Matt Shofnos

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.

Breakfast at the Cargo Club. Vietnamese/French fusion is genius.

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.

The ticket guards at the entrance to one of the Marble Mountains.

The steps leading up the water mountain.

Bruce with his fan/hat.

A view of the Marble Mountains from the top of one of the mountains.


A temple on top of one of the Marble Mountains.

There is lots of dragon imagery in Vietnam. In fact, it is said that even the shape of the country is that of a dragon.

The longevity symbol, inside one of the pagodas.

Matt in an archway leading to one of the cave temples.

A shot looking up from inside one of the cave temples.

A cave in one of the Marble Mountains.

Climbing up through a hole in the rocks to get to the peak of the mountain.

Matty on top of the mountain, with the beach in the background.

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.

China Beach, frequented by American soldiers during the war for some R&R.

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.

I think that when a Vietnamese driver sees a scary sign like this, he drives even more dangerously. I went on some nerve-wracking rides yo...

A view out of the window during our ride up to the pass.

The old gate at the Hai Van Pass, built almost 200 years ago.

View from the Hai Van Pass.

A butterfly doin it's thang on the Hai Van Pass.

I take close-up pictures of flowers to make me look like I'm a good photographer.

View of the other side of the Hai Van Pass... with me blocking most of it.

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.

1 Comment

    you hate cockles? I guess I’ll have to revise the menu for your homecoming banquet.

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