Cloud Pass

Crossing the Cloud Pass in Vietnam

The Cloud Pass in Vietnam separates North and South Vietnam. And that’s where I had to go. When I asked at the hotel about the best way to get from Hue to Hoi An, the helpful receptionist advised me to use a motorcycle with driver. Okay, then just with the motorcycle. If I hadn’t met two English girls in Hanoi on a boat tour through Halong Bay, who had done the same trip in the opposite direction and were totally enthusiastic about it, I probably would have decided against it.

By motorcycle over the Cloud Pass in Vietnam: An adventure.

On a motorcycle? With 18 kilos of luggage (yes, I travel like a total girl)? The way they drive here? Never. But I couldn’t get the enthusiasm of the two girls out of my head – and I calmed myself down with the thought that they had survived the trip unharmed after all.

Cloud pass Vietnam road bend hairpin mountain curve

The Cloud Pass (or Hai Van Pass): Serpentines without end

The temptation was there. In fact, the route from Hue to Hoi An is very picturesque because it goes right over the Cloud Pass; a mountain range that cuts through the country like a swath, separating the north from the south of Vietnam both geographically and meteorologically. Alternatively, you can do the route by train, bus or private car. Train I already knew, car was too expensive alone and the bus drives dull and without panoramic view through the tunnel under the mountains.

Rent a motorcycle with driver in Vietnam: Safety & Organization

My concerns about safety proved unfounded. My driver Duc conscientiously lashed my luggage to the luggage rack, wrapped in sturdy plastic to protect it from dust, and drove over the Cloud Pass with Central European prudence. Well, the helmet I brought with me only had a chin strap, and no one knows protective clothing in Vietnam either. As a motorcyclist, you’re on the road differently at home. No matter, at 36 degrees you are anyway glad about every piece less on the body. As Duc told me afterwards, we Germans are probably the most shy about a ride with him or with the motorcycle in general: safety and such. Therefore, I would like to put here especially to your heart: If you are ever in Vietnam before the choice… Just do it!

Are you curious how Washington, DC is in real life? In the ➜ Vietnam Blog you will find many more travel reports and general tips for a Vietnam trip!

Cloud Pass Vietnam: Adventurous switchbacks and breathtaking views

I had only booked the ride. Thought. But I have to admit, I hadn’t asked Duc again beforehand where we were actually going along and how the day was shaping up – communication in English was even worse than with the receptionist, with whom I also only understood the most important key data, so I just let it go. I would already arrive in Hoi An.

Hai Van Pass Vietnam View Motorcycle Ride
Cloud pass Vietnam train
The train tracks belong to the train that runs from Hanoi down to Ho Chi Minh City – fantastic view included.

From Hue to Hoi An: Impressive landscape on the Cloud Pass

In fact, the one-way trip to Hoi An via Cloud Pass (or Hai Van Pass) turned out to be a total surprise package. Duc stopped with me at the most beautiful places on the way, took photos and joked around, and I tried to piece together info about the country and its people from his scraps of English.

Vietnam fishing boats cloud pass
On a fishing boat used to live(!) whole families – up to 8 or 9 people!
Cloud Pass Vietnam Da Nang Beach
The mega wide beach of Da Nang.

Conclusion of the day: Just let things happen to you is so good! If I had chosen the supposedly “safe” option of a bus ride – I would have missed so many beautiful things. The day was uniquely beautiful and worth every penny!

Information about the motorcycle tour over the Cloud Pass

Route Hue to Hoi An via Hai Van Pass (Cloud Pass)
incl. Driver and motorcycle
Duration: about 6-7 hours
(with numerous stops e.g. in the mountains, Da Nang, Marble Mountains)
Departure best by 9.30h at the latest
Driver will take you from hotel to hotel
Optional: Visit to the imperial tombs in Hue (small extra charge)
bookable in hotels, travel agencies, everywhere or online


Hey there! I created The Happy Jetlagger in 2015 to gather all those lovely places I got to know during my trips. I love to inspire others on their travels and to discover unique destinations! Working many years as a flight attendant, I finally found a way to share my travel experience. Hope you enjoy it!

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