The best way to get from Danang to Hoi An is by road. Most travllers will stay in Hoi An, the picture perfect UNESCO Heritage listed town but will arrive into Danang by air or rail. This is because Hoi An has neither a railway station nor an airport but don’t worry it isn’t far and below I’ll cover the quickest, cheapest, luxurious, budget and comfortable ways to get between Danang and Hoi An.
Danang to Hoi An, Vietnam
Both the quickest and most luxurious way to travel between Danang and Hoi An is private transfer. This gives you total control in both time and vehicle type. Whether you’re a group of 4 or alone, you can tailor your journey to suit you. Want a fancy car? Simple pay a little extra and specify what you want. Transfers can be booked and paid in advance so that you can be met as you step out of the airport or railway station and delivered straight to your hotel. No worrying about finding a taxi, local money or explaining the destination address.
Private transfers are the most expensive way but give peace of mind and mean that your holiday gets off to the best possible start. I’d recommend private transfers if this is your first time in a destination and your time is limited. You can also use private transfers to explore further field such as up to Hue via Hai Van Pass and the DMZ. Finding a great trustworthy hire car and driver can make the difference between a great or bad holiday.
To book a private transport book here.
In most Asian destinations you’ll be tripping over taxis. This is true in both Danang International Airport and Danang Railway Station. All taxis are metered and you’ll need to make sure that they use it. If they refuse just leave and get another taxi. I’ve not had a taxi refuse to use their meter in nearly 6 months, but it can happen, particularly on public holidays like Tet.
There are 3 main taxi companies in the region and prices are very similar as are their standards. Mai Linh taxi company has green taxis and the drivers normally wear a white and green jacket. Faifoo taxi are yellow with Faifoo written down the side of each vehicle. VinaSun is another big company that operates across Danang and Hoi An and uses white cars with red and green arrows in a circle as their logo. The price from Danang Airport is between 350,000 Dong- 450,000 Dong ($15-$20US) depending on where your hotel is located. It is a similar price from Danang Railway Station although it will depend on time of day and traffic as you’ll need to drive through Danang first until you get to the coast road or inland highway.
The benefit of taking a taxi is you can show up and jump in the first one and go. Especially if you’re not sure of when you’ll arrive and don’t like making prearranged plans. The downside is that it can be more expensive than organising a car before you arrive and you’ll need local currency to pay for the journey. Keep your wits about you especially if you have just arrived in the country. Taxis the world over have been known to drive the ‘long’ way to the destination so make sure they think you know exactly where you are and where your destination is. A mobile phone with maps open on your lap is great for this.
The pubic bus from Danang to Hoi An is route 1 and departs and arrives 1 block over from the railway station. The buses are small and if you have a lot of luggage it could be problematic. With a small bag it is OK. On leaving the railway station just walk straight out and along the road leading directly away from the station. At the first set of lights, there is a T junction. The bus runs along this road first road.
The signs are written in Vietnamese but are easy enough to read and the number 1 is large and on the front of the bus. It will drive through Danang city and then take the inland road down to Hoi An Bus Station. Travel time is approximetly 45 minutes to an hour depending on traffic and the cost is 30,000 Dong ($1.25US). If your bag takes a seat up you’ll be expected to pay for that as well.
Hoi An Bus Station is located 2 km for the centre of the old town although there are plenty of taxis here to take you to a hotel or destination of your choice. It’s certainly walkable.
From Danang International Airport there isn’t a bus directly to Hoi An. You could catch the bus that goes past the airport (it doesn’t enter the airport complex) and change buses or walk approximately 1 km into town and pick up the bus from there. Alternatively you could catch a taxi to the bus stop. Unless you’re really trying to save as much as possible I wouldn’t catch a bus from the airport as the hassle isn’t worth the saved money. If there are 4 people the two buses or bus/taxi won’t save you at all.
Uber or Grab Taxis
Uber and Grab are operational in both Danang and Hoi An. You’ll have no trouble finding either in both the airport and the railway station. Just make sure you have the app loaded onto your phone. You’ll also need data if the airport WiFi isn’t working.
Grab is the bigger company and slightly cheaper. Based in Singapore it allows taxis to use Grab as well as the normal taxis service. This means your Grab could be a normal taxi that is ‘moonlighting’ legally as a private service. They also have motorbike Grab if you’re alone and this is significantly cheaper. I’ve seen numerous backpackers with bags on their back take this service. Grab will provide a helmet for the pillion passenger but be warned the quality of helmets in Vietnam isn’t up to international standard and accidents on the road here are 3-4 times that of Europe especially on two wheels.
I’ve not had much luck using Grab and prefer Uber where I find the cars are of a higher standard. Uber has also started using motorbike pick ups along side its Uber X and Uber SUV for larger families or luggage. I haven’t used UberBike yet so can’t comment on their service but imagine that it is similar to Grab. All bike riders need a helmet by law so I imagine they provide this like Grab.
The price is very dependent on time of day and demand. This is how Uber and Grab operate across the globe and while I noticed that during New Year there was no price surge (Vietnamese don’t celebrate NYE) during Tet it was either massively inflated or just unavailable.
As an example the fares from Danang Airport to Hoi An at 1400 hours were 165,000 Dong ($7.50 US) for an Uber Bike and 350,000 Dong ($14 US) for an Uber X. The SUV was about $2 US more.
Shuttle buses are perfect for larger groups who don’t mind sharing. While not as frequent and not direct, the cost reflects this. Shuttle buses will normally only stop a few times to pick up and drop off other passengers in Hoi An. Unfortunately with the increase in private hire companies this option is becoming less common as it is often cheaper to just book a whole mini bus for your group.
To book shuttle buses and private buses click here.
This option isn’t readily available from Danang Railway Station at present and I doubt it will return anytime soon.
With so many options getting from Danang to Hoi An at multiple price points it really is as easy or hard as you make it. I’ve done all of the above during my 6 months in Hoi An, from both airport and railway station and enjoyed them all. Take your pick and enjoy the ride.
If you’re time short and want to fly from Ho Chi Minh city you can check out options here. It isn’t as nice as the train but is much quicker. Just a note that you’ll need to get from Danang International Airport down to Hoi An as there isn’t an airport in Hoi An. See above for your options.