After our day visiting the floating markets in the Mekong delta it was time to embark on our first long haul bus journey of the trip. Our chosen route from Can Tho to Da Lat left us no options but to use Futa Bus Lines.
Booking Our Tickets
The process of booking our tickets for this monster journey was super easy. We did it online with the help of the really friendly receptionist at our hostel in Can Tho.
The website is available in both Vietnamese and English, minus the pickup locations. This is where having a friendly local at hand comes in handy!
The 11 hour journey cost us 350,000 VND per person. You can choose to either pay online (all major card issuers accepted), or in cash when you collect your ticket. Carly and I paid via card.
This included comfortable sleeper beds, bottles of water and minibus transfers from both city centres to the bus stations.
Getting On The Bus
Our bus was due to depart at 7am, so we had a taxi organised for us at 6 and arrived at the Futa Bus Lines station at around 6.30am.
Collecting the tickets was very straight forward. Locations are displayed above the counter, simply go to the counter of your destination, show them your email conformation and you’re good to go!
The busses are also super easy to locate, unlike previous bus stations/companies we have used in Vietnam. The tickets have the registration number of your bus on them, as well as many signs in front of and on the vehicle itself. This made locating the bus very straightforward!
Perfect for 6am!
10 minutes before departure we boarded the big red bus. No shoes allowed on the bus, you take them off on the little green step upon entering and given a plastic bag to keep them in.
Riding With Futa Bus Lines
The seats/beds are actually surprising comfortable. They’re a bit of a pain to get in, especially if you’re tall, but once in its easy to get settled.
The same however can’t be said about the ride itself.
Vietnam’s roads are notoriously congested and uneven. This makes for a bumpy rollercoaster of a journey! Combined with the non-stop beeping of passing motorists and the bus itself, sleep really isn’t on the cards.
A few years ago I travelled on a Vietnamese sleeper bus and learnt a valuable lesson.
I meet a lot of people on my travels who swear by overnight bus travel. For some reason they seem to think they’re onto a win win, sleeping through the long travel time, and saving money on a nights accommodation.
I can tell you now this isn’t the case.
Sleep is rare on these busses, unless you’re the heaviest sleeper in the world I really wouldn’t count on getting any. This is why I recommend travelling through the day as opposed to overnight.
Yes it’s long and boring, but this way you don’t waste the whole next day catching up on sleep that you missed out the night before!
Luckily the latter part of the route to Da Lat is beautiful! Gazing out the windows as you wind up and down the jungle clad mountains was great.
Saying this Futa Bus Lines was a whole lot better than my previous experience. The seats were comfortable and with wi-fi I was able to do some work to pass the time.
Stops Along The Way
I will say this, bring snacks! The bus only stops once for food, and this stop was quite late in the journey. The stop is at a dedicated Futa Bus Lines rest area where they serve simple Vietnamese food such as pho and fried rice at a very reasonable price.
Carly and I skipped breakfast in the rush to get to the bus station so ended up going a good 7 hours of the journey without food!
This was less than ideal and added a little crankiness to the trip.
Another thing worth mentioning is that the bus doesn’t have a toilet. I don’t know why this is, on such long journeys I would have thought a toilet would be a necessity.
However they do stop for toilet breaks, but these can be very few and far between. On our 11 hour trip the bus stopped only 3 times.
Don’t be afraid to ask the driver to stop if you really have to go. Carly had to do this and although there was a language barrier she managed to get her point across well enough to convince the driver to stop at the next available place.
I can safely say that Futa Bus Lines is one of the better long haul bus companies in Vietnam.
I’ve heard many a horror story of western travellers using these sleeper bus services but our experience was nothing but good!
The bus was clean and comfortable (for Vietnam anyway).
The free wi-fi, water and shuttle busses to and from accommodation were great too!
In Conclusion I can highly recommend using this company for your next Vietnamese Trip!
If you’ve used Futa Bus Lines before, or have any other experiences or insights into sleeper busses in the country I’d love to hear about it!