Crossing the Hai Van Pass

Caitlin Adventure, Asia, Exploration, Featured, Places, Vietnam Leave a Comment

Basically in the middle of Vietnam, lying somewhere between Hue in the north and Da Nang in the south lies the Hai Van Pass.

This is a 21km stretch of road that rises up into the mountains of the Annamite Range.

Rising nearly 500m above sea level, I decided that this little stretch of road was going to be a little out of my league in my cycle across Vietnam. I didn’t want to miss any of the action though, so I opted to swap my two wheels for a ride with the Le Family Riders.

Things began when I was picked up at my hostel in Hue. I waited, surrounded by my various bags and bicycle, until a member of the family arrived on his motorbike. He relieved me of all my bags and rode off… Wondering if I’d just lost all of my possessions, he quickly returned to take me to the company’s office and arranged for my bike to be picked up. All my gear was being taken into Hoi An via car while I was being taken across on the back of a motorbike.

After meeting my fellow tourers, we set out. Most of us had opted to ride as pillion passengers, with two people getting their own bikes.

After leaving Hue, we were immediately on the backroads – roads that I’m sure I wouldn’t have been able to find if I’d been planning the ride myself.

Our first stop for the day was Elephant Spring – a spot known mostly by the locals and used as a swimming hole.

After an hour or so of relaxation, we ventured on to a fishing village where we jumped aboard a floating restaurant for lunch (without the fish for me). All the food was delicious, and the moment a plate was empty, it was refilled – like magic!

With our bellies full, and food comas setting in, we were whisked back onto the bikes and into the cool air of the Hai Van Pass. Top Gear gave fame to this pass, calling it “one of the best coast roads in the world.” Unfortunately, the pass must frequently get covered in mist, earning it the name Ocean Cloud Pass – and this is definitely the experience I had.

Descending into Da Nang, it was like entering a whole new country. The pass acts as a barrier blocking the weather coming south from China. This meant that we finally got to see some of the stunning views the pass is famous for, as the skies began to clear and the humidity went up a notch.

For a final stop, before riding into Hoi An, we headed to Marble Mountains in Da Nang (quite convenient otherwise I’d have seen nothing of this city). These mountains are actually just five small hills named after the five elements – metal, fire, wood, water and earth. There are a number of caves, tunnels and buddhist sanctuaries across the Mountains, providing plenty to explore.

Eventually, we pulled into Hoi An around 5:30pm. After a quick rest, and a small push towards having some clothes tailored at the Le Family’s “cousins”, we were whisked off to our respective hotels (me on the motorbike and one of the family having a go on my bicycle).

If you’d like to do the tour with the Le Family, head to their website for contact details. Tripadvisor reviews show you just how popular they are!

Read More at: Vietnam Travel

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* This is not a sponsored post. I just wanted to put a little more oomph into things by showing which company I went for. A lot of companies have some sweeeeet reviews, so look around and find which is best for you!