coolbyme coolbyme posted July 16th, 2012 at 2:12 pm to Help!. Viewed 505 times. Answered 18 times.

Hi folks,

I am trying to find the fastest route to Ninh Binh, from Hanoi. I start my lesson at 3pm every Thursday in NB, and want to get there 30-60 min early. The best I have found is supposedly the 12:15pm Minh Long company bus from Giap Bat station, but I haven't successfully gotten it yet. I am living in Ba Dinh, so the ride to Giap Bat is about 20 minutes in low traffic.

I have done the trip a few times now, and it seems to take 2 and a half hours to get there, but only 90 minutes on the way back. I also have not figured out those hustling guys at Giap Bat who grab at my arm and try to tell the ticket ladies which bus to put me on. Standard rate so far is 60 000 vnd, but I would happily pay more to save an hour of bus ride.

Any advice would be appreciated, or if this has already been answered in another thread, just a link would help. (I did try to search, but couldn't find). Thanks in advance.


Last answered by thisheregiraffe about 85 months ago.

Answers (jump to newest answer)

TBBle wrote on July 17th, 2012 at 9:52 pm

As a reference point, the Hanoi->Saigon trains take between two and three hours between Hanoi station and Ninh Binh station.

Doesn't look like there's any that suit your times though, and they're either more expensive or slower than your existing bus trip.

TBBle wrote on July 17th, 2012 at 11:14 pm
Good Answer coolbyme marked this as a good answer

Wander over to and you supposedly can pick your "from" and "to" stations to get the timetable and bus numbers.

However, the search system appears to be down. You'll eventually wander over to the first page of the Giap Bat schedule.

That says there's two routes operating to Ninh Binh, "Ninh Bình(CLC)" and "Ninh Bình(CLT)" which might be why your trip is asymmetric. I have no idea what CLC and CLT are here...

As for the touts out front, feed this article through Google Translate or similar:

coolbyme wrote on July 18th, 2012 at 12:45 am

Thanks TBBle, much obliged, I am checking it out now, will let you know how it turns out on Thurs ...

coolbyme wrote on July 18th, 2012 at 2:14 am

i emailed the station using google translate, hoping for a simple answer

and the article, if anyone else is reading the thread, translates like this .... darn those touts

many thanks to TBBle, and big brother google


Decoy raging Giap Bat Bus
12:31 PM Sunday, July 1, 2012 - Specialist mucTin News | Daily Events |

Despite prohibition signs, but the busiest bus station capital is always a dozen touts bothering to unsettled, even threatened, forcing passengers. Leaders acknowledge the situation terminals but said "there is no basis for treatment."

This is just one of hundreds of passengers have been unsettled at the box office Giap Bat bus station (Hanoi) daily. Current status of touts at the bus station is right in alarming when the wait, there's always a dozen young men tattoo, bottle caps team hovering around, everyone that customers are running out unsettled. When guests are not invited, they turned to glare nguyt, even if the client does not respond immediately cursed them. "Ninh Binh and Thanh Hoa are not you?", A young tall skinny, red hair, lips dark circles, face TB asked, emaciated to a female passenger who then tapped push toward the bus ticket. Guests are looked around, just in time to go to Thanh Hoa said he was "decoy" buying guide and pull out parking tickets.

Because each is an introduction and guide customers to the car, she received 10,000, and on the amount expected to be up to several hundred thousand in the world should also occur frequently competing and fighting in the dock .

Ms. Nguyen Thi Van (in Hai Hau district, Nam Dinh) has bus routes to the My Dinh - Giap Bat have been dozens of touts, motorbike followed, people clapping shoulders, pulling the backpack, the unsettled, push bar tickets. Although familiar with this scene but she still remains urgent: "Many travel sickness, fatigue, they still run out unsettled. If the answer is tiring and does not answer, they glared nguyt, insulting and even threatening threatened. "

With long experience in passenger travel, Ms. Van said, most guys loitering in the station touts are people addicted to smoking. There was a guy luggage, brought her close to the dock but when the car is short yawn yawned, scratched his head repeatedly hand and throw the backpack to the ground, workers rush to corner the injection needle withdrawn. Since then her fear and every dock is automatic ticket to the car and then not need the guide.

Not only "operational" in the terminal lounges, ticketing, decoy also appears to unsettled everywhere, even standing outside the dock gates, standing between the offer ... Even many touts the car while driving instead of jumping to shoot a few turns around the passenger terminals along the way. Many vehicles also stops all the way to wait ten minutes between customers, even for the rear horn loud cry.

Talking to, Giap Bat bus station director Nguyen Tat Thanh admitted at ports has occurred unsettled status decoy customers but very difficult to handle because no authority to sanction. Moreover, decoy very professional operation, when the force function and stops activities, go loitering as the passengers.

Previous work in the ticket area shelters and banned driver, assistant driver works, but here appears frequently neglected sea wearing a dozen people and vehicles loitering addicts to seducing guests, Mr. Thanh explained: " This is a public place, should not prohibit them sit there all day, except in cases of disturbing order, fighting to be able to handle, there is no ground left to handle ".

And the touts signs of rude to customers, Mr Thanh said, will view the family's financial vehicles to three days to a week or more tension is to tell the police force station administrative sanctions .

As leaders of Giap Bat bus station, one of the main causes leading to the appearance touts as "the awareness of passengers" because although there are ticket purchase, but guests should not be afraid to create work opportunities for touts active. There are travel and check the guard staff, offered to buy tickets the reaction, was determined not to buy.

Moreover, the frequency of the route runs along the car is now so large, many visitors to this car, that car is of course far fewer visitors. These causes of unfair competition and generate decoy entice guests to the dock.

In May, the bus manager has handled over 40 cases of violation error stops, pick up passengers, competition for customers, hawkers on the car ... but he explained that the decoy to avoid being drawn, passengers need to buy a ticket terminals. When a problem occurs, it is bases for terminal management functions as well as force resolution and handling.

Ms. Do


in other words, what can/will we do? nothing....

I am thinking I should slip 50000vnd to the ticket lady before even asking for a bus, gotta out-hustle the touts!

Hanoi Ev wrote on July 18th, 2012 at 3:37 am
Hanoi Ev

Gotta love Google Translate (from above):

"If the answer is tiring and does not answer, they glared nguyt, insulting and even threatening threatened."

If even the threatening is threatened, there's no way I'm going there!

coolbyme wrote on July 22nd, 2012 at 12:45 am

The final verdict is in ... I unintentionally arrived at the station at 11:30am, 45 minutes before my bus was to depart. I was aiming for the 12:15 bus to Ninh Binh on the Minh Long company bus.

I actually tried to put a 20k bill inside a note in Vietnamese asking for the fastest bus to Ninh Binh, not the soonest or the next, but the fastest. The nice young lady didn't get what I was doing, so I slipped the bill out and pocketed it.

Meanwhile, three "touts" were crowding me and laughing at my my attempt to out-tout the touts, and trying to tell the woman to put me on their company's bus. I kinda squeezed one of them out of the way. He didn't like it but he understood, though he still stayed inches away.

Another woman behind the glass, who spoke English, came over and explained to me that they could not sell me the Minh Long bus until 12:10, and right now was time to sell the Cat Loi buses. I said "thank you, but last time I came at 12:10, and they told me Het Xoi Minh Long, and that Cat Loi was slow and took 2.5 hours to get there". I asked if I could come back at 12:05 and buy my ticket, she said yes. I sat down at 11:40, and was badgered for the next 20 minutes by the bus hustlers. I just kept pointing out that I had headphones on, and couldn't hear them. When that didn't work I said Minh Long. One guy even offered me half a ticket for only 50k.

At 12:05 a gentleman, in a light blue uniform shirt with "Minh Long" printed on the back in dark blue letters, came to me and said "ok, come with me" (or something similar). I followed him to the ticket office, they balked, but he said "Tay Tay Tay", and she sourly sold me a ticket for the 12:15 Minh Long bus.

The bus was empty except for 1 other guy, the driver and his helper, both in uniform. The bus actually left at 12:30, but they didn't even try to pick up passengers along the way (which added at least 3o minutes to Cat Loi's route, not to mention the 15 minute snack break just before getting to Ninh Binh).

We arrived in NB at 2:30, and myself and the other guy got off. It was definitely more pleasant than Cat Loi's ride, and it still only cost 60k.

Apparently Minh Long will even leave with only 1 passenger, while Cat Loi goes out of their way, on side streets, to find more fares. In addition, Cat Loi has super aggressive "touts" and the ladies behind the glass make payout money from Cat Loi.

It seems the Cat Loi company has successfully gangsterized the Giap Bat bus terminal, but it is possible to get the better and quicker bus. But if you push for Minh Long bus 10 minutes before departure, it is well worth it.

Cheers and Beers

coolbyme wrote on August 1st, 2012 at 3:23 pm

update, on the return to Hanoi, the bus' runner took my bag out and put it on the pavement in front of the bus, and in the 2 minutes it took me to get off from the back the bus, he lost sight of it, and scrambled to find it ... i got back on the empty bus and got ready to freak out ... the runner stops another bus in front of us as its taking off, looks under the bus, and it is being dragged away under the bus, he reaches under to get it back, and hands it back to me torn open and mangled, with an apologetic grin on his face, i said thanks but really wanted to say WTF MAN?

this time, way easier, with an old ticket in my hand, I walked in off the street through the bus gates, north of where the taxis drive in, and walk straight to the minh long bus, pay the driver directly, easy cheesy

basically right behind the main building, there is a row of about 15 buses facing you, minh long is maybe 3rd or 4th from the top (north) ... last time i again rode the bus with only 4 passengers, and no hustling for more along the way, we even passed the cat loi bus on the highway ... oh, and i had time to learn some Vietnamese vowels, tones and accents

of course on the way back it was another sh!t show ... picked up on the side of the road, my bag in the trunk luckily, sitting on a makeshift seat in the middle of the isle with no back rest, i realised soon that i was fortunate, as more and more people were suckered into getting on a bus that was full way beyond capacity, folks sitting on tea shop chairs, on the steps, and some standing, and every time he saw more people on the street, the runner made everyone close the blinds ... said the spider to the fly

Apirl wrote on August 2nd, 2012 at 12:28 am

Ninh Binh is my mom home town so may be I can help. First, could you tell me where do you want to stop in Ninh Bình? more exact more helpful 'cause it'll help me to identify the bus you should take. Many bus to many direction in NB prov. As your get there so regular then I could help you by take you to introduce to the bus driver, then ask them to sell you the right price. If you go v one bus for all the time,once they know you then the trouble will less.

lecongdai77 wrote on August 2nd, 2012 at 5:10 pm

You should not start at GiapBat Station, you should start at LuongYen

eMail to me, I'll show it to you on Google Maps

coolbyme wrote on August 3rd, 2012 at 1:39 am

Hi Apirl, thanks for the offer, but I think I have Giap Bat figured out (but I am often wrong). It seems Minh Long is the best, I know the drivers now. Cat Loi and the other one ... Hong Yen maybe ... are slow and much too full and stressful.

And LeCongDai77, I messaged you, Luong Yen would be great, but is there a bus at 11am or 12 noon?


coolbyme wrote on August 3rd, 2012 at 1:43 am

oh, and I would like to stop at the corner of Tran Hung Dao and Luong Van Thanh, at the Viettel shop ... or anywhere nearby

thisheregiraffe wrote on August 9th, 2012 at 2:06 pm
Good Answer coolbyme marked this as a good answer

Hi coolbyme,

I go to Ninh Binh nearly every weekend, and have been doing so for quite some time now (it's my wife's hometown; she's still working there...)

Of the bus companies available, you're right that Minh Long is the best. They're the only one was doesn't go trolling for more passengers on the street around Giap Bat station (which can be soooo slow on the other buses), and they also don't take on too many passengers like some of the other buses do.

It's only fairly recently that you need to by a ticket at Giap Bat to get on the bus. It used to be that you could just walk through to the back area, ignoring all of the guys who are trying to take you to their bus, and walk on to a Minh Long bus (and then just pay the fee once on the bus). It was easier that way, though less organized...

Unfortunately, there isn't really a faster way to get to Ninh Binh, though. There is a nice new highway, but the buses still take the old road (going through Ha Nam) because that way they can get more passengers going from Ha Noi to Phu Ly, or Phu Ly to Ninh Binh. I've been hoping that one of these bus companies will get the idea to start running an express bus that only goes Hanoi <-> Ninh Binh, on the new highway with no stops in between ... but I haven't heard anything about that yet. Even if the express bus ran only a few times per day, it would be really convenient.

Also, don't be shy to ask them to let you off the bus at the Viettel shop. They let people off anywhere they like. Not sure how well you speak Vietnamese, but if you can tell them, "Xuống chỗ cửa hàng Viettel" then they ought to understand. Or "Khách sạn Hoa Lư" would be okay too; it's just a short walk, and everybody knows Hoa Lu Hotel.

coolbyme wrote on August 11th, 2012 at 3:16 am

thanks Giraffe,

frankly anything but Cat Loi will do at this point, i would even rather take a slower bus that is not run by cracked-out arseholes (no offense to the non-cracked arseholes, or the cracked-out nice guys)

and i have successfully walked through the back door with an old ticket in hand the last two times now, sunglasses on and old ticket in hand i just keep my head down and look for a Minh Long bus, or settle for whoever is in the queue to leave the station

meanwhile i have to walk through/around many aggressive, and some quite drunk and/or drunk, bus runners who try to see my "ticket", if they have and ID card i stop or just say Minh Long Minh Long Minh Long, khong cam on, then put on headphones

i am hoping one day i can just get on a bus from Luong Yen station to Thanh Hoa, and get off in Ninh Binh, but meh ... such is life

if you want a cat, don't buy a dog right?


de2facon wrote on August 11th, 2012 at 5:13 am
de2facon (elite user)

Cool post, Coolbyme. Cool post.

When you make it back from Ninh Binh, mozy on over to FQA. A bit of a rowdy crew now and then but I think your humour would be appreciated.

Bon voyage.

thisheregiraffe wrote on August 13th, 2012 at 12:56 pm

I used to avoid the whole Giap Bat experience altogether and catch the bus out on the street (hoping that I'd be able to get a seat on a Minh Long bus, but usually settling for Ninh Binh CLC or maybe Cat Loi), mainly because the wait times inside the station used to be awful. Some buses (I'm looking at you, empty Thanh Hoa buses...) would just hang around at the gate waiting for passengers and blocking the way out, so you'd often have to sit on a bus for an hour or more inside the station just waiting to get out on the road. At least they seem to be managing the flow of buses out of the station a bit better now.

Do you also take the bus when you come back to Hanoi? If you call Minh Long in Ninh Binh, they'll pick you up and bring you to the station so you can get on the bus. It's pretty handy.

coolbyme wrote on September 15th, 2012 at 6:15 pm

Ok, so I have quit the job in Ninh Binh. And this is the my report to the bus station, hoping they will do something about it. Vietnamese came from Google translate, English is below. Frickin terrible folks.


Xin chào,

Chủ Nhật 31 tháng 8, 11:30.
Tôi đã nhận trên xe buýt tại trạm xe buýt Ninh Bình.
Xe buýt màu đỏ tối, tấm giấy phép 35N 8829.
Tôi bao gồm hình ảnh với email của tôi.
Điều khiển có một ánh sáng t-shirt màu xanh.
Nhân viên xe buýt có một t-shirt màu xám và đội mũ.

Ở Ninh Bình, trên đường Trần Hưng Đạo.
Xe buýt của tôi dừng lại ở phía trước của xe buýt khác.
Người lái xe và người lao động có được ra khỏi xe của tôi.
Họ chạy xe buýt khác.
Họ mất một người đàn ông trẻ ra khỏi xe buýt khác.
Họ đấm vào mặt.
Họ đá ông sau khi ông là trên mặt đất.
Họ làm tổn thương anh rất nặng.
Tôi xuống xe và bỏ đi.
Tôi lấy một chiếc xe khác về Hà Nội.

Tôi trở lại Hà Nội bây giờ.
Tôi nói với tất cả bạn bè của tôi về việc này.
Điều này không bao giờ nên xảy ra.
Tôi viết nó trên internet để mọi người có thể đọc về nó.
Hãy nhìn vào bức tranh và ngăn chặn những kẻ.

Cảm ơn bạn, Bob



Sunday August 31st, 11:30am.
I got on the bus at Ninh Binh bus station.
Dark red bus, license plate 35N 8829.
I include photo with my email.
Driver has a light blue t-shirt.
The bus worker has a grey t-shirt and hat.

In Ninh Binh, on Tran Hung Dao street.
My bus stops in front of another bus.
The driver and the worker get off my bus.
They run to the other bus.
They take a young man off the other bus.
They punch him in the face.
They kick him after he is on the ground.
They hurt him very badly.
I get off the bus and walk away.
I take another bus to Hanoi.

I come back to Hanoi now.
I tell all my friends about this.
This should never happen.
I write it on the internet so people can read about it.
Please look at the picture and stop these guys.

Thank you, Bob

Joseph wrote on September 15th, 2012 at 9:19 pm

Buses are awful, trains are great. Arrange your schedules accordingly.

thisheregiraffe wrote on September 17th, 2012 at 1:53 pm

Sometimes the Ninh Binh bus drivers get in fights with buses from other provinces (usually Thanh Hoa, maybe Nghe An sometimes) that pick up passengers from Ninh Binh on the road while passing through town. I guess they figure that their passengers--and ticket money--are being stolen, and that only Ninh Binh buses should be taking on Ninh Binh passengers. I think there have even been cases of buses from Ninh Binh (city) getting in fights with buses from other districts of Ninh Binh (most likely Kim Son), for the same reason as above. I haven't seen any really big fights before, but I have heard about it.

It's too bad that the nice, new highway is only for cars. It would be such an easy motorbike ride if motorbikes could use the new highway...

Another thing I've noticed recently is that buses are, when possible, using the new highway, because it's faster. As long as they don't have passengers getting off in Phu Ly then they can take the new highway. But some buses are starting to push the ticket price up to 70,000 when they take the new highway (even though their set ticket price is still 60,000). The toll is higher on the new highway, but taking an extra 10,000 per passenger (on an over-full bus) is probably just them being a bit greedy.

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