After doing our research, Derek and I decided to jump on a motorbike and ride from Hoi An to Hue via Da Nang and the Hai Van Pass. It’s hard to put in words how amazing this ride was.
Our first stop was the Marble Mountains which are just south of Da Nang. As we were walking through the first cave, Derek and I looked at each other and we were both dripping with sweat! It was so hot and humid there, however the view from the peak and the carvings in the cave were beautiful. We also climbed what seemed like a million stairs to get to the top of the biggest mountain. Dripping, we reached the top and realised the view from the cave was much better, however it was still nice to look around the temples and see the view from a different angle.
We then rode to Da Nang, a busy beachside city. There was lots of construction going on giving us the impression that in a few years it would be a holiday destination similar to Nha Trang. We were going to stop for a swim but realised we had no towels and riding in wet swimmers for the next few hours wasn’t ideal.
Whilst riding, Derek was having difficulties with the throttle, and although it was highly inconvenient and a little unsafe, we decided to keep riding through the Hai Van Pass anyway. This stretch of road is absolutely breathtaking. Around every corner and turn, each view more spectacular than the last. No photo or video will ever do it justice. At one stage, you could see all of Da Nang city. It was incredible.
We arrived in Hue a little earlier than expected and decided to go find somewhere for lunch. Thanks to a friendly local, we came across a cheap and cheerful eatery serving com ga (chicken and rice). Not only was the meal huge and delicious but the chicken was actually a decent piece of chicken! In our travels we have always been given minimal shredded chicken, so getting an actual piece was so satisfying. We also met a really lovely family who wanted us to come back to Ho Chi Minh with them and teach their sons English. Instead, we exchanged details for teaching opportunities down the track and the boys requested photos with Derek, the “American soldier”.
With a few more hours left with our motorbike, we rode to Ho Thuy Tien, an abandoned water park 7km out from the centre of Hue. Although not as abandoned as we imagined, it was still pretty cool walking around the run-down slides and attractions.
Due to the difficulties we had with our first bike, Derek negotiated another motorbike free-of-charge for the next day. We used this to explore the town and ride to Thuan An Beach. After reading that it was a pretty quiet beach, we thought it would be a perfect way to escape the 38 degree heat. To our surprise, we were literally the only ones on the beach! It was the best.
Hue is a great little town centred around a river, much like Kampot in Cambodia. The locals were very welcoming which also added to its charm. I would have liked to have spent a little more time there but after a few sleepless nights due to the heat (30 degrees and 90% humidity at midnight!) and no air conditioning, Derek was ready to move on.