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The cities of Hue and Hoi An are a must for any first time visitors to Vietnam.
This guide shares the different options and what is the best way to get from Hue to Hoi An, depending on your travel style.
Hoi An is known for for its UNESCO listed old town: think beautiful architecture, paper lanterns, and colorful walls. Whereas Hue for is known for its history (imagine grand palaces and ancient tombs) as the former capital city of Vietnam.
Are you getting excited about visiting these two cities?
Here are the best ways to travel from Hue to Hoi An…
Traveling from Hue to Hoi An on a budget: Train & Bus
If you’re on a budget, the best way to travel between these two cities is via Train & Bus.
Traveling via Train will take you via the Hai Van Pass, one of Vietnam’s most famous roads, and is known for its scenic views.
The Hai Van Pass was made internationally famous by an episode of Top Gear, where the hosts, Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond, and James May traveled along the Hai Van Pass via motorbike.
Since Hoi An doesn’t have a train station, you will need to buy your train ticket from Hue to Da Nang (the closest city to Hoi An with a train station) and then travel via Bus from Da Nang to Hoi An.
How to buy tickets:
- Purchase your tickets from the official website of Vietnam Railways or the Hue Railway Station
- When you arrive in Da Nang, you can purchase your bus tickets upon arrival (buses arrive every 20 minutes)
Time: 2.5 hrs via train + 1 hr bus (but factor in waiting time for the bus)
Cost: Train: $1.70 USD (seat with no air conditioning) or $3.40 USD (seat with air conditioning) + $1 USD for bus
The Imperial Palace in Hue, Vietnam
If you’re on a budget but don’t want to deal with transfers: Bus
The direct bus from Hue to Hoi An is the best option if you don’t have time to deal with transfers or the slower train route. The bus goes via the Hai Van Tunnel, which is quicker than taking the Hai Van Pass.
Time: approximately 4 hrs one way
Cost: approximately $6 – 11 USD
Lantern shopping in Hoi An, Vietnam
Traveling from Hue to Hoi An if budget isn’t an issue: car or motorbike
If time or budget isn’t an issue, I’d recommend taking a road trip via the Hai Van Pass.
If you travel via train, you will also get to experience the Hai Van Pass, but you won’t be able to stop along the way! Experiencing this famous stretch of road (made famous by an episode of Top Gear) via car or motorbike is the best way to experience it. Even if you’re not a gear head, the Hai Van Pass is stretch of road filled with incredible coastal views.
The traditional way to see this is via motorbike, but you can also organize a tour via car too (a great option if you’ve got kids or bikes aren’t for you!).
How to book:
You will need to book this in advance!
We took this route via car in November 2019 and loved it. We used <Hue Friendly Cars> for this (and again for other activities in/around Hue) and would highly recommend their services to others.
The total cost was $54 USD, which was a lot cheaper than flying and we had a private car.
This can end up being cost efficient if you’re a family or traveling in a group. Our driver was friendly, helpful, and provided super useful background to the places we were visiting.
Time: 4 – 5 hrs, depending on how long you stop on the way
Cost: depends on the tour, our private tour cost $54 USD in total with Hue Friendly Cars
Our drive also included a stop at Marble Mountain which is in Da Nang, just outside Hoi An
If you don’t like cars or trains: flying
If you get car sick or aren’t a fan of buses or trains, flying is another option.
Flying between Hue and Hoi An doesn’t come without complications…
A couple of factors to take into account:
- The closest airport to Hoi An is in the nearby city of Da Nang. It takes about 45 min to drive from Da Nang to Hoi An; you will need to organize transfers.
- Direct flights from Hue to Da Nang don’t exist: often you will need to fly via Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh City, meaning your travel ends up being much longer than expected given the relatively short distance between these 2 cities
- There are 2 major Vietnamese airline carriers: Vietnam Airlines and VietJet Air. VietJet Air is known for delays, which also can add time to your itinerary (we had a VietJet delay when we were in Vietnam and ended rebooking our flight with Vietnam Airlines!)
If you’re flying, the convenience of avoiding trains or buses can end up adding more inconvenience to your trip!
How to book:
Book your tickets online before leaving. Both VietJet and Vietnam Airlines have online websites (which have English websites).
Time: anywhere between 3.5 – 5 hrs one way, depending on stopover time
Cost: One-way flights can cost in the range of $130 – 170 USD, depending on the airline and how long your stopover in Hanoi / Ho Chi Minh City is.
Regardless of your travel style, there is a travel route from Hue to Hoi An for you!
Each of these travel options from Hue to Hoi An has its pros and cons. Just pick the option which works best for you!
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