How To Ride A Sleeper Bus In Vietnam Safely
Sleeper bus has become the choice of many travelers in Vietnam thanks to its convenience and cost savings. But, how to prepare to take sleeper buses? Is it safe? You may have many questions about it.
We’ve taken buses many times during our travel in Vietnam (although we prefer trains more!).
In this article, we would like to share our tips and tricks to survive the sleeper bus in Vietnam so that you can have the safest and most comfortable ride.
Things to know about sleeper bus in Vietnam
1. What is a sleeper bus?
Sleeper buses in Vietnam usually have three rows of beds, while seated buses have two rows of seats. Each row has two floors: upper and lower. Some buses have onboard toilets, and some don’t.
Because there are fewer seats, the ticket prices for a sleeper bus will be slightly higher than a seated bus. However, it’s worth it. We always prefer a sleeper one because it’s more comfortable, especially for a long journey.
2. Is it safe to take a night bus in Vietnam?
We recommend not to take a night bus unless you don’t have enough time. It can be a nightmare!
In addition, night bus drivers usually drive fast and carelessly, so the experience wouldn’t be pleasant.
We recently took a sleeper night bus from Saigon to Da Lat, and OMG, it was awful.
The bus driver drove super fast and made quick turns, so our bus leaned 45 degrees many times. With the abyss on one side, the ride was very unsafe.
3. Which seats are the best to choose?
If you book your ticket early, it’s possible to choose your bed on a long-distance coach.
We find it’s best to choose seats on the first floor in the middle row. You should select a bed from the 2nd to 5th bed position.
Lying on the lower floor will be convenient for getting on and off the car. Also, it can help to avoid swaying.
Also, when riding a long-distance bus, wear a seat belt to minimize the danger to your body.
4. Where to put luggage on sleeper buses?
You should pack unimportant belongings in the main luggage or bag because they will be stored in the basement. Don’t forget to get a luggage ticket.
Because the bed has a limited area, only carry on the car necessary items to use along the way.
5. Can I wear shoes on the bus?
Shoes are not allowed on sleeper buses, so you must store them in a plastic bag. Instead, you should wear slippers, so getting on and off the bus is easier. Many bus operators provide slippers at the stops as well.
6. Does a sleeper bus have a place to charge the battery?
You can find a USB port with high-end bus brands to charge phones and electronic devices in your cabin. Parameters are usually 5V – 1A or 5V – 2.1A.
7. Does the sleeper bus have an electrical outlet?
There is no electrical outlet on the bed car to ensure safety, only a USB socket for you to charge the battery.
8. Does the sleeper bus have wifi?
Some bus operators provide free wifi for guests during the journey. You can use wifi to surf the web, watch movies, and play games. However, because dozens of people are accessing it simultaneously, it sometimes loads a bit slow.
9. Will I feel motion sickness when riding a sleeper bus in Vietnam?
Whether or not you get nauseous depends on each person’s physical condition and location.
However, compared to seated buses, I feel less motion sickness when taking a sleeper one.
Some tips to overcome motion sickness
- Take anti-sickness medicine 1 hour before getting in the car, after eating
- Avoid over-eating or eating indigestible foods, watery foods, and alcohol
- Get enough sleep before departure
- Avoid lying next to people prone to motion sickness (if traveling in a group).
- Use orange and tangerine peels to mask the smell of the bus
- Wear masks
10. Will the bus stop for the toilet and food?
Usually, sleeper buses will stop at least once during the journey.
Depending on the travel distance, there are maybe 2 or 3 stops. Each stop can be 10 minutes to 30 minutes, so listen to the driver carefully.
Also, take note of the bus license before you get off the bus at the toilet stop so you won’t get lost. Also, bring your valuable items with you.
11. What about drop-off points?
Many bus operators offer free shuttle buses, or you can ask the operator to drop you at a specific destination.
For example, if you take a bus to Mui Ne, you can ask for a drop-off at your hotel or resort. Or, if you take a bus to Da Lat, the bus operator will provide free shuttle vans to pick you up and drop you off.
Tips on how to survive sleeper buses in Vietnam
Taking a sleeper bus in Vietnam could be a nightmare if you’re not prepared. Here are some tips on how to make your journey more comfortable.
1. Get motion sickness tablets
Motion sickness on a bus can be painful and uncomfortable, especially on bumpy roads. However, antihistamines like Antivert, Meclizine, and Dramamine help prevent motion sickness if taken about an hour before your travels.
Also, these pills will make you feel sleepy, so they may help you sleep easier.
2. Don’t drink a lot of water
Because most sleeper buses don’t have onboard toilets, it won’t be convenient if you drink a lot of water before or during the ride. Also, there are very few toilet stops.
3. Bring earplugs/ headphones and eye covers
If you’re catching a long-distance bus, put on eye covers and take a nap.
Also, bring earplugs or headphones, and listening to soothing music will help you relax and makes the journey feel shorter.
4. Carry a neck pillow
A neck pillow is a great option to avoid straining your neck and back from lying in one position for a long time.
Some buses provide pillows, or you carry them with you in your hand luggage.
5. Keep valuables in a safe place
Unlike flying, crew members can get information about passengers, but not on buses.
You will not know who is sitting next to you or who is around. So, keep important valuables in secret, hidden places.
Because the bed has a limited area, you should bring only the necessary items in the car.
For example, valuables such as jewelry, phones, and wallets should be put in small bags and carried with you all the time, even at the toilet stop.
6. Bring hand sanitizer
There is no guarantee that the toilet stops along the way have a place to wash your hands. So, pack a bottle of hand sanitizer and wet tissue with you.
7. Wear comfortable clothes
There is nothing worse than feeling too cold or hot during a long bus ride. Comfortable, non-restrictive clothes will help you feel much better.
Also, for women, don’t wear short skirts or dresses to avoid unwanted trouble. In a few cases, women got photographed while sleeping on the bus.
I had never heard of the Sleeper Buses in Vietnam. But they look comfortable enough for a long trip that we might want to try this. But good to know we should not plan it for a night bus! And that there are stops along the way.
I have never heard of sleeper buses like this, but it would sure come in handy when traveling long distances! I always try to get overnight flights, so this would be another great option for me. I might be a little uncomfortable with the overnight and fast drivers though.
I took a Sleeper Bus in Laos, and it was a great adventure. But it was only one night. I would love to take a trip through Vietnam on such a bus because it saves time and money. Great guide with useful tips about safety travel, so I hope to make this trip one day, as Vietnam is on my dream list.
Great tips for the sleeper bus. I’m not good for sleeping on buses so I’d need to take some medication before hand! But they looks comfortable!
I have taken a sleeper bus in Vietnam before and agree with the crazy driving. I am also 6ft tall and I stayed in one of the capsule type things in your photos. It’s definitely made for shorter people as it was very uncomfortable. I also mistakenly put stuff in there and left something behind so be careful if you do the same. It’s an experience though and I would do it all over again.
I took sleeper trains in Vietnam but not a sleeper bus. I honestly found the trains quite comfortable and probably would not consider a bus instead. Good tip on not taking night journeys as the drivers can be rash and fast. I do not like the spacing between the sleeper seats either, they seem too close for comfort!
Love the concept of sleeper bus, and it looks so swanky! It seems to have everything a traveller can ask for, comfy too!
I and my mate traveled on sleeper buses in Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia and in Laos and foud them OK. The main good thing about these sleeper buses is that if you are travelling at night, you save a night stay at a hotel/hostel/guesthouse. If you are backpacker then surely this is a part of the venture that you are on. I give thumbs up for these sleeper buses as I will do it again anytime. Incidentally I am on a long distance bus right now travelling from north to the south of Pakistan (about 1000 mile distance) but these are seated buses only and it is rather uncomfortable sitting all day/night but the motorway is very good so there is no bumpy travel.
The sleeper busses in SEA are one of the most comfortable ways to get around in my opinion. Compared to the busses I rode through India and Nepal, they’re super convenient and the driving harmless plus there are so many „luxurious“ options by now – not at all comparable to sitting 15 hours in a hard seat. It‘s a bit adventurous but that’s what travelling is for. You get on the in the evening and get out at your next destination. I don‘t really understand how so many people choose flights – if you think about it, it doesn‘t really save time. Every time other travellers tell me about their flights it basically takes half a day out of their busy shedule to get to the airport – often in the middle of the day, onto the plane, out of the airport and to the next hotel. Meanwhile I save one night at said hotel. What I‘m missing in this list is the information that the AC can be quite cold. So please bring a sweater, even if they provide blankets.