TRANSPORT IN VIETNAM - (1) BUSES
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Last updated 1 March 2017
These pictures were taken during a delightful journey down the Mekong River from Siem Reap in Cambodia (home of the glorious Angkor Wat temple complex) to Saigon in Vietnam (officially called Ho Chi Minh City). Here are some snapshots, mostly taken in Saigon, of buses and coaches that I saw during the Vietnam part of the trip.
You can find Vietnamese trucks and allsorts here
and the Cambodian part of the story is here
Let's start with the green service buses in Ho Chi Minh City, operated by SaigonBus. This is a pair of older Isuzu buses (50LD-006.04 and 50LD-005.37) with SAMCO bodies. They are resting near the start of Route 02 which begins at Ben Thanh, Saigon's largest bus station, and runs about every 8 minutes way out to the west of the city.
SAMCO is a Vietnamese company that builds buses mostly on Isuzu and Hino running gear. This is a much more modern SAMCO B40 (51B-208.36) which is powered by an Isuzu 3 litre diesel, which seems quite small for a big bus. Route 34 is a loop down to the south. That's aviation jet fuel in the tanker on the right.
Here's an even newer Hyundai (53S-7787) on route 88, another one which starts from the huge central bus station at Ben Thanh and runs due east every 7 or 8 minutes. I believe the bodywork is by local firm Bahai Motor.
This (51B-163.40) is, I believe, a Hyundai bus made locally under the brand name Transinco. Route 19 goes from Ben Thanh bus station out to the north east of Saigon.
I think this is a Hyundai with the badge fallen off. 51B-207.07 is on route 51 which runs across the north of the city every 20 minutes or so.
This bus (53N-3597) is a Hyundai wearing that 'Star Wars Tie Interceptor' badge that I saw in Cambodia. It seems that the logo is sometimes used for Hyundai buses made under licence in places other than South Korea. In this case my guess is that this is a local Transinco / Hyundai. It is on Route 19 which runs out to the north east.
67L-6215 is definitely a locally-built Transinco Hyundai because it says so and displays the logo. However it's not actually in Saigon but is seen running a provincial service from Chau Doc near the Cambodia border.
53N-71.35 is another Transinco Hyundai. Route 30 goes right across the city from one side to the other about every 15 minutes, and it takes over an hour and a half each way.
Some of the service buses are blue rather than the usual green, and I haven't yet worked out why. 51B-025.42 is a Hyundai built in Vietnam as the Transinco 1-5 B80 New Super Aero City. Route 01 runs every 10 minutes from Ben Thanh bus station out to the west of the city. I've no idea which direction this is going!
Another blue service bus is this SAMCO-bodied Mercedes Euro 2 Connector (53N-4417). Route 45 runs from the north east to the south west via Ben Thanh bus station in the middle, which is where it seems to be heading now.
Moving away from Saigon Bus, 51B-090.71 is an example of the very popular Hyundai County, probably made by Tracomeco which is described below.
Hyundai Tracomeco is a distributor of Hyundai passenger coaches in Vietnam. Tracomeco vehicles are made entirely of imported components from Hyundai Korea in CKD form and assembled at their factory in Thu Duc, Saigon. Buses include the Hyundai County Short, County Elongated, Universe Noble, Universe NewHome, Universe Mini, the B40 bus and this one - the Tracomeco Global. It's operated by Thieng Phuong Travel Service.
Also operated by Thieng Phuong Travel Service is this Hyundai with the popular UniverseXpress body.
Here's another Hyundai UniverseXpress, outside the Reunification Palace in central Saigon. The building is often reviled as being ugly and tasteless, but I quite liked it as a 60s classic, inside and out. The UniverseXpress isn't bad either.
In roughly the same place outside the Reunification Palace is this Hyundai Aero Express Hi-Class wearing the small Hyundai logo on the front. It appears to be a visitor from Cambodia.
51B-151.64 is a SAMCO WENDA SH.47 on the dockside at My Tho in the Mekong River delta just west of Saigon. As usual it is based on a Hyundai chassis, with a 13 litre Euro II diesel engine and a 12 metre Aero Express HSX body.
Here is a SAMCO Felix LI.29 parked at the Cu Chi tunnels, dug out for defence by the Viet Cong during the Vietnam war. The bus has an Isuzu chassis and 5 litre diesel engine, which seems quite big for a small bus.
In central Saigon is another Isuzu-powered SAMCO, probably also a Felix.
This is a product by THACO (which stands for Truong Hai Auto Corporation) who makes all sorts of vehicles under licence. Here is the familiar Hyundai County, but this time made by THACO.
Clearly showing the THACO logo on the front, this is a much larger THACO Universe coach with a UniverseXpress body.
Completing the trio of major THACO bus and coach products, this is the mid-size THACO Town TB825.
We saw fewer Kia coaches in Vietnam than we had in Cambodia, but here's one - probably a Granbird Sunshine.
The sight of a King Long from China was even less common, but here is one hurrying through a soggy Saigon.
Finally a mystery. Can anyone identify the badge on the front of this coach? It's yet another logo in the shape of a stylised 'H'. All suggestions welcome.
The story continues with Vietnamese trucks and allsorts here
and the Cambodian part of the story is here