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Hair Van Pass

The Hai Van Pass – Vietnam

The Hai Van pass in Vietnam is a 21km stretch of beautiful winding coastal road. The pass traverses the Annamite mountain range and offers one of the best driving experiences in the world. Featuring on most South East Asia backpackers ‘to-do list’, the Hai Van pass was announced to the world on Top Gears 2008 Vietnam Special. Clarkson and his crew rode motorbikes across the country and were quoted describing the Hai Van pass as “a deserted ribbon of perfection—one of the best coast roads in the world.”.

If you’re looking to experience the Hai Van Pass yourself, there are a number of options available. From guided tours to solo journeys. The most common mode of transport for backpackers is to experience the pass via motorbike. There are a few options available to you, joining part of guided moped tour, riding the pass by yourself or riding privately with a Vietnamese guide. Each option offers its own benefits and your choice really comes down to what you want to gain from the experience.

We opted for the private motorbike tour, accompanied by two friendly Vietnamese locals that took us from Hoi An to Hue. Here’s a run-down of the pro’s and cons of each option.

Private Bike Tour

The greatest advantage of a private tour is that from sitting on the back of a bike, you’re free to take in your surroundings and take as many photos as you like. Guides will provide interesting facts about the pass and stop when requested. We were taken to eat lunch at a remote restaurant just off the pass, eating traditional Vietnamese food, drinking a beer with our guides and were the only westerners in sight. Perfect.

You should look to pay around $40 per rider for you trip, we would gladly recommend Hue Adventures.

Moped Guided Tour

The guided moped tours looked like fun, you get to drive the pass yourself and really experience the winding roads. Occasionally we’d see groups slowed down by inexperienced riders, the road can be fairly dangerous and with large trucks passing and it can be a daunting first motorbike ride. Photo opportunities were limited to selective stops. Primarily because 20 mopeds can’t just pull up on the side of the road and take photos.

Solo Riders

It’s pretty common for backpackers to buy their own motorbikes when travelling Vietnam. Usually opting to ride the length of the country, North to South or vice versa. If you fall into this category then the pass will be a ‘ride in the park’, if not it’s possible to rent a moped for the day. You can pick up a rental in Da Nang and drop it off in Hue. This option is a little more risky if you’re not used to the crazy Vietnamese roads, but gives you the benefit of freedom and allows you do what you want. Stopping to take photos and ambling along the pass offers the best of both options above.

Moped rental works out around $12 a day – Never leave your passport with the renter!

If you don’t fancy motorbikes, it’s possible to join part of a guided bus tour. Our advice would be to choose one of the above options and take a motorbike over the pass. The bus didn’t look as much fun to us, 30 hot, sweaty tourists rushing to take photos, no thanks!

 

Hai Van Pass

Hai Van Pass

Hai Van Pass

Hai Van Pass

Hai Van Pass

Hai Van Pass

Popular Stops on Route:

  • The Communications Tower atop the Pass
  • China Beach
  • Elephant Waterfalls
  • Fishing Villages
  • Lang Co Beach
  • The Marble Mountains

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