Hai Van Pass Vietnam Among World’s Most Beautiful Drives

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.

“There is something about the idea of a road trip that gets everyone excited. Whether it’s a long, cross-country journey with your friends or a trip to your nearest beach with the family, you are sure to drive by a view that someone wants to capture on their phones. You only have to quickly scroll through Instagram to see hundreds of posts of keen travellers cruising along empty-yet-beautiful roads around the world. “

“With many people still being wary of international travel and staycations continuing to rise in 2021, we were curious to discover the most beautiful bucket list journeys that keen travellers can tick off in a Covid-friendly way, without leaving the comfort of their car. This was achieved by analysing over 7 million Instagram hashtags associated with the world’s most popular road trip destinations, and calculating how many Instagram pictures are shared per mile of the journey; the route with the most Instagram posts per mile being crowned the most picturesque in the world.”

Pentagon Motor Group

The Hai Van Pass translates as “ocean cloud pass” and is a 21 km (13 mile) mountain pass and runs between Da Nang and Hue.

The view from Da Nang’s Hai Van Pass, looking out over the Son Tra Peninsula. Photo: Greg McKeever

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.

Hai Van Pass, Vietnam. Credit upyernoz on flickr

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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Published by flyingdogtravel

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