Hoi An and the Hai Van Pass

Hoi An by night

Hoi An is one of the prettiest and also one of the most touristy cities we have been to in Vietnam. The ancient town is also a UNESCO world heritage site, and used to be a trading port. The old buildings are colourful and beautiful, the streets are narrow, with no cars allowed, and at night the whole city is lit up with hundreds of paper lanterns. It’s really pretty and romantic, and we enjoyed walking and biking around, exploring town. Hoi An is also known for its tailor shops, but after doing some research Mike decided against having a suit made, as apparently the quality is not always the best.

Hoi An lanterns
Biking to the beach

After exploring the old town we biked through the countryside, past rice paddies and water buffalo (some of them are absolutely enormous!) and had lunch on the beach. After dark we walked through the old town admiring the lanterns and enjoying the atmosphere.

Hai Van Pass

After watching Top Gear drive across the Hai Van Pass in their Vietnam Special episode, Mike was very keen to rent a proper motorbike and drive across the pass from Hoi An to Huế. As the pass is known for being very misty – there’s a great view of the ocean from the mountains – he checked the weather and decided that we had to leave on Tuesday, as that was the only day the weather would be sunny.

Mike finally got a proper bike

We would have liked to stay in Hoi An longer, but the ride over the pass was really amazing. On the way up the pass there’s a fantastic view of the city Danang, the ocean, and the beach, and the view from the other side is also amazing.


Elephant Springs 

After we crossed the pass we drove for a bit into the woods looking for a place called Elephant Springs, where Mike wanted to go for a swim. It was pretty hard to find, but after a while we managed to get on the right road. The spring was a little natural pool created by the river, with a big rock that kind of looked like an elephant. Then we drove on to spend the night in Huế.

Riding the elephant

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