Getting to Hue by Plane, Bus, or Train
Hue is almost equidistant from both the north and south extremes of Vietnam, being about 400 miles north of Ho Chí Minh City (Saigon) and about 335 miles south of Hanoi. Hue may be approached from either direction by airplane, bus, or train.
Travel to Hue by Plane. Hue's Phu Bai “International” Airport (IATA: HUI) is about eight miles from the Hue city center (about half an hour by taxi), and handles daily flights to and from Saigon (compare prices) and Hanoi (compare prices). Flights may be disrupted by bad weather.
Taxi fares from the airport to the city center average to about $8. When returning to the airport from the city center, you may ride the Vietnam Airlines minibus, which leaves from the airlines’ offices at 12 Hanoi Street a couple of hours before the scheduled flight.
Travel to Hue by Bus. Hue is connected to Vietnam’s major cities by a well-traveled public bus network, Buses entering Hue from southern destinations like Hoi An and Da Nang terminate at the An Cuu station, which is about two miles southeast from Hue’s city center. Buses from Hanoi and other northern areas terminate at An Hoa station, about three miles northwest of Hue’s center.
The bus route from Hanoi to Hue is a 16-hour journey, undertaken at night. Buses depart Hanoi at 7pm and arrive at Hue at 9am the next morning. Buses plying the southern route between Hoi An or Da Nang take about 6 hours at the most to complete the trip.
The “open tour” bus system is another popular land-based alternative. Open tour bus services allow tourists to stop at any point along the way, but require you to confirm your next trip 24 hours before riding. The open tour system allows great flexibility for tourists who wish to travel at their own pace.
Open tour bus services are a dime a dozen, often operated by unscrupulous operators piloting barely-roadworthy wrecks. Two reliable tourist services offer the exception:
Sinh Tourist (formerly Sinh Café) operates two offices in Hue: 12 Hung Vuong (phone: +84 54 3845022) and 60 Nguyen Tri Phuong (next to the Thuan Hoa Hotel; phone: +84 54 3848626). Sinh Tourist’s open tour buses leave from both offices. You may email them at email@example.com. More info at their website: Sinh Tourist Official Site (offsite)
Kim Travel operates open tour buses from their station at Queen Cafe 3, 8 Hung Vuong (phone: +84 54 849327). This is the departure point for buses leaving for Savannakhet in Laos, departing at 6pm every evening.
Travel to Hue by Train. The “Reunification Express” stops by Hue, making several journeys a day between Hanoi, Danang, and Ho Chi Minh City. (more info here: Vietnam Railway Corporation - offsite) The Hue railway station is at the southwest end of Le Loi Road, at 2 Bui Thi Xuan Street about 15 minutes from the city center.
The cushiest ride to Hue has to be the Livitrans first-class sleeper from Hanoi. Livitrans is a private company that operates a separate car attached to certain train lines. Livitrans tickets are 50% more expensive than comparable first-class berths on the regular line, but offer more comfort.
Tourists on the Livitrans car travel the 420-mile Hanoi-Hue route in style - comfortable air-conditioned bunks, clean sheets, electric outlets, and free breath mints (little to no food, though). A one-way Tourist-class ticket from Hanoi to Hue on Livitrans costs $55 (compared to about $33 for the regular soft-sleeper.)
Getting Around Hue
Cyclos, motorbike taxis, and regular taxis are easy to come by in Hue.
Cyclos and motorbike taxis (xe om) can be quite aggressive, and will pester you for business - you either ignore them or give in and pay up. Prices for cyclos/xe om vary, but a reasonable price is about VND 8,000 for every mile on a motorbike taxi - negotiate downwards for longer trips. Pay about VND 5,000 for every ten minutes on a cyclo, or less if you book longer.
Bicycle rentals: Bikes can be rented from most reputable guest houses at the rate of about $2 per day. If you’re more ambitious, you might want to sign up for a bicycle tour through Hue with Tien Bicycles (Tien Bicycles, official site - offsite).
Dragon boats: Boat rides down the Perfume River can be arranged for about $10 a boat for a half-day trip. One boat can carry eight people, You might also join a full day trip for about $3 per head, available at most tourist cafes in town. The boat pier is at 5 Le Loi St., next to the floating restaurant.
Hue Hotels - Where to Stay While in Hue
Hue has no shortage of backpacker-budget hotels, comfortable mid-range hotels, and a couple of luxury hotels. Most of the cheaper places are centered around Pham Ngu Lao and adjoining streets, representing the backpacker section of the city. More hotels are also available at the eastern end of Le Loi Street.
Choose one of Hue's luxury hotels if you want to sleep in a little bit of history; at least two of the hotels listed below once served as residences for occupying French officials during the colonial period.
- Vietnam Hotel Picks: Hue Budget Hotels
- Mid-Price Hotels in Hue, Vietnam
- Luxury Hotels in Hue, Vietnam
Best Times to Visit Hue
Hue is located in a tropical monsoon zone, experiencing the most rainfall in the country. Hue’s rainy season comes between the months of September and January; the heaviest rain falls in the month of November. Visitors get Hue at its best between March and April.