The Hai Van Pass
If I could’ve, I would’ve stayed in Hoi An for at least a few more days… but alas, it was time to move on. For our last memory of Hoi An, we had a group breakfast at the Cargo Club. As expected, it was uh-mazing.
We boarded the Intrepid bus for the four hour drive from Hoi An to Hue, which features crossing over the Hai Van Pass – supposedly one of the most beautiful passes in the world. However, near the beginning of the ride, we made a stop at the Marble Mountains (outside of Da Nang). We climbed up one of the mountains (named the “water mountain”) to get a better view of the rest of them. As with many mountains in Southeast Asia, there was a pagoda at the top. There were also temples carved into the caves on the mountain.
We stayed at the Marble Mountains for an hour or two, and then we continued our drive. We made a quick stop at China Beach, which many American soldiers used as an R&R destination during the war.
After leaving China Beach, we were finally on our way to the Hai Van Pass. The road was extremely windy, but the views were absolutely gorgeous. The pass is on a small, peninsula-like piece of land, so you can look in almost any direction and see the ocean in the distance. At the top, we got off the bus and walked around, taking in the spectacular views. The temperature was much cooler as well, which was a very welcome change.
The drive down was scarier than the drive up, but the road was fairly wide, so it wasn’t too bad. It was nearing lunch time, so Bruce had the bus stop at a restaurant so we could eat. The place looked really nice, but little did we know that it was a trap. The menu looked alright (though overpriced), but the food here was easily the worst of the trip, and maybe of my life. Bruce, how could you lead us so astray? I didn’t see anything I particularly wanted, so I ordered scallops. At this restaurant, though, “scallops” apparently means “cockles.” I f*ck#ng HATE cockles. Also, people that ordered noodle soups got instant noodles. We were not happy, but whatever; we were still in Vietnam, and Vietnam is awesome.