Retiring cheap in Vietnam means you are going to be going to Cambodia. Why? Visa runs. The typical visa you’re going to get in Vietnam will be the 3 month tourist visa. This means every 3 months, off you go somewhere else. For most people it means taking the bus to Cambodia ($20 CDN)
You might not go all the way to Phomn Penh, but if you are here’s the scoop.
First you’ll buy a bus ticket from Giant Ibis. This company ACTUALLY has a website where you can actually buy your ticket.
This might not seem like a big deal to you if you’ve never left North America. But believe me it is.
Showing up at the bus station (it’s in Bui Vien District 1) you might not actually see it. I was expecting a big terminal with buses. I actually refused to get out of my GRAB until he told me 100 times that, “yes, this is Giant Ibis”.
The little office is tucked inside. So look for the Panda Travel sign.
There are no buses around. They just pull up when it’s time to go.
Before you board, they are going to want to see your passport and if you don’t have a Cambodian Visa, you’ll pay for one here ($35 USD). It’s important to note that the price is in USD.
From this point on, you will no longer need your Vietnemase Dong (hehehhehe).
Cambodia works on Riels, and USD. There’s a currency exchange place right next door though.
I don’t know how badly I got ripped off. I just needed some greenbacks.
Getting on the bus was simple with the arranged seats
The bus itself is comfortable, think Economy plus on an airplane. It’s got wifi, electrical plugs for your gear, and reclining seats. BRING A JACKET! The Aircon on the bus is cold. Almost every girl ran to the storage area at the first stop to get a jacket. At this point you should hang out near that area of the bus to make sure, nobody “accidentally” goes into your bags).
You’ll also get a water, pastry and wet wipe.
The bus trip was from 830 am to 430pm.
There are NO bathrooms on the bus. They do make stops every few hours though.
The first stop is at a mediocre restaurant. Don’t eat there. The food is overpriced and not so good.
They do have nice bathrooms though.
Going through customs is a breeze. The bus driver takes your passport, does all paperwork and then gives it all to the customs guys. KEEP AN EYE ON YOUR BUS DRIVER. (He’s going to go the area you need to go, but isn’t going to wait for you.)
You’ll first get your Vietnam exit stamp then drive for a bit to the Cambodian border.
When you get to the border stops, you’ll get bombarded by money changers. If you do decide to use a money changer, find out the exchange rate and then use your own calculator to figure out the amount you should get.
(I’ve heard they like to give an ok exchange rate, then short change you on the actual money given.)
There’s another stop where you’re going to be able to get decent fried chicken and food at a little cart. I recommend eating here.
Arriving at the Giant Ibis station in Phomn Penh means dealing with Tuk Tuks.
The English speaking level here is actually pretty good. (I’m rating it 8//10….like the Philippines) If you’re going to an out of the way place to stay, it’s handy to have the phone number. The tuk tuk drivers will call them for you for directions.
I didn’t see any cabs. In the two days I’ve been here, I’ve seen zero cabs. There is Grab and PassApp in Cambodia.
How much is a Tuk Tuk? My place was 23 minutes away from the Giant Ibis terminal. So, they quoted $20 USD.
From my experience in Bangkok, I know that Tuk Tuks are the greediest bastards you’ll ever see. After several minutes of haggling I settled on $12 USD.
Normally I would NEVER take a tuk tuk from a bus/train/plane station. You know it’s going to severely over priced.
But when I arrived the rain was so heavy and torrential that cars were up to mid rim. Literally calf deep water.
In that type of weather, I’ll pay a little more. (My ride back by the way was $7 USD negotiated with a random tuk tuk near where I was staying).
I hope this helps you on your way to find the best place to retire cheap. If you want more articles this is the place to go. LINKS TO ALL ARTICLES