Two of the most beautiful cities in Vietnam are arguably Hue and Hoi An. The distances between the two are relatively short (about 122 km) and if you only have a very limited amount of time in Vietnam, it’s even possible to do a day trip to either one of these cities. Hue used to be the capital city of Vietnam and is famous for its beautiful Imperial Citadel. In Hoi An, you can wander around the small, colorful alleys where hundreds of lanterns light up the city. Just as Hue Imperial City, the ancient town in Hoi An is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Let’s explore the best ways to get from Hue to Hoi An (or the other way around).
Hai Van Pass
One of the most famous routes to take in Vietnam is the “Hai Van Pass” which takes you from Hue to Hoi An. It’s one of the most picturesque roads in Vietnam and is best enjoyed on a motorbike. You can either rent one yourself or hire someone who will take you on the bike. The road conditions are good but the road is winding, so if you’re not comfortable behind a motorbike, you shouldn’t drive this route by yourself. The pass can be ridden in one day and you’ll pass some gorgeous spots such as Bach Ma National Park and Elephant Springs. It’s definitely worth taking your time on this road. Don’t stress, but instead enjoy the views of deserted sand beaches and the stunning landscapes. Since the episode of Top Gear – Vietnam Special aired in 2008, the road became increasingly popular amongst both locals and foreigners, since the program dubbed it as one of the “best coastal roads in the world”. Whether it is, it’s up for you to decide. If you want to get motorbike transport, check out “Hue Easy Rider Tour” who has a very good reputation. If you opt for the 1 day tour, it costs about 45$.
If you’re skipping the Hai Van Pass but still want to take in the amazing views, taking the train is the best option for you then. It takes the same time as the bus, costs as much, but will take you to a different route. Trains in Vietnam are known to be a bit slow, but it’s only positive when you’re traveling this distance since you want to pause and take in the breathtaking views. Do note that if you want take the train, you have to catch it in Da Nang. There’s buses going daily from Hoi An to Da Nang so it shouldn’t be a problem getting there.
Another convenient way to go from Hue to Hoi An, or the other way around. If you’re staying at a hostel, they can usually book a shuttle bus and give you a bus ticket. The shuttle bus will take you to the bus stop first, where you usually have to wait a few minutes for the bus to take you to either Hue or Hoi An. The buses are comfortable, there’s usually free WiFi onboard and the driver makes a quick pit stop since there’s no bathrooms onboard. Make sure to pack light snacks and water for your trip.
If you’re traveling from a bigger city in Vietnam such as Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh city, the easiest and fastest way for you is to take the flight to Da Nang and from there continue to either Hoi An or Hue. If you choose to go to Hoi An first, it’ll only take you about 45 minutes with a bus. It’s highly recommended to rent a motorbike though, so you can go explore the outskirts of Hoi An and even Da Nang. If you go to Hue first, you can take either of the options mentioned above.
Make sure to apply for a Vietnam Visa before you enter the country. This is done by either applying online or going to your nearest Vietnamese Embassy or Consulate and apply with them. The online visa is the most popular and preferred option since it allows travelers the freedom of applying from anywhere in the world. All you need is to fill out an application form, wait for the visa confirmation letter and print it out so you can present it to the immigration officers. This’ll save you both time and money. It’s easy, fast and convenient.