How to get to Hue from Hanoi

670km of road connects Hue to Hanoi, which, unbelievably makes it the second closest big city connected to the capital after Da Nang. As visitors on sleeper buses can attest, there is not much in the way of big tourist attractions in the northern expanse between Hanoi and Hue, and the drive between the two is, largely, a fairly uneventful one. Nevertheless, modern conveniences now allow an overland trip that spans half the country to take just one night, and much less in the case of flying, meaning there are many more options for how to get to Hue from Hanoi than at any time previously.

Hanoi to Hue by Motorbike

Though this is far from the most popular part of the tourist route between Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, there are several stops along this northern stretch of road that will liven things up immeasurably. About 16 - 18 hours of travel time means that driving from Hanoi to Hue by motorbike is possible over the course of a few days.

To make a full itinerary of the trip, it is possible to leave Hanoi and stop at Ninh Binh on the way, where you can see magnificent limestone karsts flanking the sides of rivers and take sampan boat rides through untapped forested marshland. From here, you can head further inland to the magnificent Cuc Phuong National Park, where ancient caves are speckled across vast cliffs of tree-topped limestone. Take the wonderfully scenic Ho Chi Minh Highway down to Ben En National Park, one of the lesser-explored areas on the way from Hanoi to Hue, before pressing on to the Phong Nha Ke Bang National Park, home of the largest known cave in the world and some of the best scenery in the country. Hue lies a final 4 hours away from here and requires crossing of the DMZ, marking the division line between North and South Vietnam.

Hanoi to Hue by Bus

What was once a completely unthinkable overland journey from Hanoi to Hue is now achievable over the space of one night, thanks to new roads connecting the current capital to its predecessor. Tourist bus companies heading south from Hanoi, with the overall aim of Ho Chi Minh City in mind, start their first leg with a mammoth 16-hour drive from Hanoi to Hue, stopping only to pick up, drop off and refuel.

The usual bus companies make this trip, Camel Travel, Hung Thanh and Queen Café VIP, for an average price of between 300,000 VND and 450,000 VND ($12 - $19 USD). This is a cheap, no-frills sleeper bus, so don’t expect the most comfortable ride or the most outstanding customer service.

Check our best tour to Hue: Explore Hue Countryside by bicycle, Hue city full day, Hue- DMZ full day, and Hue Culinary at night 

Hanoi to Hue by Train

As the more expensive way to travel from Hanoi to Hue, the train, like the bus, is another overnight experience, but one with more speed, more comfort and less stress. The price of around 950,000 VND ($41 USD) for a soft seat reflects this, while a 4-bed or 6-bed sleeper cabin can be about 1,275,000 – 1,400,000 VND ($55 - $60 USD). 

There are 6 services running daily on the Reunification Express; 4 overnight and 2 during the day. The ones during the day leave at 06:00 am and 09:00 am, arriving in the evening time, and the overnight trains run rather irregularly at 19.30pm, 20.05pm, 20.10pm and 22.20pm. In general, it takes less time on the train to get from Hanoi to Hue than on the bus, though estimated arrival times are often a bit sporadic depending on if someone has parked their motorbike on the train tracks.

Hanoi to Hue by Flight

By far the fastest way to travel from Hanoi to Hue is by aeroplane, with companies like VietJet, Hahn Air and Vietnam Airlines connecting the two cities. Flight time is just over 1 hour and can cost as little as 750,000 VND ($32 USD), but prices are usually more around the 1,150,000 – 1,500,000 VND ($50 - $65 USD) mark.

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