After 3 weeks exploring Cambodia it was time to move on to Vietnam. We felt that we had overstayed our welcome in Sihanoukville after the rat incident and then I almost lost 3 fingers after getting attacked by a fan spinning on the highest speed (no exaggeration). Not a nice end to an otherwise amazing time in Cambodia. We were definitely ready for a new adventure.
Getting to Vietnam from Cambodia overland is really easy! All you have to do is arrange your Vietnamese visa (if you are staying for over 15 days); book a bus; and go!
If you are planning to head to Sihanoukville on your way through Cambodia make sure you get your Vietnamese visa here. You can get it from anywhere else in Cambodia but your passport has to be sent to Sihanoukville as this is where the consulate is!
Getting your Vietnamese visa in Sihanoukville:
There are two ways to get your visa in Sihanoukville – you can go straight to the Vietnamese consulate in the Serendipity Beach area via a tuk tuk; or you can go to a travel agent. We were going to go direct but figured it would cost roughly the same to pay a travel agent to sort it out for us hassle free as it would to get a tuk tuk to and from the consulate. We used ANA Travel agent across the road from Monkey Republic Hostel. The girl was very helpful and I would 100% recommend them. It cost us $3 extra each to use the travel agent and for us it was totally worth it! We paid $60 for our visa on top of the $3 and we had our visa within 3 days (this was slightly slower than normal as there was a weekend and public holiday). All you need to get your visa is: your passport and one passport photo!
Note: You cannot get a visa on arrival in Vietnam so make sure you get it before you go. Also, the Vietnamese government brought in a visa exemption for UK citizens staying 15 days or less in the country (so, basically you can go to Vietnam visa free if you’re only staying for up to 15 days!) however, this is due to finish at the end of June 2016 so make sure you check updated advice after this date!
Getting to Ho Chi Minh City aka Saigon
We booked a Mekong Express bus through ANA which cost $26. This took us back to Phnom Penh and then on to Ho Chi Minh City. It was another hassle free experience with the staff on the bus taking charge of everything to do with our visa’s at passport control! All we had to do was go through security and come out the other side to find our bus again.
Arriving in HCMC
We arrived around 7pm at night and were a little overwhelmed by how busy Ho Chi Minh is! The drop off for the bus is here which is really close to the backpacker area in the city. We stayed in Bich Duyen Hotel on “backpacker street” which was a great place to be based for a short stay in HCMC. The staff were super friendly and it was close to everything!
It’s as easy as that! You are now ready to enjoy your stay in the craziness that is HCMC…
If you’re reading this after the 30th June 2016; let me know if the visa situation has changed!