The Motorcycle Chronicles - Hai Van Pass

Trip Start Oct 27, 2010
Trip End Ongoing

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Where I stayed
Nhu Phu Hotel Hue
Read my review - 4/5 stars
What I did
Forbidden Purple City Hue
Read my review - 5/5 stars
Brown EYES Hue
Read my review - 5/5 stars

Flag of Vietnam  ,
Saturday, July 16, 2011

   After finally completing my suit I am able to move on from Hoi An. Although the 5 day respite from riding has been good, I am growing itchy to get back on the open road. Unfortunately I have lost all my travelling companions as Erich had moved on two days prior, eager to get to the north, and Shane had left with two other 'Brits' yesterday; but the prospect of travelling solo appeals to me greatly as it means I can advance at my own rate, and stop in any destination I so desire.

    Leaving Hoi An'  I join 'Rt1' heading north following the coast through 'Da Nang', along some great coastal roads, but after 10km I reach a road block as the road reaches a peninsular, which forces to retrace my tracks back to 'Da Nang' and back onto the correct path.

    Soon I reach the highly anticipated 'Đo Hải Vn', more commonly known as the 'Hai Van pass'. Made popular by the 2008 'Top Gear Vietnam Special', this 2 mile stretch of road is seen as one of the best riding roads in Vietnam. With its name translating as 'Ocean Cloud Pass', the road is often obscured by the rising sea mist, but for my ride it remained clear and hot. Although the road is good, offering many technical corners and stretching bends, I have been somewhat spoiled by the amazing roads of the south and so find the 'Hải Vn' un-extraordinary, although the view is breath-taking. The one feature that 'Top Gear' failed to point out the amazing train line that runs through the mountain, breaking for air every so often before diving back into the next mass of rock.

    As I crank through the many corners heading over the pass and back toward the ocean, I see a gathering of orange bagged motorcycles further down the pass. I continue for a further 700m before reaching the lay-by and I am amazed to discover that it is Shane, and his new travelling companions, Alec and Storm. It turned out that they had got lost the previous day, and had stayed in Da Nang that night, meaning they started the 'Hải Vn', the same day as me. Pleased to have some company for the trip I tagged along with them to 'Huế'

    Formally the capital of Vietnam, 'Huế' holds much history as it was the last seat of power for the abdicated 'Emperor Bảo Đại' before the rise of the communist government in 1945. As it sat near the border of North and South Vietnam during the American War, it suffered great  damaged during the persistent bombing by the American forces. 'Huế' is also infamous as the scene of a large massacre, where up to 6,000 civilians and POW's were executed and buried in dozens of mass graves.

    We find our way to the back packers district of 'Huế' eventually locating the 'Như Ph Hotel' , hidden down a small side street. Offering twin rooms for 240,000 Dong it has all that we need, including secure parking for the bikes. We hit the shower before heading out for the evening entertainment.

    'Brown eyes' is a small bar which serves food during the day, and converts into a club in the evening. With a decent mix of music, and full with an array of Vietnamese and Westerners this is a decent spot for a night out in Hue. Although the drinks are expensive by Vietnamese standards, it is still exceedingly cheap compared to back home, with beers for less than 1. Needless to say I sample a couple of drink before stumbling back to my hotel room.

Tomorrow I head to a Forbidden City!
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