We had heard about Hai Van Pass many times before and were planning to eventually see it, but there was always something else to do. Last weekend we were looking for a nearby lake and made a wrong turn. After a few minutes we found ourselves driving on Hai Van Pass and we completely forgot that we were looking for something completely different.
The pass stretches for over 20 km on the National Route A1 through Truong Son Mountain Range and reaches its highest peak of 496 meters. The road swirls around the green hills and provides beautiful views over the sea and its pristine beaches. This is one of the most popular road trips you can do in Central Vietnam and the route is busy with Easy Riders, driving their customers on the back of big motorbikes, and independent travellers, speeding on their scooters.
A long time ago, in the 15th century, this route marked the border between Vietnam and the Kingdom of Champa. During the American War it was used as a significant strategy point. Nowadays, you can visit abandoned bunkers and what is left of a French fort built at the summit and later used by Vietnamese and American armies.
It took us around 2 hours to drive through the pass and come back to the city. We stopped multipule times to admire the beautiful views and take some pictures. The road was pretty good and seemed safe. However, every now and then we encountered goats and cows that just walked on the road not caring the least that they could be driven over by a passing vehicle. Huge trucks, filled with pigs or coconuts and road works didn’t make it easier, but most of the time we felt that the road was excellent to drive.
Hai Van Pass connects Hue and Da Nang and if you are a little scared of driving, you can admire the views from a train that goes through exactly the same route.