Hai Van Pass
Being one of the most scenic spots in the country, the Hai Van Pass should be on any travelers bucket list. Located just north of Da Nang along QL1, the pass overlooks the city to the south and the breathtaking Lang Co Lagoon to the north.
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Today the pass has become a very popular tourist spot, both for people traveling between Hue and Da Nang and also as a destination for day or half day trips from Da Nang and Hoi An. Apart from the view, there are a number of old bunkers with battle scars on top of the pass. For some reason, some of the old bunkers have also become popular for couples taking wedding photos.
We understand most of the bunkers are French but were also used by U.S. forces during the war as this was a very important piece of real estate due to the numerous convoys going between Da Nang and Hue. VC forces used to sneak up along the mountain ridges to attack the installations on the pass and they would also set up ambushes along the road leading up to the pass.
The dangers were not isolated to the Hai Van Pass though, as the road continued north towards Hue, it went through the Lang Co Lagoon and the Lang Co pass which with its winding road and steep climbs meant trucks would lose speed and present easy targets for the enemy.
A word of caution, on top of the pass there are some people that might try to scam tourists for money exchange etc. Just beware and enjoy the view. The regular coffee shops on the pass might be a bit pricier than on a back street in town, but that comes with the location.
How to get there
Anyone traveling between Da Nang and Hue should stop here for a visit. Just make sure to not take the tunnel through the mountain, but make the climb up and over the mountain to reach the pass. Being close to Da Nang, this is a nice half day trip from either Da Nang or Hoi An.