The Hai Van Pass, Motorbike Guide, Vietnam

Hai Van Pass | Motorbike Guide

Last updated October 2023 | Words and photos by Vietnam Coracle

Tom, Vietnam Coracle

Tom Divers is the founder and creator of Vietnam Coracle. He’s lived, travelled and worked in Vietnam since 2005. Born in London, he travelled from an early age, visiting over 40 countries (he first visited Vietnam in 1999). Now, whenever he has the opportunity to make a trip, he rarely looks beyond Vietnam’s borders and his trusty motorbike, Stavros. Read more about Tom on the About Page, Vietnam Times and ASE Podcast.


A contender for the most famous road in Vietnam, the Hải Vân Pass is a short but scenic route that curls around a mountainous spur above the East Sea on the central coast. For thousands of years, Đèo Hải Vân – ‘Ocean Cloud Pass’ – has acted as a geographic and political boundary separating ancient kingdoms, a climatic divide between the tropical south and the subtropical north, and a strategic military post during times of war. But today, the Hải Vân Pass is best known as a great road trip linking the popular central Vietnamese cities of Hội An, Đà Nẵng, and Huế. For many road-trippers, the Hải Vân Pass is a favourite ride, its popularity bolstered by the success of the Top Gear Vietnam Special (2008), in which the presenters waxed lyrical about the pass, inspiring a generation of travellers to hit the road and head there. The Hải Vân Pass is fun to ride, with excellent views, light traffic, and easy access from several cities.

The Hai Van Pass, Motorbike Guide, Vietnam
Hải Vân Pass: one of the most famous roads in Vietnam

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HAI VAN PASS MOTORBIKE GUIDE


One of the Most Famous Roads in Vietnam

This guide includes a detailed route map outlining the best, most scenic way to ride the Hải Vân Pass between the central cities of Hội An, Đà Nẵng, and Huế. I’ve also written an overview of the route with details such as weather, time of year, duration and distance, a description of the ride including historical commentary, and recommendations for accommodation and food and drink along the way. The Hải Vân Pass is a memorable, beautiful and highly enjoyable road trip. What’s more, it is one of the most accessible and easily rideable routes in Vietnam.

CONTENTS:

Route Map

Overview & Details

The Best Route

Understanding the Pass

Accommodation

Food & Drink

Related Routes


ROUTE MAP:

Hải Vân Pass | Hội AnĐà NẵngHuế

Blue Line: best route | Brown Line: fast route | Red Lines: side routes


*Road Safety & Disclaimer: Riding a motorbike in Vietnam – or anywhere in the world – has its dangers. I would hope & expect anyone who chooses to pursue a self-drive road trip based on the information on this website does so with care, respect & due diligence. I encourage careful riding & adherence to road rules, but I am not responsible for the legality or manner in which you ride, nor any negative consequences which may result from your decision to ride a motorbike in Vietnam: you do so at your own risk. Read more >


Hai Van Pass, Vietnam
Near the top of the Hải Vân Pass

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Overview & Details:

Below is a brief overview of the Hải Vân Pass route, followed by more specific details about important considerations, such as weather conditions, route options, duration, motorbike rental and more:

QUICK DETAILS:

  • Route: scenic coastal route linking Hội An, Đà Nẵng & Huế via the Hải Vân Pass [MAP]
  • Distance: 165km/130km (best route/fast route)
  • Duration: 1-3 days (one-way/roundtrip)
  • Scenery: superb ocean vistas, lagoons, beaches, verdant valleys, waterfalls & backcountry
  • Attractions: magnificent landscapes, good riding, historic & cultural sites, waterfalls, seafood
  • Road Conditions: good, smooth conditions, wide highways & paved back-roads, light traffic
  • Best Time: March-September

Hai Van Pass, Vietnam
Hairpin bend on the Hải Vân Pass

ABOUT THE ROUTE:

Route Options: The best way to enjoy the Hải Vân Pass is to ride all the way between Hội An/Đà Nẵng and Huế via a scenic backroads route, which includes the pass but avoids horrible Highway QL1A completely: this is the blue line on my map. Alternatively, riders can take the fast route via the highway, which still includes the pass but is far less scenic: this is the brown line on my map.

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Distances: The total distance of the scenic route between Hội An, Đà Nẵng, and Huế is 165km one-way (the blue line on my map). The total distance of the fast route is 130km one-way (the brown line on my map).

Duration: One full day is ideal for riding the Hải Vân Pass in one direction on the blue route on my map, including lots of stops for photos, refreshments and activities. But, it’s even more rewarding to ride the Hải Vân Pass as a roundtrip with one or two nights spent in either Hội An, Đà Nẵng or Huế, where there are good accommodation options. In other words: 1 day for one-way; 2-3 days for a roundtrip.

Side Routes: There are lots of optional side routes to beaches, waterfalls and viewpoints on the Hải Vân Pass route: see the red lines on my map. One of the side routes is riding the scenic back-roads on Sơn Trà Peninsula near Đà Nẵng, but bear in mind this would add a least a couple of hours to your journey.

Motorbike Rental: Renting motorbikes from any of the three major cities on the route – Hội An, Đà Nẫng, and Huế – should be fairly easy. Some rental companies even offer one-way pick-up and drop-off services, allowing customers to ride in one direction without having to return to their starting point to give their bike back. I recommend contacting Style Motorbikes, Rent A Bike (RAB), and Tigit Motorbikes.

Weather & Time of Year: Although the Hải Vân Pass is rideable at any time of year, the best months for good weather and conditions are March to September. At other times, the pass might be covered in cloud and very wet.

Connecting Routes: The Hải Vân Pass can be ridden as part of a wider route in the region, called the Golden Loop. Another option is to continue north via the Tomb Rider route or south along the Coast Road. For more connecting routes and road trips, see Related Routes.

Hai Van Pass, Vietnam
Switchback on the Hải Vân Pass

Hai Van Pass, Vietnam
View from the Hải Vân Pass

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The Best Route:

Hội An→Đà Nẵng→Huế via the Scenic Route| 165km

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By far the best way to enjoy and experience the Hải Vân Pass is to ride the scenic route (the blue line on my map) all the way from Hội An or Đà Nẵng to Huế, either one-way or return. I’ve written the following outline going from south to north, starting in Hội An, via Đà Nẵng, to the Hải Vân Pass, and ending in Huế. However, you can ride this route in the opposite direction: it makes no difference.

Leave Hội An’s old town in the morning – the earlier the better if you want to make it all the way to Huế in one day. Take the coast road (Lạc Long Quân/Nguyên Giáp street) to Đà Nẵng, stretching all the way from Cửa Đại Beach, past An Bang Beach, and the Marble Mountains, to Đà Nẵng’s Municipal Beach, once known to American marines as ‘China Beach’. (If you have time, take the scenic Sơn Trà Peninsula side route – the red line on my map. But bear in mind that this detour will take a least a couple of hours.)

From Đà Nẵng’s beach, turn west onto the famous Dragon Bridge across the Hàn River and into the city centre. Cruise along the river bank before turning onto Nguyễn Tất Thành street skirting the ocean along Nam Ô Beach. At the end of the beach road, turn onto the broad lanes of Highway QL1A for a brief stretch before the road starts to climb into foliage: this is the start of the Hải Vân Pass.

Da Nang, Vietnam
Đà Nẵng city & beach seen from Sơn Trà Peninsula

Dragon Bridge, Da Nang, Vietnam
Cầu Rồng – Dragon Bridge – in Đà Nẵng

Hai Van Pass, Vietnam
Stopping on the beach before riding up the Hải Vân Pass

Curling around the mountainside, the pass opens up spectacular views across Đà Nẵng Bay. Several selfie cafes are setup on the roadside with photo viewpoints on giant boulders looking over the bay. At the top of the pass, a collection of overpriced food and drink shacks vie for your custom. The Nguyễn Dynasty gate and old gun towers are located across the road, offering good viewing points and short, pleasant walks. However, they were under renovation at the time of research (2023). On either side of the top of the pass, small paved lanes and dirt tracks lead down the slopes towards the sea, ending at beaches such as Bãi Chuối. These are good side routes (see the red lines on my map) if you have a hour or two to spare. However, be aware that you may be stopped from continuing down some side routes due to military presence in the area.

Hai Van Pass, Vietnam
Milestone on the Hải Vân Pass

Hai Van Pass, Vietnam
Me on a boulder at one of the ‘selfie cafes’ by the roadside on the Hải Vân Pass

Hai Van Pass, Vietnam
Curling around the contours on the Hải Vân Pass

Snaking down the other side of the pass, the views get even better: looking over the winding asphalt as it drops towards the long, empty beach of Lăng Cô. Just after one of the last hairpin bends of the pass, a much-photographed scene opens up over Lăng Cô Bay and fishing village, with a long bridge over the water (the exit of the Hải Vân Tunnel) and the lush, misty mountains behind. This might as well be known as the Top Gear View Point, as it was here that the final scene on the Hải Vân Pass from the Vietnam Special episode (2008) was filmed, with the three co-presenters all gazing at the sunset, enraptured by the beauty of Vietnam’s landscape.

Hai Van Pass, Vietnam
View from the top of the Hải Vân Pass

Hai Van Pass, Vietnam
A dramatic switchback on the Hải Vân Pass

Hai Van Pass, Vietnam
Near the bottom of the pass, close to the ‘Top Gear View Point’

At the bottom of the pass, don’t cross over the bridge to Lăng Cô: instead, continue due west on the lakeside road hugging the shores of Lập An Lagoon. This beautiful, empty road skirts the water’s edge with two optional detours to waterfalls (Thác Đỏ and Suối Mơ Hói Mít) before joining Highway QL1A at the northernmost shore.

Backtrack on Highway QL1A for about 30 seconds before veering off due north on the Chân Mây road toward Cảnh Dương Beach. The road stays close to the coast, where there are several backpacker campgrounds and high-end resorts (see Accommodation). A nice backroad leads over a bridge across the Bu Lu River eventually reconnecting with Highway QL1A again at the Phước Tượng Tunnel & Pass. Just after exiting the tunnel, turn off the highway onto Road QL49B, heading north along the shores of the Cầu Hai Lagoon.

Hai Van Pass, Best Route, Vietnam
View across a river & mountains on the Lập An Lagoon road

Hai Van Pass, Best Route, Vietnam
Riding lakeside on the Lập An Lagoon road

Recently upgraded, QL49B crosses a bridge at the mouth of the lagoon and turns west onto a long peninsula towards Thuận An. This route is notable for the thousands of elaborately carved family tombs, which are scattered across the sandy banks between the road and the sea. Backroads weave through the tombs around the area known as the City of Ghosts. At Thuận An village and beach, turn south across a bridge and follow the Phổ Lợi and Perfume rivers into the heart of the former imperial city of Huế.

Temple, Hue, Vietnam
In the ‘City of Ghosts’ off road QL49B

Hue citadel gate, Vietnam
One of the citadel gates in Huế

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Understanding the Pass:

Historical Background & Why the Pass is So Famous


*Please Note: Historical information in this article is based on my reading & understanding of various sources & conversations with people: I am not an historian & I cannot vouch for the accuracy of historical details in this article.


On days when vapour from the East Sea rises into the forests and clings to the mountaintops, Đèo Hải Vân (Ocean Cloud Pass) lives up to its poetic name. But, despite its romantic title, the Hải Vân Pass has always been something of a frontier: a boundary of kingdoms and climate; often fought over, sometimes tragic but never losing its ability to inspire awe.

During the ‘American War’, the Hải Vân Pass was known as the ‘Street Without Joy’. Back then, the pass connected the two war-scarred cities of Huế and Đà Nẵng via the dangerous and hotly contested Highway 1. Thanks to a tunnel under the mountains, completed in 2005, the Hải Vân Pass today is the ‘Street Without Traffic’. The majority of transport now takes the tunnel, which leaves the Hải Vân Pass – one of the most scenic coastal roads in Vietnam – to two-wheeled vehicles and the occasional oil truck (both of which are not allowed through the tunnel). This makes the spectacular Hải Vân Pass perfect for a relatively easy, safe and short motorbike road trip between the popular tourist spots of Hội An/Đà Nẵng to the south and Huế to the north.

Hải Vân Pass, Vietnam
Đèo Hải Vân (Ocean Cloud Pass) traverses this mountainous spur of land in Central Vietnam

Hai Van Tunnel
A tunnel goes beneath the pass, but is closed to motorbikes

The Hải Vân Pass is a natural wall: a mountainous finger of land jutting into the East Sea. This is an east-west spur of the Trường Sơn (Annamite) Range that runs north to south along the western spine of Vietnam. For centuries this natural barrier represented the limit of one kingdom and the beginning of another. The Hindu Kingdom of Champa resided south of the Hải Vân Pass, while the Confucian-Buddhist Kingdom of Đại Việt was to the north. The two kingdoms fought regularly to control land either side of the pass. The Cham pushed as far north as the Đại Việt capital of Thăng Long (Hanoi) in 1371. Partly due to the favourable climate and fertility of the land south of the Hải Vân Pass, the Cham in this area were known as the ‘Coconut Palm Group’. The Hải Vân Pass sheltered the Cham from strong, cold winds and storms that blew from the north. Known as ‘Chinese Winds’, these still ravage territory north of the pass each year during the ‘typhoon months’, which are usually around September and October.

Hai Van Pass, Vietnam
A natural barrier, the Hải Vân Pass separates north from south

Hải Vân Pass, Vietnam
Gun tower on the Hải Vân Pass, which has been a flashpoint for conflict for many centuries

The good climatic conditions south of the Hải Vân Pass helped to build the Cham civilization, which lasted for more than a thousand years, from the 3rd century onwards. It was the lure of the land of the ‘Coconut Palm Cham’ that led to its eventual conquest. Đại Việt, to the north of the Hải Vân Pass, was growing steadily thanks to liberation from Chinese rule in 938 followed by two strong imperial dynasties, the Lý (1009-1225) and the Trần (1225-1400). Agricultural productivity and population were on the rise, but unpredictable weather and devastating flooding in the Red River Delta was a constant threat to stability. With China looming large over their northern borders, Đại Việt looked to the south for more land and a better climate for their growing population. After centuries of fighting, it was the Lê Dynasty who finally defeated the Cham, in 1471, annexing the sunny territory south of the Hải Vân Pass for Đại Việt. The ruins of the Cham temples at Mỹ Sơn, near Hội An, can still be seen today, as can many other Cham ruins.

Mỹ Sơn Cham ruins, Vietnam
Ruins of Cham temples at Mỹ Sơn: the Hải Vân Pass once separated Champa from Đại Việt to the north

Emperor Minh Mang Tomb, Hue, Vietnam
North of the pass, Vietnamese culture thrived but increasingly began to look south for expansion

The appeal of the land of the ‘Coconut Palm Cham’ is still obvious today. If travelling from north to south, heading out of Huế on a wet, grey February morning and driving up the Hải Vân Pass in thick, moisture-laden cloud, when you arrive at the top and look down on the sun-filled Bay of Đà Nẵng to the south, it’s easy to imagine how attractive these lands must have been to the Đại Việt from the north. Curling your way up the switchbacks and hairpin bends, the motorbike engine struggling to deal with the gradient, and then rolling down the other side, wondering if the brake pads will wear away before you reach the bottom, it’s also apparent how the pass could have separated two civilizations for so long.

Hải Vân Pass, Vietnam
A climatic boundary, the weather is often better south of the pass

Hải Vân Pass, Vietnam
One of many hairpins on the Hải Vân Pass

Whatever the weather, the Hải Vân Pass is always a scenic route. As with other great views, the pass has often inspired wonder, sometimes in the most unlikely of contexts and least likely of people. When Paul Theroux was passing through Vietnam during his Great Railway Bazaar, in 1973, the Paris Peace Accords had only recently been signed by the United States, South and North Vietnam. Direct American military participation in Vietnam was officially over, but the war still had two more long years before the fall of Saigon. As most of the Trans-Indochinois Railway (now the Reunification Express) that linked Hanoi with Saigon had been blown up, Theroux was only able to travel on short sections of the line that were deemed safe. Fortunately for him one of these safe sections was between Huế and Đà Nẵng.

At that time, Huế was a ruin. Having been pounded for years, not least during the Tet Offensive in 1968, the city was all mud and rubble. Đà Nẵng, formerly a massive American military base, was, according to Theroux, “a poisoned city”. But the landscape between these two wounded cities, including the Hải Vân Pass which the railway snakes around just below the road, was still majestic. Perhaps because of the juxtaposition between the ugly urban destruction in Huế and the rural peace and beauty around the Hải Vân Pass, Theroux, having travelled across Europe, the Middle East and the Indian subcontinent by train, was amazed by what he saw from his compartment on the Trans-Indochinois:

“Of all the places the railway had taken me since London, this was the loveliest.

Beyond the leaping jade plates of the sea was an overhang of cliffs and the sight of a valley so large it contained sun, smoke, rain and cloud – all at once.

I had been unprepared for this beauty; it surprised and humbled me.

Who has mentioned the simple fact that the heights of Vietnam are places of unimaginable grandeur?”

Hải Vân Pass, Vietnam
In 1973, Paul Theroux was amazed by the scenery he witnessed travelling the Hải Vân Pass by rail

Hải Vân Pass, Vietnam
…the heights of Vietnam are places of unimaginable grandeur…” – Paul Theroux

35 years later, Jeremy Clarkson, former presenter of the popular BBC car show, Top Gear, had a similar reaction to the landscape around the Hải Vân Pass. Famously sarcastic and not one to be easily moved – except by a good car – Clarkson and his co-presenters couldn’t help but be awed by the green mountains rolling down in pleats and folds toward the East Sea. On this strip of tarmac, that he proclaimed “one of the best coast roads in the world”, Clarkson began to enjoy motorbiking. Indeed, the Top Gear Vietnam Special has surely inspired thousands of travellers to follow in their tyre-tracks.

VIDEO: Top Gear Vietnam Special (skip to 3:15 for the Hai Van Pass scene):


Like other borders and frontiers, the Hải Vân Pass has seen its fair share of blood and battles. At the top of the pass, by the brick gate built by Emperor Minh Mạng in the 19th century, are gun towers that were used by French, South Vietnamese and American lookouts respectively, during the long wars from 1946-1975. More recent reminders of tragedy on the pass are the small shrines lining the road that mark the sites of fatal accidents. (Note: most of these date from before the tunnel was built, when the pass was far more dangerous than it is today). As with many famous battle fields and scenic roads in Vietnam, tragedy contrasts sharply with the natural beauty of the surrounds.

Hải Vân Pass, Vietnam
Nguyễn Dynasty gate at the top of the pass

As for me, I’ve always thought of the Hải Vân Pass as a point of transition: both a boundary and a gate. When riding from south to north, the pass is the point at which I feel I’ve entered more unfamiliar territory. The clouds usually close-in and fierce rain pinches the skin on my face. With this comes a sense of adventure. Being from the south in both my native and adopted countries (London in Britain, Saigon in Vietnam), I’ve long associated travelling north with going into higher, wilder landscape and colder climes. Likewise, when I travel from north to south, the Hải Vân Pass is the point at which I feel I’ve arrived ‘home’ again, safe in the land of the ‘Coconut Palm Cham’ and the warmth of the tropical climate I’ve become accustomed to.

Located on the 16th parallel, just one south of the infamous 17th parallel that once divided the nation politically, the Hải Vân Pass is a permanent natural boundary that will always divide the nation climatically, between tropical and sub-tropical. The ‘Ocean Cloud’ clings to the pass, but this 30km stretch of road is beautiful in any weather, and each time I ride it, in either direction, there’s always the sense of having crossed a barrier.

Hải Vân Pass, Vietnam
Above all, the Hải Vân Pass is a great road trip

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Accommodation:

Where to Stay when Riding the Hải Vân Pass Route

Although there’s no accommodation on the Hải Vân Pass itself, there are a handful of places to stay along the route, as well as an enormous variety of hotels and resorts in all price ranges at either end of the route: in Hội An, Đà Nẵng, and Huế:


Brilliant Hotel, Da Nang, Vietnam
There’s lots of accommodation in Hội An, Đà Nẵng & Huế

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Hotels on the Route:

In many of the small towns along the way, you’ll find nhà nghỉ (local guesthouses) lining the road, particularly around Lăng Cô and Cảnh Dương beaches. Ngọc Hằng is a good guesthouse in Lăng Cô and Lăng Cô Beach Resort is a mid-range accommodation on the beach. Cảnh Dương Beach Camping offers a night under canvas on the beach or Tân Cảnh Guesthouse is close by. There are also some luxury accommodations along the route which you can stop at for a night or two to break the journey in style. These include Bayan Tree, an ultra luxurious resort, and Vedana Lagoon, a more affordable option with atmospheric rooms on the lake or hillside.

Camping at Canh Duong Beach, Central Vietnam
Camping on Cảnh Dương beach

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Hotels in Hội An:

The popular tourist town of Hội An probably has the best-value and range of hotels anywhere in Vietnam. The sheer volume of accommodation options and the enduring popularity of Hội An as a travel destination drives prices down and quality up. For budget accommodation check out the cheap but clean and classy rooms at Kiman Hotel, and Vietnam Backpackers Hostel. An excellent-value mid-range place to stay is Lasenta Boutique. For luxury it’s hard to beat the Anantara in the old town or Victoria Resort on the beach. Besides these recommendations there are hundreds more to choose from, which you can browse and book on this page.

Infinity pool at Lasenta Boutique Hotel, Hoi An, Vietnam
Infinity pool at Lasenta Boutique in Hội An

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Hotels in Đà Nẵng:

These days, the riverfront and the seafront of Đà Nẵng are packed with accommodation options, from budget mini-hotels and hostels to fancy 5-star monoliths with rooftop infinity pools. The choice is bewildering, but also strangely generic. Unlike the classy and characterful hotels of Hội An, Đà Nẵng tends to have rather bland, business-like accommodation. Nonetheless, there’s lots to choose from and book on this page. I have stayed at and reviewed the Four Points by Sheraton, a beachfront high-rise property, and Brilliant Hotel, a glass-fronted mid-range accommodation on the Hàn Riverfront. Two cheap and funky shipping-container-based hostels are Rom Casa and Đà Nẵng Container Hotel, both are near the beach.

Hotel view in Da Nang, Vietnam
Đà Nẵng has hundreds of hotels to choose from

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Hotels in Huế:

One of the most charming, historic and underappreciated cities in Vietnam, Huế is a great place to overnight while riding the Hải Vân Pass route. There’s lots of accommodation available that you can browse and book on this page. My personal recommendations are Villa Huế, an exceptionally good-value mid-range hotel, Hue Backpackers Hostel which is cheap, fun and centrally located, and Azerai La Residence, one of Vietnam’s best-known heritage hotels. In addition, there are some great hotels in more rural locations outside the city centre, such as Pilgrimage Village near the royal tombs and Villa Louise on the beach.

Villa Hue Hotel
Courtyard pool at Villa Huế Hotel

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Food & Drink:

What to Eat & Drink along the Hải Vân Pass Route

Central Vietnam offers some of the nation’s best cuisine, especially local delicacies in Hội An and Huế, and seafood in Đà Nẵng and Lăng Cô. I have only marked a few specific places on my map: the best thing to do is to look for signs outside street vendors, local eateries and on restaurant menus for popular regional dishes, such as mì quảng, cao lầu, bún bò Huế, cơm hến, bánh bèo and many, many more besides. (Check out the Huế Food Guide for specific recommendations.) For seafood (hải sản), the beachside local eateries in Lăng Cô, such as Biển Ngọc and the floating restaurants in the lagoon, and those on Cảnh Dương beach, are superb.

Com hen clam rice, Vietnam
Cơm hến – clam rice – a regional speciality

Bánh đập in Hoi An, Vietnam
Food in Huế is some of the most sophisticated in Vietnam

Oysters on Lang Co beach, Vietnam
A plate of fresh oysters at a local seafood restaurant on Lăng Cô beach

All three major towns on the route – Hội An, Đà Nẵng, and Huế – have exciting cafe scenes, with excellent coffee shops serving great coffee using local beans. There’s also a thriving craft beer culture in the three cities using local ingredients and flavours. (See Drinking & Nightlife in Huế.) In addition, Đà Nẵng has many rooftop bars, such as Horizon on the top floor of Four Points. On the Hải Vân Pass itself there are dozens of roadside cafes. These are less about the drinks, and more about the fabulous views and selfie opportunities, particularly the boulder viewpoint cafes.

Horizon rooftop bar at Four Points by Sheraton, Da Nang, Vietnam
Horizon Bar on the rooftop of Four Points hotel in Đà Nẵng

Bun bo Hue beef noodle soup, Vietnam
Bún bò Huế – beef noodle soup – is available throughout the region

Hai Van Pass, Vietnam
Photo at one of several ‘selfie cafes’ on the roadside near boulders on the Hải Vân Pass

*Disclosure: I never receive payment for anything I write: my content is always free and independent. I’ve written this guide because I want to: I like this route and I want my readers to know about it. For more details, see my Disclosure & Disclaimer statements and my About Page

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Leave a Comment

Questions, updates and trip reports are all welcome. However, please keep comments polite and on-topic. See commenting etiquette for details.

  1. Zachary Kjellberg says:
    September 7, 2022 at 7:54 AM

    Enjoying the many articles on the site. I just completed the Ha Giang Loop recently and thanks to that article, I was well prepared.

    I’m looking to tackle this route tomorrow. Have you considered splitting the layers, so users can toggle hotels, beaches, restaurants, etc? It would make the map much easier to review and focus on priorities.

    Thanks for the great content

    1. Tom says:
      September 7, 2022 at 8:24 AM

      Hi Zachary,

      Thanks. Yes, are you referring to map layers? If so, I do that in all my updated guides. You’ll notice if/when you use any of my guides/maps that were last updated in the last couple of years that I use map layers for different ‘categories’, such as hotels, routes, places to eat etc.

      Best,

      Tom

      1. Zachary says:
        September 7, 2022 at 8:56 AM

        Indeed, that’s the ideal. Just suggesting the idea of updating older guides to match, as these route guides are a big help to reference.

        1. Tom says:
          September 7, 2022 at 11:01 AM

          Hi Zachary,

          Thanks. Yes, that’s what I do: I update all my guides and maps, but there are hundreds of them, so I can’t keep them all up-to-date all the time. You can take a look at the top of each guide to see when the date of latest update was.

          Best,

          Tom

  2. Len Marcyanis says:
    March 11, 2021 at 9:09 PM

    When I served in Vietnam in 1967, I was sent to a small outpost in the Hai Van pass. We would take a shower up at a waterfalls coming down the mountain. I suppose that you have seen that waterfalls area in your travels? Could you comment on that specific area? Thanks, Len a Marine from 2/7 Echo Co. 81 mortars.

    1. Tom says:
      March 14, 2021 at 6:26 AM

      Hi Len,

      Thanks for your message and sharing that memory.

      I don’t know the exact waterfall you’re referring too, but I can imagine the scene. Indeed, while on roads trips in Vietnam I often stop to ‘shower’ under waterfalls too.

      Best,

      Tom

  3. Sharon says:
    June 22, 2019 at 8:25 AM

    Hello Tom….

    We love your information on Vietnam. Thank you so much for sharing all of your knowledge. Currently we are in Hoi An and planning a motorbike trip to SaPa with many stops along the way. Trying to find the “travel map of Vietnam” is near to impossible for us, after searching all over and calling the bookstore in DaNang, who do not have it. Any other suggestions as to where we can find it. Also what would you suggest is the best detailed online road map to use?

    Sharon & Chris

    1. Tom says:
      June 25, 2019 at 2:16 AM

      Hi Sharon & Chris,

      Yes, it can be very difficult to find the Travel Map. But these days most printed maps are fairly useless. For the online maps for Vietnam, Google is still best, but some people like using Maps.me because it’s available offline. However, it’s Google that has most of the roads. Google Maps is what I use to make my maps, like the one of the Hai Van Pass on this page, for example.

      Just make sure you get a local SIM card (preferably Viettel, because they get best coverage, even in the mountains) and you shouldn’t have too much trouble navigating your way around.

      I hope you have a great trip,

      Tom

  4. Tomas Richter Urban says:
    May 2, 2019 at 6:22 AM

    Hi, just wanted to say quick Thank You! My Hai Van Pass motorbike trip was a great experience even thanks to the article you posted. I followed your map including few detours and was amazed by couple of things I would not discovered otherwise. So thank you and all the best! Tomas

    1. Tom says:
      May 3, 2019 at 2:07 AM

      Hi Tomas,

      Thanks. That’s great to hear you enjoyed the Hai Van Pass, and that this guide helped you along the way.

      Tom

  5. Curtis says:
    March 20, 2019 at 8:58 AM

    We are planning on doing this tomorrow, do I need a motorbike license? I’m pretty confident on a bike and have rented a few in Asia already but I heard the police are hot in Vietnam.

    1. Tom says:
      March 20, 2019 at 11:23 AM

      Hi Curtis,

      Technically you do, but in reality many people don’t. If stopped by the police you’ll probably have to pay a fine.

      Tom

  6. Dale says:
    February 6, 2019 at 5:47 PM

    Hi Tom

    Im planing on driving the Hai van pass in the next few days, Ive already gone over Son Tra peninsula aka monkey mountain and found the Yamaha Novou 125 straining up some of the steep 15/18 % gradient roads. Is the Hai van as steep or more gradual than son tra? And are there any places to fill up the tank on the route ?

    Just want to know if I should get a bigger bike..
    Many thanks

    1. Tom says:
      February 7, 2019 at 12:57 AM

      Hi Dale,

      You should be fine on a Yamaha 125 up and down the Hai Van Pass – as long as the bike’s not in terrible condition, of course.

      There are no gas stations on the pass itself, but there are plenty of gas stations at fairly regular intervals on the roads either side of the pass. It’s not such a long ride, so if you make sure you brim your tank before you set off, you should be able to make it all the way between Danang and Hue on one tank.

      I hope this helps,

      Tom

  7. Carlos Ferreira Junior says:
    December 11, 2018 at 10:23 AM

    Hello Tom, great article and infos.

    One question, I’m going to Vietnam in January 18 until february 4. I never ride a motorbike but want to try to do Hue Hoi An. Do you thing I can do it? And the weather will help to do this trip in 1 day maybe 2?

    Thank you.
    Carlos

    1. Tom says:
      December 12, 2018 at 4:48 AM

      Hi Carlos,

      The weather can be quite wet and cloudy at that time of year in that region, especially around Hue. But you can ride between Danang/Hoi An and Hue in one day, and then back from Hue to Danang/Hoi An the next day. However, you should start in the morning to give yourself enough time.

      If you’ve never ridden a motorbike then you need to be very careful riding on Vietnam’s roads. You can contact Style Motorbikes, or Rent a Bike, or Tigit, or Dragon Bikes in Danang to rent a motorbike and they can give you some lessons before you go on your road trip. I think Style Motorbikes also offer one-way rentals, so you wouldn’t have to ride back again.

      I hope this helps,

      Tom

  8. Callum says:
    September 11, 2018 at 7:27 PM

    Hello, this route looks great! I have done the pass a couple of times but have always been directed through the laborious long highway roads, so I’m please I discovered this new route 🙂 However, when I open the ‘larger map’ I can see the route in google maps, but I can’t find an options to navigate with directions. My plan was to plug my headphones in and let google do the talking. If I am doing something wrong can you let me know how to access this feature.

    I’d rather not have my phone out constantly making sure that I am following the right path. I have some friends coming in less than a week and if you can let me know I’d greatly appreciate it!

    On a side note, an

    1. Tom says:
      September 12, 2018 at 12:15 AM

      Hi Callum,

      You can’t get Google navigation for this route – but it’s not difficult to follow this route on the map.

      If you need to have your GPS location on the route, you can export the map to KML and then upload that file to your maps.me app, then you will have the route on your phone with you current GPS location marked on it, so it’s easy to follow.

      In general in Vietnam, Google navigation only works for the routes that Google takes you down, which are most often not the most scenic routes to ride.

      I hope this helps,

      Tom

      1. Eryx says:
        August 14, 2019 at 10:44 PM

        Hi, i tried to download it into kml form.. And upload to maps. me but i still cant see any of the guided route shows in maps.Me
        Any suggestions?

        1. Tom says:
          August 15, 2019 at 4:58 AM

          Hi Eryx,

          Once you upload the KML file to Maps.me you should be able to see the route and icons on the map (not guided directions). If that does’t work, try googling something like: ‘how to export a google map to kml & upload it to (your device name)’

          Tom

  9. BG says:
    July 4, 2018 at 1:06 AM

    Hey Tom,

    I’ve been looking for information for awhile now on renting/riding a bike from Hoi An to Hue, and am so happy to have found this article. It’s terrific information – thanks! I hope I didn’t overlook this, but wanted to ask what kind of scooter or bike is typically rented for this kind of ride? (Like 50cc, 125, etc.?) Is a basic automatic scooter enough to get up and down the Pass, or will I need something a little more powerful? I have a few months before my trip and I’d like to take some practice rides around home as much as I can to get used to driving a bike, but was curious about what kind I’ll likely be renting there.

    Thanks again – I’m bookmarking your site now for future reference!

    1. Tom says:
      July 4, 2018 at 2:00 AM

      Hi BG,

      Yes, a standard automatic or semi-auto (usually around 125cc) is fine for this route. You can rent them from most places in Hoi An, Danang and Hue.

      I hope you enjoy the ride,

      Tom

  10. Redelvis says:
    May 20, 2018 at 1:33 AM

    Rode from Hoi An to a little ways beyond Lang Co. perfect weather and the scenery was excellent! I’d consider the ride around the Son Tra Peninsula as a must do part of the route. Also, the side trip from the top of the pass was a little intense for a while on a scooter. I have a lot of riding experience so I had no problems, but your average rider would probably not enjoy it. It was awesome though!

    Thank you so much for maintaining this blog. It is a gem!

    1. Tom says:
      May 20, 2018 at 4:20 AM

      Great to hear you enjoyed the route. Yes, I agree, Son Tra is a lovely area, and the road condition on the side route from the top of the pass are challenging.

      Tom

  11. Philip says:
    May 7, 2018 at 8:50 AM

    Hi there,

    Lovely post and a very informative one at that. I’m planning a trip to Hoi An & Da Nang and the Hai Van Pass is definitely one that I don’t want to miss. However, although we know how to ride a motorcycle, we do not have any sort of motorcycle license. How strict are the laws in VN and will we likely get in trouble for renting a motorcycle just to travel around the Hai Van Pass from and back to Da Nang? Or would your advice be to stick to a driver and have someone drive us around (although the experience will be a whole lot different from riding a bike)?

    Thanks in advance.

    1. Tom says:
      May 7, 2018 at 10:23 AM

      Hi Philip,

      In general, you should be fine riding the Hai Van Pass without a local license: Although technically foreign riders are supposed to have a local license, in reality most don’t. However, check what the current situation is regarding licenses by contacting any of the reputable motorbike rental companies that I mention on this page – they should be able to help.

      I hope this helps,

      Tom

  12. San says:
    April 1, 2018 at 4:37 AM

    This route is fantastic, we followed it word for word from Hoi an up to hue and it worked perfectly.

    Thanks so much for your effort in creating this.

    For felllow riders, one option is to skip the last part where you go the long way round the lake as it’s mucj longer and quite samey. You can go straight up the highway to Hue in under an hour instead of two. (If you’re tired or pressed for time)

    1. Tom says:
      April 1, 2018 at 6:12 AM

      Hi Sam,

      Thanks, it’s great to hear you enjoyed the ride. And, yes, it’ a much shorter ride if you take the highway to Hue, but I always prefer to avoid it when possible.

      Tom

  13. Jess says:
    February 16, 2018 at 8:52 AM

    Hi Tom,

    We are currently in Hoi An and have one full day left. Do you think it is possible to do Hoi An to the end of the Hai Van pass and back in a day comfortably with stops? Any help would be great!

    Thanks!

    1. Jess says:
      February 16, 2018 at 8:54 AM

      Hi Tom, sorry, after reading all the posts I missed the one below which had my answer! haha! thanks!

    2. Tom says:
      February 16, 2018 at 9:06 AM

      Hi Jess,

      Yes, you can ride from Hoi An to Lang Co (the end of the Hai Van Pass) and back in one day, but try to leave early to give yourself plenty of time to do it: the total distance is about 140km. Also, be careful on the roads tomorrow: because of Tet lots of people will be driving the Hai Van Pass and the celebratory mood sometimes leads to lots of careless driving.

      I hope you enjoy it,

      Tom

  14. Anja Robinson says:
    February 4, 2018 at 2:10 PM

    Hello!
    Great article! Thanks for the info! I’m planning on taking a motorbike along the route you suggested but I only have one day and I have to start and finish in Hoi An. Is it still worth it to go up to the pass and then return to the city? Thanks in advance for your help!
    Anja

    1. Tom says:
      February 4, 2018 at 3:11 PM

      Hi Anja,

      Yes, you can ride from Hoi An up to the top of the pass (or all the way to the other side of the pass at Lang Co) and then turn around and come back to Hoi An in one day. It’s worth it if the weather is good.

      I hope this helps,

      Tom

  15. Ricardo Rodriguez says:
    January 9, 2018 at 6:53 PM

    Hi,
    I am planning to ride from Hue To Da Nang, the thing is that at 8PM i need to be in Da Nang Airport.

    My question is if from Hue i can rent a motorbike and someone leave my backpack in the airport and also if i can leave the motorbike in the airport.

    1. Tom says:
      January 10, 2018 at 1:12 AM

      Hi Ricardo,

      I think that is quite unlikely, but try contacting Flamingo Travel, Tigit Motorbikes, or Style Motorbikes to see if they can organize that for you.

      I hope this helps,

      Tom

      1. Ricardo Rodriguez says:
        January 10, 2018 at 2:24 PM

        Thanks Tom, One last question my friend which route is better, better views, we are two young couples and we like to explore.
        We are going to do it from Hue
        Option 1: The shortest one through the south
        Option 2: Largest one through the north.

        Thanks again!

        1. Tom says:
          January 10, 2018 at 3:20 PM

          Hi Ricardo,

          The larger route is more scenic.

          Tom

  16. László Pencz says:
    December 7, 2017 at 1:29 PM

    Hello Tom,

    Do you think it is feasible to take the journey through the Hai Van Pass from Hoi An to Hue within one day?

    Thank you for the help,

    Best regards

    Laszlo

    PS.:We had just finished the Northern Extreme Loop based on your informations, it was amazing experience.Your advices were great.

    1. Tom says:
      December 8, 2017 at 12:38 AM

      Hi Laszlo,

      Yes, it is possible to ride from Hoi An to Hue via the Hai Van Pass in one day, but make sure you leave in the morning so that you have plenty of time to complete it.

      I hope you enjoy the ride,

      Tom

  17. Huracars says:
    October 12, 2017 at 4:52 PM

    I spend 2 hours to read your post. You give us many ideas to improve our services.
    Great article, Tom.

    1. Tom says:
      October 14, 2017 at 5:47 AM

      Thanks, I’m glad you enjoyed reading it.

      Tom

  18. Sarah says:
    May 10, 2017 at 7:55 PM

    Hi Tom,

    thank you for this great post. We are thinking of driving the Hai Van Pass but are not sure between which cities, due to time constraints we’ll probably have to choose. Which part is the most worthwile: Da Nang to Hue or Da Nang to Hoi An? I think the Pass itself is located between Da Nang and Hué only, is that correct?

    Thank you in advance for your advice!

    1. Tom says:
      May 11, 2017 at 2:41 AM

      Hi Sarah,

      Yes, that’s right: the Hai Van Pass itself is just north of Danang, on the way to Hue. So that is the section you should ride if you have limited time.

      I hope this helps,

      Tom

  19. David says:
    April 25, 2017 at 6:00 AM

    Hey Tom

    Great post man.
    Can you please help me recommending a motorcycle company which could rent us an automatic bike in Hue Airport to head down straight to Hoi An. We intent to take a bike as soon as we leave the airport on the 23rd may morning and head to hoi an to arrive the same day. It would be great if as you say they could also deliver our bags to our Hoi An hotel.
    Do you have any idea how much it would cost?

    Thanks in advance for your help

    1. Tom says:
      April 25, 2017 at 6:39 AM

      Hi David,

      Try contacting Rent a Bike Vietnam and Tigit Motorbikes, they should be able to help. There are links to both of them in the right sidebar and bottom of all my pages. You can mention Vietnam Coracle if you like, they know me.

      I hope this helps,

      Tom

  20. Fatima says:
    January 12, 2017 at 11:51 AM

    Hi Tom
    Really enjoying your blog – it’s very useful in planning my first trip to Vietnam.
    I’d like to do a day trip from Hoi An and go along the Hai Van Pass. Is this possible by car? I intend to hire a car and driver. Am mindful that cars go through the tunnel – are they not allowed on the pass itself? Would be very grateful for your input!

    Thanks,
    Fatima

    1. Tom says:
      January 12, 2017 at 12:30 PM

      Hi Fatima,

      Yes, cars can go over the Hai Van Pass too. I’m sure you can easily arrange a car and driver to take you from Hoi An 🙂

      Tom

      1. Fatima says:
        January 12, 2017 at 7:19 PM

        Thanks Tom!

  21. Valentin says:
    November 19, 2016 at 11:54 AM

    Hi Tom!

    It was a pleasure to read your blog. A friend of mine and I are going to stay in Hoi An from 20.11-24.11. We want to spend two whole days on motorbiking. It would be so great if you could recommend us something that could be combined with the pass.

    One more thing. We are both experienced bikers and want to rent a bike >150cc. Again, could you recommend something, either in Danang or Hoi An?

    Best regards and thank you, Valentin

    1. Tom says:
      November 19, 2016 at 3:49 PM

      Hi Valentin,

      For rental, try Rent a Bike Vietnam and Tigit Motorbikes, they both have offices in Danang and they are both good. You will find a link to both of them in the right sidebar and bottom of this page. You can mention Vietnam Coracle if you like, they know me.

      You could easily spend 2 days riding the Hai Van Pass from Hoi An to Hue and back again, or stop overnight by the beach near Lang Co or go up to Bach Ma National Park. Or you could extend your route to include the Golden Loop.

      I hope this helps,

      Tom

      1. Valentin says:
        November 20, 2016 at 12:49 AM

        Thanks for the prompt reply!

        The golden loop sounds fantastic!

        BR, Valentin

  22. Tuan says:
    September 19, 2016 at 8:29 AM

    Hi Mr Tom, i read your website many time. Its very signification for me and everybody. Can i have the pictures in this post (‘CHINESE WINDS’ BRING BAD WEATHER NORTH OF THE PASS), i ride from Hue to Da Nang many time. The view so amazing. I like riding motorbike, too. Thank in advance !!!

    1. Tom says:
      September 19, 2016 at 8:52 AM

      Hi Tuan,

      Thanks, I’m glad you like my website.

      You can use the picture as long as you say that it is originally from Vietnam Coracle.

      Tom

      1. Tuan says:
        September 19, 2016 at 9:50 AM

        yes, i will do that. Best Regards !!!
        Mr Tuan

  23. Tan Hoang Vo says:
    August 3, 2016 at 9:47 AM

    the most guide that I’ve read.
    Did you ride from hue to Hoi An via 14B via A Luoi – Prao – My Son – Hoi An, Tom?

    1. Tom says:
      August 3, 2016 at 10:11 AM

      Thanks, Tan.

      Yes, I’ve ridden 14B – I’ve written a guide to it here. It’s a great road.

      Tom

  24. maxime peters says:
    June 24, 2016 at 11:25 AM

    Heyy Tom,

    I am in Dalat right now and I was wondering what route you would recommend to go to Hoi An?
    I don’t want to take too many days and I am wondering what would be the best places to stay. I feel like Nha Trang is to close but I don’t know how to divide the road..

    Thank you in advance 🙂

    1. Tom says:
      June 24, 2016 at 11:50 AM

      Hi Maxime,

      The road to Nha Trang is very beautiful so it usually takes a few hours to get there. If you want to push on further from Nha Trang, you could continue up to Hon Gom Sandbar, Dai Lanh Beach or Vung Ro Bay (please read any comments at the bottom of these guides, because they may contain useful updates). After that, Quy Nhon and the beaches to the south and north of it is great. Quy Nhon City is a good place to spend the night or you can stay at Life’s a Beach or Haven which are both just south of the city.

      You can ride from Quy Nhon to Hoi An in a day if you like on Highway 1. Or you can take it slower by taking the much more scenic coastal back-roads instead. Have a look at the relevant section of my Beach Bum route map to see the roads I’m referring to.

      I hope this helps,

      Tom

  25. Elizabeth says:
    June 22, 2016 at 11:14 AM

    I’m in Hoi An now, want to go via Hai Van pass to Hue but can’t drive a motorcycle dammit, OK with riding pillion. Suffer from major bikerider envy! O the freedom! Top Gear video made it worse. Any suggestions on good way to get to Hue, solo traveller, 66 y.o. woman? By the way your advice on Saigon food was very helpful…and in Hoi An saw coracles in action today first time. Coracle, Oracle, you’ve been my fave guide in Vietnam these past couple weeks. Thanks!

    1. Tom says:
      June 23, 2016 at 4:37 AM

      Hi Elizabeth,

      You could try contacting Hoi An Motorbike Adventures – they might have someone who you can ride pillion with over to Hue. Also, try to find the Easy Riders in Hoi An and just pay one of them to ride you over the pass to Hue.

      I hope you work it out,

      Tom

  26. Kellie says:
    June 20, 2016 at 4:17 AM

    Ahh, now I see you said this:
    “The journey between the Hoi An/Danang and Hue via the Hai Van Pass is 100-160km depending on which route you choose to take. Driving time is approximately 3-5 hours, but allow at least another 3 hours for soaking up the scenery, stopping for seafood along the coast, coffee at the top of the pass, and for any unforeseen circumstances, such as bad weather and flat tyres.”

    So maybe from Danang to Hue it will be around 130km and around 4 hours? And I see you don’t have a post on Hue! Maybe it’s not that exciting?

    1. Tom says:
      June 20, 2016 at 8:30 AM

      Hi Kellie,

      Yes, the scenic route between Danang and Hue would probably take you around 4 hours. But, really, it depends entirely on you: how good the weather is, how many stops you make for food and photos etc.

      And yes, Hue is definitely worth at least a night. Great local food, lots of history, a good riverfront location, and friendly people.

      Enjoy!

      Tom

  27. Kellie says:
    June 19, 2016 at 9:20 AM

    Hey Tom!

    I asked you for advice about Mu Cang Chai and you’re always so spot on, so I thought I’d check your blog for tips about this drive- and again you have a lot of great info!

    Maybe I need to read through the post more slowly again since all the names of places are becoming a blur for me, lol– but you could tell me if you think that it’s a good day plan to leave early from Danang and go to Hue and check out Hue for a bit and then drive back to Danang, the same day…? Roughly how many hours drive each way you think it takes?

    And then do you think it’s worth it to drive to Hoi An too, when we go there another day, or if we do the big drive to Hue is that enough and should we just taxi to Hoi An?

    Love your advice, Thank you!!

    1. Tom says:
      June 19, 2016 at 12:44 PM

      Hi Kellie,

      I would definitely spend a night in Hue after riding there from Danang. You could do it there and back in a day if you really wanted to – but it would be a lot of driving and you would have to take the shorter route which is all on Highway 1, which would be a shame.

      If you do take the shorter route (all on Highway 1) then it would take about 3 hours in one direction). Personally, I would take the longer route (along the Thuan An Peninsular) and just spend a night in Hue before heading back to Danang.

      And, yes, the short ride from Danang to Hoi An is nice, easy and worth staying on the bikes for.

      Please bear in mind that this guide to the Hai Van Pass is due an update – so if you have anything to add after your journey please do let me know.

      Also, if you’re in that area and keen on motorbiking for a few days, check out my Golden Loop guide too.

      I hope this helps,

      Tom

      1. Kellie says:
        June 20, 2016 at 4:04 AM

        Tom~ thanks so much, really! We are planning our trip there right now~~ but I’ll also update here after we do it 🙂

        Now, our idea is to leave from our spot here in Danang early tomorrow morning to drive the long way to Hue (what was your guess for how many hours the longer route along the Thuan An Peninsular takes, sorry?! I know you said 3 hours for the Highway 1 route, but of course we want the view route!). And then we are thinking to check out Hue for a bit during the day (is this actually an interesting place to see and stay for a night in your book btw?), and then we will either drive back to Danang the following morning- or, if we are feeling like 1 drive was enough, we may put our motorbikes on the train and take the train back to Danang! I saw that you suggested the train as an option, so I called and found out that only the 6:40am train will allow passengers to tow bikes along, and you need to be there 45 mins early to fill out the paper to get your bike on. Maybe that info will help someone else 🙂 Will let you know how it goes!

        Cheers~~ Kellie

        1. Kellie says:
          July 1, 2016 at 3:47 AM

          Hey~ Just wanted to say that the drive was great! Loved the Hai Van Pass part of the drive 🙂 so glad I got the idea to do that from you! It was cool to drive past Lang Co as well. I kind of wish that we would have had more time in the day to stop and swim in the spots you mentioned, and take our drive more slowly– but we had to get to Hue, eat and get ready to get right back out to see some of the cultural spots there- and we hardly had time for that since places closed at 5:30! Guess we should have got an earlier start! We even had to take the Highway 1 route and it still took us at least 3-ish hours with a couple stops for photos/water. Even though we live and drive in HCMC, we’re not really used to longer drives sitting on the motorbike- so this trip was a good amount for us for 1 day. The Highway wasn’t too filled with cars as I was worried it would be either. But driving back to Danang in the same day would have been a little ridiculous haha. We were really happy with our decision to put the bikes on the train in the morning and ride back comfortably on the sleeper beds from Hue to Danang.
          Thanks again for your advice~~ Talk to you on the next trip 😉

          1. Tom says:
            July 1, 2016 at 8:12 AM

            Hi Kellie,

            Great to hear that you enjoyed the trip and that you managed to pack everything into the time you had 🙂

            If you want to try a different kind of road trip back in Saigon, check out my new Midnight Motorbike Loop – it’s great fun for a night out 🙂

            Enjoy,

            Tom

  28. Gene says:
    February 29, 2016 at 3:15 AM

    @Tom@VietnamCoracle
    great website. ive been reading for a year now.
    i did a 10-day northern loop last year. loved the karst formations, especially ma pi leng.

    i really want to do a coastal trip.
    -which area do you recommend for about 7 days please? less traffic, great views of the sea and hills/mountains, + some beaches.
    could it be hai van Pass?
    thanks!

    1. Tom says:
      February 29, 2016 at 8:48 AM

      Hi Gene,

      Yes, the Hai Van Pass is good – you could ride it as part of the Golden Loop which gives you some more beach roads and great mountains too.

      However, another excellent stretch of coast road is the new coastal route between Nha Trang and Vung Tau. The roads are in excellent condition and the beaches are superb: check out this route map. This road trip takes in the Nui Chua Coast Road, the Mui Dinh Coast Road, and the Sand Dune Highway.

      For more coast routes check out my Coastal Motorbike Guides Archive.

      I hope this helps,

      Tom

  29. Marcela says:
    January 17, 2016 at 5:43 AM

    Awesome. Very useful post. I’m planning to ride it in a week or so and I couldn’t find much “data point” information about it. Thanks for the time to described it with details. Respect.

    All the best!

    1. Tom says:
      January 17, 2016 at 1:30 PM

      Hi Marcela,

      Thanks. I hope you enjoy your trip!

      Tom

  30. David says:
    September 29, 2015 at 3:19 PM

    Great post, beautiful pictures!
    I did it last month, and now I want to recommend it to my friends but am too lazy to write about it and here I found your post!
    I appreciate you taking time detailing the motorbike route in Google maps, thank you!

    One more thing: If you time it right, on the way back to Da Nang, passing Hai Van Pass during sunset, is an amazing experience.
    I also found that from one of those cafes where you can park your bike, you can descend and hike to the beach beneath Hai Van Pass. Once getting there you are alone, in a different, (almost) isolated world…

    1. Tom says:
      September 29, 2015 at 3:45 PM

      Thanks, David.
      Hiking to the beach sounds great. I’d like to try that next time I’m riding over the Hai Van Pass 🙂
      Tom

      1. Jason says:
        July 27, 2016 at 12:15 PM

        The hike down to the beach is grueling but incredibly rewarding. About an hour straight down (and then back up) the mountain. Just before the shops at the top of the pass (if coming from Hue) there is a road that branches off. Follow that down until you see a building on your right, and just past that is a dirt path on your left that takes you down to the beach. Bring a snorkel, there’s lots of coral, anenome, and tropical fish just offshore.

        1. Tom says:
          July 28, 2016 at 2:00 AM

          Hi Jason,

          Thanks for the info – definitely sounds like a worthwhile hike, especially if there’s good snorkeling at the beach!

          Tom

  31. Sharon says:
    September 25, 2015 at 2:56 PM

    Great post! We’re driving from hoi an to hue but have no time for a night in the places you recommend which is a shame. Other than at the gate, are there any other places that you’d reccomend as good places to stop and take in the views?

    1. Tom says:
      September 26, 2015 at 8:14 AM

      Hi Sharon,

      The are plenty of great viewing points on the Hai Van Pass – you’ll know them when you see them 🙂 Fortunately, traffic is light on the pass so stopping by the side of the road to take in the views is not a problem. A particularly good viewing point is just before you drop down to the bridge on the north side of the pass. This is the spot where the Top Gear presenters stopped and stood in awe (as you’ll see in the video clip in this guide).

      I hope you enjoy the ride – everyone does 🙂

      Tom

  32. Jessica says:
    July 18, 2015 at 5:40 PM

    This blog is fantastic!! My boyfriend and I plan to ride the Hai Van Pass but are trying to figure out the best way to plan as we fly into Danang but want to ultimately end up in Hoi An. Is it difficult renting motorbikes for one-way trips (Danang to Hue)? Thank you!

    1. Tom says:
      July 20, 2015 at 1:10 AM

      Hi Jessica,

      I think you should be able to do that, yes. Although I don’t know a specific rental company in that area, try contacting Flamingo Travel as they might be able to assist you or a least point you in the direction of another rental agency.

      Failing that, the distance between Danang and Hue is not too far, and it’s a great ride, so you might want to ride in both directions anyway – it’s a fabulous trip, especially taking the Thuan An back-road so that you don’t have to be on Highway 1 too much.

      Have a great trip,

      Tom

  33. john obrien says:
    July 29, 2014 at 12:41 AM

    as always great photos and detailed narrative.thank you.

    1. Tom says:
      July 29, 2014 at 2:11 AM

      Thank you, John.

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