Impressive landscape in Hai Van Pass
This is the highest pass in Vietnam (500m above sea level). This rugged pass is the final section of the Truong Son Range stretching to the sea. Hai Van means “Sea Clouds”, since the peak of the mountain is in the clouds while its foot is close to the sea. In the past, Hai Van Pass was known as the Thuan Hoa and Quang Nam frontier.
In the early 14th century (11306), Che Man, a king from Cham Pa, offered two mountainous administrative units of O and Ri as engagement gifts to Princess Huyen Tran, daughter of King Tran Nhan Tong. On his way to see off the Princess in the Quang area in a Summer sunny noon, the King and his entourage were on horse back for almost half a day but could not reach the top of the pass.
Facing upwards, the King saw a rampart of mountains in dim clouds, and at the foot of the pass, an immense ocean, of waves. Though sorry for his daughter’s difficult journey, the king was comforted by the closer ties between the two nations.
Go Through Hai Van Pass
Here, if the weather affords it (which it often doesn’t), there are views to both the North and the South. The pass forms an obvious boundary between North and South Vietnam, and if proof were needed, you need look no further than the fortifications built by the French and then later used by the South Vietnamese and the Americans.
You will of course want to stop here if you make this trip, but be warned that you will have to fight off a large band of souvenir and snack sellers who are among the most aggressive I encountered during the whole trip.