Photo: Classic Vietnamese fare.

How to get to and from Hue

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

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Hue's Phu Bai airport is about 15 kilometres from Hue city centre and presently only serves domestic flights between HCMC and Hanoi. Taxi fares from airport to city are approximately 250,000 VND and a motorbike taxi should be around 120,000 VND. The airport also offers a bus service to cover the route and you can book this at the airport for 30,000 VND although it's not always running.

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Hue is an express stop on the main north-south train line between Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City. The train station is located at the eastern end of Le Loi Road, on the south bank of the Ben Ngu River. Express trains are numbered with an SE prefix, and local trains, which cost less but take a lot longer, are prefixed TN. The latter may be your only choice if your destination is not an express stop -- connecting to a local train from a nearby express stop will usually take longer than just taking the local all the way there. A dizzying array of rates are available, depending on the speed of the train, whether you're sitting or sleeping, and whether you choose a hard or soft surface to do it on. Always check availability one day in advance when possible, and arrive an half hour early for your departure.

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Hue to Da Nang
Hue to Nha Trang
Hue to Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon)
Hue to Hanoi

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Northern Bus Station: Phia Bac Station
5km north of Hue on Highway 1
Although catching the local bus is an incredibly cheap way of getting around the province, it's by far the slowest and most complicated way to travel – conductors rarely speak English, the buses can be crowded, there is rarely any air-con and stops are frequent, so you'll need to stay on the ball and have some kind of idea of where you need to disembark as it's unlikely the conductor will let you know when you get to your destination. Prices also vary depending on the mood of your driver and buses frequently breakdown. Fatal accidents remain way too common.

The prices quoted below are correct for 2014, but don't be surprised if you are asked for double. We found booking a tourist bus in town turned out to be far cheaper, more reliable and a safer bet. However if your heart is set on the local bus we found Mandarin Cafe to offer the best advice and they will even arrange tickets.

Dong Hoi: Hourly departures from 05:00 to 16:00, 90,000 VND
Lao Bao: Seven departures daily from 6:00 to 16:00, 80,000 VND Notes: you'll need to get a xe om to the border.
Phong Nha: Two departures daily at 10:30 and 13:30, 80,000 VND
Vinh: Five departures from 05:30 to 12:00, 30,000 VND

Southern Bus Station: Phia Nam Station
Service is also available from the Southern Station Phia Nam in nearby Cuu An ward. A taxi there should cost approximately 50,000 VND.

Danang: Regular departures from 05:15 to 18:45, 60,000 VND
Ho Chi Minh City: Departures at 07:00, 08:00, 09,00, 11:30 and 13:00, 270,000 VND, terminating at Mien Dong Station, Ho Chi Minh City; departures at 07:00 and 08:00 for 154,000 VND, terminating at Nga Tu Ga Station, Ho Chi Minh City.
Hanoi: One departure at 17:00, 280,000 VND
Phong Nha: Two departures daily at 10:30 and 13:30, 80,000 VND
Savannakhet (Laos): One departure daily at 08:00, 300,000 VND

Mandarin Cafe: 24 Tran Cao Van St, Hue (54) 382 1281;

Tourist bus
Tourist buses can be booked at every guesthouse, cafe and tour booking service in town. Most hotels will give you the option of a 10,000 VND transfer service to the departure point and most use the services of the more reliable Sinh Tourist (formerly Sinh Cafe), Hanh Cafe or TM Brother. We checked out prices in a number of guesthouses and all were offering the same prices and timetables.

Da Nang: One departure daily at 13:15, 89,000 VND
Dong Hoi: One departure daily at 16.30, 160,000 VND
Ha Noi: Two departures daily at 16:30 and 17:30, 300,000 VND Notes: 16 hours.
HCMC: Two departures daily at 10:30 and 13:30, 350,000 VND
Hoi An: Two departures daily at 08:00 and 13:00, 100,000 VND Notes: Bus stops at Lang Co beach for 30mins.
Nha Trang: Two departures daily at 06:00 and 13:00, 330,000 VND
Ninh Binh:Two departures daily at 16:30 and 17:30, 300,000 VND
Savannakhet (Laos): One departure daily at 18:00, 400,000 VND

Sinh Tourist: 12 Hung Vuong St, Hue (54) 384 5022; (54) 384 8626
Kim Travel: (for Laos) Queen Cafe 3, 8 Hung Vuong St, Hue; (54) 3849 327
Hanh Cafe: 60 Nguyen Tri Phuong St, Hue; (54) 383 7279

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Getting around

Taxis are everywhere in Hue, although there are a few that will take you on a rather scenic tour if you don't know the area. To avoid this look out for the Green Mai Linh or yellow Taxi Vang, both of which have meters starting at 12,000 VND and charging 11,000 VND per kilometre – expect to pay 35,000 VND from the train station to Pham Ngu Lam.

Mai Linh Taxi: (54) 839 8989
Taxi Vang: (54) 379 7979

Cyclos and motorbike taxis are the way to go. Unless you can make yourself invisible, they'll find you before you find them! Drivers will charge what they think they can get, so you'll have to come up with whatever price you think is reasonable. Our rule of thumb is 8,000 VND for every kilometre on a motorcycle taxi on short trips, less for longer trips, and again about 100,000 VND for an entire hour by cyclo.

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Where to next?

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

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