Hai Van Pass, between Da Nang and Hue, is said to be one of the most scenic and beautiful roads in the world. The road is flanked by the South China Sea on one side and the Annamite mountain ranges on the other. The pass stretches for 19 km and serves as a link between the north and south of Vietnam.
It is usually not crowded because most of the traffic gets diverted to the shorter route, which goes through the mountain. Driving through Hai Van Pass is the perfect adventure for backpackers, who can be seen riding bikes or hiking rides in groups along the scenic pass.
Driving through the pass is a perfect day trip from the nearby cities of Danang, Hoi An and Hue.
One can undertake either a day trip on a bike or car to the pass, which lies around 28 kilometres from Danang. Those who are not used to Vietnam’s haphazard traffic need not worry as the road to and from the pass is well-made and not crowded.
Pine trees and clouds covering parts of the mountain, with the sea peeking between them, create a view to behold. It was also called 'Street Without Joy' as it connected the two cities that had seen the worst of the American - Vietnamese war.
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While the drive itself is quite pleasing, there are several sites along the way that you can make stopovers at while driving on this stunning highway. These include:
1. Fishing Village
As soon as you exit the village Hue, you will come upon a tiny fishing village. Depending on which direction you are headed to the village falls on your right or left-hand side. While there isn't much to see here, the villagers making an honest living fishing the treasures of the sea among green and serene surroundings is a welcome respite on your drive.
2. Elephant Springs
The perfect place to make a stopover, Elephant Springs are steady stream water that flows into green pools below. However, be warned as there are very few English signs along the way, so you are well-advised to add these stops on your map before you leave.
3. Lang Co Beach
While Lang Co Beach can be seen from the highway itself, it takes a skilled navigator to make their way to the beach itself! If you are lost, you can wait for one of the locals to show you the way. You are also likely to come upon stunning vistas of blue and silvery-white shores. The waters are also inviting and quite safe to swim in.
4. Marble Mountains
Just a few kilometres shy of Da Nang, the Marble Mountains stand as silent sentinels of the city. Rich with relics of Buddhist Pagodas, temples, and caves, the marble mountains are worth a quick detour.
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