In Da Nang and planning to go up north to Hue? Before you decide to hit the airport or buy a bus ticket, read about how fun it could be driving a motorcycle through Hai Van Pass, Vietnam. Once a busy road over the mountain, it is now a cozy, quiet area just a few kilometers outside the city, thanks to a newly built tunnel through the mountain designated for four-wheeled vehicles. So, you only have to share the Hai Van Pass with other motorcycle riders and occasional truck drivers. Keep reading to find out more plus a little surprise waiting over the pass!
How to get there
From the center of Da Nang city, keep going north. But instead of going east up towards the Monkey Mountain where there is a pagoda with a big statue of Guan Yin goddess overlooking the ocean, you go west to Duc Thang road and keep going towards Luong Bang road. Once you get there, just follow this main road and you will get to the Hai Van Pass. If this is too confusing, you can always hit your Google Maps app and follow the easy directions. Be sure to take the right entrance towards Hai Van Pass. You will pass an intersection where one branch leads to Hai Van Pass and the other to a tunnel passage only for four-wheeled vehicles. If you follow the road signs and you will be fine.
Stop for a while at the top
This could be your favorite part of the trip. It’s not that the road up the mountain is challenging, but a breathtaking reward like this is always nice. Some parts of the road are a bit bumpy, so keep an eye on the road signs to slow down. Also, keep in mind that some turns are narrow which require you to be extra careful.
Besides other motorcycle riders and occasional truck drivers, you get to see animals living in the wilderness, like monkeys, goats, and even cows! Sometimes they take their time to cross the road. It is surprising considering this is only a few kilometers away from the modern city of Da Nang.
There are a couple of focal points which offer you a beautiful view of Da Nang from afar, the ocean, and other mountains nearby. The picture above is taken from the first viewing point, about a half an hour from the foot of the mountain.
Something is waiting over the mountain
Once you get over the Hai Van Pass, in Lang Co area to be exact, take a quick detour for a yummy local cuisine of seafood! There are plenty of seafood restaurant options in Lang Co. The produce is freshly caught from the ocean and fish farms around the lake area surrounding them.
Getting here is a little bit tricky because you have to exit the main highway. So, get yourself familiar with the directions on Google Map first before you go on this trip. In case you miss it, you can also visit this area on your way back to Da Nang, which I consider easier.
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Lang Chai Lang Co seafood restaurant
For people in Da Nang, seafood is their day-to-day menu. When it comes to seafood restaurants in Lang Co, local people’s recommendations are in line with online reviews. So, my choice went to Lang Chai Lang Co and it did not disappoint!
Fresh catch you can choose from
This seafood restaurant is located on 9 An Cư Đông, TT. Lăng Cô and opens every day from 6:00 am to 10:00 pm. Yes, people eat seafood for breakfast here! There are plenty of seats available, so you don’t have to make any reservations. Just come in and pick your seafood of choice from the tank!
What to choose from the menu
From my seven-month experience living in Vietnam, there’s one seafood dish that never disappoints, I highly recommend trying hau nuong or grilled oysters. It is not common grilled oysters. It is grilled with a creamy spicy sauce, fried shallots, and chunks of peanuts. Yum!
Walking into this restaurant, you probably expect to pay a lot more than you should. So did I, until I received the bill. For one crab, one plate of grilled oysters, one plate of grilled squid, and fried rice, I only paid around 400.000 VND or equal to a little less than 18 USD. Isn’t that awesome?
Tips: the menu is only available in Vietnamese, so get your Google Translate app ready before you start ordering!
An adventurous ride which ends with a delicious meal
Sure you can just ride a bus or hop on a taxi to get to Hue from Da Nang, but what’s the fun in that? Riding a motorcycle over the Hai Van Pass will make your trip more adventurous. Plus, you can stop whenever and wherever. With a bus, you won’t be able to stop and take photos and one of the area’s best focal points. Not to mention, it will take you straight to Hue, no detour to the seafood haven Lang Co. Take control of your trip and fun experience is guaranteed.
Now, the question is: how to get a bike in Da Nang? Easy peasy! There are plenty of bike rentals in the city and they offer cheap bikes to rent. However, to go over the mountain, I suggest you get at least a 150-cc bike to ensure a safe and comfy ride up the mountain. These bikes are more expensive to rent, but let’s not take the risk when it comes to safety. Another thing you need to consider is getting a proper helmet yourself. Vietnamese people are used to hat-like helmets which do not do their job very well. Expect the rentals to give you similar helmets. So, invest a little more on buying yourself a proper helmet. They are available in big retail stores. Happy hunting and have a safe trip!
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