We woke up excited to enjoy our motorbike trip from Hue to Hoi An as guys from Top Gear in the Top Gear Vietnam Special. Guys from Top Gear drove from Ho Chi Minh City to Halong bay on old Vietnamese motorbikes. One of the best part is in the middle of Vietnam between two historical and magical cities, Hue and Hoi An. Distance between them is 160 km and the journey is adventurous with stunning views and great road. We started in northern Hue and finishing in our favorite city Hoi An. Well, we hope that you know Top Gear, right? If not, don’t even say that and go watch it (link above). If yes, you have to be jealous 🙂 When you are in Vietnam you need to experience this. Riding a motorbike is easy and your big backpacks will be transfered to your hotel. There is nothing what can stop you!
You can go straight from Hue to Hoi An but it is more interesting to stop and enjoy other places on the road.
Here we stopped and refreshed:
Elephant spring waterfall
Lang Co small fishing village
The top on Hai Van Mountain trough Hai Van pass
Da Nang beach
The Marble mountains
If don’t have your own bike you can easily rent it in Hue and return in Hoi An (in case you don’t want return to Hue). We used experienced and well known company Motorvina. They have good bikes, they are professional and if something happen on the road they will come immediately. We rented Suzuki Skywave 125 NR Automatic (manuals are more expensive) and they brought motorbike and helmets to our hotel at agreed time 8 am. They took our big backpacks and transfer them by car to Hoi An.
We filled up tank to max, put helmets on and were ready to hit the road 🙂
From Hue to Elephant Spring Waterfall (8:30 – 11:20h)
We chose longer and more interesting coastal road, so we headed east to Thuan An and then south along the coast. Its a nice road trough small Vietnamese villages. But we noticed one thing. The coast is full of cemeteries with big, colorful and beautiful tombs. To find Elephant Spring Waterfall without guide you better take smartphone with GPS or memorize where to turn right. We crossed railway line and saw a church in front of us. Then turned right and drove straight to the rainy forest road. In around 5 min. we saw entrance and paid small admission fee 10 000 VND per person and 2000 VND for motorbike. It stopped raining and we were ready for refreshment. How is it there? Should you bother to visit it? Well.. Imagine big stone elephant, a squalid shack around and small clear water. We were surprised how dirty and ruined it is all around. It is like a ghost village without people but with very nice spring water. Not too much tourist so we jumped into crystal clear water and also slide small waterfall. We had fun and and after nice refreshing bath we were back on the road heading to Hai Van pass.
Back on the road and big rain shower came. But it didn’t stop us 🙂 We chose to continue and have some fun while experiencing motorbike dirt rain driving…
Elephant spring to To Lang Co small fishing village (12:00 – 12:45)
We crossed one small mountain and Lang Co fishing village was below us. On the left side there is a “nothing special” beach and right side is the fishermen territory. The bay is beautiful and we drove along the coast watching fishermen at work.
Hai Van Pass to Da Nang beach (12:45 – 15:30)
Visible blue table told us that we were entering one of the most spectacular approx 20 km long coast road in the world – Hai Van Pass (“ocean cloud pass”).
This is the main reason why people do motorbike trip from Hue to Hoi An. Since we hit the first corner we knew its going to be amazing ride. The road is used only by motorbiked these days, so its mostly traffic less. I was waiting for this moment and with Edit sitting behind me I hit the gas. Our Suzuki woke up immediately like a horse waiting for a race. I have to say this 125cc felt much more alive then any other motorbike with same engine i have driven. We were cutting corners and climbing up. Also a bunch of goats enjoyed the Hai Van Pass. One of them surprises us when exiting one, i hit the brake and went around. All survived!
After an hour of never-ending joy and adrenaline we reached the top, the old military base from Vietnam war. Hai Van Pass had major strategic importance in this history of Vietnam, and for a long time represented a barrier to any land army that attempted to move between the northern and central regions of the country. We walked around, climbed more up, ate a snack and continued descending to Da Nang. For those who wants even more impressive view, take the narrow path straight up to the communications tower at the top of the mountain.
The descend is no less spectacular then ascend. We decided to test our brakes, so we turned the engine off and enjoyed silent 10 km ocean view ride down to the beach. Its really breathtaking (dont try it with an old bike) . After we reached Da Nang we stopped for a beer on local sandy beach and looked up to the mountains where we just came from.
Da Nang beach – The Marble Mountain (16:00 – 16:20)
After a perfectly chilled refreshment we continued to The Marble Mountain, which is a formation of 5 marble and limestone hills located in the south of Da Nang city. The mountains got their names after 5 elements: Kim (metal), Thuy (water), Moc (wood), Hoa (fire) and Tho (earth). To the top you can choose elevator or take the stairs. We walked to the top as all sculptures are all around you. Even old people walked. So take your body on a short walk after all day sitting on motorbike. There are lot of caves in the complex you can explore. This place is also famous for sculpture making and stone cutting arts.
Lift finish somewhere in the middle of hill. We walked up to the top (quite exhausting) but we were rewarded by wonderful panoramic view of Da Nang. Its a unique place and definitely “must see” on this journey.
The Marble Mountain – Hoi An (17:30 – 18:15)
After we explored this mountain of art and watched a sunset we jumped on motorbike and headed to our final destination. It took us less then 1 hour easy driving. It was already dark and we didn’t rush anywhere. After 6 p.m. we arrived to our Homestay. Our homestay lady called to Motorvina and they brought us our big backpacks and took motorcycle. Still full of energy from amazing ride we took bikes went to explore night Hoi An.
Distance – 160 km
Motorbike rent 490 000 Dong / 22$ (price includes big backpacks transfer to Hoi An hotel)
Fuel 70 000 Dong /3,5$
Entrances 52 000 Dong (22 000 Elephant spring and 15 000 per person Marble Mountains) /2,5$
Don’t rent anything under 125 cc.
Tips and recommendations for motorbike trip from Hue to Hoi An:
Rent from a recommended company & get a good bike
If you don’t want to get lost or miss some places take a smartphone with GPS and download offline map of the area with google maps
Pack sun cream, swimming suit, raincoat small first aid kit (optional)
Don’t forget to fully charged your camera and take Go Pro if you have
Head out at 8 a.m. to have enough time to enjoy the ride
The map shows the routeHue – Thuan An – Elephant spring – Lang Co – Hai Van Pass – Danang – Hoi An
Motorbike trip from Hue to Hoi An is an amazing experience for everyone. All information in this article are valid at the time of writing December 2015. If there are any change please let us know and we will update the article.