,000 dong and takes 7 hours.
Nha Trang: Sitting bus departs every 30 minutes from 06:00-14:00. Costs 95,000 dong and takes 4 hours.
Da Nang: Sleeping bus departs at 15:40, 16:30, 17:30, 18:30. Costs 280,000 dong and takes 12 hours.
Hue: Sleeping bus departs at 04:00 every other day. Costs 330,000 dong and takes 12 hours.
Quang Ngai: sleeping bus departs at 16:30, 17:30. Costs 250,000 dong and takes 10 hours.
Kon Tum: Sitting bus departs every 30 minutes from 06:00-13:30. Costs 110,000 dong and takes 5 hours.
Pleiku: Sitting bus departs every 30 minutes from 05:00-15:00. Costs 95,000 dong and takes 4 hours.
Hanoi: Sleeping bus departs at 07:00, 08:00, 09:00. Costs 650,000 dong and takes 29 hours.
Metered taxis are plentiful and your hotel can call the green Mailinh Taxi – they’ll pickup at your location for no extra charge. Rates should be displayed, usually 6,000 dong for the first 0.7 kilometres, then 12,000 dong per kilometre after, up to 30 kilometres. Mailinh Taxi: T: (0500) 3819 819
Backpacker oriented hotels like Ngoc Mai rent motorbikes for 150,000 dong per day. Bicycles are also available. We rented a motorbike at Song Tra Hotel at 42 Ly Thuong Kiet Street for 120,000 dong a day.
Local bus is the slow and cheap way to go. The bus stops can be found just off the central roundabout with the victory monument, tank and church. We’ve included bus numbers but you should look for the destination as numbers are often not displayed.
The bus stop for Ban Don/Yok Don National Park is southwest of the roundabout, on Ly Thuong Kiet St near the post office. The pink and green bus No15 to “Buon Don” runs every 30 minutes from 06:00-16:00, costs 20,000 dong.
The bus stop for Dray Sap waterfall is close to the church, on Nguyen Tat Thanh Street. The blue and white bus No 13 to “Krong No” runs every 20 minutes from 06:00-16:30. It should cost no more than 30,000 dong. From the closest stop it’s 1.5 kilometres to the entrance.
The bus stop for Lak Lake is across the street. The blue and white bus No 12 runs from 06:00-17:00. We were told it runs once an hour but we noticed it ran more frequently than that. It’s the luck of the draw, just like the fare: if the bus happens to be air-conditioned it’s 35,000 dong, no air-con it’s 25,000 dong.