There are many forms of transport that we have taken so far on our trip. With our next destination, the Imperial City of Hue, being not that far away we decided to saddle up and motorbike it. To get us there we would use Mr. Thong – Easy Rider and his Honda Master 125cc bikes.
Another reason for this choice is that one of the best coast roads in the world lay before us. Hoi An to Hue via the Hai Van Pass.
Our first stop on the trip was to the Marble Mountains, just south of Danang. We were dropped off at a Marble Factory before heading up to the Summit itself.
There are five mountains named after each of the elements. The only one accessible is Thuy Son (Water) Mountain. Reachable by 156 Steps. (Child’s play to us after graduating from Poon Hill Academy!!)
There were a lot of temples and pagodas up here as well as cave temples and some Big Buddhas. As it was 30 degree heat we needed to get some drinks, however this proved to be troublesome. VietScam reared its head again and after politely declining mineral water at 500% markup the woman grabbed Karen by the arm to force a sale. Big mistake and no sale for her!
The next stop was China Beach outside of Danang City. We were here a few days earlier but the view is still great.
Through the north of Danang and north we rode. Eventually coming to the start of the Hai Van Pass.
And then we went up…
The Hai Van (‘Ocean Cloud’) pass is nestled between the South China Sea and the Annamite Range mountains. It is so called as the large clouds of mist dramatically reduce visibility. Historically it marked the border between the Champa Kingdom to the south and the Dai Viet people to the North.
At its peak (around 1400m) are the remnants of French and American Army bunkers – the pass acting as the main choke point between the north of Vietnam and the central highlands to the south.
We had a few near misses with trucks on the way down, and after we descended the pass we stopped for some lunch in the breathtaking Lo Cai.
Before we made it to Hue there would be one final stop. Swimming at the Elephant Waterfalls.
After reaching Hue we said our goodbyes to the two guys who got us here in one piece.
For a more dramatic interpretation featuring full production quality check out Clarkson, Hammond and May’s attempt here: