The Hải Vân pass


The road from Da Nang to Huế isn’t long but it’s well-known around the world. I knew it from the Top Gear special all those years ago, and I was looking forward to driving one of the greatest coastal roads – in the world.

The sun was beating down heavily once again and the road was literally melting beneath me – something I’d only seen before in Australia.

What you get with Velvia film under full sun


This road isn’t too busy these days, except with tourists on bikes and in buses. It was fun to see fellow travellers buzzing through in groups. The main highway now goes under the mountains, so there are not many trucks charging around. There are some though.

There’s a convenient place to stop in the middle with some coffee stalls and some shot-up ruins. Even in the shade it was roasting, so I couldn’t really stay and watch the day go by.

Velvia not under full sun

I was out of the hills before I knew it. It takes less than two hours even with frequent stops for photos and a coffee. I took the main road for the rest of the way into Huế, but a better route is the one closer to the sea (QL49B) which will yield some great sights of local life.

I arrived in the city in mid-afternoon. I was at the Jade Hotel, which is a solid choice for staying in Huế – great location and service. It’s near some of the best restaurants. Huế is one of the richest culinary sites in the world. But the food I really wanted wasn’t Vietnamese.


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