How to get from Hoi An to Hue and vice versa? It’s a recurring question that I get asked hundreds of times a year, and the good news is that there are several ways of getting to Vietnam’s former imperial capital (listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1993).
I’ve been able to make this journey several times using different means of transport, but the 2 I prefer are scooters and private cars, which are much more flexible than trains and buses. You can leave at any time you like, stop wherever you like and see the different monuments and places between Hoi An and Hue.
Although Hue has an airport, there is no connection between Da Nang and Hue because the cities are too close.
Distance between Hue and Hoi An
The distance between Hue and Hoi An is around 125km, partly on flat ground and partly on small cliffside roads overlooking the coast of central Vietnam. It’s not a short distance but it’s not too long to make the journey in 1 day, taking around 3 to 3.5 hours to get from Hoi An to Hue (or vice versa).
The route is linked by the iconic Hai Van Pass (Cloud Pass), which is a breathtaking 24km stretch of mountain road along the coast, overlooking the East Vietnam Sea. It is one of the most picturesque roads in Vietnam. So get your camera ready for some incredible landscape shots.
Different ways to get from Hoi An to Hue
|4h – 5h
|199,000 VND per person
|Train (departure from Da Nang)
|from 77,000 VND / per person
|1,450,000 VND for a 4-seater car
|400,000 VND / per person
|150,000 VND to 300,000 VND / per motorcycle
1. Bus to Hue from Hoi An
The journey from Hoi An takes around 4-5 hours and costs around 199,000 VND per person. There are several bus companies running between Hoi An and Hué, but one really stands out from the rest: Sinh Tourist. The buses are air-conditioned, have wifi and are clean. What more could you ask for…
2 buses leave every day: The first leaves at 8am and arrives around 12pm. The second leaves at 1.45pm and arrives at around 5.15pm.
Please note that the buses do not pass through the Hai Van Pass or other monuments, it is really from point A to point B.
Address: 646 Hai Ba Trung, Hoi An
Opening hours: 6am – 10pm
2. Train from Hoi An to Hue
I think one of the best train routes in Vietnam to do is from Hoi An to Hue and vice versa. On one side, you go along the Hai Van Pass and on the other, the beach. Just magnificent.
There is no train station in Hoi An and you will have to go first to Da Nang station ( Address: 791 Hai Phong road – Danang). This adds extra transfer time and increases the price of the journey. The Da Nang – Hue train journey takes around 2h30 ~ 4 hours depending on the time of departure.
The train journey from Da Nang to Hue costs between 77,000 vnd and 140,000 vnd, depending on the category chosen (hard seat, soft seat or couchette). There are also 2 luxury trains for this trip: Violette Trains and Livitrans Express.
To book a train ticket, you can go through specialist website dsvn.vn or directly at Da Nang station.
IMPORTANT: the Vietnam-Railway.com website is not the website of the train company but just a travel agency…don’t be confused!
Train timetables from Da Nang to Hue
|Violet Trains SE3
|Violet Trains SE1
|Livitrans Express SE1
3. Private car from Hoi An to Hue
Why not make a day trip out of your journey from Hoi An to Hue and visit some of the most popular sights along the way? Including the Marble Mountains, Lady Buddha, Cloud Pass and Lang Co Beach, turn a potentially boring four-hour journey into a six-hour adventure.
The journey takes between 3h and 3h30 (without or with the Cloud Pass) and much longer if you add the Marble Mountains and Lady Buddha (6h to 6h30).
One of the biggest advantages of making this journey by private car is its flexibility. You choose the departure time, the monuments to see, etc…By leaving early in the morning or in the afternoon, you avoid the crowds of tourists. The driver will pick you up at your hotel in Hoi An and drop you off at your hotel in Hue.
You can go through a transport agency, which charges reasonable prices. You should expect to pay between VND1,450,000 and VND1,550,000 depending on whether or not you go via the Cloud Pass.
In general, if you can go via your hotel, the price will be higher because the hotel takes a commission.
4. Shuttle bus from Hue to Hoi An
The shuttle offers a service to Hue and is a good option if you are in a group or want to take a small bus (they limit passengers to a maximum of 10). You need to go to their office in Hoi An and they will drop you off at Mayla Coffee in Hue.
The price is around €17 per person. What’s more, if the shuttle is not full, they can pick up people on the way. The journey will take around four to five hours. The first departure is at 8am and the second at 4pm. This would be the best option if you wanted a quick and easy journey without needing to go to a pick-up point.
Hoi An Express – Duration: 4-5 Hours (depending on traffic) – Address: 190 Ton Duc Thang Street, Hoi An.
5. Motorbike from Hoi An to Hue
If you’re feeling adventurous, you can hire a motorbike or scooter in Hoi An (prices vary from 150,000 vnd for a scooter and 300,000 vnd to 1,000,000 vnd for a motorbike) to make the trip.
To go over the Cloud Pass, you can either climb to the top or take the shuttle bus that passes through the tunnel under the mountain (Vnd30,000 for a scooter and Vnd8,000 for an adult). This is the most pleasant way to make the journey, as you can stop anywhere.
I don’t recommend the scooter/motorbike if you are travelling with children because the road is not the safest in the region. For one main reason, Vietnamese driving is chaotic.
If you have a puncture or any other problem, find one of the many telephone numbers that are painted on the walls of the Hai Van pass, they correspond to the breakdown services.
I recommend using a rental company like Motorvina or Style Motobikes. They have an office in Hué, so there’s no need to bring the bike back if you don’t return to Hoi An.
6. Easy Rider
The last solution is the Easy Rider <3
A day trip on an Easy Rider motorbike costs around VND1,500,000 (€65). But it’s worth noting that “Easy Rider” has become a generic term for independent drivers offering motorbike tours. Choosing a good and safe driver can be a bit of a lottery.
The great thing about Easy Riders is that they know the area very well, especially the hidden spots such as the little creeks on Cloud Pass or the fishing villages around Lang Co.
Among the dozens of different Easy Riders in Hoi An, I recommend Easyrider Private Day Trips (Email: firstname.lastname@example.org | 109 Le Hong Phong, Hoi An) which I took on my first trip to Hué. It is serious and very well rated on Trip Advisor.
What to see between Hoi An and Hue?
This route is well-known and popular because there are several places to see along the way.
Firstly, there is the Cloud Pass (Hai Van pass) with its magnificent scenery as well as the French relics of the war. At the top of the mountain, there is a gate (Hải Vân Quan) on which are engraved the words “The first gate of Vietnam”.
On the way, after the mountains, you can see Lang Co, one of the most beautiful bays in the world with a magnificent beach. I’d recommend a short stop if you’re a fan of lounging, seafood or photography.
You can add the Marble Mountains and Lady Buddha, both of which are in Da Nang.
On the way, you can make a diversion to Bach Ma national park, ideal for trekking.
Personally, I’d choose either the motorbike or the private car because I love the flexibility. Being able to choose your departure time and itinerary gives you a lot of freedom.
If you’re on a tight budget, I’d recommend the train, especially as the route is one of the most beautiful in Vietnam.
The shuttle isn’t as cheap as all that, as the price is per person and there are only 2 shuttles a day, which don’t drop you off at your hotel.
If you don’t have a lot of luggage, Easy Rider can be a good solution.
I’d put the bus at the bottom of the list because the drivers often speak little or no English. Although Sinh Tourist is better than most bus companies in Hoi An, it’s not a panacea.