Hai Van Pass (Deo Hai Van)
During medieval times the Hai Van Pass was the boundary between the states of Champa and Vietnam, and even today there’s a sense of transition between south and north as you cross. Since the carving of a tunnel through the mountains, the pass is no longer an essential part of the journey from Da Nang or Hoi An north to Hue, and most trucks and buses now take the speedier underground route.
Many tourist-focused transfer services between Hoi An or Da Nang and Hue opt to take the Hai Van Pass, with plenty of stops for selfies, and Marble Mountains tours often include a trip over the pass as well. To make the most of the views in summer, opt for an open-top 4-wheel drive tour or even a motorbike tour.
Things to Know Before You Go
The Hai Van Pass offers scenic stops for photographers, Instagrammers, and independent drivers.
Not all transfer services to or from Hue will use the Hai Van Pass. Check the itinerary before you book.
Travelers who use wheelchairs can request a vehicle with a ramp, which may be more readily available through private drivers.
How to Get There
The Hai Van Pass starts about 12 miles (20 kilometers) north of downtown Da Nang and generally takes about an hour to cross, excluding stops. Drive it independently, assuming you have the right license and are comfortable in Vietnam’s challenging traffic, or take an organized tour. Public buses usually take the tunnel.
When to Get There
Spring, summer, and fall are the best times to enjoy the Hai Van Pass. From December to March, cold winds can sweep in from the north, and mist is an issue. Your best chances for dry weather are April, May, September, and October. The rainy season usually peaks in June, July, and August.
Vietnam’s Best Mountain Road Trips
The Hai Van Pass is one of Vietnam’s signature road trips with good reason: It’s short, accessible, and the views are spectacular. Other road trip options include the Ha Giang Loop, a 4-day adventure through the mountains and karst landscapes near the Chinese border, and the O Quy Ho Pass through the Hoang Lien Son range near Sapa.
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