The Hai Van Pass and Danang

Distance today: 68km
Total distance to date: 921km
Temperature (max): 30°C
View the stats on Strava

The moment we stepped out of our hotel this morning we were dumbfounded by what lay directly in front of our eyeballs—Where the heck did those amazing awesome mountains come from? They weren’t here yesterday!  Perhaps obscured by a layer of clouds, they were now revealed in all their shocking glory and it was a spectacular way to start the day.

The Hai Van Pass—10km+ up, up, and up into the mountains. Switchbacks and steep inclines. Honestly, they should give out medals to those who cycle it. There are buses to take you up, or you can rent motorbikes. For efficiency you can pay to transport you and your bike through the mountain tunnel.  But we didn’t come to Vietnam to take the easy way out so we climbed that beast, oh yeah! Push! push push harder!….drip drip sweat! Grip those handlebars cuz we were sharing the two lane road with buses, motorcycles and vans. Of course we didn’t see a single other cyclist, though we know at least one tackled it earlier—Dane, of course. Plenty of motorcyclists were out to experience the Pass, capturing it on their iPhones as they climbed and climbed. Many gave us big thumbs up and more than a few captured us on camera too, sweatin’ our brains out.

Many times we wanted to stretch our necks long & tall to peer at what lay beyond the guardrails but the elevation made it impossible—take our feet off the pedals, we might not be able to get moving again. Touring bikes are heavy & roll like a freight train—slow like molasses uphill but fly like snot down a mountainside.

Huffing & puffing and legs screaming, we reached the top and discovered I sprung a flat tire. In mid-repair the wind suddenly began gusting, practically blowing the hair off our heads and effectively engulfing the top of the mountain in a misty cloud. We prepped for the downhill—slow, controlled, squeezing the heck out of our brakes. Swish, swash, wheeeeeeee! A few times we screeched to a halt just to take in the spectacular earth’s surface that spread out before us—jungle greenery, rocky jutt-outs, salty ocean and white sand below. And in the distance—Danang.

Mountain pass over, we approached Danang by hugging the coast, happy as clams. At the edge of the city we paused to step onto that beautiful white sand that stretched for miles—it was completely, utterly deserted at that point. We whizzed right through the heart of the city along with gazillions of motorcycles, marvelling at its world-class pristine beach with big rolly waves on one side, big luxury hotels glistening on the other. We both agreed it was a pleasure riding across Danang

We made our way to Hỏi An.  The old part of the city delights us with tiny alleyways and street food everywhere—but we broke down and went to a Craft Hamburger restaurant that we were told is owned by a Canadian. Hamburger, onion rings and pulled pork sandwiches for us!!

Today was an epic day. The further south we head, the more we love Vietnam.

The view right outside the front of our accommodations last night.

There’s the tunnel…the one we didn’t take, opting to go over rather than through.

About two thirds up the Hai Van pass—sweating like crazy, leg muscles like jelly.

Heading into the heart of the city of Danang

Posted in Uncategorized, Vietnam 2024.


  1. Just love all the lush green landscape. Just curious, do you think the cute monkey was looking for a ride on your bicycle. 😉

  2. You are getting to experience the world like few others have or ever will. Green is all I see.

  3. I’m just reading this account leaves me breathless. Such resilience and persistence, followed by an excluding account of your day. Simply amazing! ❣️ RM

    • Thank you Rita Mary. Every day we wake up we wonder what the day will bring. There’s always something fantastic.

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