Vietnam bus tickets don’t have to be scary. But they are when you first arrive.
I remember when I first landed here, I got totally bilked when I bought a bus ticket from Hanoi to Sapa.
They showed me and my friend this amazing brochure. We saw the bus and instantly went, “hell yeah!”. They promised us a 5-hour trip with comfortable seats.
When we arrived the next morning, that’s not what we got. Instead, they crammed us into the top bunks of a crappy sleeper bus and took us on a meandering 8-hour journey. We picked up any number of Vietnamese farmers who slept in the aisle before hopping off down the road.
It friggin’ sucked.
The Better Way to Buy Bus Tickets in Vietnam
The longer I’ve lived in Vietnam, the more I’ve come to realize that you can buy anything online. See, it’s easy to think of Vietnam as a developing country. And it is.
But Vietnam also has a vibrant startup community, which I’ve gotten a firsthand look at because my girlfriend is heavily involved.
As a result, you can pretty much buy anything online in Vietnam. Better yet, many of these startups even have English interfaces!
So, if you want a much more hassle-free bus ticket buying experience, skip the sketchy travel agents.
Instead, book online via a site called Ve Xe Re. They’re a startup out of Ho Chi Minh city that lets you easily buy bus tickets online. If you’ve ever booked an airline ticket online (which I’m guessing you have if you’re in Vietnam), you’ll be able to figure out Ve Xe Re.
Just choose your departure city, destination city, and preferred date. Then, Ve Xe Re will serve up a bunch of possibilities:
Best of all, you can even view real pictures of what the bus looks like. That way, you’ll know exactly what to expect for your hard-earned Dong:
You can also view other travelers’ ratings, though most of them will be in Vietnamese. Still, Google Translate can provide an idea of the service quality.
Where Can Ve Xe Re Take You?
Ve Xe Re has a pretty comprehensive network. I haven’t booked all of these routes, but they hit all the biggies. You can go:
- Ho Chi Minh City to Dalat
- Hanoi to Sapa
- Ho Chi Minh City to Danang
- Hanoi to Halong Bay
- Danang to Hue
And tons of other combinations.
So that’s my tip. Don’t use travel agents – take advantage of the Internet and book bus tickets online while you’re traveling in Vietnam. You’ll avoid a ton of hassle and know exactly what you’re paying for.