Sinh Tours in Vietnam

Travel Vietnam by Bus With Sinh Cafe

Vietnam is long and narrow: Its coast spans approximately 2,100 miles from north to south while its width ranges from 30 miles at its narrowest point in the country’s central highlands to a maximum of just 310 miles along its northern border with China. The shape of the country has resulted in a tourist trail that’s basically vertical, with most travelers starting either in the massive city of Saigon in the south or up north in Hanoi, the national capital and heading north of south.

I personally began in Saigon, where I inadvertently stumbled into a place called the Sinh Café. In spite of its seedy-sounding name, Sinh Cafe, which was formerly known as “Sinh Tours,” is a travel agency that sells “open bus” passes that allow you to travel the coast of Vietnam on your own schedule, for a flat and extremely low rate.

While Sinh Cafe buses are far from the most comfortable I’ve traveled in, they are nonetheless the most efficient, cost-effective means of traveling up or down Vietnam’s coast. Even if you aren’t on extremely tight budget, Sinh Cafe buses present a convenient and flexible alternative to flying domestically within Vietnam, which is stressful in addition to being expensive.

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Sinh Café Bus Tours in Vietnam

The process for booking a tour is extremely simple. The only thing you really need to ensure before you book is that you have at least 24 hours before you need to depart your origin, as most of the travelers who use Sinh Cafe bus do so because of its flexibility, which makes day-of departures difficult to come by. After choosing your routing and departure date, arrive at the Sinh office to board the bus before it departs and be on your way.

Make a note of the location of the office where it drops you off in your destination city, as is this where you need come back to embark on the next leg of your trip. In order to ensure seat availability, visit the office at least 24 hours before you decide to depart to confirm your seat.

Overnight “sleeper” buses server all night routes, such as the journey from Nha Trang to Hoi An. But don’t be fooled: These hard plastic surfaces, flat as floor tiles, are not beds or even particularly suitable for sleep. Thankfully, narcotic sleep aids are available over the counter at most any pharmacy in Vietnam.

Sample Sinh Cafe Bus Itineraries and Prices

Sinh Cafe Buses offers several different Vietnam bus routings, although the ones that are most popular travel between the national capital of Hanoi, located in the northern part of the country and the huge south Vietnamese city of Saigon.

For $45 as of August 2011, you can do as I did : Travel from Saigon to Hanoi and stop in Mui Ne, the town with the paved beach and towering red sand dunes; the coastal party city of Nha Trang; the French colonial town of Hoi An; the former DMZ line and Hue, the ancient city that sits there on your way — or do the route in reverse.

Sinh additionally offers service to the hill town of Dalat in the south-central part of the country and Sapa, a gateway to Laos located near the border with China that is home to breathtaking rice terraces and the fascinating Hmong people. Several buses per week operate between destinations, allowing you to customize any routing to fit your schedule.

When I visited for example, my schedule was as follows:

Saigon-Mui Ne Sunday
Mui Ne-Nha Trang
Wednesday
Nha Trang-Hoi An
Saturday
Hoi An-Hue
Second Tuesday
Hue-Hanoi
Second Thursday

One-Way Sinh Cafe Bus Segments

For travelers who are in more of a hurry, Sinh offers individual long-haul segments for sale, which include complimentary rest stops in some of the secondary destinations in-between.

If you need to get from Nha Trang back to Saigon within 24 hours in order to make your flight, for example, take a 10-hour Sinh bus that leaves early in the morning at makes a lunch stop in Mui Ne, dropping you off in Saigon in plenty of time to catch an evening departure or get a full night sleep before the next morning comes.

One-way tickets are without a doubt more expensive mile for mile. Pricing my Saigon-Muin Ne-Nha Trang-Hoi An-Hue-Hanoi routing above using individual one-way fares, for example, yields a total price of $55, 25 per cent greater than the open bus ticket.

Sinh Cafe Locations

Sinh operates permanent offices in Saigon, Hanoi and Da Nang, which is located near Hoi An. The locations are as follows:

HANOI: 66 Hang Than St (the main backpacker strip)
DA NANG: 79 Thanh Long, Hai Chau District
SAIGON: 127 Ba Co St, District 3

For locations in Mui Ne, Nha Trang, Hue and other Sinh cities, call or have your hotel reception contact Sinh’s head office in Hanoi at 84-4-38364212. Need more information? Consult Sinh’s About Us or Open Bus Tours page.

About The Author

is the author of 758 posts on Leave Your Daily Hell. Robert founded Leave Your Daily Hell in 2010 so that other travelers would have an entertaining, reliable source of information, advice and inspiration at their fingertips. Want to travel more often? Subscribe to email updates today!

 

informs, inspires, entertains and empowers travelers like you. My name is Robert and I'm happy you're here!

 
 
 

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{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

Kelly February 21, 2012 at 5:50 am

What a great post 🙂

We also went with sinh for our buses and found them to be a breeze! One night in Hoi An, they said they would pick us up from our hotel but in fear of being late one of the men came in a car and drove us to the bus to ensure we would all get on the bus at the right time.

They were great! We even used them to go into Cambodia and get between siem reap and phnom penh.

Thanks for the post, it’s good to hear positive feedback on things that deserve it 🙂

Robert Schrader February 21, 2012 at 4:43 pm

I agree! A lot of people have bad things to say about Sinh, but for the money it really can’t be beat. Thanks very much for reading, by the way!

Rolf January 22, 2013 at 9:56 am

Can I say moore than, Thank You….

Robert Schrader January 24, 2013 at 7:57 am

You’re welcome!

Rudolph.A.Furtado September 23, 2013 at 5:52 am

Will be visiting Vietnam & Cambodia in December-2013. Thanks for the information.

wally September 29, 2013 at 1:58 am

Thank you, but do ypu think the prices are current two years since this was originally posted?

Robert Schrader September 29, 2013 at 11:02 am

Wally:

The current prices are here.

Joseph Otter April 22, 2014 at 3:20 am

You did it the easy way. I spent last September traveling in Vietnam. I started by taking a boat ride down the Mekong Delta from Phnom Penh to Chau Doc on a four day tour. Visited too many cities South of Saigon to remember all their names. Partied for a week in Saigon then took a 20 something hour train ride up to Ha Noi. The train was pretty comfortable even though it was cramped. Even managed to find a Chinese father and son duo that were making a living in Vietnam as fishermen. They were very surprised to meet a westerner that could speak Chinese but when they eventually asked where I was from and I told them I was American the father’s expression dramatically changed to displeasure. They didn’t want to talk much after finding that out. Anyway, I fell in love with Ha Noi and ended up staying for 12 days. The city is so gorgeous. I made the mistake of traveling all the way back down to Saigon by bus. That’s something I’ll never do again. I hit just about every city on the way down though. One stop just south of Nha Trang the lady at the bust stop wouldn’t let me use the bathroom but she said they would have one on the bus. It was a sleeper bus but contrary to what the lady said there was no bathroom. I had to put one of those dirty blankets over me and piss in a bottle while I pretended to be sleeping. It was horrible. After I got to Saigon I stayed for one night at Madam Cuc’s on bui vien or however you spell the famous backpacker street. I immediately hopped on a bus back to Phnom Penh the next morning. Since I was a kid I always wanted to go to Vietnam but it turned out to be a lot different than what I thought it would be. I figured it would be like a rustic jungle country or something. I don’t know. Probably seen too many war flicks. Maybe I should have gone to Laos instead. It seamed like there was something missing from Vietnam. I can’t put my finger on why but Vietnam gave me such a lonely feeling despite all the good times I had there. I don’t think it’s a country I’d enjoy living in long term. China can be a bit lonely sometimes but like I said there’s a certain emptiness about Vietnam that I can’t figure out. Maybe it’s because I came to Vietnam directly after spending a month in Cambodia. I don’t think it’s possible to feel lonely in a place like that. It felt damn good to get back to good old PP though.

Robert Schrader April 22, 2014 at 10:42 pm

Oh my God, I feel exhausted just reading that. Bless you!

chase Herrick January 30, 2015 at 3:32 am

would this style of travel still work if i was going to try and travel south to north over a month period of time? Like could i buy the ticket to go from Saigon to Hanoi but at every stop take around a week in that area before moving to the next city?

xuxrie July 14, 2015 at 10:46 pm

That isnt the real sinh cafe, they renamed themselves due to all the fakes
real: https://www.thesinhtourist.vn/

Robert Schrader July 26, 2015 at 4:46 pm

Thank you!

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