The road from Hoi An to Hue is known as one of the most beautiful roads in all of Vietnam. This mostly because of the 21 kilometer long mountain pass: the Hai Van Pass. Aside from that, there are also many other points of interest along the way that are more than worth a stop.
Because we wanted to experience this to the fullest, we got ourselves a private driver for the 130km ride. And it was worth every dollar we paid for it.
As I mentioned in an earlier post, we booked our private driver through a travel agency in Hoi An upon arrival in the city. So at 8 am sharp one Friday morning, our driver was waiting for us in front of our hotel to take us all the way to Hue.
Many people opt to travel this distance by train and while the ride is equally beautiful, from there you have no possibility to stop and take in the scenery for a while. Of course when you’re travelling alone and on a budget, a private driver can make quite a dent in that budget and then the train is often the best option. We were three so the perfect amount of people to split this cost.
One of the most common stops of this roadtrip is Da Nang’s Marble Mountains. But for those who have been around my blog for a while; you might have noticed that that place has already passed the revue. And since I’m writing about my trip chronologically, that means we had already visited this amazing site. Just dropping this stop out of our trip would of course mean less value for money so we negotiated to get another stop instead. So along the way we would now have extra time at the Hai Van Pass, Lang Co Beach and as an extra; the Royal Thomb of Khai Dinh.
1. Hai Van Pass
The Hai Van Pass is supposedly one of the highlights of this route, but this was actually the part that disappointed me a bit. Maybe because when we arrived at the top of the pass we were surrounded by hordes of tourists and buses which made the experience a little less authentic. Of course the view was stunning, but I had expected more of thé view from the top. The 21 km road over the pass was really worth though. My face was constantly pressed to the window as I didn’t want to miss a single view. So don’t expect a lot from the top, but don’t miss out on the views along the way.
2. Lang Co Beach
Once over the pass, we arrived at Lang Co Beach; our second stop of the trip. The view on the stretch of beach was already breathtaking, but a lot of locals where hastling the tourists with postcards and other stuff for sale so it was quite uncomfortable. They really didn’t accept a ‘no’.
After the view, our driver took us to a secluded part of the beach which was a breath of relief after the previous busy stops. There were a few salesladies mingling around trying to sell their goods, who seem to be friends of the driver, but they weren’t persistant at all. We spent about half an hour at the beach, soaking our feet in the water, drinking some coconut water and simply enjoying the sun. It was heaven.
3. Royal Tomb of Khai Dinh
Instead of visiting Marble Mountains again, we had chosen to visit the Royal Tomb of Khai Dinh instead. This tomb is already very close to Hue, but it’s just too far out of the center to visit easily once you’ve arrived in Hue. A taxi would have been required to get there so why not ask our driver to stop on his way to Hue? It ended up being the perfect solution.
The Royal Tomb of Khai Dinh is one of the six ‘Tombs of Emperors’ in and around Hue. It was built for the Nguyễn Emperor Khai Dinh and is situated in Chau Chu mountain. Entrance is 150.000 dong, so for Vietnam that’s quite expensive. But it’s definitely worth it. The site is very beautiful and the pagoda itself is breathtaking inside. It’s simply something you can’t miss out on so I’m very happy we chose this tomb as an extra.
We arrived in Hue around 2pm, so it took us about six hours to complete this journey. We never felt rushed and were able to see everything we wanted along the drive. Taking a private driver may be a bit more expensive, but I felt like we were able to get more out of this beautiful area. So if you can afford it, it’s definitely worth the extra money.