If you have seen the BBC’s Top Gear Viet Nam Special, you shouldn’t leave our beautiful seaside city without visiting the Hai Van Pass.
The Hai Van (Ocean Cloud) Pass is the longest and highest mountain pass road in Viet Nam with a length of 21km. Its summit is 496m above sea level and is at the geographical boundary between Da Nang and Thua Thien-Hue Province.
The pass crosses over the last spur of the Truong Son (Annamite) Range as it juts into the sea. There is no more dangerous mountain pass in Viet Nam, but visitors to the Hai Van Pass will be stunned by its spectacular scenery and the harmonious beauty of the clouds, mountains and sea.
The winding road over the pass has the lush jungle on one side and the sea on the other, and from far away it looks like a crooked ribbon squeezed between the land and the blue sky. Sometimes, this pass is so cloudy that visitors feel like they are stepping into a fanciful and mysterious world. On sunny days, the pass is a great place for dazzling panoramic views over Da Nang, the Tien Sa Port, the Son Tran Peninsula, the Cham Islands, and the picturesque endless white-sand beaches.
|View from the Hai Van Pass
In 1826, during the reign of Emperor Minh Mang, a rampart and a fortified gateway were built at the top of the Hai Van Pass. The side of the gate facing Thua Thien-Hue Province is inscribed with the 3 words “Hai Van Quan” (Hai Van Gate). The other side, looking down on Da Nang and Quang Nam Province, says “Thien ha de nhat hung quan” (The most marvellous wonder). Despite its long history, the gate is still solid but it is now covered with moss.
|Overall view of the Hai Van Gate
|The gate’s main tower
Combining nature and the creations of man, the Hai Van Pass deserves its name “the most marvellous wonder” as given by Emperor Tran Nhan Tong in 1470 when he went there sightseeing.
The Hai Van Pass is now used mostly for sightseeing and tourist development purposes, ever since the Hai Van Tunnel was officially inaugurated and put into use in June 2005 and became, at the time, Southeast Asia’s longest tunnel through a mountain.
A visit to the pass will satisfy any desire to conquer the Hai Van peak, and you will enjoy yourself in a stunning natural setting.