What's your budget and what's your tolerance of very long bus rides?
Go to the Planning section of this forum, 'Where to go' to see some suggested itineraries. Find the Vietnam ones. At the bottom of each you will see a grid of transport options and estimated duration.
Thank you busylizzy and Scorpion
#3 AWUQ has been a member since 5/1/2012. Posts: 7
If you're tall (ie 6ft or more) - prepare to be very uncomfortable in the the little beds they have on the sleeper buses like those running from Hue to Hanoi.
If time is an issue and you can afford it, definitely fly! It's not that much more expensive for the time you save.
Train takes awhile, though the overnight from Hanoi-Danang (closest to Hoi An) is not a bad option as you leave about 7pm and arrive around noon. If you fly though, there's a 9pm-ish flight and you get in late at night, which is not a bad option either.
I took the trains when I was there in Nov, Hanoi-Hue and Danang-Hanoi, here's a little more about my experience: http://theoccasionaltraveller.com/2011/12/05/getting-around-vietnam-by-train/
If I had to do it again I would fly though! Vietnam roads are a little scary! I'm not sure how they drive in the rest of the country, but their city driving is definitely hair-raising.
Hope this helps!
Myself and 4 mates were in Hoi An last March and wanted to travel straight up to Hanoi. We were going to take the train but decided to check out flights. We found flights for almost the same price as the sleeper train. They cost $47 through an Aussie airline called Jetstar. They fly from Danang which is about 30 mins drive from Hoi An. Best option if you want to save time.
#7 humpdawg has been a member since 18/5/2009. Posts: 40
Many thanks for all of your kind advice.
CrankyCarrot, I would have no problem with the "little beds they have on the sleeper buses" I am only five feet nothing.
We will now fly.
#8 AWUQ has been a member since 5/1/2012. Posts: 7
I've actually yet to see a Westerner of any size or shape manage to get comfortable on a Vietnamese sleeper bus.
Between the constant honking, the generally unclean state of the bus and frequent disregard for road safety, it's really a horrid way to travel.
Second crankycarrott's comments. Train or fly if you can.
#10 chinarocks has been a member since 17/6/2011. Posts: 738