The Hai Van Pass
The Hai Van Pass is a famous piece of coastal road connecting the tourist town of Hoi An to the beautiful old city of Hue. The Hai Van pass shows off mountains on one side with spectacular coast on the other, looking way out and deep into the sea.
The stretch of road was initially made famous by the Top Gear Vietnam special TV show, where the boys describe the scenario as a “metaphor of Vietnam”. With mountains, coast and a little boat buzzing through the sea all in one scene.
Benefits of the Hai Van Pass Route
- A short duration of around 4/5 hours.
- This route enables casual travelers on a more normal touristy holiday to have a glimmer into the world of motorbiking in Vietnam without over-committing.
- Plenty of very cheap motorbike rentals that specialize in connecting Hue to Hoi An specifically for the Hai Van Pass.
- Join hundreds of other backpackers (depending on time of year), many of whom have never driven a motorbike before.
- Recognition and fame among your peers for driving the “Hai Van Pass’, which is the most famous road in Vietnam.
- As of 2021 the Hai Van Pass can now be a loop using a new tunnel through the Mach Ma National Forest.
Downsides of the Hai Van Pass
- It is a nice road, but over-rated. There are plenty of roads in Vietnam that are far more beautiful. This acclaimed fame of beauty distracts travelers from doing the truly amazing roads.
- The alternative road to the Hai Van Pass (described below), is far more beautiful than the Hai Van Pass.
- Its easy accessibility between two major tourist towns creates large quantities of backpackers who can’t drive on a twisty mountain road. Each and every crash makes the news and damages the image of motorbiking Vietnam.
- The very cheap scooters used to promote the Hai Van Pass to backpackers has run prices into the ground. This has a knock on impact on safety and quality.
- To get to the Hai Van Pass requires driving on a busy highway with trucks. First time riders are often sent straight out onto a highway with a plastic $2 helmet and a $150 scooter.
Renting Motorbikes for the Hai Van Pass
Generally, Tigit is known for long distance motorbike travel from Ho Chi Minh to Hanoi. To deal with this long distance, Tigit’s fleet of motorbikes is modern and kept in flawless condition. These are not cheap “backpacker motorbikes” designed for surviving quick one day rentals, but motorbikes designed for enormous journeys under our perfect reputation across the internet.
It is possible to rent from our Tigit Danang office and use the drop off service of “somewhere else” to send back to Tigit. However, the Hai Van Pass is not a service we specialize in.
If the Hai Van pass is enough to get you started with motorbiking, then it is possible to continue onward with one of our motorbikes under the standard Tigit contracts, hopefully all the way to Hanoi!
Danang loop using the Bach Ma National Forest
It is now possible to do a one-day loop from Danang back to Danang, which creates a extra one day motorbike activity. This new addition shows off mountains on one side with a deep blue river on the other. At this time, it is still a remote section of road and there will not be mechanic shops or food stalls around.
One way Motorbike rental Hai Van Pass
The total journey between Hoi An and Hue is around 5 hours. From Tigit Danang to the peak of the Hai Van pass is around 1 hour of driving. It is then possible to do the entry-mid level offroad loop back to Danang. To make a full day of driving, head into Son Tra Peninsula.
At the top of the Hai Van Pass
At the top of the Hai Van Pass is a small tourist site of abandoned buildings. This is a quick 5 minute stop to snap some pictures to prove you have been to the top of the Hai Van Pass. There doesn’t appear to be any care to explain what these items are here for or the history behind them. They are there for taking pictures and that is all that really matters.
Renting Motorbikes for a glimpse of the Ho Chi Minh Road
Under-rated and a missed opportunity for most travelers is the easy access to one of the most beautiful mountain roads in the world. The loop of Danang inland along the QL14E or QL14B bring us over to the Laos border which is the beginning of the famous Ho Chi Minh road. This is the road that most travelers on a motorbike comes to witness. We very quickly leave the cities of the coast and go out into very remote Vietnamese countryside.
Places to stay in “A luoi” make this loop accessible for entry level riders or people wanting a quick taster on motorbikes. This drive connects an amazing loop of Danang, the start of the Ho Chi Minh road, Hue and the Hai Van Pass.
Technically this road is before the famous section of the Ho Chi Minh road. However, we get to witness amazing remote tunnels built through mountains. This piece of road is one of the best in the country but is overshadowed by the shorter, more accessible Hai Van pass. We highly recommend creating 3/4 day loops in this area!