After spending two days in Hoi An admiring the picturesque Old Town and lazing by An Bang Beach, it was time for me to move on to another destination. A different destination for me to spend a night or two, preferably a place that was historical to suit a history buff like me. And that destination was Hue.
Hue (pronounced as ‘hway’) is located 126km north of Hoi An in Central Vietnam and was formerly an imperial city for the Nguyen Dynasty from 1802 to 1945. Much of Hue’s tourist attractions is the tranquil atmosphere of the promenade and Perfume River, the greenery of the city parks, the imperialism of the Citadel in the city, and the elaborate Tombs of the Emperors in the outskirts of Hue.
Although the distance between the two destinations is not far in terms of kilometres, the hours taken to travel from Hoi An to Hue are long. Prior to my trip to Central Vietnam, I researched on ways in which to travel between the two cities, and I’d thought I share with you on various ways that you could travel to reach Hue.
Travelling by bus in Vietnam is cheap, fast, convenient and air-conditioned. You can travel on the “open bus” which is buying a booklet of tickets for major destinations dotted on the route between Hanoi in the north and Ho Chi Minh City in the south. Your booklet contains tickets for a number of destination stops that you wish to make and is valid for a month. The destinations offered in an open bus ticket are typically (from north to south, and vice versa) are: Hanoi, Hue, Hoi An, Nha Trang, Dalat, Mui Ne and Ho Chi Minh City.
However, if you are planning to travel from Hoi An to Hue only, you can buy a single bus ticket (or return) via Your Local Booking and select Open Bus. The single ticket costs US$9/$12, depending on the hour that you want to travel. The journey is approximately five hours with stops along the way at places of interests such as Marble Mountains, Lang Co Beach.
I’m not sure if the open bus is a seater bus or sleeping bus. In case you wonder what a sleeping bus is – it’s a bus that is fitted with three rows of bunk beds two levels high. Apparently, some buses drive over the Hai Van Pass which is scenic with views of the Vietnamese coastline while others drive through the Hai Van Tunnel to save time.
Vietnam’s trains are relatively inexpensive, air-conditioned and safe with new carriages added to their routes along the length of the country. Because there are no stops at places of interests but at railway stations only, the train journey from Hoi An to Hue is actually faster than the bus. Another advantage of train journeys in Vietnam is that it gives you a chance to interact with Vietnamese as there are more locals travelling by train compared to the open bus which is mainly catered for foreign tourists.
I took the train option. As the train rumbled along the coastline, I really enjoyed the views of South China Sea and rural Vietnam of rice fields, palm trees and water buffaloes. Travelling on Vietnam Railways is a genuine Vietnamese experience in itself.
Based on tips by Man in Seat Sixty-One, I booked my train ticket on 12Go.Asia which, I believe, is an online platform operating in Thailand for booking buses, ferry and railway tickets in Thailand, Malaysia and Vietnam. The booking process was easy as confirmation was instant and international credit cards were accepted. The train ticket for Hoi An-Hue cost approximately US$7.
There is another online platform called BaoLau which is also recommended by Man in Seat Sixty-One. Vietnam Railways is an option as well but it has problems in accepting international credit cards online.
Keep in mind that there is no railway station in Hoi An, therefore you will need to travel for 45 minutes to Da Nang Railway Station to board the train to Hue.
Needless to say, hiring a private car from Hoi An is the most expensive way as it costs between US$55 and $85. Some people do not mind taking this option for it gives them the flexibility to make pit stops along the way to visit other places of interests such as My Son Sanctuary or Marble Mountains.
You can also choose to make a day trip to travel from Hoi An to Hue but be prepared for less time to explore Hue and the long journey on the road just to get to Hue and back within daylight hours. It can be a very tiring journey.
Have you travelled from Hoi An to Hue (or vice versa)? If so, which transportation mode did you take?
Are you planning a trip to Hue soon? How about booking your accommodation here?
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