After 3 days of exploring Hoi An via bicycle in the unbearable heat, it’s time to move further north to the former imperial capital city, Hue. Hue is the perfect city to avoid the midday heat, sample the regional foods and sip the local beer. Read on to find out all about the scenic 4 hour journey from Hoi An to Hue.
Booking confirmation confusion from Hoi An to Hue
When we booked our minivan, we received our confirmation email promptly after. There was some confusion regarding our pick-up point. The email confirming our booking, read the name of our hotel (Red Ceramics Homestay), followed by “please walk here and wait in front of the entrance of the Theatre at 2pm.” Understandably very confusing. So, we rang the company we booked with (Danang Online Travel) to confirm for certain where the minivan would pick us up from. The staff member on the phone stated that they don’t offer hotel pick-up in Hoi An, and confirmed that pick-up was outside the Water Puppet Theatre in the center of town.
Pick up from outside the theatre
The following day, we ordered a taxi to the pickup point. It was only a little over a kilometre walk, and although we love to save money, it was a necessary purchase due to the scorching mid-day heat and our bag’s 25 kg combined weight.
Once in the taxi, our driver made light conversation and assessed we were heading to Hue, I’m assuming based on the address he was taking us to. This gave us some confidence that we were going to the correct spot for departure to Hue. On arrival, our taxi driver wasn’t happy to break a $1 fare with a $21 note (500,000 VND), but hey, money’s money! Moreover, nothing gave me reason to believe this was an area where buses departed from, but the address and location was bang on. It was a simple main road with an outdoor theatre, a small park on one side and a barren gravel plot of land on the other. Nothing was signposted, and it made me doubt if we were going to make it to Hue today.
However, slowly but surely, buses started to arrive and park in the gravel plot of land across the road. A couple of minivans stopped in front of us, but our tickets didn’t correspond to any of the drivers. At 2:05 pm, we canvassed the area in search of our 5 minute late transport. Minutes later, a minivan drove by, on the opposite side of the road with a well-dressed man waving ecstatically in our direction. The minivan pulled over and the crew member disembarked, continuing to wave ecstatically, clipboard in hand, as he yelled our names from across the road. Our savior had arrived!
Friendly staff, dirty bus
Our minivan already had two occupants, both European, and only stopped to pick up myself and Katie. The air conditioning hit us in the face as we stepped into the vehicle. We had the bus pretty much to ourselves, so we allocated a seat for each of our bags. The driver and conductor were very smartly dressed and professional. We signed our names on his clipboard and jotted down the name of our hotel in Hue.
As we set off for Hue and began to enjoy the journey, we noticed the bus hadn’t been cleaned from a previous trip. Drink bottles and coffee cups could be seen in the baskets behind several seats. Apart from this, the presentation was excellent and the leather seats were comfortable. It’s worth mentioning that the bus was eventually cleaned out halfway through the journey when we stopped for gas in Danang.
Speaking of Danang, the scenery along the route from Hoi An to Danang was enjoyable. We drove by the famous dragon bridge, through the tourist strip littered with restaurants and eventually inclined enough to see the city high up from a distance. If we hadn’t have already visited Danang the previous year, the sights we saw on this bus journey would persuade us enough to pay a visit.
As we waved goodbye to the last glimpse of Danang, it was a straight shoot on the highway to Hue. In comparison to the famous Hai Van Pass route, the rural highway between Danang and Hue bares a different landscape. If you’re a fan of rest stops, chicken coups and exhaust fumes then you’d love the scenery here too.
Eyes peeled when arriving in Hue
The sun began to set by the time we arrived on the outskirts of Hue city at 6 pm. My advice would be to make the most of the scenery when you start to see civilization appear again, because Hue is so small and compact, you can explore a portion with your eyes and come back to the location if anything should catch your fancy; restaurants, tour shops and clothing stores to name a few.
Our minivan dropped us right outside our hotel in the tourist center of Hue. Despite a few presentation errors and confusion regarding the confirmation email, the journey itself was brilliant. The scenery was enjoyable, and the staff was super friendly. Another safe journey from A to B in the bag.