Conquering the Majestic Hai Van Pass: A Journey Through Vietnam’s Stunning Boundary

July 17, 2020 7 mins to read

Hai Van Pass, featured on, is hailed as one of the world’s most breathtaking mountain routes, and it’s no wonder why. With its awe-inspiring beauty and rugged charm, this pass beckons adventure seekers from around the globe to explore its winding paths and scenic vistas.

Words and melodies might fail to capture the true essence of Hai Van Pass. Beyond its twists and turns, nestled amidst towering peaks, lies the dreamscape of many travelers. To drive through these roads, to stand amidst nature’s bounty, is to truly embrace the purity of the experience.

1. Where is Hai Van Pass? How Long is it?

Hai Van Pass is an unmissable gem for those embarking on a journey from Da Nang to Hue. Running along the Hai Van mountain range marks the boundary between Thua Thien Hue province and Da Nang City, just 80km from Hue and a mere 20km from Da Nang. It’s a sight to behold, rising 500m above sea level and stretching roughly 20km in length.

Hai Van Pass is a testament to Vietnam’s natural wonders, a masterpiece crafted by Mother Nature herself. Its perilous yet picturesque landscape, with majestic mountains and ethereal clouds, often evokes the rhythmic melody of local folk songs, etching its beauty into the hearts of all who pass through.

2. The History Behind Hai Van Pass

Once known as Ai Van Pass for its strategic gate atop the summit, it later earned the name May Pass due to its frequent shrouding in mist. Before 1306, Hai Van Pass historically belonged to the districts of Ô and Rí in the Champa Kingdom.

In later years, as part of a marriage proposal to Princess Huyen Tran, King Che Man bestowed these districts as a dowry. By 1402, following the conquest of Chiem Thanh by the Ho Dynasty, Hai Van Pass transitioned from a border between nations to a territory of Dai Ngu.

During the French colonial era, despite efforts to construct a passable road, Hai Van Pass remained treacherous, home to wild animals and bandits. Hence, the French opted to build a railway to traverse its length.

Today, completing the Hai Van Pass tunnel ensures smooth north-south traffic flow. Yet, many still yearn to experience the thrill of navigating Vietnam’s most challenging past.

3. The Thrills and Charms of Hai Van Pass

Conquering Hai Van Pass is no small feat, with its twisting roads winding amidst towering mountains. It stands as a beacon amidst vast landscapes, akin to a silk ribbon cutting through the clouds, offering travelers a glimpse of paradise.

From Hai Van Pass, travelers are treated to sweeping vistas, towering peaks on one side and boundless seas on the other, melding together to create a genuinely awe-inspiring tableau.

4. The Summit of Hai Van Pass – A Panoramic Oasis

As you near the summit of Hai Van Pass, prepare to be enchanted by the breathtaking natural scenery. The sounds of the mountain, the chill of the wind, and the mist enveloping you offer an exhilarating and unforgettable experience.

From the summit, gazing southward reveals the modern hustle and bustle of Da Nang City, along with Tien Sa Port, Cham Island, and the majestic Son Tra Peninsula. To the north, fishing villages and the azure waters of Lang Co Bay beckon, creating a picturesque vista.

5. Must-Visit Stops and Picture-Perfect Moments on Hai Van Pass

5.1. Hai Van Gate – Gateway to Heritage

Perched atop Hai Van Pass, Hai Van Gate, or Hai Van Quan, offers a breathtaking panoramic view. Built during the Tran Dynasty, this historic landmark stands tall, providing travelers with an iconic snapshot of Hai Van Pass.

5.2. Van Village – A Hidden Gem at the Pass’s Foot

Nestled beneath Hai Van Pass lies Van Village, a serene retreat separated from the hustle and bustle of Da Nang. Pack a picnic and enjoy the tranquil surroundings, or organize a barbecue with friends amidst nature’s embrace.

5.3. North Hai Van Station – A Photographer’s Paradise

A short journey from Hai Van Gate leads to North Hai Van Station, a haven for photography enthusiasts. Be mindful of passing trains as you capture the stunning scenery.

5.4. Đồn Cả Arch Bridge – A Spectacular Landmark

Similar to North Hai Van Station, Đồn Cả Arch Bridge boasts rugged beauty and unique charm. Traverse a bit further from North Hai Van Station to reach this architectural marvel. Exercise caution on steep and narrow roads.

5.5. The Lone Tree on Hai Van Pass – A Symbolic Sight

The solitary tree is a familiar sight for all who journey through Hai Van Pass. Whether capturing its image or pausing for refreshment at nearby stalls, immerse yourself in the tranquility of this iconic spot. Be vigilant of passing vehicles as you enjoy the scenery.

5.6. Cụ Rùa Rock – Embrace the Coastal Majesty

A hotspot for avid photographers, Cụ Rùa Rock, offers panoramic views of Da Nang’s stunning coastline. Capture the essence of coastal beauty and create lasting memories against this scenic backdrop.

5.7. The “Death Corner” U-turn – Thrilling Views

Despite its ominous name, this spot offers thrilling photo opportunities. Exercise caution due to heavy traffic and sharp turns, ensuring safety as you capture the moment.

5.8. Turtle Stone Café – A Restful Retreat

Cap off your adventure with a visit to Turtle Stone Café, a beloved spot among locals and travelers alike. Relax with a cup of coffee and soak in the tranquil ambiance amidst nature’s embrace.

6. Gastronomic Delights at Hai Van Pass

Indulge in the culinary delights of Hue and Da Nang as you traverse Hai Van Pass. Sample the acclaimed Nam Ô raw fish salad and Hue’s renowned wet rice paper with pork for a taste of authentic Vietnamese cuisine.

6.1. Nam Ô Raw Fish Salad – A Flavorful Delight

Crafted from fresh anchovy fish, paired with crisp vegetables, and dipped in a savory sauce, Nam Ô raw fish salad is a culinary masterpiece not to be missed.

6.2. Hue Wet Rice Paper with Pork – A Gastronomic Gem

For the ultimate culinary experience, savor Hue’s famous wet rice paper with pork at Mrs. Suu’s eatery in Phu Loc. Enjoy the tantalizing flavors of this beloved dish paired with pickled vegetables and chili fish sauce.

6.3. Dining Recommendations Near Hai Van Pass

For those seeking delectable meals near Hai Van Pass, consider these dining establishments:

– Minh Tam Restaurant: A renowned eatery known for its delicious offerings from Da Nang, perfect for families and groups of friends. Address: 396 Lac Long Quan, Phu Loc, Da Nang City.

– Be Than Seafood Restaurant: Be Than Restaurant is the ideal destination if you’re a seafood enthusiast. Enjoy fresh and affordable seafood dishes in a vibrant atmosphere. Address: Nguyen Van, Lang Co, Hue City.

7. Mắm Sò (Vietnam fermented clams) – A Memorable Souvenir from Hai Van Pass

Complete your journey with a taste of mắm sò, a renowned delicacy from Hue. Made from fresh clams marinated in a blend of ginger, galangal, and green beans, this flavorful condiment makes for an excellent gift or personal treat. Purchase mắm sò from local shops near Hai Van Pass to bring home a piece of Vietnamese culinary tradition.

Conquering Hai Van Pass offers an array of unforgettable experiences, from heart-pounding thrills to awe-inspiring vistas. Whether capturing panoramic views, savoring culinary delights, or immersing yourself in local culture, this iconic pass promises an adventure. So, embrace the journey, explore the beauty, and create memories to last a lifetime on Hai Van Pass.

Vẻ đẹp đèo Hải Vân ở trên cao

The beauty of Hai Van pass from above (Photo: Collectibles)

Đèo Hải Vân - cảnh đẹp thiên nhiên

(Photo: Collectibles)

Cảnh đẹp đèo Hải Vân

Beautiful scene of Hai Van pass (Photo: Collectibles)

Hải Vân Quan - điểm dừng chân đèo Hải Vân

Hai Van Quan (Photo: Collectibles)

Hải Vân Quan - điểm dừng chân đèo Hải Vân 01

Tourists stop at Hai Van Quan to admire the scenery (Photo: Collectibles)

Đoàn tàu chạy qua đèo Hải Vân

Don’t forget to wait when the trains run through the pass! (Photo: Collectibles)

Phong cảnh không gian biển trời mênh mông nhìn từ Đèo Hải Vân

The vast landscape of sea and sky view from Hai Van Pass (Image: Collectibles)

Hoàng hôn trên thành phố Đà Nẵng nhìn từ Đèo Hải Vân

Sunset over Danang City viewed from Hai Van Pass (Image: Collectibles)

Đèo Hải Vân

(Photo: Collectibles)

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