Photo: Evening in Hoi An's old town.

Transport

Use the quicklinks below to jump to the desired section regarding transport in and around Hoi An.


Air

The closest airport to Hoi An is Da Nang International Airport (DAD), located in the heart of Da Nang city. It is 30 kilometres from Hoi An.

The small airport is overloaded and barely able to handle current volumes. If departing from DAD, arrive early or on time as the queues for check-in and security can be long. A badly needed new terminal is under construction, optimistically slated to open in 2017 at the cost of 3.5 trillion dong (that’s US$158 million). Whether the seagull-shaped design does anything to create efficiency remains to be seen.

Sample destinations
Domestic
Buon Ma Thuot (Vietnam Airlines)
Can Tho (Vietnam Airlines)
Da Lat (Vietnam Airlines)
Cam Ranh/Nha Trang (Vietnam Airlines)
Hanoi (Jetstar; VietJet Air; Vietnam Airlines)
HCMC (Jetstar; VietJet Air; Vietnam Airlines)
Pleiku (Vietnam Airlines)
Vinh (Vietnam Airlines)

International
Bangkok (Bangkok Airways, Vietnam Airlines)
Beijing (China Eastern)
Hong Kong (Dragonair; Hong Kong Express)
Kunming (China Eastern)
Macau (Air Macau)
Seoul (Korean Air)
Siem Reap (Silkair, Vietnam Airlines)
Singapore(Silkair; Jetstar)
Tokyo (Vietnam Airlines)

The airport has ATMs outside the arrivals hall, as well as money exchange, a few eateries and usually booths selling SIM cards (Vinaphone, Viettel).

To get a taxi, exit the airport and walk 30 metres to the stand. From the airport the journey to Hoi An takes about 30 minutes and by the meter, it should cost no more than 300,000 dong, depending on your drop off point. The green Mai Linh or Vinasun taxis are considered the most reliable. Arranging a private transfer with your guesthouse can sometimes be cheaper, 220,000 to 250,000 dong one way. If going from Hoi An to the airport, negotiate with the driver for this price.

There are a few horror stories about taxi drivers stopping off to pick up a “friend” who will try to encourage you to stop off at his sister's tailor/shoe/souvenir shop along the way, but this is a rare occurrence. If it does happen be firm with your driver and leave the “friend” roadside.

The other “scam” is usually not a scam at all and involves your driver unable to find your hotel. There are so many hotels in Hoi An with similar names that especially sound the same when spoken with a Western accent. The driver genuinely is trying to find you hotel so they will phone a friend to ask or accidentally take you to the wrong hotel. To avoid this confusion, write down the hotel name, address and phone number and give it to your driver.

To save a few dollars, companies do shared air-con minibus shuttles to Da Nang train station and airport, departing every hour from 04:00-22:00, takes 1 hour, costs 110,000 dong per person. Must be booked in advance, which a travel agent or hotel can do for you.

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Train

The closest train station is in Da Nang. At the station you won't have any trouble finding a xe om to take you to Hoi An – if anything, you'll likely have to fend off willing drivers. Expect to pay around US$8. A stop at the Marble Mountains on the way will cost you an extra US$2.

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Bus

Bus service to Hoi An is limited as most long distance buses head to the major hub Da Nang; from here you can take the local bus, xe om or taxi to Hoi An. Open bus tour companies or deluxe buses direct to Hoi An are usually the best option, saving you from the extra step in the journey.

The Sinh Tourist open tour bus: 587 Hai Ba Trung St; T: (0510) 386 3948; hoian@thesinhtourist.vn; https://www.thesinhtourist.vn; open daily 06:00-22:00.

Da Nang: Departs at 08:30, 13:45. Costs 99,000 dong and takes 45 min.
Hue: Departs at 08:30, 13:45. Costs 119,000 dong and takes 4 hrs.
Nha Trang: Departs at 18:15. Costs 299,000 dong and takes 13 hrs.
Da Lat, Mui Ne or HCMC: via Nha Trang.

Other sample destinations
Da Lat: Departs at 17:15. Costs 290,000 dong.
Da Nang: Departs hourly. Costs 110,000 dong and takes 45 min.
Dong Hoi: Departs at 13:30. Costs 250,000 dong.
Hanoi: Departs at 13:30. Costs 290,000 dong.
HCMC: Departs at 17:00. Costs 380,000 dong.
Hue: Departs at 07:30, 13:30. Costs 60,000-70,000 dong and takes 4 hrs.
Nha Trang: Departs at 17:00. Costs 200,000 dong and takes 13 hrs.
Mui Ne: Departs at 17:00. Costs 290,000 dong.
Phong Nha: Departs at 13:30. Costs 250,000 dong and takes 7.5 hrs. Otherwise, take local bus from Da Nang station.

There is a small bus station in town with departures to the north and south. It’s located west of the town centre on Nguyen Tat Thanh Street, at the corner of Le Hong Phong Street. One might assume that you can save big by catching a local bus here rather than booking something in town but it will likely turn out to be more money, hassle and frustration. Consider opting for a tourist minibus or deluxe bus even for shorter trips, like to Hue. If you’d still rather take the do it yourself approach, then take the local bus to Da Nang station and you’ll have far more options.

The yellow local bus to Da Nang costs 20,000 dong per person, 30,000 dong with luggage, but beware that drivers are notorious for trying to get more from foreigners. The buses run from 05:30-17:30, every half hour and take around 45 minutes. The route is as follows: Hoi An bus station; Tran Dai Nghia; Le Van Hien; Ngu Hanh Son; Cau Tran Thi Ly; Nui Thanh; Trung Nu Vuong; Bach Dang; Phan Dinh Phung; Yen Bai; Le Duan; Dien Bien Phu; Ton Duc Thang; Da Nang central bus station.

Yet another do-it-yourself option: Get to the nearest town along Highway 1A, which is Vinh Dien, 10 kilometres west. There is no bus service to the town from Hoi An, a xe om should cost 50,000 dong. It’s a matter of standing by the road and flagging down a south-bound bus to your destination. But really, the saner way is just go to Da Nang and get the bus to where you want to go from there.

If you’re in a bus station elsewhere in Vietnam and trying to get to Hoi An, be skeptical of sellers and touts trying to put you on a bus that says Da Nang, Tam Ky or somewhere else, while claiming that they will stop in Hoi An. What will likely happen is you’ll get dumped at the side of Highway 1A, kilometres away from Hoi An, and left to make your own way from there. Be suspicious unless you see the ticket booth advertise Hoi An or it’s written on the bus window.

Through buses to Laos are available and go via Hue and the border at Lao Bao. Alternatively, there is the Bo Y border, which is 82 kilometres northwest of Kon Tum. Be warned that the buses to Laos are usually in terrible condition and crashes (and fatalities) occur with alarming regularity. Even if you do pay extra for a better class bus, you'll be put on whichever one is working at the time. In our experience (and if you can’t afford to fly) you are better off making your way to Hue and booking a minibus to take you to the border.

Minibus: A few companies run an air-con minibus shuttle between Hoi An and Da Nang train station and airport, departing every hour from 04:00-22:00, takes 1 hour, costs 110,000 dong per person. A travel agency or hotel can book it for you.

Further reading regarding bus travel to/from Hoi An.

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Boat

New bridges have eliminated the need for boat transportation to reach Cam Kim and a few other islands.

Speedboats whisk tourists for day trips to Cham Island, or independent travellers can take the once daily (weather and season dependent) public wooden supply boat departing from Cua Dai harbour. Taking this boat would entail an overnight stay on the island.

For info on leisure boat trips and kayaking, see our boat trips coverage.

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Other

Most tour operators and hotels can organise a private car and driver. Prices range from 250,000 dong for a one-way to Da Nang and go up to 600,000 dong for the day, which is a good option if you want to do all the usual Da Nang tourist sites like Marble Mountain. Most drivers will not speak much or any English, so if you need that service, you’ll likely have to hire a guide as well.

Further reading regarding other travel to/from Hoi An.

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Getting around

Hoi An is small enough that you can hoof it around the old town without difficulty. Every day from 08:00 till 11:00 and 15:00 till 21:30 the old town is closed to motorised vehicles and open only to pedestrians and cyclists. Bicycles extend your range and hiring one is a good, cheap option to get to the beaches. Most hotels provide bicycles to guests for free or charge a minimal amount. Don’t put valuables in the front basket unless they are firmly secured.

Cyclos are a fun way to take in the old town and get your bearings. You’ll find them waiting on the street opposite the Quang Trieu Assembly Hall, close to the bridge over to An Hoi. Be armed with your best haggling skills. Expect to pay in the region of 100,000 dong for an hour-long tour.

If you’re a confident motorcyclist, there are astonishingly good rides through the countryside, to the many islands and further afield on the Hai Van Pass and area around Lang Co. By law it is illegal to drive a motorbike in Vietnam without a Vietnamese or International Drivers License, and there are plenty of police checkpoints, especially on the way to Da Nang. It’s prudent not to have your wallet full of cash, or carry a decoy wallet with only a few hundred thousand dong. If the police spot a thick wad of bills, you’ll (figuratively) be taken for a ride.

The helmet law is taken very seriously. Always wear one — and one that fits. Try to get a helmet with a hologram sticker. Without it, it will be smashed at the side of the road and you’ll have to buy a new one and be fined whatever the police feel they can get from you. In any event, the helmets you see in Vietnam are mostly for show — those cheap plastic shells decorated with Hello Kitty won’t save your noggin in a collision. Any traveller doing serious or serious amounts of riding should invest in a proper helmet with face guard.

Motorbikes are available for rent everywhere. Rentals cost as little as US$5. Do check on the condition of the bike – test the brakes, gears, tires, lights – before setting out, many are falling apart. Do fill up at a proper petrol station, not a makeshift roadside pump. Don’t fall for the petrol scam. Don’t ride around half naked — it’s dangerous, offensive and you will be fined.

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Where to next?

Where are you planning on heading to after Hoi An? Here are some spots commonly visited from here, or click here to see a full destination list for Vietnam.


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