There are buses going to Hamah from many places in Syria. The price depends on what kind of bus you take. In July 2002 I paid 65 SP from Aleppo to Hamah (big bus with broken AC), and less than 20 SP for the minibus Hamah - Homs.
In Aleppo I stayed at Spring Flower Hostel and they wanted to sell me a ticket to Hamah with a morning bus and said there were no others. But of course there are, and I went to the bus station to buy one for a later bus (so I could visit the museum first). The bus ride to Hamah took about two and a half hours and there the bus stopped close to the tourist office (which is not too far from Cairo Hotel and Riad Hotel).
Going to Palmyra from Hamah I first took a microbus from Hamah to Homs. The microbus station in Hamah is about 1 km away from Cairo Hotel where I stayed. At the station the ticket could not be bought on the bus but at an office next to the bus. To Homs the price was less than 20 SP. It took less than an hour to Homs, where the bus stopped just outside the big bus station. One of the passengers showed me the way to the bus to Palmyra (Tadmor) in the far end of the station. The bus to Tadmor was leaving 1,5 hours later. I bought a ticket for 50 SP and waited. I had a very nice time waiting at the station. I got some tea and the sous seller gave me a cool tamarind drink (he did not want to have any money). A woman going with the same bus as me got water from me and she gave me an ice cream. People were very kind and curious. The Tadmor bus was an old bus with curtains and decorations, and it took a few hours (maybe less) going to Tadmore. In Tadmore I left the bus close to Hotel Ba’alshamin, where I was going to stay.
Hama is occasionally served by big buses, but the most common and frequent way to get there is by shared minibus or microbus - locally called service. From Homs, about 40 minutes away, there's one leaving every 15 minutes or so. They are very cheap, about 25 syrian pounds, and quite comfortable. From Hama you can normally catch one by the Orontes river in the centre of town, in Sharia al-Buhturi. One useful tip is to ask the people at the Al Marakeb bridnge restaurant for help, since they speak good english.
It's possible to visit the area around Hama by shared minibus... however it's time consuming since attractions are often far apart - and/or in isolated rural areas. To see more than one place in a day the best thing is to hire a taxi. The people at the Cairo Hotel (ph: 222280) in Hama will help you find other travellers to share the expense with you - possibly even if you are not staying there. A day trip normally costs 40 dollars, which is not bad if there are a few to share the cost.
The hotel owner had booked the first stage of the trip for me from Palmyra (Tadmor) to Homs, where I would have to change buses. The bus collected me from the hotel, as the manager had told me it passed that way anyhow, leaving the city.
Every seat was full apart from mine, which was next to the aisle, beside that of a kind older man, who told me all about his family. The curtains were closed against the strong sunlight, so I couldn’t see much of the landscape on the way. There was a very violent American film, subtitled in Arabic, on a screen above the aisle, which surprised me considering the number of young children about (it was the school holidays) however no one seemed to take much notice of it. We were given water, coffee and even a chocolate by the driver’s assistant, as we travelled along.
We seemed to arrive at Homs very quickly and as I was given my case, I was told to go to the other end of the station for the bus to Hamah. It took me some time to locate it as, unlike the larger buses, which had their origin and destination on the front in both Arabic and Roman script, it was labelled in Arabic script alone. It stood right beside the ticket kiosk, where I discovered my case would need a ticket too, as it would sit on a seat during the journey, at the back of the coach between me and another passenger, a soldier, who offered me some orange juice and accepted some biscuits from me.
The small bus was very bouncy and went fairly fast. It was quite hot too, sitting by the window but I did have a good view, as we moved from the town of Homs out into some lovely green countryside, a real contrast with the desert landscape of Palmyra.
When the bus stopped, at the edge of Hamah, I couldn’t see any taxis but the soldier from the bus suggested I wait for the local bus, which must pass my hotel at some point, as it went all around the town, so I did and with the bus driver and all the local bus passengers’ help, I found my hotel in the town centre.
The train station at Hamah, which may be reached from the town centre by taxi (I paid less than 50Syrian pounds) as it is a little out of town, is very grand and imposing. It is made of cream coloured stone and inside is a huge open space, as if designed for crowds of people; although when I was there I saw only two other families waiting for the train. The staff were very helpful but spoke no English, so I was glad that my hotel had checked the time and made a reservation for me, so I had only to pay and find the right platform. All luggage, including handbags, is X-rayed before boarding the train.
This is the sight of the bus station in Hamah; Further from my hotel, maybe 2 to 3 km away !
I came to this bus station to take the service taxi to a village called Sequilbiya hence from here I could reach Apamea !
Instead of taking the tour organised by the hotel I could reach Apamea on my own by public transports...
I woke up early in the morning, took a taxi for SYP50 to the Harasta bus station which is about 15 or less than half an hour from the Souk Sarouja. This is I think the central bus station for regional buses around Syria. A little chaotic but buying the ticket is not a hassle. I went to Kadmous bus office, asked the lady at the window for bus to Hama and paid I think SYP220. Walked to the inspector office and have my ticket stamped.
The bus left at 11:15am on time. There's a bus number and the station number and a seat number. It was very warm inside the bus, and after taking the AlAhlia bus from Hama to Homs, that one was a lot more comfortable than Kadmous, better airconditioning. Or maybe not all Kadmous buses are like that, it happens.
The ride was about 3 hours or more.
There are a lot of taxis waiting right in front of Hama bus station. I paid SYP50 to the centrum. But coming back from centrum to the bus station, I only paid SYP40.
The bus station is quite near, only about 10minutes to the centrum.
The Hama central bus station is not that far from the centrum, and unlike the bigger Damascus's Harasta, this one is quiet, no rush. Or maybe it's not a tourist season?
A replica of a noria is in the middle of the courtyard of the station. There are several stores and coffeshops, fastfood, and several bus companies offices. I took the AlAhlia to Homs (for Krak Des Chavalier) from here. I paid SYP30.
Microbuses travel to Homs every ten minutes from 7am to 10pm, but you are better off doing the luxury bus thing. Microbuses also go to Suqeilibiyya for Apamea and to Tripoli and Beirut (have visas in order). The Pullman garage is near the town and Al Ahliah has the most frequent departures with services to Damascus departing regularly bw 3am to 10pm. There re loads of services to Aleppo, Tartus, Lattakia etc. There is also a Al Kadmous bus service with frequent departures to all over Syria. This place is well connected so dont sweat it.