Our next destination upon leaving Hội An was bound to be Hue, and we decided that since we were heading that way anyway, we might as well do the famous “Top Gear route” that seemed to be advertised everywhere, but without paying a tour company, seeing as we had purchased our own bikes back in Ho Chi Minh.
The top gear route was part of the journey that the famous tv presenters did when they filmed their special in Vietnam.
The Top Gear Route from Hội An:
1. Marble Mountain
2. Lăng Cô Beach
3. The Hai Van Pass
4. Elephant Springs
So, we left Hội An and made our way to our first stop – the town of Da Nang, which was supposedly just a short drive away. What we hadn’t accounted for was that there seemed to be a Triathlon on, resulting in one lane traffic as half the road was closed. We eventually approached Marble Mountain and first explored the cave near the entrance.
The cave enclosed several Buddhist shrines and some incredibly creepy statues depicting oh you know, the usual – demonic faces sticking out of the walls, the eternal torture of dammed souls in fiery pits of hell and such. Standard.
Since it was hot and we didn’t want to take up too much potential driving time, we got a ticket to get the elevator up to the top of the mountain. The town of Da Nang stretched below us…
Various temples and shrines are scattered around on the top of the mountain, with several more caves to explore and a panoramic viewpoint to climb up to.
On our merry way again, the next sight on the magical mystery tour was supposed to be Lăng Cô Beach. However, locals had obviously wisened up to it’s increased popularity and had stationed themselves at the only entrance/parking area that we could find and insisted we pay them.
Neither of us were in the mood for dishing out unnecessary cash or being ripped off, and as much as I’m sure it was a beautiful beach, most beaches look more or less the same hence I didn’t have any regrets about turning around and driving off. Besides, we saw other beautiful beaches along the way
The Hai Van pass certainly didn’t disappoint, with absolutely stunning views of the ocean meeting us around every bend and corner
and then an old abandoned war bunker to explore on top of the hill
Elephant springs was the most difficult place to find, given that there weren’t any sign posts. We had nearly given up when we eventually came across it, but were peeved when we had to pay for “entry and parking” only to drive further up to the entrance and be charged for parking again!
Elephant springs has several tiers of clear, cool water to swim in, which seemingly people will charge you for. However, we got there late in the day, at which point most people had left and locals were retreating off for food. We snuck up to one of the furthest tiers and disappeared behind a bunch of rocks.
The cold water was a welcome respite from the hot sun we had been driving under all day.
We left elephant springs just as the sun was setting over the rice fields
and arrived in Hue shortly after nightfall; ravenously hungry and luckily, just in time for our hostel’s “family dinner”, where we all sat on the floor of reception, guests and staff alike, and enjoyed an abundance of dishes and awkwardly funny get to know you questions.
You can check out the vlog here