Those traveling the 423 miles (680 km) from Hanoi to the former imperial city of Hue have several options, but taking a direct flight will be best.
If you'd like to see more countryside along the way, you may wish to book a train or a private transfer instead, as both of these options will allow you to make additional stops or overnight stays. A direct train ride is 14 hours, and making the journey by car takes more than 12 hours.
To join a tour that will let you experience the best of Vietnam—including a Vespa tour of Ho Chi Minh City, cycling excursions around welcoming fishing villages, a walk around the imperial treasures of Hue, and more—check out this 14-day itinerary.
Duration: 1 hour
Air travel is the best option for those who would simply like to get to Hue as quickly as possible. The direct flight is only one hour, and between four and six flights leave the Noi Bai International Airport (HAN) for Phu Bai International Airport (HUI) each day.
Once you arrive at Phu Bai International Airport, you'll need to book a private transfer to take you into the center of town, which will take about 25 minutes.
Duration: 14 hours
If you'd like to see the countryside between these two cities, you may wish to take a scenic train ride. The ride is simple and direct, and although it's a bit longer than going by car, the ride is much smoother. Plus, you'll be taken directly into Hue's city center.
Vietnam Railways operates five trains to Hue each day, but be sure to book a "Soft Berth" ticket for the most comfortable seat and a sleeping cabin.
If you'd rather take a more luxurious train, private train companies like Livitrans and Violette offer more comfortable carriages on this route along with food and refreshments. Those wanting to take an overnight journey will definitely want to consider upgrading, so consider asking a local specialist for help in booking the best option for you.
By Private Transfer
Duration: 12.5 hours
Those looking for a multi-day road trip may want to book a private transfer, although it will require far more planning than a journey by plane or train, and the roads can be quite congested. Consider asking a local specialist for help in booking your driver and arranging your stops.
The drive on QL1A will take you straight down the coast of the East Vietnam Sea, offering beautiful sweeping views of the Gulf of Tonkin.
About an hour and a half into your journey, you'll come across Ninh Binh, which makes for a great stop along the way. Ninh Binh has been called "the Halong Bay of the inland," and with its limestone cliffs rising up from the rice fields, it's easy to see why. If you'd like to spend a day here, you can hire small rowing boats to tour the caves, temples, and lakes in the region.
You can book an overnight stay in the coastal city of Dong Hoi, which you'll find about nine hours into your journey. Here, you can spend some time relaxing on the beach before you complete your final leg to Hue.