A group of riders seen navigating one of the big hairpin turns on the Hai Van Pass. Photo: Hidden Hoi An
The stunning Hai Van Pass, north of Da Nang in Vietnam has been named as one of the World’s Most Beautiful Drives.
The Pentagon Motor Group in the UK recently published their list “Are We There Yet?”: The World’s Most Beautiful Road Trip Routes. Number 1 was the Great Ocean Road in Australia but you don’t have to look far to find the Hai Van Pass at number 4.
The pass gained greater prominence following the broadcast of the BBC television show “Top Gear – Vietnam Special” from 2008 where presenter Jeremy Clarkson described it as “a deserted ribbon of perfection – one of the best coast roads in the world”.
Apart from the incredible views the pass also features the Tran Dynasty’s, Hai Van Gate, wartime gun towers, and a decrepit French-built fort that was later used as a bunker by South Vietnamese and US armies during the Vietnam War.
The pass forms a boundary between the northern and southern climates in Vietnam and the weather can be startlingly different at either end of the pass. In the winter it can be wet and cold at the northern end and warm and dry to the south.
Beware if heading to the area and expecting to travel on the pass. Much of the traffic between Hue and Da Nang now uses the Hai Van tunnel, built to relieve the pressure on the pass, which is a notoriously dangerous road that can be affected by adverse weather. If the Hai Van Pass is on your bucket list, make sure your transport uses that route before booking.
Many people choose to rent a motorbike or moped to experience the pass for themselves. Remember to check the weather as the road can become treacherous when wet not to mention the discomfort you may feel and many of the best viewpoints will be hidden.
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