Hue and the Hai Van Pass, Vietnam

1st – 2nd May 2016

We arrived in Hue around 11am and as I already mentioned in my last post we got motorbike taxis to the Tigon hostel which was right on the river Perfume. We weren’t able to check in until 2 so we left our bags and headed out to explore.

The hostel was in a perfect location as it was within walking distance to all the main sights. We had a walk along the river and then found a little restaurant to get lunch. We headed back to the hostel and were able to check in a bit early which was amazing as we wanted showers after our 25 hour bus journey. We also had a nap for a couple of hours – all this travelling is very tiring you know ;), and then went back out to look around the Imperial City.

There was a big festival going on in Hue whilst we were there so all along the river were big stages with music and lights and everyone drinking and dancing it was such a crazy fun atmosphere. We had a walk around the Imperial City for a little while, it was so beautiful and there was a big event going on inside the Forbidden City but we decided not to go in as it only had 45 minutes left but we still got to see the fireworks go off.

We had decided that we were going to be brave and hire a scooter the following day so that we could ride down to Hoi An (our next stop) via the famous Hai Van Pass. We hired the scooter from a company called Motorvina who were amazing! As neither me or Daniel had ever ridden a scooter before the hostel rang the guys and they brought one round on Sunday evening for us to try out. I decided that I was just going to sit on the back of Daniels as it meant that we only had to pay for 1 scooter and also the traffic in Vietnam is CRAZY so I didn’t really fancy it. The guy showed Daniel how to use the bike and then took him out on a little test drive which went really well so we went ahead and booked the bike for the next day. It only cost us 400,000 dong to rent the bike for the day which is around £12 and then we split it between us so it was only £6 each!

The next morning we met the guy downstairs at 8 and he handed over the keys to the bike and a map to help us get to Hoi An. We stopped at a petrol station and filled up for 50,000 dong (£1.50) and then set off. The route they gave us was Hue – Elephant Springs – Lang Co Bay – Hai Van Pass – Marble Mountains – Hoi An. It was around a 2 hour drive from Hue until we hit the coast and the start of the Hai Van Pass. The route is so simple you literally follow one highway from Hue all the way down to the start of the Hai Van Pass, you literally can’t go wrong. We were supposed to stop off at the Elephant Springs just before the pass but we couldn’t find the turning so we carried on and drove past Lang Co Bay which was beautiful and then stopped to put more petrol in which only cost 40,000 dong.

We finally reached the start of the pass and it was incredible. The next few hours that followed we drove along twisty windy roads up through the mountains running along the coast. We stopped at various lookout points to take photos but my favourite was the one where we stopped to get a drink as you could literally see all the way back to Lang Co Bay and all the roads we had driven up on it was amazing. After a few hours we were off the pass 😦 and back onto normal roads through Da Nang and then onto the coast and past the Marble Mountains. The last stretch to Hoi An didn’t take too long and we went past some unreal beach resorts that were out of this world – one day when I am rich I will be back!!

We arrived in Hoi An around 3pm and stopped along the main road leading into the centre for a drink and somthing to eat. After we had cooled down we jumped back on the bike and found the shop to return the bike and collect our bags (they were bringing our big bags down to Hoi An for us). The guy in the shop was so lovely and told us that the bags would be arriving around 6pm so we could keep the bike and come back later. We rode to our hostel and checked in so that we could have a shower – we were black from all the dust and dirt on the roads. We stayed in the Long Life Hotel in a 6 bed dorm. Our room was on the top floor in what seemed to be a loft conversion. Our bathroom even had a big corner bath which was a-m-a-z-i-n-g, they even gave us miniature toiletries on the end of our beds. We paid £5.50 a night which included breakfast and they had a really nice pool area so it was totally worth it. We returned the bikes around 6.30 and they then dropped us and our bags back to the hostel. I would really recommend hiring bikes from Motorvina, they were so friendly and helpful we had no problems with them at all. In total it cost us £12 to hire the bike for the day and we spent less than £3 on petrol for around a 120km drive – craaaaazy! You really don’t need to pay silly amounts of money to go with a tour group it is so easy to do it yourself – neither me or Daniel had ridden a scooter before and had no idea where we were going but the map they give you is really clear (download just incase). It is a really easy drive and is almost one road from Hue to Hoi An I think it would be pretty hard to get lost!


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