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Love, Trust, and a little bit of Wanderlust If we don't try we will never know, in the end we only regret the chances we didn't take.

The Hai Van Pass

VIETNAM | Tuesday, 6 June 2017 | Views [391]

Time to hit the road! We dropped our rucksacks off at the scooter shop (they will send them to Hue on a bus for us) and picked up our scooter. We were relieved to see it was pretty new and looked in good condition. Over the past few days we've seen some horrific looking bikes that I wouldn't trust to get me to the end of the road. We got a map, checked the bike over and jumped on. 

This route featured as part of an episode of Top Gear a few years ago, an episode that made the 'Hai Van Pass' famous. The tourist trade of Vietnam have obviously monopolised on this, they would be daft not too, and plenty of travel agents and scooter rentals offer options to ride the route. The most popular seemed to be the 'easy rider' where one of their drivers rides the bike and you ride on the back. The hubby wasn't even considering this, and to be honest neither was I as we like the idea of having the freedom to stop when we like and do what we wanted. So we had opted just to rent and ride ourselves. 

Getting out of town was interesting. The hubby has a full bike licence but it's been a few years since he rode, and never with me on the back. The traffic was crazy, as it has been everywhere. No one indicates, many bikes don't stop at traffic lights, most people drive on the wrong side of the road instead of queuing in traffic, but we made it out to the costal road which opened up and was much calmer. 

On the route were a few places we could stop. We chose to stop at the Marble Mountains first. As soon as we arrived we knew we wouldn't stay too long. It was over run by masses of tour groups with 30-40 people in each group. We had timed it as well as we could. The groups were just getting off the busses so we rushed for tickets and headed up quickly. When we got to the top there were some impressive views of the surrounding towns and out to sea, although it was a little cloudy. The mountains themselves were incredible to see. The time and effort it must have taken to create the sculptures and carvings is difficult to imagine. We managed to see some of the caves with only a few other people in them. Again this place had a mix of influences from different cultures, with its Buddha statues, Japanese carvings, pagodas and temples. As we predicted we didn't stay too long. It was great to see but quickly became too crowded and difficult to get around on the narrow steep staircases. 

We headed back to the bike and set off again. After about an hour we were well into the Hai Van Pass road. It was surprisingly quiet, a few other bikes, the odd few busses and lorries, but generally it was calm. The views were breathtaking. We found a little shack cafe at the side of the road. We pulled over and the little Vietnamese lady came to greet us. She sat us down and brought us drinks, offered us food and pointed to a large boulder type rock in front of us. It protruded out of the hillside and had steps carved into it to make it easier to climb. We headed onto it to take some photographs. The owners have certainly profited from the location because the views from the rock are the best we saw along the Pass. 

While we sat taking in the view we quickly realised that we were both burning, the hubby's arms where turning a nice shade of lobster and my thighs weren't far behind. We topped up the factor 50 before we set off again but something told me it was beyond help.


The Pass is difficult to describe. Even as a novice bike passenger I absolutely loved the experience. I would recommend it to anyone as it's so simple, the maps are pretty accurate, it's easy to stop whenever you need too and you don't have to battle with traffic.... that is, until you hit Hue.


We knew we were close as the roads where getting wider and the traffic getting thicker. We were back in the thick of it with insane drivers who obviously didn't value their lives! By this time the hubby was more than confident (thank God) and was able to hold his nerve when needed, even I didn't freak out too much, apart from squeezing his sides or shoulders as if they where breaks whenever it got a bit to close for comfort... sorry!

By this point we had been on the road for about 5 hours. We were both burnt, windswept and starving! We spent about 30 minutes battling through Hue's traffic. We had been lucky that 99% of lights or junctions we just had to go straight ahead. Until we got to a roundabout. I don't actually know why they bother with roundabouts, genuinely. It baffles me. They are basically a free for all. No lanes, no right of way (not that we could work out anyway), no filter lanes, no curtesy for other drivers, blimey these lot don't even stay to the right side of the road!! It took us a few seconds to work out which exit we needed. The husband was on a mission. He managed to avoid the pack of beeping bikes and scooters that were coming straight for us, weaving around some quite impressively. 

As we headed away from the roundabout we took a little side road and quickly spotted out hotel. We pulled into the underground car park and were shown to reception. My backside was completely numb and my hips didn't want to work! The sun burn had got worse, even after the factor 50, and both of us had impressively sharp tan lines on our arms and thighs. We wouldn't be hard to miss in a game of spot the tourist 🙄.

Tags: bikes, experiences, hai van pass, marble mountain, scooters, travel, vietnam, views, views, wanderlust

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