The picturesque town of Hoi An in central Viet Nam is one of the most popular places to visit in the country. Getting there can be a little complicated as it does not have an airport and is not on the main north-south railway line. Most visitors get there from the neighbouring city of Da Nang which has the closest airport to Hoi An. Da Nang is also where you will find the closest train station to Hoi An. Here I will tell you what you need to know once you arrive to get from Da Nang to Hoi An.
Getting from Da Nang Airport to Hoi An
Da Nang airport has flights arriving from both other Vietnamese cities, and internationally. Many people do not stay in Da Nang, but head straight to Hoi An, exactly as I did on my first visit. The two cities are only about 40km apart so it’s not too far to travel between them. Here are the options available to get from Da Nang to Hoi An from the airport.
Taxi from Da Nang airport
Possibly the easiest way to get between the international airport in Da Nang and Hoi An is a taxi. This is exactly what we did during that first trip. The fair was a fixed price. At the taxi rank we were handed a small slip of paper telling us how much it would cost. That was a few years ago, and research now suggests a taxi will cost about 400 000VND ($24AUD/$17USD).
Taxis in Vietnam do not have the best reputation. The best companies to choose are either Mai Linh taxis (bright green) or Vinasun taxis (white). Always make sure you confirm with the driver how much you will be paying when you get in the taxi.
Grab from Da Nang Airport
Grab is South East Asia’s version of Uber. Before you arrive you will need to download the app and get it set up with your details. You will either need data to use the app on your phone, or use the airport wifi to order the Grab. I have found it easy to use the Grab app all over SEA and prefer it to taxis. There is no question what the price is going to be when you get into the car.
A quick look at my Grab app suggests that a four seater car is 440 000VND and a seven seater is 534 000VND.
It is also possible to get a GrabBike. This is only a good idea if you are by yourself and only have a small backpack as luggage – and you have enough of a sense of adventure to enable you to cope with the Vietnamese traffic on the back of a bike. A GrabBike will cost around 125 000VND
If you prefer to take a shared shuttle bus from Da Nang Airport to Hoi An, the Hoi An Express bus run once an hour from 5am to 11pm each day. You will be met in the arrivals hall by someone holding a sign with your name on it. It takes around an hour, and you will be dropped right to your hotel in Hoi An. Prices start at around $5.50USD per person.
Private Transfer from Da Nang Airport to Hoi An
If waiting up to an hour for the shuttle bus does not appeal to you – especially after a long flight – then perhaps consider a private transfer. You will also avoid the uncertainty of a taxi or Grab this way too. Sometimes it’s just nice to walk through the airport and have someone waiting there to whisk you into a nice comfy car and you don’t have to worry about a thing. Prices are relatively cheap, usually around $25USD. Sometimes you can pay a little more to get a scenic drive along the beach and past Marble Mountains on your way to your destination in Hoi An. Here are a few options for you to book in advance.\
Renting a Car or Motorbike from Da Nang Airport
I just wanted to put this here as something I do not recommend, for a few reasons. Firstly, traffic in Vietnam is insane. There are very few rules, and the ones that do exist seem to be mere suggestions and the general populace doesn’t tend to abide by them. They all have their own set of unspoken rules that are not necessarily intuitive to others, particularly those from countries who have a more, lets say organised, driving culture.
The second reason is that it is actually illegal to drive in Vietnam without having a Vietnamese license. Sure, many people do it, and you have no problem renting a car or motorbike. Even the police won’t bat an eyelid once you pay their extra “fee”. But if you have an accident, you will not be covered by your insurance as essentially you are driving unlicensed. For me this is a deal-breaker!
>> Read more about Top 7 best quality Da Nang car rental
Getting from Da Nang Train Station to Hoi An
Most of the above options also apply to getting from Da Nang train station to Hoi An. It is a similar distance to the airport, and prices are much the same. You can easily take a taxi or a Grab or organise a private transfer. There is though no shuttle bus available. There is one extra option though – the public bus.
Yellow Bus #1 from Da Nang Train Station to Hoi An
Colloquially called the Yellow Bus, there is a public bus that runs from quite near the train station. According to Google maps, it’s a 7 minute walk to get to the nearest bus stop at 162 Ông Ích Khiêm.
The local bus costs 30 000 VND ($1.30USD/$1.80AUD). Reports online seem to be mixed, but this looks like the current price, but be aware, often you may be asked for more money. Stick to this amount. You do not have to pay for luggage, except if it takes up another seat, then expect to pay. Also, ensure you have small notes to pay the bus driver. If you give a large note you will be unlikely to get change.
The bus service runs every twenty minutes between 5:30 am and 6 pm, so will not be of any help later in the evening.
While much cheaper than other options, this bus does take a little longer, usually around an hour and a half, to get to Hoi An. It also stops at the bus station (see below for location), so you will have to find your way to your accommodation from there. This might mean this is not a good option if you have a lot of luggage.
Private Transfer from Da Nang Train Station to Hoi An
If you prefer to book a private Da Nang to Hoi An transfer from the train station in advance, here are some options.
Getting from Da Nang to Hoi An
Aside from all of the options mentioned above, there is one more option if you have been staying in Da Nang. You can catch buses run by The SinhTourist or Hanh Cafe. Each bus runs twice a day and costs around $5USD per trip. They run from either the SinhTourist office or the Hanh.
Getting back to Da Nang
While all of the above methods will work in reverse, I just wanted to make a quick note about getting back to the airport or train station. While your options at the airport or railway station are limited, once in Hoi An, you will find many small stores offering transfers back to Da Nang. We were able to get back to the train station in a private car for much cheaper than the reverse direction by booking one of these local people. It was 250 000VND ($11USD/$15AUD) in January 2018. Of course there is no guarantee of quality here, with either the car or driver (we had a very annoying driver and average quality car!), but it is another option you may wish to explore.