Doing a road trip from Da Nang to Hue via the Hai Van Pass with a motorbike is a great way to explore Central Vietnam and enjoy the beautiful landscape.

The route can be pretty diverse if you stay away from the highway.

We took a little detour by taking the route along the coast side that led through some very charming villages. The entire trip from Da Nang to Hue with some stops here and there took us around 5h in total. If you take the direct route using the highway, you can do it in 3.5h.

Danang to Hue Map

To be absolutely honest, I think the Hai Van Pass is a bit over hyped.

While it is indeed beautiful, I wouldn’t call it the most scenic route in Vietnam like some travel bloggers do. The mountain area in Ha Giang and Sa Pa are way more breath taking. But beauty is always subjective, so I leave it up for people to make up their own mind.

Nevertheless, I would still recommend doing the trip as it is a very relaxing ride even for a day trip from Da Nang and if you don’t want to go all the way to Hue.

But here is where I want to get expectations straight:

  • The Hai Van Pass is shorter than you would expect: it took us around 1h from the Da Nang beach side to get all the way to the peak.
  • The elevation is easily manageable, even with an automatic bike.
  • It takes maybe 25-30 min from the foot of the mountain to the top.
Hai Van Pass bikes

What bike do you need?

Before the trip, we were slightly worried that our small 110cc automatic bike wouldn’t be powerful enough.

My expectations for the elevation and difficulty were set pretty high at first, but the ride turned out to be pretty easy. I wouldn’t necessarily recommend using a 110cc automatic for 2 people.

In our case, we rented a semi-automatic Honda Wave 110cc (on the right) for myself and Andrea used our normal bike (Janus 110cc on the left).

I actually really enjoyed riding the Wave through the mountains but if you’re not familiar with semi-automatic bikes, then an automatic will do just fine.

So with all the basics out of the way, let’s dive into the journey and let the photos speak.

Hai Van Pass Beach View
The start of the Hai Van Pass is already pretty nice. Of course I had to take a photo from the same spot that everyone else does ๐Ÿ™ˆ
Hai Van Pass 1
Hai Van Pass 3 Peak
Final leg before reaching the top.

After around 30 min, we arrived at the top. There is actually not much to do, so we just enjoyed the nice view from a coffee place called “In the Clouds”.

Hai Van Pass Top Cloud Cafe
In the clouds – lovely coffee place with multiple levels to enjoy the view from.
Hai Van Pass
Hai Van Pass Andrea
Hai Van Pass Clouds

We continued the ride and came down on the other side of the Hai Van Pass after around 30 min. to enjoy this view.

Hai Van Pass View Point La%CC%86ng Co%CC%82 1
Hai Van Pass View Point La%CC%86ng Co%CC%82 2

After staying on the main highway and racing with all the big trucks, we decided to take the longer route along the coastal side that wandered through small villages. This is the real Vietnam!

Da Nang to Hue Landscape

One of our favorite parts was the ride through the small village of Phu Hai, An Dฦฐฦกng and Thon Thai Duong Ha.

Hue nearby Village 1
Temple at the cemetery.
Hue nearby Village 2
I’ve never seen people putting so much effort into honoring their beloved ones by building small temples for everyone.

After 5h, we finally arrived in Hue and enjoyed walking along the Perfume River with the sunset in the background.

Hue Sunset River Walk
Hue Sunset New Walkway
Hue Sunset Coffee
Hue Cau Truong Tien
The famous “Truong Tien” iron bridge that was finished in 1899.
Hue Night 1

It was indulgence weekend…

Hue Skyline 2021
Hue Highlands Coffee
I normally don’t eat breakfast, but sometimes on vacation it just feels good not to count calories…
Hue Perfume River
I honestly have no clue why these people were climbing on the walls
Hue Cau Truong Tien 2
Hue Child hunting crabs 1
This young boy was crab fishing in the pond. Sometimes I wish I still had this explorative kid mentality and not care about getting dirty.
Hue Child hunting crabs 2
Hue Child hunting crabs 3

The most important place to visit in Hue is the Imperial Palace. This area is massive and normally flooded with tourists.

We considered ourselves very lucky to be able to visit during times of Covid and having enough space to explore without bumping into people all the time.

Hue Imperial City Panorama
Hue Imperial City Walls
Hue Imperial City Walls 2
Imperial City garden
Imperial City
Imperial City Details

Being a tourist can be exhausting but the reward is always good local food.

We visited a small local restaurant that is famous for Cฦกm hแบฟn.

Try this local dish next time you visit Hue: Cฦกm hแบฟn Hoa ฤรดng

Hue Food Come Hen Hoa Dong 1
Cฦกm hแบฟn is a rice or noodle bowl topped with baby mussels or basket clams. It also comes with crispy pork skin, mango slices, roasted peanuts and fresh herbs. This bowl cost 15.000 VND = $0.70
Hue Food Come Hen Hoa Dong 2
Another famous Hue dish: Bรกnh Bรจo. Bรกnh bรจo is made from a combination of rice flour and tapioca flour and can be topped with pork floss, crispy pork skin, peanuts and onions.

Hue is a lovely little city to visit in Central Vietnam. I hope this Photo Journal could gave you a helpful glimpse into what to expect when visiting Hue.

Hue Sunset