Traveling from Hoi An to Hue in Vietnam

Julie Vietnam 18 Comments

The best way to get from Hoi An to Hue is by hiring a private driver for the day. By having a driver, we were able to visit My Son Sanctuary, Da Nang, Marble Mountain, travel over Hai Van Pass, walk on Lang Co Beach, and have pit stops for lunch and photos.

Traveling From Hoi An to Hue

Our day started at 9 am. We hired a car and driver through our hotel, the Golden Bell Homestay, to take us from Hoi An to Hue.

My Son Sanctuary

Our first stop was the My Son Sanctuary, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. My Son is a collection of ancient Hindu temples built by Champa people that are now in ruins. This is the most popular day trip from Hoi An and takes half a day.

My Son is only 40 km away from Hoi An but it took us an hour and half to get there. As we approached My Son the terrain changed. Mountains now dominated the scenery, the skies became cloudy, and the temperatures dropped. Now we were driving in misty forests and it was beautiful.

Once at My Son we paid our entrance fee and then wandered among the ruins. It did not take long as this site is very small. The temples are now crumbling and covered with vegetation, the result of it being swallowed up by the jungle for many years. We had heard that the US bombed My Son Sanctuary during the Vietnam War, since the Viet Cong was using this place as a repository for their military supplies.

My Son Sanctuary

My Son

Carving

My Son Holyland

It took us less than one hour to visit My Son. If you are interested in getting more out of your visit, it would be worthwhile to hire a guide. Admittedly, we wandered around, never really knowing what we were looking at.

Next Stop, Marble Mountain

To continue our journey to Hue, we first had to drive back towards Hoi An and then on to Da Nang. Our next stop was the Marble Mountain, a limestone karst mountain containing a series of caves and religious sites. We climbed the steps to the top, looked out over Da Nang, and took some pictures. Again, unfortunately, we were not impressed.

Earlier in the week we had visited the Lady Buddha on a day trip to Da Nang. We liked the Lady Buddha a whole lot more. The Lady Buddha was less crowded, had a collection of Chinese-style buildings and statues to view, and the views over China Beach were magnificent.

If you have a choice between Marble Mountain and the Lady Buddha, we recommend seeing the Lady Buddha.

Da Nang

At Marble Mountain

Temple

The Hai Van Pass

The next part of our drive was the best…the drive over Hai Van Pass. This was very scenic. Now we were driving up winding roads to the top of a mountain, with views along Vietnamese coastline.

Hoi An to Hue

Sign at Hai Van Pass

From Hai Van Pass we drove past wide fields of rice paddies.

Rice Field

Lang Co Beach

Our last stop before arriving in Hue was Lang Co Beach, a beautiful, almost clean beach. The beaches in Vietnam have so much potential…these wide, scenic stretches of coastline that are almost deserted. Unfortunately, on some beaches around Hoi An (and also on Phu Quoc Island) it was not unusual to see more than just a little bit of trash.

Lang Co Beach

Final Stop: Hue

The final stretch to Hue seemed to take forever. We were traveling in and out of small towns and the going was slow. Our entertainment came from watching people on their motorbikes who were transporting chickens, ducks, framed pictures, trees, and even pigs.

At 5 pm we arrived in Hue. It was a busy day but it was great to combine sightseeing and transportation.

Getting From Hoi An to Hue

Hoi An and Hue are 126 km apart, a distance that is easily covered by car or bus. Both modes of transportation can be arranged by most hotels. Expect it to take approximately 6 hours to travel between Hoi An and Hue, with a stop at the Marble Mountain. Hiring a private driver will be more expensive but will give you the flexibility to alter your schedule and stop for photos.

To see My Son Sanctuary on the way to Hue, you will need to hire a private driver.

We paid $95 USD for our car and driver for the day. This fee did not include entrance fees into My Son Sanctuary and Marble Mountain.

Visiting My Son Sanctuary

How To Visit My Son Sanctuary from Hoi An

My Son Sanctuary is located 40 km from Hoi An. Most travel sites state it takes one hour to get to My Son, although it took us an hour and a half. Most people visit My Son as a day trip from Hoi An, leaving in the morning and returning during the early afternoon hours.

Tour companies can book a half or full day tour, but most hotels can easily book a car and driver for you. This can easily be arranged by hotel staff once you arrive in Hoi An.

The cheapest way to get to My Son is by bus, with bus fares being as low as $3 USD per person. Expect to make many stops in Hoi An picking up other customers, adding on as much as an hour in the morning and afternoon for this service.

Is My Son Worth It?

We were not impressed with My Son. We had just recently visited Angkor Wat and the temples of Bagan, and My Son hardly compares to the sheer size and awesomeness of these places. If you are into history or enjoy visiting temples and ruins, seeing My Son would be a worthwhile experience. I am glad we saw it but would rather have spent that extra time in Hoi An, a place we loved.


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Hoi An to Hue in Vietnam

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Comments 18

  1. Hi Julie, enjoying your site. Going to Japan and Vietnam in April/May.
    I have flight and hotels booked but considering staying in Hoi another night rather than Hue.

    Here is my itinerary:
    4/26 Fly from Nha Trang to Da Nang 12:10-1:10p, then transport to Hue
    4/27 full day in Hue and overnight.
    4/28 transport to Hoi An and over night
    4/29 Da Nang overnight
    4/30 Da Nang overnight for fireworks show competition.

    Would you say to change my Hue overnight on the 27th to Hoi An? One eve and half a day is good for Hue? And or change the 4/29 from Da Nang to Hoi An also?

    Appreciate your insight.
    Happy Traveling and blogging
    Rob
    We want to hit the beach somewhere between these tree cities.

    Thanks
    Rob

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      Hello Rob. I would take time from Danang. There is more to do in Hue than in Danang. Also, it is only 45 minutes by car between Hoi An and Danang, so you could stay in Hoi An and day trip to Danang. That is what we did. The best beach we saw on the drive between Hue and Hoi An was Lang Co Beach, but the beaches around Danang and Hoi An are just as nice. Cheers, Julie

  2. Hi, you recommended the Lady Buddha over Marble Mountain. If we hire a private driver to get from Hoi An to Hue, is the Lady Buddha on the way? Our goal is to leave Hoi An around 9:00 a.m. and get to Hue by 2:00 p.m. Is that possible and make a stop or two?

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      If you put the driving route into Google Maps, it says it will only take 3 hours to get from Hoi An to Hue. But the roads move slower in Vietnam than what Google accounts for, at least in our experience. It took us about 6 hours to get from Hoi An to Hue, which includes the time we spent at the Marble Mountain. Lady Buddha is on the way (its called Chùa Linh Ứng on Google Maps) but it will take you about 1.5 hours to detour to it and see it. I think it’s worth it, if you can arrive later in Hue than 2 pm. Check out our post on Da Nang to see photos of the Lady Buddha and temple. However, if you need to be in Hue by 2, you might want to go directly there. Cheers, Julie

  3. Hi Julie
    Did you spend the night in Hue or did you come back to Hoi An?
    Do you reckon Hue is worth staying a couple of nights?

    Thanks
    Gary

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      We stayed in Hue for three nights and then continued to Hanoi. Hue is too far, in my opinion, to do as a day trip from Hoi An. You need a minimum of one full day in Hue, although 2 days is better. If you don’t have much time, we liked Hoi An and Hanoi a lot better than Hue. Cheers, Julie

  4. Hi there! I’ve enjoyed looking through your blog! We live in Korea and are about to head off for 2 weeks vacation at the end of January to escape the bitter Korean winter– we’ll spend 5 days in Taiwan, a full week in Hoi An, and 2 days in Singapore before heading back to Korea. We have never been to Vietnam before and booked a full week at a hotel in Hoi An. But we’d sort of like to see other places in that part of Vietnam too…are Da Nang and Hue possible as day trips? Hue seems a little far, but…Any recommendations for how to arrange that given that we are booked to stay in Hoi An each night?

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      Hoi An is awesome!! Yes, you can definitely get to Da Nang from Hoi An. You should also consider the day trip out to My Son Holyland. Have you seen our post on Hoi An? This may give you some ideas of what to do while you are in town. Your hotel should be able to arrange a driver for you to get you to Da Nang and other nearby spots. You can also rent motorbikes and go on your own. Hue is far to go, but if you don’t mind a very long day trip it is possible. Since you have so much time in Hoi An, I would do the My Son and Hue trips on separate days, if you choose to do this. Cheers, Julie

  5. Hi: This was very interesting to read about. How did you go about hiring a private driver for the day to get from Hoi An to Hue and also for your day trip Da Nang? Do you do this thru your hotel? Or have you pre-arranged all the private drivers you used during your trip? Thank you

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  6. Hello,

    I absolutely love your travel blog, it is well informative and easy to relate to.

    On a brief note, I’m planning to Vietnam for 8 days trip this December and having Ho chi min city, Hue, Hoi An, Hanoi & Halong bay in our itinerary.

    I have allocated Ho chi minh city ( 2 days – 3 Nights)
    Hanoi ( 1.5 day – 1 Night )
    Halong bay ( 1 day – 1 Night )
    difficulty in prioritizing Hue, Hoi an & Da nang

    Could you prioritize the 3 locations and also any changes to existing ones so i could alter,and Since i am from India and been to ajanta and ellora, do i need to accomodate time to My Son ?

    Thanks appreciate your reply

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      Hello Dinesh. In my opinion, with your limited amount of time in Vietnam, I would skip My Son (Hanoi, Hoi An, and Hue are more worthwhile). One full day is all you need in Hue to see the main sites. We loved Hoi An so I would put several days here. You can hire a driver or a motorbike and visit Da Nang as an afternoon/evening trip from Hoi An.

      Just a thought: if you eliminated Ho Chi Minh City (which is somewhat far from your other destinations), you would have more time in Hanoi and Ha Long Bay. It just depends on what you want to do and see in Vietnam. HCMC is wonderful and we loved seeing the Cu Chi Tunnels, but if you wanted to have a more leisurely experience without moving so much, you could visit Hoi An, Hue, and Hanoi with a trip out to Ha Long Bay.

      Cheers, Julie

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      Hello Stephanie. The beach in the photo is Lang Co Beach, located between Hoi An and Hue. From Hoi An, it would take over an hour by car to reach Lang Co Beach. We also visited An Bang Beach in Hoi An (not pictured in this post) and we liked it a lot. – Julie

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