Driving the Hai Van Pass

Hai Van Pass is one of the most beloved drives throughout Vietnam and ranked among the top 10 things you must do if you’re visiting this country. Whether you’ve bought a motorbike for your journey or are just renting one for the day, this is an affordable, budget friendly, and once in a lifetime journey that is a must when traveling from Hue to Danang.

Getting There: the road runs between Hue and Danang, don’t stay on the main highway Q1A as this bypasses the mountain pass, stick to the right and you’ll be on the right track.

Costs: if you’ve got a motorbike it’s free, renting one for the day is around 100,000 VND and a lot of rental places will let you rent one in Hue and drop it in Danang or visa versa although the cost is significantly higher as they also transport your luggage, it normally works out to around $30.

IMG_4286Suggested Time: April to October is the best time to drive it during the hot season, between November and March is wet season and on a rainy day the pass is not as impressive or as safe to drive.

Driving the Hai Van pass is one of those things you just have to do as part of motorbiking through Vietnam. It’s always been a famous road and one of the best to drive in the world, the Top Gear special on Vietnam made it even more notable. The translation of Hai Van meaning ‘ocean cloud pass’ it’s easy to see why when you start climbing the mountain to begin the 19 KM stretch of road.

We set off from Danang at around 9am, taking a slight detour to the Lady Buddha statue in Danang. If you are setting off from Danang this is a well worthwhile stop point; it’s the tallest statue of buddha in all of Vietnam and an incredible sight to behold. At the top of a IMG_4279steep mountain pass is the 67m tall Buddha looking out over the South China Sea, visible from nearly every beach along the Danang coastline.

After s marvelling at the statue it was back on the road to start the journey to the Hai Van pass; from Danang it takes about half an hour to reach the start of this incredible road. Once you reach the start of the Hai Van pass you’ll see what all the hype is about, the views over the South China Sea are astounding and even on a cloudy day, like I had, the scenery is just as stunning.

Winding around the mountains driving my motorbike Betty was a pretty magical experience, sweeping sea views on one side, lush, dense green forest on the other, and excellently paved roads. Manage your timing and trip to account for the numerous times IMG_4293you’ll want to pull over to admire the views. We must have stopped at least 10 times just to soak in the incredible viewpoints over the mountains on one side and stunning inaccessible beaches on the other.

Once over the mountain pass you’ll drive past Lang Co which is a good spot to stop for lunch, or you can just continue powering down the highway to Hue. After about an hour you’ll reach the city of Hue and the 100km journey from Danang will be complete.

If you’re only hiring a motorbike for one day while in Vietnam then this is where I’d recommend that you do so. Hai Van pass is high on the list of the best roads in Vietnam, personally I thought that the drive through the central highlands was more impressive but for those just renting a bike this is arguably the best leg of the journey to rent a bike for.

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