Hai Van mountain pass- Topgear Viet Nam – Hidden land travel

Hai Van mountain pass, Viet Nam

Hai Van mountain pass is the most impressive tourist attraction on the North – South expressway. It is like a giant dragon lying on National Route 1A, on the boundary between Thua Thien-Hue Province and Danang City. Especially, it is well-known all over the world with the appearance in BBC’s Top Gear Viet Nam Special.

Hai Van mountain pass

The second king of Nguyen dynasty has considered this pass the most beautiful scenery in Viet Nam. Hai Van means “cloudy ocean” since the foot of the mountain is close to ocean while its peak is in the clouds. It is amazing to view Hai Van pass from the top as it is the final section of the Truong Son Range stretching to the sea.  

Hai Van mountain pass is often mentioned in the history of Vietnam. In the 14th century, this pass formed the boundary between Vietnam and the kingdom of Champa. Besides, until the American War, it was heavily forested. At the summit is a bullet-scarred French fort, later used as a bunker by the South Vietnamese and US armies.

hai van mountain pass hue viet nam

Due to the narrow, damaged road along with the sudden curves and blind corners, Hai Van mountain pass has been the scene of the Vietnam’s most serious rail accidents. In 2005, the 6280m-long Hai Van Tunnel opened. Therefore, the traffic flow and safety have been improved. Motorbikes, animals and petrol trucks are not permitted to go through the tunnel (but you can pay to have your bike transported through in a truck).

Nowadays, Hai Van is an ideal attraction for tourism. The most interesting tourist activity is motorbike tour via this top-gear road. In addition, the pass is also a wonderful rest stop for tourist buses and private cars.