Ancient and peaceful, Hoi An is one of the most popular destinations in Vietnam that caters to travelers of all tastes and across the continents. The little town is just the perfect candidate of what Vietnam tourism ministry is aiming to show to the world. Warm-hearted, welcoming and traditional, but never out of touch with the outside world, the people of Hoi An are in overdrive mode trying to catch up with the opportunities their new found fame has recently given them. If you have the intention to move from Ho Chi Minh to Hoi An, here are some options for you.
Thu Bon river at night
1. Train + bus from Ho Chi Minh City to Hoi An
Train from Ho Chi Minh City to Da Nang
Air-conditioned trains are safe, comfortable and inexpensive; this is the ideal way for independent travelers at ground level. You can see rice fields, palm trees, water buffalo, Vietnamese towns and villages from the window along the way. Travelling by train takes about 16-19 hours from Ho Chi Minh City to Da Nang. There are about 7 trains every day of Vietnam Railways on this route. The one-way train ticket costs about 500 000 – 1 100 000 VND ($22-$49). You can book and buy train e-tickets to Da Nang online on Baolau or 12go.asia, it is a secured online payment. You will receive your e-ticket by email, ready to print or carry in your mobile phone or tablet when boarding the train.
Bus from Da Nang to Hoi An
Bus companies are The Sinh Tourist, Hanh Cafe (or local buses). Travelling by bus from Da Nang to Hoi An takes about 1-1,5 hour. The one-way bus ticket costs about 150 000 – 200 000 VND ($6-$8). You should come 30-60 minutes before departure.
2. Flights from Ho Chi Minh City to Da Nang
Da Nang Airport is only about 3 km from the city center of Da Nang. There are about 22 of direct flights of different airlines: VietJetAir, Vietnam Airlines, Jetstar Pacific. A flight takes only about 1 hour 15 minutes with about 1000 000 VND – 3 000 000 VND ($50-$120) for the one-way direct flight. This is the fastest, but more expensive way to get from Ho Chi Minh City to Da Nang.
From the airport, it takes about 45 minutes by car to Hoi An center. Taxi is plentiful as you walk out of the luggage area. It should cost around $15-$18 by meter taxi.
Tip: when booking your hotel in Hoi An, check if they have a pick-up service. The service usually costs about $10. Another way of saving your bucks is to bargain with the taxi driver for a fixed price instead of having your trip metered. The fixed fee should be $13 at most.
3. Bus from Ho Chi Minh City to Da Nang
Phuong Trang bus with new and comfortable sleepers
There are also some buses on the route from Ho Chi Minh City to Da Nang. Some reliable bus companies are Hoang Long and Phuong Trang. Travelling by bus from Saigon to Da Nang can take about 21-23 hours. The one-way bus ticket costs about 400 000 – 550 000 VND ($15-$20). Then you take a bus from Da Nang to Hoi An.
Top things to do in Hoi An
Take a cooking class
Hoi An is known for its diverse and excellent food: a legacy of the many nationalities, including Japanese, Chinese and Portuguese, that lived or traded here. It’s on with cooking (and eating) a selection of dishes – fresh spring rolls, crispy pancakes, beef noodle salad and classic pho.
Explore on a cycle tour
Cars and even motorbikes are banned from the centre of Hoi An, so the pushbike is the king. Most homestays offer bikes to guests. Furthermore, there are many cyclists on the roads provide an instant immersion into local life.
See where your lunch is grown
Most meals in Hoi An include an abundance of the fresh vegetables and herbs that make eating in Vietnam such a delight. And much of it comes from Tra Que, the fresh-vegetable village between town and An Bang beach. This small farming community grows everything from fine spring onions to hefty taro root on this flat fertile island in the De Vong river.
Drink ‘bia hoi’
After doing the sights in town (temples, ancient houses, chapels, the covered bridge) head south over the central footbridge to An Hoi islet, whose riverfront is lined with bars offering ice-cold glasses of the daily-brewed refreshing lager called "bia hoi" at low prices.
Eat ‘cau lao’
Historic bridge in Hoi An
This Hoi An noodle specialty has been eaten in the city since the 17th century. The rice noodles get their brown colour and unusual flavour from being mixed with lye water
Discover street barbecue
For a really cheap dinner on the hoof, wander the north bank of the Thu Bon river after dark, where dozens of little charcoal braziers are set up with skewers of grilled pork, chicken or prawns that come with some herbs and greens, and a few rice paper wrappers to roll it up in. The whole thing is then dipped in a spicy peanut tomato sauce, with a few toasted sesame seeds.
Hopefully, with these guide about means of transportation from Ho Chi Minh to Hoi An and experiences in the ancient town, you will have great memories here!
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