You have various options available on how to get from Hanoi to Nha Trang, but which method of transport you choose will be dependent mostly on how quickly you want to get there. The most popular option, assuming you have enough time, would be to travel by train overnight, which will take around 23 hours and has the added bonus of being able to see Vietnam’s beautiful countryside.
The distance between Hanoi and Nha Trang is 1,394km (866 miles) overland travelling by bus, car or train or, if you are going to be flying, then the distance is slightly less at around 1083km (673 miles). If you are short on time or trains aren’t your thing, then you’ll probably want to fly which will take around 2 hours.
Other options to get to Nha Trang include using ‘Open Bus Tours’ or driving but because of the distance involved and the fact that the roads in Vietnam outside of the big cities aren’t all that great these options are less popular.
Flights from Hanoi to Nha Trang
There are a number of regional airlines including Vietnam Airlines, JetStar Pacific, VietJet and Hanhn Air Systems who offer flights between Hanoi’s Noi Bai International Airport (HAN) and Nha Trang’s Cam Ranh International Airport (CXR).
The earliest daily flight is about 6.30am and the last flight of the day is at 6pm. Costs start at around USD65 one-way although you can get even cheaper deals if you book online and you’re not too bothered about what time you fly.
Flight time is around 2 hours and you’ll need to allow at least 45 minutes for your taxi to the airport if you have been staying in Hanoi’s Old Quarter as it’s around 35km away and the traffic in Hanoi is normally very congested.
From Hanoi to Nha Trang by train
A very popular way of getting to Nha Trang from Hanoi is to use the North – South Express Railway, also referred to as the Reunification Express. There are two types of trains available which use the codes SE and TN. SE trains are more comfortable whereas the TN trains are aimed at budget travellers.
It is most advisable for you to choose the air-conditioned soft sleeper option offered on the SE trains. Hard sleeper and hard seat options aren’t recommended, as they can be uncomfortable especially on longer journeys.
Due to their popularity, the long distance trains in Vietnam do get booked up so it’s a good idea to book your tickets in advance and avoid disappointment. Also, always be sure that you only deal with the employees of the booking agent, station or train company when you get to the station and go to pick up your ticket as there have been reports of con-artists who hang around the train station in Hanoi looking to exploit travellers.
SE trains are highly recommended if you are planning on travelling long distances overnight as they offer soft sleeper options to passengers as well as air conditioned cabins which means that you get a bed for the night at a cost that is comparable to a mid-range hotel.
Each SE train sleeper carriage has between 5 and 7 cabins and a communal shower room with a toilet at the end of the carriage. Cabins are either 4 or 6 berth meaning they can sleep 4 or 6 people. Additionally, each cabin comes with pillows, blankets, a TV and either a fan or air-conditioning. Luggage space is provided under the bottom bunks in both types of cabin.
There is also a service carriage on the SE trains that serves light meals and snacks to customers and you can buy other convenience items like cigarettes, drinks, limited toiletries and snacks in the service carriage too.
There are 4 SE trains that depart from Hanoi Station (120 Le Duan Ward, Hoan Kiem District, Ha Noi City) daily: SE1, SE3, SE5 and SE7 at 6am, 9am, 7.30pm, 10pm respectively. The journey by train from Hanoi to Nha Trang is advertised to take 23 hours but it can take a little longer than that as *delays are not uncommon. If you have an onward journey it is best to allow plenty of time between your connections – between 6 and 12 hours is good, longer if you can.
The other option is to use the TN trains service which, although much cheaper, takes longer because they stop at every station on route.
Also be aware that not all TN trains offer air conditioning and the carriages are older and less comfortable than on the SE trains. TN trains are not recommended for long journeys as they can be very hot, uncomfortable and are usually crowded too.
One positive of using the TN trains though is that they are considerably less expensive – only costing around USD35 for a one-way ticket from Hanoi to Nha Trang, at the time of writing.
The TN1 train to Nha Trang departs from Hanoi station daily at 1.10pm.
From Hanoi to Nha Trang by bus
If budget is everything to you and you are looking for the cheapest and most flexible way to get from Hanoi to Nha Trang then using Vietnam’s extensive bus network may be worth considering.
For a longer journey like Hanoi to Nha Trang, the best option is to use the Open Tour (or Open Ticket) buses which allow you to hop on and off the bus at any major city along the route.
Note It’s also worth noting that most long distance buses only stop every few hours at pre-designated places on route to allow you to stretch your legs and use the toilets (although some do have toilet facilities on board) so it’s best not to drink too much before you leave!
To get to Nha Trang from Hanoi using an open ticket tour you would need to go from Hanoi to Hue (14 hours), Hue to Hoi An (4 hours) and then Hoi An to Nha Trang (12 hours) so, in total, it would take about 30 hours by bus.
You can book bus tickets online or via one of the many tour operators that you’ll find in the touristy areas of Hanoi like the Old Quarter. To get from Hanoi to Nha Trang using the ‘Open Tour’ network would cost between USD45 and USD55.
Tip You will need to confirm each leg of your journey with the tour operator at least 24 hours before you want to travel.
The ‘Open Tour’ buses from Hanoi leave at 6pm daily and usually depart from the Old Quarter (your booking agent should confirm exactly where the pickup point is) which avoids the requirement to get to Giap Bat Central bus station.
Note Long distance sleeper buses in Vietnam are not particularly spacious inside and the roads in Vietnam are both congested and bumpy so using buses to get around in Vietnam is only really an option if you’re the laid back and adventurous type.
Onward travel from Nha Trang
Once you have finished enjoying Nha Trang’s many sights and attractions, you are well positioned to enjoy more of Vietnam’s beauty. You could, for example, head to Dalat with its cool spring like weather and French influenced architecture. Dalat is only 4 hours away by bus and fares start from around USD10.
You could go to Ho Chi Minh City which is 322 km away from Nha Trang and experience the chaotic, dizzying vibrance of this colourful, timeless Vietnamese city – by bus it takes 8.5 hours and tickets start at around USD18 or you could fly to Ho Chi Minh City from Nha Trang in just one hour for around USD48.
While you’re in southern Vietnam it would be a shame to miss the splendour of the infamous Mekong Delta. From Nha Trang, Phu Quoc is 612 km away – you could get a flight and be there in just 3 hours for around USD100.
If you prefer to move on from Vietnam after you have been to Nha Trang then Cambodia offers some wonderful options. You could be in Phnom Penh for USD160 with Vietnam Airlines. Siem Reap, the gateway to Ankor Wat, is just 2 hours from Nha Trang, too, and flights cost from USD160 one-way. While there are direct flights both to Phnom Penh and Siem Reap, flying via HCMC may prove cheaper and easier.
Another possibility is to fly to Bangkok in Thailand, either directly or via HCMC, with tickets starting from USD125, the Land of Smiles is right on your doorstep!
Hong Kong with its amazing skyline and endless shopping is also easily reach by direct or connecting flights from Nha Trang and with tickets starting from USD100 one-way, why not?