Hai Van Pass was known as the Thuan Hoa and Quang Nam frontier. In the early 14th century (1306), 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.
Whenever one goes through Hai Van Pass, two feelings are experienced: amazement at passing through the clouds and fear when seeing the dangerous bends of the road. A 21km-long road over Hai Van Pass, opened at the end of the 19th century, winds back and forth to a height of 435m above sea level. With sudden curves and blind corners, Hai Van Pass is likened to an arrogant but beautiful girl challenging drivers’ skills. Its name means “Pass of the Ocean Clouds,” since the peak of the mountain is in the clouds while its foot is close to the sea.
From the top of Hai Van Pass, one can admire Lang Co Beach to the north and Da Nang to the south. The curving railway through Hai Van Pass is 3,200m long including sections running through seven tunnels. There are endless forests to the west of Hai Van Pass and the ocean is to the east. Hai Van Pass is a real challenge for drivers, as well as for adventurers.
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