Welcome to Vietnam! This article will share the must-know experiences for anyone wishing to experience Hai Van Pass by motorbike – an excellent road in Central Vietnam. The information includes the history of the Hai Van pass, notes on how to ride a motorbike through the pass, some ideal stops, and more.
Don’t miss this beautiful route! One place in Vietnam, you can weave through the cliffs and see the vast coastline. From Da Nang, it takes about half an hour to travel. From Hoi An, it takes about one and a half hours. Now, let’s explore Hai Van pass with me!
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What information about the Hai Van pass should you know?
Hai Van Pass is located in central Vietnam with nearly 21 km, connecting Da Nang city and Lang Co beach of Thua Thien Hue province. That is also the highest pass in Vietnam with an altitude of over 500 meters from sea level.
Drivers can admire the majestic and breathtaking views of misty mountains, coincidentally on the East Sea, stretching green beaches, unspoiled forests, and dazzling city lights plunging into a winding road with light bends and some challenging curves.
Hai Van Pass and Truong Son range are essential evidence in the history of the Vietnamese people. The road inclines up to 11 degrees. When driving from the South, you can admire Da Nang city’s entire winding road; From the North, you will be surprised by sparkling Lang Co beach.
In terms of Geography, the mountain range separates the climate of this country into two South-North. Winds blowing from China’s northwest to Da Nang will be blocked by the mountains, creating a considerable climate difference. In winter, from around March to November each year, the North is relatively cold and humid, while the South stays warm and dry. It would be best if you kept this in mind in planning your trip.
How about the history of the Hai Van Pass?
For centuries, this way played an essential role in the separation between the two countries of Champa and Dai Viet. Unshielded, steep mountains create difficult obstacles to conquer or to overcome.
During the war against the US of the Vietnamese army, this was also the lifeline connecting the city of Hue and Da Nang. The top of the pass plays a strategic position, helping to prevent invaders from entering Dai Viet.
Discover the Emperor Minh Mang’s Brick Gate
In the 19th century, King Minh Mang built a large brick gate in the middle of a pass. On one side of this gate, he had the words “Greatest Entrance in the World” engraved. Around the gate are battle bunkers built by the French army during the First Indochina War – the Vietnamese people known as the War against French colonialism – which were later taken over and used by the US military, in service of its war Vietnam.
Currently, that is a route connecting the two provinces of Quang Nam and Thua Thien Hue.
Before the Hai Van tunnel was built in 2005 with a length of 6 km, it was a central traffic congestion point between the North and South of Vietnam. This place is considered a dangerous route with frequent accidents, but now it has been renovated to be less steep and much safer.
It is currently mainly used for passenger cars, motorbikes, and oil tankers; vehicles are not allowed to travel through the tunnel. The main train line connecting Saigon Hanoi also passes through and around the mountains but at a lower altitude. When you move through here, you need to be careful of your views.
When is the best time you should visit the Hai Van pass?
The best time to visit this pass is the dry season (around September every year). The weather is relatively pleasant and calm around this time, though still sunny, but not as harsh as early summer. You can also visit here in the rainy season, but be careful because the road is quite slippery and the weather is foggy, rainy – not easy for those who are not used to motorbike driving.
Because the pass is relatively high, many mountains are surrounding, so your view may be covered. However, the picture below is still outstanding; you can enjoy it. The feeling when passing through the pass is like you are in the middle of a dense ecological forest, many trees or you are lost in a Jurassic Park.
You should bring some essential tools when passing here: sunscreen, raincoats, long sleeves, and pants – if you go in the dry season, the sun can make your skin tanned and dull. If you go in the cold season (near the end of the year), you should bring some thin coats to help keep your body temperature stable and absorb well. Don’t forget to bring some water because it’s hard to find a convenience store on the pass.
Riding Solo – What do you need to know when riding solo in Hai Van pass in Danang?
One of the simple ways and exciting experience when coming to Da Nang is that you rent a motorbike and go around the pass; you can even stop in Hue if you like. That is why people often like to drive through Hải Vân Pass by themselves. However, I want to note that you should retool the motorcycle well enough because there are many narrow and relatively dangerous bends on the pass.
If you depart from Hoi An, you will need about 1 hour to reach the foot of the first pass, and then it will take you about 45 minutes to go through the pass by motorbike. Extend your journey by stopping to take a few photos and enjoy the fresh air at the top of the mountain pass.
It would be best if you rent a motorbike
There are many motorbike rental locations in Hoi An or Da Nang. Prices are relatively cheap and depend on the length of the trip. If you want to travel from Hoi An or Da Nang to Hue, rent a car for about one day, you can bring your luggage along more quickly.
A little note for you: look for a mid-range motorbike to rent. It will be interesting when you climb to the top of the pass at the same speed as a truck. Daily motorbike rental in Da Nang or Hoi An ranges from around $ 3 to $ 7 – depending on where you rent it and the type of vehicle.
How about Hai Van Pass Route?
What are the directions from Danang to the Hai Van Pass?
Departing from Hoi An to Hai Van Pass is the beautiful coastal roads, you will enjoy the expansive ocean view to the majestic mountains along the way. If you are departing from Da Nang, the route will be a bit more complicated. It would be best if you referred to the course on the edge of the city, avoid going through the central area of Da Nang, the best way for Hai Van pass motorbike tour, it will be much more exciting and comfortable. Google Maps can help.
Departing from Hoi An, you go along the main road from Hai Ba Trung street to An Bang beach, then turn left at the last point at the traffic light. Walk along this coastal road for about 20 km until you see a large roundabout. Turn left here and went straight until two big roundabouts until you reach the Dragon Bridge – the iconic Da Nang city’s iconic bridge.
When crossing the bridge, turn right to continue along the Han River banks for the next 2 km and to the left of the intersection. Then, you head straight to the roundabout. At the end of the road, turn left, and on the road next to the sea, you will see the central highway axis. Just go along this route, you will find the beginning of the Hai Van pass.
The Best Viewing Stops on the Hai Van Pass you should visit
One of the reasons you should experience the Hai Van pass motorbike tour is the beautiful scenery. There are many great places to stop and relax here. As a side note, bring a towel or a small rug to cover your saddle when stopping to enjoy the scenery or take pictures. The sun will make you feel pain and discomfort when you sit up after a minute or two.
Explore the Old French Bunker
The first is the old French observation spot on the top of here. Currently, a few restaurants are operating simultaneously where the tourist buses stop, very crowded and bustling. You can admire the beautiful scenery of the pass from North to South.
Nothing can stop you from getting a good shot at all times of the day. Be careful of trucks passing suddenly or heavy traffic. It is the best place to take photos at sharp corners or unobstructed corners. In particular, there is a sizeable last view corner at the top of Hai Van pass.
Besides, you can also find yourself a great view of the sea. One of the best views is that it is horizontal before you cross the train tracks at the end of the pass. From here, you can admire the beauty of the peaceful Lang Co beach, a small town, and the bridge leading over Hai Van pass. That is also the place that was introduced in the show Hai Van Pass Top Gear in 2008.
How can you find food and drinks?
As mentioned above, you should bring a bottle of water with you and some snacks (maybe bread or snacks). Thus, you can stop and enjoy your meal on the pass. You can also buy food along the way; however, I’m not sure there are as many choices for you as there are shops in the city. At the top of the pass, convenience stores sell cold drinks and coffee, accompanied by snacks or snacks. The price here is a bit higher than you buy in the city, of course, because it is a tourist spot.
If you want to save money or look for restaurants with low prices, consider the restaurants on the two sides. On the south side of the pass, you can choose from one of the many restaurants around the city of DaNang. In the North, facing Hue, you can find some seafood restaurants near Lang Co beach.
How about optional extras?
In my opinion, and many tourists have visited Danang, Hai Van Pass is indeed a star on vacation in Danang, Vietnam, but that does not mean there is nothing else for you to explore. One of the best views is to visit the roads around the two sides of the mountain pass.
If you want to increase the excitement of your day trip on Hai Van Pass, consider taking a detour or a different direction.
Off the Beaten Track you should know
Starting from the corner before reaching the top, there is a small winding road; some other points are just dirt roads. This path goes around the mountain below the bustling main viewpoint and offers a great view without tourists being distracted. However, this is a challenging trail with a high level of danger, so make sure you have enough motorbike driving experience. This road is also connected to the main road going through the pass, and it will take you about 1 hour to travel.
Son Tra Peninsula – the first stop
Do not forget the Son Tra peninsula in the list of stops when stopping by Hai Van Pass. This place is an exciting stopover for anyone. It is surrounded by mountains and lush trees with a slope of about 20 percent (at some road points), giving you an enjoyable experience.
On the peninsula, you can visit Linh Ung Pagoda, where the Buddha statue is nearly 70m high; you can see Da Nang city’s panorama from above. This place is a plus for tourists when visiting Danang and Hai Van Pass.
It would help if you went along the main road right from Hoi An beach, similar to when you go along the pass route to get here. Follow the path closest to the beach to reach the peninsula. Going around the island, including stopping at the observatory, will take about an hour for the ride and only about 0.1 dollars for parking on the top of the hill.
Note, some ramps are difficult to navigate, so beginners should be careful about riding a motorbike. If you are a confident racer and want to go the end of the ramp on your own, do the turn clockwise. If you are unsure of getting into your steering wheel, do the favor counter-clockwise – safer and more comfortable.
Lang Co Beach – the last stop
In the North of the pass is towards Hue, here you can admire the peaceful scenery of a fishing village in Lang Co beach. It is divided by a small river and a highway. You can find a few fresh seafood restaurants at affordable prices here, and the ocean here is also stunning. Turn left at the gas station after crossing the river, and the path will lead you to a pristine beach with few people passing by.
Some restaurants here let you park your car. However, please pay attention to the weather here. The sun usually rises very early, and the sun is bright. If you want to swim, choose a morning or evening time. You can swim but be careful because the waves here are quite strong.
What are the directions from Danang to Hue via the Hai Van Pass?
Tourists visiting Hoi An often choose a trip from Hoi An to Hue by motorbike tour and crossing the Hai Van pass. That is a popular route because it is so fun and fun. There are plenty of beautiful surroundings that you can do in a day, including stops to relax.
You can go on this one-way trip or opt to stay for one or two nights. You can also turn it into a long motorbike tour. You can go around from Hoi An, through Prao, then to Hue and then finally back to Hai Van pass and back to Da Nang.
What is the other side of the pass?
Once you are on the other side of the pass, you have two options for coming to Hue. The fastest way, you can follow the main highway that goes straight to the city; it takes about three and a half hours from Hoi An city. However, another suggestion is to walk on the road beside the separating beach after Lang Co beach. Here, you can go through small towns, with paths that loop through great beaches. It may take you about four and a half hours, but it is worth it. Please refer to my journey on Google with the Hai Van pass map.
Motorbikes are banned from passing through the Hai Van tunnel. You can use the 24/7 shuttle service for around $ 1.2 for taking a motorbike through the tunnel. As a result, you will save 30 minutes of travel and about 20 km for the journey.
How about the guided motorbike tours of The Hai Van pass?
It will be challenging if you are not confident in driving a motorbike when passing Hai Van Pass. There are so many beautiful sights, so it’s hard to remember where to go. If you want to see the full range of exciting places, but don’t want to go alone, consider a few tours. Not only the local tour guide, but you also feel safer and enjoyable experiences when not missing any place here.
In Hoi An, it is not difficult to see a few cyclists approach and recommend tours around the surrounding countryside or more remote locations such as Hai Van Pass. However, you should carefully consult the price and the included service to ensure you have an enjoyable and safe trip. Of course, pay attention to the harmony between you and the driver. Since you’ll enjoy the ride with the rider throughout the journey, you can’t miss this.
Here is a list of a few reputable providers of bicycle/motorbike tours from Hoi An to Hai Van pass that you might consider:
Hoi An Motorbike Adventures – 1st tour company
Founded in 2009, it is now the largest motorbike tour operator in Central Vietnam. Here gather people with long experience in operating trips from Hoi An to Hai Van pass. Trips are also varied, three days or two days or less, one-way or two-way from Hoi An to Hue. You can choose to ride your motorbike if you want.
The price of a round trip tour for the whole day falls around 85 USD.
Office address: Nguyen Chi Thanh, Trang Keo hamlet, Cam Ha, Quang Nam
Vespa Adventures – the most amazing tour
This company provides diversified tours around Hoi An and exploration of Vietnam, even going from Vietnam to Cambodia. You will experience the Hai Van Pass with a Real Vespa. Their Hoi An to Hue trip runs all day with prices starting at around $ 160; you can go in the opposite direction from Hue to Hoi An.
Office Address: 134 Tran Cao Van, Quang Nam
Easy Rider Hoi An – the most friendly tour
That is a small travel agency operated by Mr. Thong for many years with the tour from Hoi An through Hai Van pass, and he understands the stops in the journey. They offer one-day round trips through the access as well as longer and further trips to Hue.
Prices for a full day round trip tour from Hoi An via Ngu Hanh Son, Danang to Hai Van Pass range is around $ 42.
Office Address: 109 Le Hong Phong, Quang Nam
Interesting Jeep tours of the Hai Van Pass
If you don’t like two-wheeled motorbikes, consider the old Jeep pass tour. The car can carry two or three passengers, so this is an excellent choice if you travel in small groups or can not drive a motorbike. Most Jeeps are convertibles, so it feels just as good as riding a motorbike.
Currently, Hoi An Jeep Adventures offers tours from Hoi An, Hue to Hai Van mountain pass, with about $ 145 per person. Tours usually require two or more guests to depart. However, one passenger can also use this service, if desired.
The cheapest tour – bus tours of the Hai Van pass
If you travel through Hai Van Pass by bus, you will stop in Hue. The interesting point is that all buses going from Danang to Hai Van pass will stop for you to take pictures. That is the cheapest way to return to Hue. But certainly not as enjoyable an experience as riding by motorbike or Jeep.
Indeed, Hai Van Pass is an exciting destination for any tourist when visiting Danang or Hoi An in Vietnam. It would be a pity to miss this place on my trip list. Stop here to feel the top of the majestic Truong Son range and Hai Van pass Vietnam war. That is the way with beautiful sea views. You can depart from Danang city to Hai Van pass; it will be closer than you go from Hoi An. Have an excellent trip to Danang, Hoi An, Hue city, and Hai Van pass!