Tips on transportation to/in Hue.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 hou rby cyclo.
Hope you enjoy your trip in Hue!
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