Read more about my Self Care Sabbatical and the other places I’ve visited!
Trains and buses are typically the best ways to get around Vietnam cheaply, though sometimes you can find a cheap flight which cuts down your travel time by A LOT. However, if you are traveling between Hue and Hoi An, you should splurge a bit for a motorbike ride.
I had originally booked a bus because it was cheap and wouldn’t take too long. But once I arrived in Hue and was inundated with motorbike drivers offering to take me to Hoi An, I got a bit more curious about what this motorbike ride along the Hai Van Pass would be like. I was promised amazing views and cool stops along the way. I was reminded over and over again that this was considered one of the best coastal drives anywhere in the world (according to Top Gear), and I would probably regret just taking the bus which I could do at any time in Vietnam.
So after a day or two of mulling it over, I decided to skip my bus ride and reserve one of these Easy Rider drivers to take me to Hoi An. I chose to go through my guesthouse rather than deal with the many drivers on the street and ended up getting paired with an amazing driver! The price ($45) included everything: driver, all food & drink, entrance fees to places we stopped. Definitely ask if you can get an option like this!
There are two options for the Easy Rider trip: you can hop on the back of a motorbike and let the driver take care of everything while you relax and enjoy the view OR you can drive a bike yourself while the lead driver shows you the way. I opted for the first option because I would have been TERRIFIED to drive myself, but if you are comfortable on a bike definitely consider doing it yourself.
The trip includes a few stops which are perfect because you will want to stretch your legs after sitting on a motorbike for a while. At first, I was a bit annoyed with all the stops, assuming it would feel super touristy, but I actually enjoyed all of the places we went and felt like my driver went out of his way to avoid stopping at touristy viewpoints.
We started the drive going through rice paddies and then to a fishing village, stopping for a quick drink. No one else around, just us enjoying the view. After this stop, we went to Elephant Falls where I was able to cool off in the (very cold) water. There were a number of other drivers there with people making their way to Hoi An, but it was a really refreshing stop (especially with a beer in hand). Only downside – a very bumpy road going to and from the Falls that was not so comfortable.
We then went to Lang Co for lunch where we stopped a small beachside restaurant and I had some delicious oysters along with some seafood fried rice. I hadn’t been by the ocean in a while so it was really lovely to just sit and enjoy the view.
After lunch is when you get to drive over the Hai Van Pass. It is incredibly beautiful and worth all the hype! We stopped a few times for photos along the way, generally in places where there weren’t other tourists stopping. The road goes up around the mountains and you get some awesome views of the sea and the mountains as you make your way toward Danang.
As we neared Danang, we stopped again to first survey the remains of a nasty accident the day before (this road can be dangerous) and then to get a cool drink and admire the view of Danang from the mountains. I was so glad I had chosen not to take a bus or a train, but instead to do this motorbike ride. Totally worth it.
We rode through Danang, along the beaches and across the Dragon Bridge and through the city streets before reaching Marble Mountain, our last stop before Hoi An. I wasn’t that interested in coming here and it was probably my least favorite stop. I was happy to move around a bit and do a bit of climbing up to the top for the view but otherwise could have skipped it. There are some different “temples” to see in the caves, but it generally just felt really touristy here.
As we got close to Hoi An, Quan took me through some backroads and I got to see some more beautiful views of the countryside. I was a bit sad that our day together ended as we arrived at my homestay in Hoi An, but I was certain to take down his number (and write a review) so that I could let other people have the same kind of amazing day seeing this beautiful part of Vietnam.