Intercity buses depart from and arrive at a variety of stations around HCMC. Cholon bus station (Add: Le Quang Sung str.) is the most convenient place to get buses to My Tho and other Mekong Delta towns. It's one street north of the sprawling Binh Tay Market.
Less convenient than Cholon, Mien Tay bus station (Tel: 825 5955) nevertheless has even more buses to areas south of HCMC (basically the Mekong Delta). This huge station is about 10km west of HCMC in An Lac, a part of Binh Chanh district. Buses and minibuses from Mien Tay serve most towns in the Mekong Delta.
Buses to points north of HCMC leave from Mien Dong bus station (Tel: 829 4056), in Binh Thanh district about 5km from central HCMC on Hwy 13, the continuation of Xo Viet Nghe Tinh str. The station is just under 2km north of the intersection of Xo Viet Nghe Tinh str. and Dien Bien Phu str.
There are services from Mien Dong to Buon Ma Thuot (15 hours), Danang (26 hours), Hai Phong (53 hours), Nha Trang (11 hours), Hanoi (49 hours), Hue (29 hours), Pleiku (22 hours), Vinh (42 hours), Quang Ngai (24 hours), Quy Nhon (17 hours), Nam Dinh (47 hours) and Tuy Hoa (12 hours). Most buses leave daily between 5am and 5.30am.
Buses to Tay Ninh, Cu Chi and points northeast of HCMC depart from the Tay Ninh bus station (Tel: 849 5935), in Tan Binh district west of the centre. To get there, head all the way out on Cach Mang Thang Tam str. The station is about 1km past where Cach Mang Thang Tam str. merges with Le Dai Hanh str.
Few tourists make use of the city buses; they are safer than cyclos, though less aesthetic. Now that HCMC's People's Committee has resolved to phase out cyclos, some money is finally being put into the badly neglected public-transport system.
At present, there are only a few bus routes, though more undoubtedly will be added. No decent bus map is available and bus stops are mostly unmarked, so it's worth summarising the main bus lines.
Saigon-Cholon buses depart from Me Linh Square (by the Saigon River) and continue along Tran Hung Dao str. to Binh Tay Market in Cholon, then return along the same route. The buses running this route have air-con and video movies and the driver is well dressed! All this for 5000d. Buy your ticket on board from the attendant.
Mien Dong-Mien Tay buses depart from Mien Dong bus station (northeast HCMC), pass through Cholon and terminate at Mien Tay bus station on the western edge of town. The fare is 5000d.