From the capital of Vietnam to one of its most charming and quaint cities, if Hanoi and Hoi An aren’t on your your Vietnam itinerary, you’re missing a trick!
That’s because these 2 spots are 2 of the best places in the country thanks to their historical and cultural experience, their UNESCO-listed status and, of course, their food!
Well, this is Vietnam after all!
So, if like most people you’re hitting up these 2 iconic locations during your time in the country and want to know how to travel between Hanoi and Hoi An, then read on to discover my full lowdown on how to get between them via train, bus, plane, bike or tour…
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Distance between Hanoi and Hoi An
If you weren’t in the know already, Vietnam is a huge country!
Yes long and skinny, the northern, central and southern regions of this Southeast Asia giant actually have different climates and weather patterns, which probably gives you some idea of just how far different cities are apart here.
With Hanoi, the capital of Vietnam, located in the north of the country and Hoi An, one of the top spots most travellers visit, located in the central coastland – it may come as no surprise that there’s quite some space between them!
Indeed at almost 800km apart, there’s quite some distance!
And, as a result, there’s quite a few different ways to get between them too.
Yes, depending whether time or budget, independent or organised travel is your thing, you’ve got a few different options for travelling between Hanoi and Hoi An – although thankfully you can compare most using the handy website Bookaway!
Otherwise, if you’re looking to gather more info, I suggest settling in for the full lowdown on how to get between these 2 cities using bus, train, motorbike, plane or tour and then make your choice about which method will suit you best….
#1 By Bus
So the first way to travel between Hanoi and Hoi An is by bus.
I’ve already mentioned to you the distance involved in travelling between these 2 cities, so it should come as no surprise that a bus is going to take you a long time!
In fact, it’s going to take you a whole night!
In saying this however, the good thing to note is that sleeper buses in Vietnam are incredibly well-set up and comfortable.
As a huge country, travelling long distances on buses is incredibly common here (for both tourists and locals), in fact I’d list it as one of the classic experiences you have to try at least once while you are here!
I travelled by bus a lot in Vietnam as a solo female traveller and can safely say that I felt incredibly safe every time.
Buses here are well-organised and you can choose from a range of services, as well as book them, using the great website 12Go which allows you to easily compare travel services in Vietnam, and across Southeast Asia, in English.
And trust me, if you’ve seen the alphabet in Vietnam, you’ll realise this is a godsend!
2 of the recommended bus companies that run the service between Hanoi and Hoi An are Sinh Tourist and Hung Thanh Travel. Their bus journeys take around 18 hours.
The main reason to get a bus between Hanoi and Hoi An is that it’s incredibly cheap. Think less than $15 USD. And if you pick an overnight service, you’ll also save on a night’s accommodation too.
Just be aware that not many buses travel direct to Hoi An from Hanoi and that you may need to arrive in Da’Nang first.
This is a larger city less than 30km from Hoi An, from which it is quick and easy to make the final part of your journey.
Learn more about this in a post I wrote specifically about travelling from Da’Nang to Hoi An.
If you are lucky enough to find a direct Hanoi to Hoi An bus service however, then book this one instead – it will just save the hassle of a connecting leg which, after a night-sleeper bus journey, is probably a good option!
#2 By Train
The other public transport option for getting from Hanoi to Hoi An is via train.
There’s actually no direct train between Hanoi and Hoi An, but you can get from Hanoi to Da’Nang using rail travel, and then it’s just a short distance from Hoi An to Da’Nang.
Trains don’t go to Hoi An, simply because there isn’t a train station there, so if you want to get the train from Hanoi to Hoi An, you’ll first need to catch the train to Da’Nang and then catch a bus, taxi, shuttle or rideshare to Hoi An.
This sounds like a bit of hassle, but actually it’s very straightforward.
Taxis are very easy to catch in Da’Nang either using a rideshare app or you can find them outside the rail station too.
Otherwise, you can arrange a shuttle to take you to Hoi An, usually either through your hotel or by booking one here.
Get more details and options in this post I wrote about travelling from Da’Nang to Hoi An.
The train from Hanoi to Da’Nang takes around 16 hours and then travel to Hoi An takes around 45 minutes. This makes the train slightly quicker than the bus.
Although not quite as cheap as the bus, the train to Da’Nang is still a budget-friendly method of getting from Hanoi to Hoi An despite the fact that it does involve 2 different travel components, unlike the bus, which is just one travel element.
There are around 6 trains a day running from Hanoi to Da’Nang and all are run by Vietnam Railways and can be booked through 12Go. The price is around $30 USD one way.
Comfortable, better-class sleeper trains are the way to go on this journey – you’ll likely sleep better than on the bus!
#3 By Motorbike
The third option for travelling from Hanoi to Hoi An is by motorbike.
This essentially involves you renting a motorbike and driving to Hoi An from Hanoi!
And before you call me crazy, this is actually a very popular option that many travellers use to get around Vietnam.
In fact, it’s so popular that there are many companies that will rent you a scooter in one city and allow you to drop it off in another… and the leg from Hanoi to Hoi An is no different!
Obviously you’ll need more time for this sort of journey, as you’re going to have to make at least a few overnight stops on the way – Ninh Binh, Phong Nha National Park and Hue are popular options here – but this is a really fun way to see the country.
Motorbike rental is likely to be more expensive than public transport, but is still affordable even on a backpacker budget and allows for a great experience.
Needless to say, having confidence and prior experience of driving motorbikes is pretty crucial, and you’ll also need to bear in mind that road conditions in Vietnam might not be what they are in your home country.
Helmets and other protective clothing are a must.
You’ll also want to think about comfort, heat and the amount of luggage you have when considering travelling by motorbike from Hanoi to Hoi An… just saying!
#4 By Plane
Another option for getting between Hanoi and Hoi An if you don’t want to take public transport, is to fly.
Likely to be cheaper than renting a motorbike, but more expensive than a bus or train, this is the quickest way to get between the 2 cities.
Prices are kept lower by the fact that 3 budget airlines compete on many domestic flight services within Vietnam, but again you’re looking at around $100+ USD for a one-way flight.
As I always, I use Skyscanner to find the best deals on flights both within and between countries in Southeast Asia.
When looking for flights to Hoi An from Hanoi, you’ll need to search for journeys arriving in Da’Nang, because this is the nearest airport to Hoi An.
From Da’Nang it’s then a short journey (around 1 hour depending on the method you take) to get from the city to Hoi An – just 30 km away.
Make this journey using the methods I’ve outlined above in this post, or learn more in this specific article I wrote about how to travel from Da’Nang to Hoi An.
#5 By Tour
And finally, the last option on this list, you can also take a multi-day tour in Vietnam that includes the destinations of both Hanoi and Hoi An and can shuttle you between the 2.
Here’s my list of the 2 best tour options that include both Hoi An, Hanoi and transport between them…
- 14 Days Cycling in Vietnam
- 8 Day Tour of Vietnam’s Highlights
Travel Guide to Hanoi and Hoi An
When to Visit?
Situated in 2 different parts of the country, it can be difficult to find a time when both Hanoi and Hoi An are enjoying their peak travel climate conditions.
The best time to visit Hoi An is during the cooler drier season which, in this central part of Vietnam, lasts from March to August.
March through May are perhaps the optimum months in the central coast.
At this time the humidity is not too bad and the water conditions are good if you want to explore the coast and islands as well as Hoi An.
Outside of the months, Hoi An can experience monsoons and stifling humidity.
In contrast, Hanoi can be cold and wet.
As I wrote about my post about the 15 things to know before you travel Vietnam, the shoulder seasons of Spring and Autumn are the best time to visit Hanoi and the north of Vietnam.
These generally include the months of March and April as well as September and November.
What to Do There?
For more ideas about what to do in Hanoi and Hoi An, check out these 2 posts I wrote:
Where to Stay?
If you’re a budget traveller like me, then the best place to stay in Hoi An is definitely the Love.ly Hostel.
I absolutely rated this homely backpackers, where the communal dinners will have you feeling like part of the family in no time.
My private room even had a little balcony, which was lovely and the prices and location of this great spot were top notch.
Book your stay at Love.ly Hostel in Hoi An here.
When it comes to Hanoi, there’s no question in my mind you really should stay in the Old Quarter of this city.
This is the epicentre of the action and although it’s where most tourists base themselves, it’s still incredibly genuine and authentic – the best place to get amongst Hanoi in all her glory.
When it comes to budget travel accommodation, I really recommend Hanoi Culture Hostel, which has a superb location in the Old Quarter, is a lovely modern and clean hostel and even boasts an indoor pool!
How Long to Stay?
It might sound strange, but I honestly think 4 days total is enough to see Hanoi and Hoi An.
Hanoi isn’t really a city with a huge amount of “tourist” sights, so the main thing to do here is wander the streets, absorb the ambience and take in the sights, sounds, smells and tastes of Vietnam’s capital.
As such, I really think 2 nights in this city is enough to get a good flavour and, as there’s so many places to explore in Vietnam and you’re likely to be quite short on time, keeping it short and sweet in Hanoi makes sense!
Hoi An is a small city you can easily explore in a day.
If you want to include day trips – which you should – I would allow a time period of 3-4 nights to stay in Hoi An.
Although trust me, you’ll fall in love with it and want to spend longer!
Continuing on Your Journey
From Hanoi, you can head north to either hike or enjoy a homestay in Sapa or head across to Halong Bay or Cat Ba Island for some sailing and snorkelling.
5 Essential Hanoi and Hoi An Packing Items
#1 Good Day Pack – A good day pack is essential no matter where I travel, and Hanoi and Hoi An are no different. Crucial for ensuring I have everything I need with me – including water, snacks, guidebook, rainjacket and my camera, a good day pack will ensure any weight is safely and evenly distributed across your shoulders. My go-to is the Marmot Kompressor because it’s water-resistant and compacts down to nothing.
#2 Walking Shoes – There’s likely to be a lot of walking in Vietnam, especially around those temples and cities! As such, I advise packing a pair of good runners, like these New Balance trainers, which were perfect for my time travelling here.
#3 European & British Power Adapters – Vietnam has a mix of power outlets, but generally opts for a mix of the European and British ones, so make sure you come prepared with a Skross world adapter.
#4 Camera and Lens – I love my Sony A6000 mirrorless, which was ideal for capturing the colour, chaos and cuisine and charm of Vietnam. A GoPro camera would also come in handy for all the action adventures you can have in this country.
#5 Rain Jacket – Required across Southeast Asia at different times of the year, but especially in Hanoi where the rainy conditions can make life wet and cold during certain months, a thin windproof and waterproof jacket is a must for me during my travels in Vietnam. This top-rated one from North Face is a good option.
For more information about what to wear in Vietnam and pack for this country, check out this full post I wrote all about that.
Travel Insurance for Vietnam
World Nomads offers simple and flexible travel insurance. Buy at home or while travelling and claim online from anywhere in the world.
Alternatively, if you’re a long-term traveller, digital nomad or frequent remote worker seeking travel health cover, check out Safetywing’s Nomad Insurance policies.
PIN IT TO PINTEREST!
So that’s my guide about how to travel from Hanoi to Hoi An.
Hopefully you’ve found this information useful, but any other top tips or advice you have to add that could help a fellow traveller out, please drop it into the comments box below…