We get up early, as early as 4am. The bus was scheduled to pick us up at 6am. We had a quick breakfast, some buns and mushroom soup we brought from KL and waited on the outside of the shop. The guesthouse staff was half awake. Their cafe on the ground floor was yet to open.
Morning in Phnom Penh, the weather was gloomy, in a perfect way. It was a good sign. An old lady selling some kind of noodle soup on the street.
A minivan came and picked us, they took us to the Orussey Market where we had to wait until 8am before we departed from Phnom Penh. Our bag tagged, and passport checked. There are waiting chairs outside their mini office. Not that fancy but good enough for us until we boarded into the bus.
You can travel by bus or private coach to Vietnam. There are different companies offering the same services (with the slightly different fare) but Mekong Express is preferable and suggested by other travellers.
And our 5hour trip crossing Cambodia-Vietnam border began! The seat is quite comfy, toilet is available, it’s quite clean and they gave a breakfast set of croissant, slice of cake, a bottled water and wet tissue. WIFI is not available on the bus anyway, but I’m pretty sure private coach has it.
The bus conductor (guide) was kind enough, he was quite concerned about the food we were about to consume. He carefully read the ingredients to make sure it is halal enough for us. I was flattered.
We stop for lunch break when we were about to reach the border.
The conductor had our passports the minute we got into the bus and he returned it to us with the exit stamped. But we still need to queue at the Exit Passport Control for ummm… to get our passport checked I guess. Then we went to the other building to get another stamp from Vietnam Immigration. We queue and waiting for our name to be called, we had to bring our backpack with us for screening. Our bus was getting inspected as well. Once cleared, we continued our journey to Ho Chi Minh.
We were an hour late (or 30minutes) from the schedule. It was raining (heavily) as we were reaching Ho Chi Minh, and it was still raining when we get off from the bus at Pham Ngu Lao Street, thank God we’ve been to HCM before and quite familiar with the street. We booked a ticket to Mui Ne, the only available ticket was at 5.30pm and we will be reaching Mui Ne around 11pm.
We bought a raincoat from the street as we walked to Ben Thanh for lunch. And the rain stopped the minute we had the raincoat. Yes, the heavy rain stopped and we were sweating with layered raincoat.
We had 3hour for lunch, pray and wander around Ben Thanh market before another 5hour bus ride to Mui Ne. It was our first time riding the sleeper bus. Our tips, choose the upper bunk, you don’t want to sleep with stinky socks from the guy in the upper bunk. Or you don’t want people to accidentally step on you (not sure if this ever happens, but I’m imagining that could possibly happen)
I had a good sleep for few hours, woke up another hour and back to sleep again. This time, the WIFI is available, but my phone’s battery was drowning and I rather had a good sleep. The power bank was useless. We were greeted by a female traveler (she was with her fellow friends) and we happened to stay at the same hostel.
We reached the hostel in time. 10.30pm right in front of our hostel. Tell your driver where you are going to stay in Mui Ne and they will drop you there. We were staying at the Mui Ne Backpacker Village, runs by a Vietnamese lady with her Australian husband. Tt was beyond my expectation. It doesn’t feel like a backpacker hostel or anything, it has the resort feel! And the dorm was quite cheap but we had a private room (with toilet attached).
While travelling trio, we rather had a private room for the three of us than staying in a dorm.