The best option to travel the 700km distance from Hoi An to Ninh Binh is by train. This train journey takes 15.5 hours and costs $29. Other options include taking a flight (6 hours) or a bus (13.5 hours).
When travelling from Hoi An to Ninh Binh, you will have to cross quite a big distance. For this reason, we recommend to choose the most comfortable option which is to travel by train. With the night train, you don’t waste your time travelling during the day and earn a good night’s sleep.
Since both Hoi An and Ninh Binh do not have an airport, we do not suggest flying for this route. With land transfers to and from the airport and railway stations, you will easily lose 6 hours of your day if you choose to take a flight. Not to mention, switching through these transports can be exhausting.
Buses are also an option but much less safe. This is why we recommend to travel by train (or flight) when covering long distances. Still, the bus is the most affordable option at $17.
The closest railway station to Hoi An is in Da Nang, which is about 45 minutes by local bus from Hoi An bus station. There are a total of 4 different departure times for this route. We are only suggesting 2 options since the other 2 leave during the daytime.
Step 1: Hoi An to Da Nang Railway Station by Bus
Duration: 45min Cost: 20,000 VND ($0.85)
You can travel to Da Nang Railway Station by public bus for just 20,000 VND ($0.85). The bus stop is less than a 5-minute walk from the railway station and is easy to find. Just ask the bus driver to drop you off at the railway station. The latest bus leaves between 17:00 and 18:00. Make sure to confirm with your hotel for the current schedule so you won’t miss the latest bus.
SE20 has very convenient departure and arrival times. If you take one of the latest shuttle buses from Hoi An, you can catch the SE20 at 18:45 and arrive in Ninh Binh around 9:23 the next day. Taking the night train gives you a good night’s rest and prepares you to enjoy another full day in Ninh Binh or Tam Coc.
Train Schedule from Da Nang to Ninh Binh (Sleeper berth)
Neither Hoi An nor Ninh Binh Has its own airport, so taking a flight for this route will include several steps.
Step 1: Hoi An to Da Nang Airport by Bus
Duration: 45min Cost: 140,000 VND ($6)
Da Nang Airport is a 45-min ride from Hoi An and you have 2 options to reach the airport.
You can take a local bus for 20,000 VND ($0.85). But for a more convenient trip, you can also book a shuttle bus service on GetYourGuide. For 140,000 VND ($6), they will pick you up from your hotel in the center of Hoi An and bring you straight to the airport.
From Hanoi Airport, you have 3 options to reach the railway station located in the city center: you can take a public bus, a shuttle bus, or a taxi. Travel time is around 1.5 hours, depending on traffic. Fares range from $0.50 to $15.50.
Hanoi Railway Station – Ninh Binh Railway Station (2h 17min)
As you can see, it is not a very straightforward route and can take at least 6 hours of travel. Catching a train ride is still the most viable option.
Hoi An to Ninh Binh by Bus
Duration: 13.5 hours Cost: 395,000 VND ($16.50)
We do not recommend to travel this long trip by bus. Trains or flights are a much safer choice to travel long distances. The night train also provides more comfort for long journeys.
If you still want to travel by bus, you can expect to pay at least 395,000 VND ($16.50). Although cheaper, these buses arrive in the middle of the night in Ninh Binh. This means you will still have to spend an extra night on your accommodation.
Want to stay in a real Vietnamese Guesthouse? Tam Coc Family Hotel is a perfect example why you don't have to spend more than $17 for a great guesthouse.
The super friendly owners will tell you the best spots to visit and will make sure you have a good start of your day with a delicious breakfast. It's a 1-minute walk from the Tam Coc river and drop-off point of the bus.
Do you prefer to stay close to the river? Tam Coc Bungalow has spacious bamboo bungalows right next to the Tam Coc river. Bungalows start from $32 and dorm rooms from $6.
What we really liked about this place is their common area. From the terrace you can watch the locals paddling back to Tam Coc town during sunset and in the evening you can play a game of pool at the open restaurant area.