The MaiLinh Express

Ho Chi Minh City Travel Blog

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A MaiLinh Express van - if you see one coming, step aside
  

I wanted to do the stretch between Rach Gia and Ho Chi Minh City overland to have a closer look at the Mekong Delta. Expats on Phu Quoc had told me that it would be cheaper to purchase the bus ticket in Rach Gia instead of on the island. There was a MaiLinh Express ticket office in the yellow terminal building right at the dock area. An 11:30 van was already filled so I got a seat on the 12:30 run which cost 110,000 VNÐ (about US$6.30.) Some passengers took a taxi over to the bus terminal across town but a free transfer from the dock was included with the ticket.

 

Our driver on the 12 passenger Mercedes mini-van was an absolute idiot.

Crossing the Mekong
He sped like a Domino's Pizza driver determined to make a thirty minute delivery in rush hour traffic. He continuously blasted the horn and erratically swerved wildly around any and all other vehicles including other MaiLinh Express vans, regardless of traffic conditions. Pedestrians fled for their lives. Either his brake or gas pedal was to the floor at any given time and he never let up on the horn. The mild-mannered driver was a dangerous menace behind the wheel and I cursed myself for putting my life in his hands. It is far better to fly between HCMC and Phu Quoc - views of the Delta would be much better from up there and the time saved well worth the extra money (about US$100 round trip). Flying would be much safer too.

 

We crossed the Mekong River at Long Xuyen. Like at the Mekong crossings in Cambodia, beggars with missing or twisted limbs appeared as we strolled the street while waiting to board the ferry. An ear of corn there cost 5,000 VNÐ and made for a nice snack. The twenty minute wait made a welcome relief from our ride of terror. The entire ride lasted six hours and made a second rest stop two hours out of Ho Chi Minh City. Of the twelve passengers on the bright green MaiLinh Express mini-van, only one Canadian couple from Montreal and myself were foreigners. We shared a taxi for the 11 kilometer ride into District 1 from one of the city's bus stations. A regular bus from Rach Gia would probably have terminated right in District 1 but would have been a bit slower (and probably safer). Next time I'll fly though.

bernard69 says:
thx for sharing!
Posted on: Aug 04, 2009
mathieucalvet says:
Then i guess i will fly there, thanks for letting us know.
Posted on: Aug 04, 2009
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A MaiLinh Express van - if you see…
A MaiLinh Express van - if you se…
Crossing the Mekong
Crossing the Mekong
A Long Xuyen vender
A Long Xuyen vender
Rest stop near Saigon
Rest stop near Saigon