Located along the central coast of Vietnam, the Hai Van Pass is situated on the Hai Van Mountainside and connects the 2 major destinations of Da Nang and Hue. It is approximately a 21 kilometers long stretch on the National Highway 1. Its name refers to the phenomenal mist that rises from the South China Sea that vastly reduces visibility, creating a dangerous challenge for drivers. Since then, the Hai Van Tunnel which is the longest in south east Asia, has created a safer path and the traffic flow has been improved with an reduced amount of accidents. Its also reduced the travel times by over an hour. In the past, this area has been victim to 2 of the most serious railway accidents in Vietnam and at least 1 recorded plane crash.
( Hai Van Pass – Things to do)
The Hai Van Pass once formed the boundaries between the kingdoms of Dai Vet and the kingdoms of Champa, as well as an invisible boundary of climates between the north and south of Vietnam. It is said that the Hai Van pass shelters Da Nang from the “Chinese winds” that blow from the northwest, one of the reasons Da Nang is known for its ideal weather. During the winter months, the weather on the north side of the pass may appear to be wet and cold, where as the weather on the south side may be warm and dry. The Hai Van Pass is recognized internationally for its scenic beauty and featured in an 2008 episode of the popular TV show Top Gear, where host Jeremy Clarkson labelled it a “deserted ribbon of perfection and one of the best coastal roads in the world”.
The journey between Da Nang and Hue will take just over 2 hours (100 kilometers) and a further 40 minutes to Hoi An (130 kilometers). Travelers use many methods when crossing the paths: Shuttle services, private car or renting a motorbike themselves. The best time to travel through across the Hai Van Pass is in the dry season, between April and October. Other times of the year can be rather gloomy and can not give the full experience, however it is obvious that many travelers cannot choose the time in which they visit. For those traveling by motorbike, it is recommended that you use a good bike as the incline can be challenging at times. Nearby to the Hai Van Pass you will also find the Lang Co area which offers some beautiful beaches and countryside views, as well as some of the freshest seafood you can find in the area.