The drive from hue to Hoi An was about three hours full of incredible views and spots. I didn’t want to miss out, so I hired a driver through the tour company Stop & Go. It was the most costly way to get from Hue to Hoi An, the next stop, but I don’t regret anything. The day was beautiful and the sun granted me some of the best views during this drive. And what a drive!
The first stop would be Phu Loc. We set off from Hue early and so when we stopped in Phu Loc I could enjoy the views without the crowds of tourist buses that were just arriving when we were leaving. This is a place for oyster fishing, but most of all to contemplate the beautiful and peaceful surroundings, the blue of the waters against the mountainous background.
The Hai Van pass is considered the must-do road trip in Vietnam and one of the best coastal roads in the world. It consists of a 20 km strip of road that connects Hue with Da Nang. It goes 500 meters above sea level, being the highest road in Vietnam. The views can be vertiginous at times, with some acute curves in the way, but my driver drove slowly so I wouldn’t get sick. The views are splendid but unfortunately not a lot of spits available to stop and simply admire them – the roads are narrow and there is police everywhere patrolling it precisely due to its worldwide fame and how many tourists come to drive here. It was featured in a fantastic Top Gear episode that I’m linking here.
After a quick stop in Da Nang – the Miami of Vietnam, as my driver liked to call it – to see the famous dragon bridge (which apparently does spit fire at certain hours of the night at the weekends by the way, we moved on to one of the most ethereal places I have been privileged to visit – the Marble Mountains.
It was near lunchtime then, and I was dripping in sweat after climbing up some steep marble steps, cut from the mountain’s solid stone. The first thing I find is of course a Buddhist temple.
There are in reality 5 different marble mountains just outside of Da Nang. All of them have cave entrances and tunnels, so you can definitely spend some time exploring here. I felt I was in some sort of Indiana Jones movie, getting myself into caves with beautiful temples nested inside, partially illuminated by the sparse rays of sunlight coming through some holes in the limestone. It is simply idyllic, I was in complete wonder thinking about the human will of building and sculpting the stone to create places of prayer and veneration.
This was half a day on the road and it was simply mesmerising. It’s incredible how much I got to see in a three-hour ride. Essential gems of Central Vietnam.
One thought on “From Hue to Hoi An – fishing villages, Hai Van Pass, a Dragon Bridge & the Marble Mountains”