Located in Central Vietnam, and once the capital of the Nguyen dynasty, Hue is now known for its massive 19th century citadel with the Forbidden City within its powerful stone walls. Listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Hue has many impressive sights.
And when you are done with the sights in Hue, head a little south along the Vietnamese coast to the city of Hoi An. It is also a World Heritage Site, and impresses with its old town and covered Japanese bridge along with grand colonial-era architecture. The journey from Hue to Hoi An can be very scenic, depending on how you travel, but read on to learn more!
Travel options from Hue to Hoi An
The distance between Hue and Hoi An is only 122 kilometers (76 miles) by highway, but don't let this short distance fool you. Traveling in Vietnam can take a long time, as the roads are often not in the best condition. However, the route from Hue to Hoi An has been greatly improved in recent years, as there is now a tunnel through the mountain, which allows you to avoid the very winding road through the Hai Van Pass.
This has made most trips faster than before. Read more about the Hai Van Pass below. At any rate, your travel options from Hue to Hoi An will be limited to car travel, as there are no trains that cover the entire distance, except only partially, and even if each city had an airport, it would be too close to fly!
From Hue to Hoi An by train and bus
Honestly, it makes no sense to go from Hue to Hoi An by train and bus. If you could go the whole distance to Hoi An by train, it would be possible and a very good option, but after Da Nang the train line breaks off, so you have to take a bus from Da Nang. So if you don't value your time, you can enjoy the train and the bus.
When you take the train to Hue, you will follow the highway to the first destination of your trip, so it won't be much different than taking the bus.
The railroad winds toward the coast on the east side of Marble Mountain, giving you some fabulous coastal scenery that you won't see on the express bus.
The scenery can probably make this trip worthwhile, but overall it is time-consuming. It takes 2.5 to 3 hours to get to Da Nang, and then in Da Nang you have to change to a bus that takes another 1.5 hours to get to Hoi An.
By bus from Hue to Hoi An
You may decide that it's easier to take the bus all the way from Hue to Hoi An. Admittedly, then you don't have to make any transfers, plus traveling by bus is the cheapest way to get from Hue to Hoi An, so it's great if you're traveling on a budget.
Book your tickets with 12Go.asia , and you will get several different bus company options along with several different types of buses. Standard buses are usually described as a bit cramped for tall Westerners, so if you need extra legroom, it would be better to book a half-bed ticket, even if it's only a couple of dollars more.
These seat types are available with Sinh Tourist, a well-known and respected bus company, when booking through 12Go. You can also book standard Hanh Café seats, or choose smaller buses operated by Hue Tourist.
When booking tickets, you have the opportunity to clarify which route the bus will take. As we mentioned at the beginning of this guide, the main road from Hue to Hoi An originally crossed the mountains at Hai Van Pass. Today, the mountain road is still accessible and is a popular tourist route.
Some buses will just go straight through the tunnel and get to Hoi An faster, while others will actually give you a tour, stopping at several different places, so you have a chance to get off the bus and take pictures. The bus trip from Hue to Hoi An will take 4 to 5 hours, depending on the company.
From Hue to Hoi An by cab
Although it is much more expensive, there are many tourists who decide that traveling from Hue to Hoi An by cab is a good option. Private cabs can be booked through 12Go. In addition to the fact that you can easily book a cab, you also get rid of a lot of hassle.
The great thing about cabs is that they can run entirely on your own schedule, including you decide when and where you get picked up, what route you choose (whether it's the tunnel or the Hai Van Pass), you can ask the driver to stop whenever you want. This makes cabs a great option for those who really want to take their time and enjoy the scenery.
As you might expect, there are several different types of vehicles you can book, including standard-sized cars and minivans that accommodate four passengers. For a family, this can be a good option and when you split the cost between four people. This brings the price down to a reasonable level per person. If you don't make frequent stops, you can expect the trip to take 2 to 3 hours.
Getting from Hue to Hoi An doesn't seem like a long way, but all travel options will take all day, whichever one you choose. The fastest and most expensive is a private cab. Buses are the cheapest way to travel. But they are good for sightseeing. Trains and buses will take a long time, although they provide interesting scenery.