The Hai Van Pass is a combination of hairpin bends, spectacular views of coast and clouds, unique adventure and a lot of history.
Vietnam is a long, S-shaped country, allowing easy travel from the capital of Hanoi to the economic hub in the south, Ho Chi Minh City.
Hoi An, voted 2019’s best city in the world, is a charming, ancient city, with an incredible food scene, unique architecture and an easy-going atmosphere.
Da Nang and Hue are both jewels in the crown that is Vietnam, each city containing magic that can’t be missed. A key factor in travelling abroad is planning, and without a proper guide plans may go awry. Lucky for you, we’ve compiled an extensive guide about everything related to the Da Nang to Hue route. Read below to get a head start on your adventures!
Weather in Da Nang splits into two halves, just like in the rest of Vietnam; there is a wet and a dry season. The wet season spans from September to December. During this time, Vietnam is showered with extensive rainfall in the means of thunderstorms and monsoons. During the wet months, temperatures may fall to about 22-25 degrees celsius, which speaks volumes about how the South Central coast provides a warm climate. Visiting Da Nang tourist attractions in the wet months is doable, but beach-going may be more difficult.
One benefit of arriving from the months of September to December is that the city will be much emptier, as tourists flock in the months of the dry season (January to August). The dry season of Da Nang aligns with vacation times abroad and you may find yourself knocking elbows with others during the afternoon hours. It’s greatly recommended, if you are planning a trip to Da Nang from January to August, to leave your hotel rooms early in the morning in order to avoid crowds.
In actuality, Da Nang is a perfect sea-side city to visit anytime of the year. This is due to the fact that this city is gobsmack in the middle of Vietnam. Going from end to end is quite the journey, and luckily Da Nang can provide any traveller with a rich presentation of Vietnam as a whole.
If you’re planning on staying in the center of Vietnam, the easiest city to visit outside of Da Nang is Hue, which is a two hour trip north. Da Nang is also close to many UNESCO World heritage sites, and with a few extraordinary national parks outside the city periphery like the Bach Ma National Park and the Ba Na Hills. You really won’t need to go far in order to discover beauty when in Da Nang.
Explorers arrived to Da Nang for the first time in the 16th century, and found many similarities in comparison to today’s beauty. Throughout time, this city has been considered to be a great transport hub and half-way point due to its strategic location. Even during the Vietnam war of the 70s, American soldiers were known to lounge on the beaches of the town.
As mentioned earlier, when visiting Da Nang you won’t ever be deprived of activities and sight-seeing. In the morning, treat yourself for breakfast with some fresh pho, and head towards some landmarks in and around the city. Nature’s takeover of thousand year old civilization can’t be missed in My Son. There, burgundy-colored, 4th century Hindu temples stand silently.
Another can’t miss destination right outside of the city is Ba Na Hills. This breathtaking place holds within itself a fantasy park and breathtaking views. One point that combines both of these factors is the heavenly Golden Bridge. This bridge stands 1,400 above sea level, connecting two hills which are covered in lush greenery, and is “upheld” by huge hands (statues) made of stone. Astonishment is guaranteed after leaving the bridge.
Our recommended to-do-list for Da Nang can span pages upon pages, but we need to talk about what you’re going to do after you check everything off your list. Many travel to Hue after Da Nang. Before delving into Hue’s history, read below on how to get there.
Bus: Most travellers consider bus transport the norm when going from city-to-city. Bus travel from Da Nang to Hue fits, and even exceeds standards. Vehicles depart from various points in the city, mostly in the morning or afternoon hours. The trip takes about two to three hours. The cabins are always clean and provide travellers with necessary amenities like air conditioning and reclining seats. Some of the buses have bathrooms on board. With bathrooms or not, all buses make rest stops on the way to Hue. This best part of this option is the price - a ticket never exceeds $10.
Minivan: If you’re looking for a less crowded option, booking a minivan is also a good choice to take when travelling from Da Nang to Hue. This means of transport is great for those who are on a budget but are seeking greater flexibility. Shared vans begin departing from varying locations in central Da Nang at 7 in the morning, and end usually around 6 pm. Shared vans oftentimes do not make rest stops, mainly because the travel time is so short. The cabins are updated and provide travellers with very modern and luxurious experiences (like leather seats, WiFi, USB charging ports), for little cost.
If you’re travelling with family and don’t mind spending a bit more in order to gain complete flexibility and freedom, consider booking a private minivan. For about $145-182, you’ll get a van with a private driver, which can fit up to nine people. This option is also recommended as personal pick up and drop off at any hotel is guaranteed, and Da Nang airport pick up is also arrangeable.
Car: Similarly enough to the private van option, private cars from Da Nang to Hue are bookable for higher prices. This choice provides travellers with a clean, middle-class sedan or SUV. Personal pick up and drop off is provided anytime, anywhere. The price can include up to six people. Beyond all this, there’s a lot of space for luggage.
Train: If you want to avoid the open road and would much rather observe the Vietnamese countryside from a cabin, take the train. This option also is provided at an accessible price ($17 per person). In the cabin there are berths to lay back on, and on board there are easily accessible bathrooms. Before your trip, pack some extra snacks to munch on as train food is usually not enough to replace a meal. The main downside of this option is that the travel time is not shorter in comparison to other means of transport.
After carefully picking your travel options and going through the motions you’ve touched down in your destination of Hue.
There may be an international consensus that Vietnamese food is amazing, but the food in Hue is extra special because with over 1,000 unique dishes, it’s food is known as royal. Because the city is near to the waters, seafood is prevalent in cuisine. You may be eating your way through Vietnam because you love all things brothy, so try the Bun Bo Hue, which is a local delicacy of round rice noodles and meat broth.
Actually, don’t stop exploring Hue at the dinner plate. Beyond the fragrant dishes of central Vietnam, you’re there to excavate the renowned city. There are many historical spaces to discover. Hue is littered with artefacts like the Imperial city, a beautiful military and government complex which was constructed in the 19th century. It is considered to be a UNESCO World Heritage site, which is open for touring from the morning hours until evening. Entrance is free but a small donation is expected.
Hue has had a tumultuous history as a city, as it survived many wars. The Vietnam war of the 70s left a huge mark on the country in general, but Hue suffered greatly during the Battle of Hue in 1968, which resulted in vast losses on both sides. It’s important to reflect on the past in order to prevent such things from happening again in the future. Of course, it’s also lovely to see how Vietnam has been reborn. The Perfume river passes through Hue and is a beautiful site to see. We really recommend to book a canoe to take you along the river, especially during the spring months when all things blossom.
When in Vietnam, it’s a must to tour each area of the country. The north, south, and center each have distinct cultures and it’s not really possible to choose just one to traverse. If you’re in the central region, the route of Da Nang to Hue is too good to miss. Dazzling beaches, jaw-dropping artefacts, national parks, and a distinct culinary
scene are all at an arm’s reach with all the exceptional transport options offered.
The riverside town of Hue is one of Vietnam’s most charming and enchanting destinations. With countless temples, the Imperial City, royal tombs, an abandoned waterpark and a chilled-out vibe, it’s a great place to spend a few days. Because Hue is close to Da Nang, lots of tourists travel from Da Nang to Hue every single day.
For the short 93km (58 mile) jaunt to Hue from Da Nang, you have four easy options:
All journeys are comfortable, simple and easy to undertake.
As you depart coastal Da Nang, your ride will hug the coast for a little while, giving you some great views of Vietnam’s shimmering shorelines to your east.
As you make your way towards Hue from Da Nang, your journey will move inland, as you approach the quaint riverside setting of Hue.
But the big attraction here is the iconic Hai Van Pass. One of Vietnam’s most famous stretches of road, the Hai Van Pass is a 20-kilometer mountain pass which sits between Da Nang and Hue at an elevation of 500 meters.
For many tourists, this pass is one of Vietnam’s highlights. If you want to see the pass, you should travel by train, private minivan or private car. By train, you don’t travel on the pass itself (since the pass is on a road!), but you get pretty much the same views.
If you ride in a private vehicle, you can request to travel via the route which traverses the pass, and you can request stops whenever and wherever you like, to take endless selfies at one of Vietnam’s most iconic sights.
If you travel by road in a non-private vehicle, your vehicle may take the more convenient tunnel route, instead of driving over the pass itself.
For the fastest route to Hue from Da Nang, you have four options: Economy Bus, VIP Minivan, Standard Minivan and Luxury Minivan. All of these journeys take 2 hours. Some of these are cheaper, some will take you over the Hai Van Pass, and some offer more luxury than others. Which is best for you will depend upon your priorities.
Of these options, the most popular is the Luxury Minivan, from Hav Travel. The journey costs around $13.
This minivan has WiFi, power sockets and very comfortable seats.
The cheapest way to get to Hue from Da Nang is by Second Class Train. The journey takes 2.5 hours and costs a little less than $7. The train has an onboard toilet along with a food trolley.
The most popular way to get to Hue from Da Nang is the same as the fastest way listed above - Luxury Minivan, from Hav Travel. As above, the journey costs around $13 and takes 2 hours.
Buses are an excellent and affordable way to get from Da Nang to Hue. Some buses have sleeper-style seats, while others offer standard seats.
Some buses have AC, blankets, power sockets, and English-speaking staff, but you should check with each individual provider for the perks offered on each specific journey.
None of the buses have toilets on board. Instead, they stop for toilet breaks along the way.
If you take a car from Da Nang to Hue, you must hire the entire car instead of buying a single seat. Though this can be pricey, it comes with great perks - you can choose your own route (and therefore travel on the Hai Van Pass!) and you can stop for photo opportunities whenever you like.
Some cars from Da Nang to Hue offer English-speaking drivers.
If you take a minivan from Da Nang to Hue, you can either purchase a single seat or hire the entire vehicle. If you hire the full vehicle, you can choose your own route and stop whenever you like.
Some minivans from Da Nang to Hue offer WiFi, power sockets, blankets and English-speaking staff.
Taking a train to Hue from Da Nang is a great adventure. Though it doesn’t take you over the actual Hai Van Pass road, it brings you very close, and the views are equally spectacular. If you want an affordable guarantee of seeing the Hai Van Pass views, a train is the best pick.
Different train tickets offer different levels of comfort, but all trains have onboard toilets.
There are around 50 journeys from Da Nang to Hue each day, but because you can also book a private journey for any time you like, your options are endless!