Hue or Hoi An: Which one to choose?

Hue and Hoi An are two of the most popular places to visit when in Vietnam. They’re also conveniently located close to each other (approximately 122 km) and can be easily reached by bus, train or by motorbike, which is a highly popular option. If you cross by motorbike, you must take the Hai Van Pass, which is one of the most beautiful hillside roads in Vietnam. If you do have time, try to visit both Hue and Hoi An when you’re traveling in Vietnam. They’re both two beautiful cities which have their own flare and characteristics. But if you only have a limited amount of time, it might be difficult to squeeze both of them in. So, which one should you choose? It all depends on what you want, but take a look at this guide before you decide which one to go to.

View from Hai Van pass

If you want beaches, go to…

Hoi An. There aren’t any beaches in Hue, so if you’re looking for a beach vacation, your best option is to go Hoi An. There are two main beaches there that everyone goes to: An Bang and Cua Dai Beach. If you’re staying in the Ancient Town, it’s only about 4 km away from the center and can easily be reached by either bicycle, motorbike or taxi. There’s both restaurants, vendors and mini kitchens everywhere that you can choose from, so you can lounge on the beach for longer. As the sun goes down, go to one of the most popular restaurants in An Bang “Soul Kitchen”, grab a bite to drink, order a cocktail and enjoy the last rays of sunshine.

If you want history, go to…

Hue. As it used to be the country’s former capital city, it has tons of historical sites that you can visit such as the Imperial City. If you’ve ever been to the Forbidden City in Beijing, you’ll notice that it resembles it a lot. If you want to gain a deeper understanding of the old Vietnamese dynasties, it’s a good place to start. The Imperial Citadel is very impressive to walk around in, with its many temples and buildings that were built at the start of the 1800s. For historical sites, you must visit Hue.

If you want to go shopping, go to…

Hoi An. It’s a shopping paradise where you can find both unique souvenirs, beautiful clothings, galleries, bags, shoes, etc. The list goes on and on! Make sure that you haggle in order to get the best prices. And if you’ve always dreamt about getting something tailor made, you’ve come to the right place. Hoi An is a known destination for those who want to get clothes tailor made. You can find hundreds of different kinds of fabrics you can choose from and skilled tailors that will make everything they can so you can get your dream clothes. Don’t settle for the first one you  ask though, walk around a bit, compare prices, look at fabrics and make sure that you connect with your tailor and that he or she understands your vision. Getting something tailor made is fun and you’ll have a piece of clothing that’s been made just for you.

If you want party, go to…

Hoi An. Although there are some small bars in Hue, the nightlife is better in Hoi An, with the many backpackers who has made Hoi An one of their favorite places to go to in Vietnam. Although the alcohol may be a bit cheaper in Hue, you’ll still find that the atmosphere is slightly better in Hoi An. The best thing to do if you want to meet other people is to stay in a social hostel. Some of the most renowned hostels in Hoi An are the “Tribee” hostels, which has 5 branches spread in the Ancient Town.

If you want budget, go to…

Hue. There’s not as many temptations as in Hoi An and the shopping here isn’t as good. Hue is really good for the ones who are looking for a more calm and relaxing city where you can go sightseeing during the day and read a book at night. Hue is also one of the cheaper cities to go to in regards of prices for hostels, restaurants, tours, etc, since many companies offer cheap deals.

It’s very important that you apply for a Vietnam visa before you enter the country. You can do this either by applying for an online visa or go to your nearest Vietnamese Embassy or Consulate and apply with them. The online visa is the most preferred option and is called “Visa on Arrival”. You only need your computer and internet in order to apply for this kind of visa. You just have to fill in an application online, send it, wait for a confirmation letter and voila! You’ll get your confirmation letter within a few days, then you must remember to print it out so you can show it to the immigration officers in Vietnam. Depending on where you’re from, you can also apply for an E-Visa, which is also acquired online.

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