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The roads to Hoi An

Before you reach Hoi An you will have several choices to make. For example, where will you stop and, will you travel the long or the short road to Hoi An? Or even, are you going back to Saigon but need an alternative route? Sounds crazy? Let us start at the beginning.

After leaving Nha Trang the first decision has to be made in Ninh Hoa. Although this city is forgettable you can make an interesting loop back to Ho Chi Minh City.

Highway 1, the road from Nha Trang to Hoi An The scenery in the Central Highlands near Play Cu
Left: Highway 1, somewhere in between Nha Trang and Hoi An
Right: The scenery in the Central Highlands near Play Cu

Buon Ma Thuot and Play Cu (Pleiku)

Your first stop might be Buon Ma Thuot, a city of about 300.000 people which makes it the largest city in the Central Highlands.

traveling with a pig on the motorbikeUntil some years back it was hard to travel here but nowadays it is easier. You can choose to travel back to Saigon from here, around 400 km with little supplies in between Buon Ma Thuot and Saigon. Buon Ma Thuot is famous for its coffee.

More interesting is to travel north Play Cu (Pleiku). If you are considering to continue to Laos, Play Cu will be your next stop anyway.

It is possible to cycle this road in one day but in case you won't make it, you can try your luck with the local villagers in between Buon Ma Thuot and  Play Cu.

It is also possible to continue to travel to Play Cu a different rout. Instead of using the junction in Ninh Hoa continue to Qui Nhon. This is partly an easier, though busier road.

If you are into having a real adventure, don't mind bad roads and willing to camp and cook yourself, then going north from here is your choice. This area, seldom visited by tourist with lousy roads but beautiful scenery and many minority people is not for the fainthearted.

It's about 400 km from here to Hoi An and it will certainly take at least 4 to 5 days to cover the distance. The only sizable city is Kon Tum where you can do your refilling and prepare yourself for some hard days. The mountains in the area will be as high as 2500 meter but you will not come that high.

But whatever road you decide to take, be prepared for some hard work as not all the roads are in good condition. However, things change rapidly in Vietnam. This includes the road situation, especially around the tourist areas.

Check out Vietnam Maps for directions

Qui Nho'n - Quang Ngai - Hoi An

This is the road almost all travelers and cyclist take when traveling to Hoi An. It is mostly a flat road. The total distance from Nha Trang to Hoi An is 530km which will take you 5 to 7 days. Stops in between the two cities can include: Bong So'n, Quang Ngai and Tam Ky. The road is followed by the railway and in most of the train stops you will find accommodation of some sort. Although this road follows the coastline to the Gulf of Tonkin, you will hardly see the sea.

Village on the way to Hoi An

Some parts of this road are busier then other parts. Highway 1, as this road is called and leads from Ho Chi Minh City all the way to Hanoi is mostly in good condition.

The closer you come to Hoi An, the busier the road gets. All in all, if you decide to take the coastal road all the way from Nha Trang to Hoi An, you will find it flat and most of the time pleasant cycling.

More about Hoi An town and the attractions around the city, the beaches and My Son Champa complex.

Other transport from Nha Trang to Hoi An

There are frequent trains from Nha Trang to Hoi An but the bus is probably a faster ran easier option. Tourist buses are far more comfortable and faster then the local buses. Should you want to go into the Central highlands, then a local bus is your only option.

Accommodation in Hoi An

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My Son ruins near Hoi An Central Vietnam

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Vietnam Maps

map of Vietnam
Map of Vietnam