ho chi minh to phnom penh

How to go from Ho Chi Minh City to Phnom Penh

The route between Ho Chi Minh and Phnom Penh is a popular one.  Heading from the capital of Vietnam to the capital of Cambodia is a great way to see this part of South East Asia.  And unless you’re planning a visit to Phu Quoc Island, or the Vietnam Delta, then most people will travel straight through to Phnom Penh.  The capitals are must-visit destinations on a trip to southeast Asia.  So whether you’re going from Ho Chi Minh City to Phnom Penh or Phnom Penh to Ho Chi Minh City, you’ll need to know the best way to travel between these two destinations.  There are several options for transport between Ho Chi Minh City and Phnom Penh, from the straightforward to the most comfortable and the interesting route using the Mekong River.  But what’s the best way to get from Ho Chi Minh City to Phnom Penh?  And what are the options for traveling to Phnom Penh from Ho Chi Minh City?  Here’s our guide on how to get to Phnom Penh from Ho Chi Minh City.

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Where is Phnom Penh

Phnom Penh is the capital city of Cambodia and it is found where the Basak, Sab, and Mekong river systems join in the central south part of Cambodia.  Phnom Penh is the largest city on the Mekong River.  By road, Phnom Penh is 320 kilometers from Siem Reap, 250 kilometers from Ho Chi Minh City, and 700 kilometers from Bangkok.  The route from Vietnam to Cambodia is a popular one for those traveling through South East Asia and our guide here, explains all the different border crossings available, but this article is specifically about how to go from Ho Chi Minh City to Phnom Penh.

Travel Tips for Exploring Vietnam

Where to stay in Phnom Penh

The city of Phnom Penh is quite large, it covers 679 square kilometers, and while there are often some great deals on accommodation to be found on the outskirts, you’ll want to stay centrally to be able to get around and see Phnom Penh’s best attractions. 

There are heaps of places to stay in Phnom Penh – here’s our pick of the luxury places to stay in Phnom Penh, mid-range places to stay in Phnom Penh, and budget accommodation in Phnom Penh.

The Golden Noura Villa-Pub & Restaurant offers comfortable lodging, an en suite bathroom, and free WiFi within 100 meters of the National Museum and the Royal Palace. All of the rooms at Golden Noura include air conditioning, a flat-screen cable TV, a fridge, and a writing desk. Every room at this great Phnom Penh hotel has great views of the city!. You can check rates here.

The Pavilion is an adult-only hotel in the heart of Phnom Penh. Phnom Penh’s Pavilion Hotel has a separate main restaurant as well as two poolside restaurants. It has an indoor spa as well as an outdoor shaded pool for chilling out. When you’re ready to explore, This super Phnom Penh hotel provides free bicycle rental. Check Rates at the Pavilion in Phnom Penh and book a room here.

The Plantation Urban Resort & Spa, in the heart of Phnom Penh, is located in a fabulous spot behind the Royal Palace. The Plantation has two outdoor swimming pools, a restaurant on-site, and a bar. There is free WiFi access throughout.  Non-smoking rooms with air conditioning also have a desk and minibar, and there’s also a flat-screen TV in the lounge area of the room. This is a fabulous luxury option in Phnom Penh. This wonderful property fills up quickly, so reserve early!

How to Go from Ho Chi Minh City to Phnom Penh – Transport Options

There is an international airport in Phnom Penh, and flying from Ho Chi Minh City to Phnom Penh is the fastest way to get there.  For ground transport options between Phnom Penh and Ho Chi Minh City, there are several options, which include buses, shuttles (vans), and boats.  In this guide on how to go from Ho Chi Minh City to Phnom Penh, we’ll cover the fastest way to travel from Ho Chi Minh City to Phnom Penh, the easiest way to go to Phnom Penh from Ho Chi Minh City, and the cheapest way to get to Phnom Penh from Ho Chi Minh City.  If you’re looking for what you can do in Phnom Penh, then our guide is here.

You should note that this is a cross-border route and you MUST have all your documentation to enter Cambodia.  You can check visa requirements for Cambodia here.             

How to get to Phnom Penh from Ho Chi Minh City

For transport from Phnom Penh to Ho Chi Minh City, then you have several options.  You can take a direct bus from Ho Chi Minh City to Phnom Penh, you can also take a van to Phnom Penh from Ho Chi Minh City, which tends to be faster than the larger buses.  You can also take a bus or van from Ho Chi Minh City to Chau Doc and then take a boat from Chau Doc to Phnom Penh. 

The Bus from Ho Chi Minh City to Phnom Penh

It’s about 250 kilometers by road from Ho Chi Minh City to Phnom Penh.  And the bus from Ho Chi Minh City to Phnom Penh is the cheapest way to go from Ho Chi Minh City to Phnom Penh.  There are (depending on the season) three direct buses a day that go from Ho Chi Minh City to Phnom Penh.   The bus to Phnom Penh from Ho Chi Minh City takes 6 to 6.5 hours.  The cheapest bus that travels this route is a regular bus, with reclining seats.  For a few more dollars you can travel on a sleeping bus, meaning you’ll get more room and be able to put your feet up.

Bus sizes vary from minivans to sleeper buses, to sitting large buses, with the larger bus being cheaper.  There are also limo minivans that go from HCMC to Phnom Penh.

The minivan is usually a little faster and (usually) a little more comfortable too.  You don’t need to print a ticket for the bus from Ho Chi Minh City to Phnom Penh, you can use an electronic ticket from your online bus booking from Ho Chi Minh City to Phnom Penh.

This is the cheapest way to go to Phnom Penh from Ho Chi Minh City

Online booking of buses to Phnom Penh from Ho Chi Minh City lets you select which seats you want – and pick a different bus if you don’t like the seat availability.

There are THREE buses that you can book to go to Phnom Penh from Ho Chi Minh City.  They leave Ho Chi Minh City at 8 am, 830am, and 11 am. 

Luxury Minivans from Ho Chi Minh City to Phnom Penh

The luxury minivan from Ho Chi Minh City to Phnom Penh is the most comfortable way to go from Ho Chi Minh City to Phnom Penh.  The minivan to Phnom Penh from Ho Chi Minh City takes about 6 hours.  Luxury minivans have great legroom, A/C, reclining seats, and also stop for rest breaks.

This is the most comfortable way to go to Phnom Penh from Ho Chi Minh City

There is one minivan a day that you can book to go to Phnom Penh from Ho Chi Minh City, it leaves at 8:30 am and arrives in Phnom Penh at 230pm.

Check availability, prices, and book seats on minivans from Ho Chi Minh City to Phnom Penh here.

Flights to Phnom Penh from Ho Chi Minh City

The direct flight from Ho Chi Minh City to Phnom Penh takes about an hour.  Three airlines fly to Phnom Penh from Ho Chi Minh City they are:

Flights from Ho Chi Minh City to Phnom Penh leave from Ho Chi Minh Airport (SGN) and land at Phnom Penh International Airport (PNH). Flying to Phnom Penh from Ho Chi Minh City is the fastest and most comfortable way to go from Ho Chi Minh City to Phnom Penh.

The first flight each day from Ho Chi Minh City to Phnom Penh is at around noon and the last flight to Phnom Penh from Ho Chi Minh City is at around 640pm.   There are (depending on the season) about 6 flights a day from Ho Chi Minh City to Phnom Penh.  Flying to Phnom Penh tends to be cheap and is the best way to get to Phnom Penh.

Take a Bus to from Ho Chi Minh City + a Boat to Phnom Penh

For a fun way to go from Ho Chi Minh City to Phnom Penh, you can take a bus from Ho Chi Minh City to the Vietnamese riverside town of Chau Doc. From there you can take a boat from Chau Doc up the Mekong to Phnom Penh. You should note that these boats up the Mekong ONLY run when the river is high enough, so they usually don’t start until October each year. We’ve taken these boats and they are a fab way to travel. You’ll go through the border mid-way up the Mekong. Also, unless you want to spend the night in Chau Doc (we did, its nothing special), then you’ll need to get the late-night (2315) sleeper bus from Ho Chi Minh City to Chau Doc so that you arrive in Chau Doc in time for the boat. These sleeper buses arrive in Chau Doc around 5:15am, so you’ll save on the cost of accommodation. Boats usually leave around 8am from Chau Doc.

There are heaps of buses each day from Ho Chi Minh City to Chau Doc – check the timetables and prices here (they’re super cheap!)

And from Chau Doc, you can book a boat that travels up the Mekong River – check the times, prices and availability here.

The quickest way to get from Ho Chi Minh City to Phnom Penh

The quickest way to get to Phnom Penh from Ho Chi Minh City is to fly.  It takes about an hour to go to Phnom Penh from Ho Chi Minh City and you can book tickets from Ho Chi Minh City to Phnom Penh here.

The easiest way to go to Phnom Penh is from Ho Chi Minh City

The easiest way to get from Ho Chi Minh City to Phnom Penh is to fly, you can check the times of flights from Ho Chi Minh City to Phnom Penh here.

The most comfortable way to get from Ho Chi Minh City to Phnom Penh

The most comfortable way to get to Phnom Penh from Ho Chi Minh City is to take a minivan – and you can check rates here.

The cheapest way to go from Ho Chi Minh City to Phnom Penh

The cheapest way to get to Phnom Penh from Ho Chi Minh City is to take the direct bus – reserve your seats here.

The best way to go from Ho Chi Minh City to Phnom Penh

Well, now this depends.  I think the direct bus is actually easier than flying because you don’t have to hang around at the airport for several hours (it’s an international flight, so it’s a longer check-in time).  And the direct bus doesn’t have that, although, you still have a border crossing, and the rest of the passengers on the bus need to go through immigration in both countries too.   However, I love the boat trip up the Mekong from Chau Doc to Phnom Penh, so while it’s the most convoluted and longest trip, I prefer the bus from Ho Chi Minh City to Chau Doc and then the boat to Phnom Penh from Chau Doc.  You can check the booking details here. – you’ll need to look for buses from Ho Chi Minh to Chau Doc (here) and then boats from Chau Doc to Phnom Penh (here).

We also took the route from Phu Quoc to Cambodia – after spending some time on the holiday island – its well worth a detour, come on over!

If you’re looking for Ho Chi Minh City, then our guide to HCMC is here.

Final Words on How to Go from Ho Chi Minh City to Phnom Penh

This is a tried and tested route in South East Asia – going from the capital of Vietnam to the capital of Cambodia, which means that you have several options.  There is no train route from Ho Chi Minh City to Phnom Penh, but there are buses, minivans, boats, and flights.  My favorite route is to take the Mekong River for part of the journey, but if you don’t have time we’ve included all the options.

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