Saigon – Public Bus. Really?

In a hectic city like Saigon of Vietnam, you need a motorbike. That is such a firm statement I have been receiving since I moved out. I came to this city with my bicycle and my belief that I do not need any motorbike to live. So far, I have managed well to travel around the city.

Until early this week, I found myself another cool way besides bicycles and walking. Bus. At least this is the cheapest option for me when I want to use an air-conditioned vehicle to work.

How come until now I decide to take bus? A long story to be short, I did not have good experience with public bus system in Vietnam. Dirt. Messy routes. Unsafety. I still have that feeling. I just want to give it a try to prove the public transportation system here is getting better.

Since September 2012, Saigon local authority started to run a brand new model of public bus in downtown of District 1. Bus number 35. This is a subsidized bus service that will pass through the City Center covering administrative offices, schools and commercial centers. In all, the route will cover a distance of 10.20 kms. Multiple trip tickets and monthly tickets are accepted.

Ticket Rate (today exchange)

More details are listed here. You might have to use Google Translate for English

  1. One-time ticket:
    1. 5,000VND per person (0.23USD/0.17EUR) for distance < 18 km / 11.18 miles
    2. 6,000VND per person (0.28USD/0.20EUR) for distance > 18 km.
  2. Pupil and Student: 2,000VND per person (0.09USD/0.06EUR). Student cards must be shown 
  3. Yearly ticket booklet:
    1. 30 tickets with 112,500VND (5.3USD/3.8EUR), valid in one year and applied for distance < 18 km
    2. 30 tickets with 135,000VND (6.4USD/4.6EUR), valid in one year and applied for distance > 18 km. Note: no applicable for bus #13; 94 and 96

1 year, 240 tickets needed are equal to 1,200,000VND (56.95USD/41.5EUR)

1 year, 8 yearly ticket booklets needed are equal to 900,000VND (42.71USD/31.17EUR)

I can save up 300,000VND per year for traveling to work. Such a nice option.

Bus Route

Mainly downtown of District 1. You might be confused a bit at first. All in Vietnamese, even the voice telling us next bus stop. You can find more info about public bus routes here. I dare you to read and understand it at the first sight. LOL. I hopped on a wrong bus more than once. I kinda figure out how this bus runs at some point. If you use Android or iOS map, it might give you other options for public buses which I believe is very stupid no-sense routes and time wasting. Personal experience.

First Leave: Station HKXB Sài Gòn (Park 23/9) – Lê Lai – Tôn Thất Tùng – Bùi Thị Xuân – Cống Quỳnh – Nguyễn Thị Minh Khai – Nguyễn Văn Cừ - Trần Hưng Đạo – Station HKXB Sài Gòn (Trạm Bến Thành) – Huỳnh Thúc Kháng – Nguyễn Huệ – Lê Thánh Tôn - Pasteur – Lý Tự Trọng – Hai Bà Trưng – Nguyễn Du – Công xã Paris – Lê Duẩn – Đinh Tiên Hoàng – Nguyễn Thị Minh Khai – Phùng Khắc Khoan – Điện Biên Phủ – Nguyễn Bỉnh Khiêm – Nguyễn Đình Chiểu – Bến xe buýt đường Hoàng Sa.

Then Back: Bus stop street Hoàng Sa – Nguyễn Đình Chiểu – Hai Bà Trưng – Nguyễn Thị Minh Khai – Đinh Tiên Hoàng – Lê Duẩn – Công xã Paris – Đồng Khởi - Lê Thánh Tôn – Nguyễn Huệ – Hải Triều – Hàm Nghi – Phạm Ngũ Lão – Ga HKXB Sài Gòn (Trạm Bến Thành) – Phạm Ngũ Lão – Trần Hưng Đạo - Nguyễn Văn Cừ – Phạm Viết Chánh – Bùi Thị Xuân – Tôn Thất Tùng – Pham Ngũ Lão – Station HKXB Sài Gòn (Park 23/9)

Do not expect to have a clear info at bus stop, except there is a sign of bus #35. You know that bus will stop but you cannot find out which route it is headed next.

Timing Info

Station HKXB Sài Gòn (Park 23/9): 1st leave at 5:50AM and last leave at 20:00PM

Bus stop street Hoàng Sa: 1st leave at 6:00AM and last leave at 20:00PM

If you take a whole route, it can take you up to 45 minutes. Waiting time is between 8  to 15 minutes and they operate 150 bus rides per day.