Pleiku to Banlung by public transport

We traveled by public transport from Pleiku (Vietnam) to Banlung (Cambodia) traversing the Le Thanh (V)/O Yadaw (C) border crossing. A short account.

First moment of panic

Finding the right bus (station) in Pleiku. Our guidebook mentioned a smaller bus station down town, named Ben Xe Noi something, but after closer inspection it was not a bus station anymore. It’s now a market square. There is a bigger bus station, Ben Xe Duc Long Gia Lai, from where there are busses that go to Duc Co and continue to Moc Den (5:00 AM, 7:00 AM and 9:30 AM). We found out a day before. We liked to be in time at the border, but not have to get up too early, so we chose the 7 AM bus. We arrived at a quarter to 7 at the bus station, and waited for the bus to arrive at 7:15. Plenty of legroom in the back of the bus, and it drives at a reasonable speed. The fare for this bus set us back 26000 VND per person.

Second moment of panic

The bus stopped because we arrived at Moc Den, around 9, though we weren’t at Le Thanh yet. Nevertheless, the people of the bus would arrange transport for the last 7 kms. We could take a taxi for 100000 VND/each, but we decided not to, too expensive. We picked up our backpacks and walked in the direction of Le Thanh, continuing in the direction the bus was driving. Just 300 meters further up, a minibus passed by that could take us to Le Thanh for just 20000 each. The roof of the bus was stacked up, and in 15 minutes later we were in Le Thanh where we changed busses towards Banlung, Cambodia. This was going smooth!

Just wait some

We just had to wait a moment to repack some stuff. The town of Le Thanh is not very big in itself, but it is a freight hub. The only part we did see in Le Thanh are some small shops that wanted to send or buy stuff and the (big) parking lot where 6 other busses pushed around stuff. We were part of the freight. About an hour later, after some driving around in circles, and lots of stuff in the back of the bus (and below our feet) we were on our way again. Customs and passing the border was easy, we now are the proud owners of a hand written tourist visa for Cambodia ($20, one month) and around lunch time we were in Banlung. This bus costed us only 100000/each VND, not bad for a seat and a half, since you need not to be too big in Cambodia. We failed to negotiate on this one, so maybe you can do it for less.

In Banlung you can easily change your excess VND to either USD or Cambodian Riel (KHR) at the market or at any jewellery. They even have banks near the market with ATMs.

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