Hải Vân Pass

The Hải Vân Pass (Vietnamese: Đèo Hải Vân, IPA: [ɗɛ̂w ha᷉ːj vən], "ocean cloud pass"), is an approximately 21 km long mountain pass on National Route 1A in Vietnam. It traverses a spur of the larger Annamite Range that juts into the East Sea of Viet Nam, on the border of Đà Nẵng and Thừa Thiên–Huế Province, near Bạch Mã National Park. Its name refers to the mists that rise from the sea, reducing visibility. Historically, the pass was a physical division between the kingdoms of Champa and Đại Việt.[1]

The twisting road on the pass has long been a challenge for drivers traveling between the cities of Huế and Đà Nẵng. Since the completion of Hải Vân Tunnel, traffic flow and safety have improved.[1] The pass has been the scene of at least two of Vietnam's most serious rail accidents, and at least one air crash.

Hải Vân Pass
Đèo Hải Vân
Hai Van Pass ocean view
An overhead view of the pass
RangeAnnamite Range
Coordinates16°12′N 108°8′E / 16.200°N 108.133°ECoordinates: 16°12′N 108°8′E / 16.200°N 108.133°E
Hải Vân Pass is located in Vietnam
Hải Vân Pass
Location of the Hải Vân Pass in Vietnam


The Hải Vân Pass crosses over a spur of the Trường Sơn (Annamite) Range that emerges from the west and juts into the South China Sea, forming the Hải Vân Peninsula and the adjoining Son Tra Island. The pass, which once formed the boundary between the kingdoms of Đại Việt and Champa, also forms a boundary between the climates of northern and southern Vietnam, sheltering the city of Da Nang from the "Chinese winds" that blow in from the northwest. During the winter months (November–March), for instance, weather on the north side of the pass might be wet and cold, while the south side might be warm and dry.[1]

The pass is renowned for its scenic beauty.[1] Presenter Jeremy Clarkson, host of the BBC motoring programme Top Gear, featured the pass during the show's 2008 Vietnam Special, calling the road "a deserted ribbon of perfection—one of the best coast roads in the world."[2]


Hải Vân Pass has been of major strategic importance in this history of Vietnam, and for a long time represented a major barrier to any land army that attempted to move between the northern and central regions of the country.

During the 1st century A.D., the Chinese general Ma Yuan (Mã Viện), after pacifying northern Vietnam, advanced south and established the southern border of the Han (Hán) empire by setting up columns of bronze, possibly at Hải Vân.[3] Ma Yuan also left behind some Chinese military families to hold the frontier. When the Han empire collapsed at the end of the 2nd century, the local kingdom of Linyi (Lâm Ấp), the predecessor to the medieval polity of Champa, was created by a petty frontier bureaucrat of the Han administration, probably in the area of modern Huế somewhat to the north.


The pass is crossed by two main transport routes: Vietnam's main north–south highway, National Route 1A, and the North–South Railway. The road crosses over the mountain more or less directly, climbing to an elevation of 496 m (1,627 ft) and passing south of the 1,172 m (3,845 ft) high Ai Van Son peak, while the railway hugs the coastline more closely, passing through a series of tunnels along the way. Since its opening in 2005, the Hải Vân Tunnel—the longest tunnel in Southeast Asia—offers an alternative road across the pass, reducing travel times by at least an hour.[1]


Besides its beauty, the pass is also renowned for its difficulty. A poem by Nguyễn Phúc Chu (1675–1725) describes Hải Vân as "the most dangerous mountain in Vietnam" (Vietnamese: Việt Nam hiểm ải thử sơn điên).[4] Visibility on the pass is often reduced by the eponymous mists that rise from the sea. Along with the road's winding route through the pass, this posed a serious challenge for drivers before the construction of the Hải Vân Tunnel. The Hai Van Pass has also been the scene of at least two of Vietnam's most serious rail accidents, and at least one air crash.

See also


  1. ^ a b c d e Nick Ray; Yu-Mei Balasingamchow; Iain Stewart (2009). Vietnam. Lonely Planet. Retrieved 2010-07-23.
  2. ^ Clarkson, Jeremy. "Vietnam Motorbike special part 1 - Top Gear- BBC". Youtube. TopGear. Retrieved 2013-04-22.
  3. ^ Lê Thanh Khoi, Histoire du Viet Nam des origines a 1858 (Paris: Sudestasie, 1981), 94.
  4. ^ Nguyễn Phúc Chu, "Ải lĩnh xuân vân".
  5. ^ Fort Walton Beach, Florida, "Indochina Rail Crash Kills 100". Playground News, 25 June 1953, Volume 8, Number 22, p. 8.
  6. ^ "691228 HMM-364 Vietnam". Popasmoke. Retrieved 26 January 2015.
  7. ^ Vietnam train derail kills 11, injuring 200. Xinhua. March 13, 2005.

External links

2005 Phú Lộc derailment

The 2005 Phú Lộc derailment was an accident to an express passenger train that derailed in central Vietnam on 12 March 2005 when it was running on the North–South Railway, killing 11 people and injuring hundreds, many of which were in a serious condition after the crash. The accident occurred in Phú Lộc District, Thừa Thiên–Huế Province as the train was traveling from Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh City. The accident was described as "the most tragic rail accident in Vietnam in the past 30 years", and "the country's worst-ever rail accident".

Battle of Duc Duc

The Battle of Duc Duc took place from 18 July to 4 October 1974 in Duc Duc District, Quảng Nam Province. The North Vietnamese made some minor territorial gains and suffered heavy losses, while South Vietnamese forces were severely weakened by the fighting.

Battle of Huế

The Battle of Huế – also called the Siege of Huế – was one of the longest and bloodiest battles of the Vietnam War. Between 30 January and 3 March 1968, in the South Vietnamese city of Huế, 11 battalions of the Army of the Republic of Vietnam (ARVN), four U.S. Army battalions, and three U.S. Marine Corps battalions – totaling 18 battalions – defeated 10 battalions of the People's Army of Vietnam and the Viet Cong (VC).

By the beginning of the North Vietnamese Tet Offensive on January 30, 1968 – coinciding with the Vietnamese lunar New Year (Vietnamese: Tết Nguyên Đán) – large, conventional, U.S. forces had been committed to combat operations on Vietnamese soil for almost three years.

Highway 1, passing through the city of Huế, was an important supply line for ARVN, US, and Allied Forces from the coastal city of Da Nang to the Vietnamese Demilitarized Zone (DMZ). It also provided access to the Perfume River (Vietnamese: Sông Hương or Hương Giang) at the point where the river ran through Huế, dividing the city into northern and southern parts. Huế was also a base for United States Navy supply boats.

Considering its logistical value and its proximity to the DMZ (only 50 kilometres (31 mi)), Huế should have been well-defended, fortified, and prepared for any communist attack. However, the city had few fortifications and was poorly defended.

While the ARVN 1st Division had cancelled all Tet leave and was attempting to recall its troops, the South Vietnamese and U.S. forces in the city were unprepared when the Viet Cong and the PAVN launched the Tet Offensive, attacking hundreds of military targets and population centers across the country, including Huế.The PAVN/Vietcong forces rapidly occupied most of the city. Over the next month, they were gradually driven out during intense house-to-house fighting led by the Marines and ARVN. In the end, although the Allies declared a military victory, the city of Huế was virtually destroyed, and more than 5,000 civilians were killed (2,800 of them executed by the PAVN and Viet Cong, according to the South Vietnamese government). The communist forces lost an estimated 2,400 to 8,000 killed, while Allied forces lost 668 dead and 3,707 wounded. The losses negatively affected the American public's perception of the war, and political support for the war began to wane.

Battle of Phú Lộc

The Battle of Phú Lộc took place from 28 August to 10 December 1974 when North Vietnamese forces captured a series of hills and installed artillery that closed Phu Bai Air Base and interdicted Highway 1. The hills were recaptured by the South Vietnamese in costly fighting that depleted its reserve forces.

Climate of Vietnam

Vietnam's climate, being located in the tropics and strongly influenced by the South China Sea has a monsoon-influenced tropical climate typical of that of mainland Southeast Asia. In the north, the climate is monsoonal with four distinct seasons (Spring, Summer, Autumn, and Winter) while in the south (areas south of the Hải Vân Pass), the climate is tropical monsoon with two seasons (rainy and dry). In addition temperate climate exists in mountainous areas, which are found in Sa Pa, Da Lat while a more continental climate exists in Lai Chau Province and Son La Province. The diverse topography, wide range of latitudes (Vietnam spans over 15° of latitude), and influences from the South China Sea lead to climatic conditions varying significantly between regions. 20% of Vietnam's total surface area is low-elevation coastal area making the country highly vulnerable to climate change effects and the rising sea levels in particular.

Cả Pass

The Cả pass (Đèo Cả) is a mountain pass in Phú Yên Province, Vietnam. The mountains are known as the Cả pass mountains (núi Cả Đèo). Historically the Cả Pass was the second most difficult col in Vietnam after Hải Vân Pass. In 1611, the Nguyen pushed their border down to Cả Pass.

Da Nang

Da Nang (Vietnamese: Đà Nẵng, [ɗâː nǎˀŋ] (listen)) is the fifth largest city in Vietnam. Located on the coast of the South China Sea at the mouth of the Han River, it is one of Vietnam's most important port cities. As one of the country's five direct-controlled municipalities, it is under the direct administration of the central government.

Da Nang is the commercial and educational centre of Central Vietnam, as well as being the largest city in the region. In addition to its well-sheltered, easily accessible port, Da Nang's location on the path of National Route 1A and the North–South Railway makes it a hub for transportation. It is located within 100 km (62 mi) of several UNESCO World Heritage Sites, including the Imperial City of Hue, the Old Town of Hoi An, and the My Son ruins. The city was previously known as Cửa Hàn during early Đại Việt settlement, and as Tourane (or Turon) during French colonial rule. Before 1997, the city was part of Quang Nam-Da Nang Province.

On 1 January 1997, Da Nang was separated from Quảng Nam Province to become one of four independent (centrally controlled) municipalities in Vietnam. Da Nang is listed as a first class city, and has a higher urbanization ratio than any of Vietnam's other provinces or centrally governed cities.

Firebase Tomahawk

Firebase Tomahawk (also known as Tomahawk Hill or Hill 132) was a U.S. Army firebase located in the Phú Lộc District southeast of Huế in central Vietnam.

Geography of Vietnam

Vietnam is located on the eastern margin of the Indochinese peninsula and occupies about 331,211.6 square kilometers, of which about 25% was under cultivation in 1987. It borders the Gulf of Thailand, Gulf of Tonkin, and Pacific Ocean, along with China, Laos, and Cambodia. The S-shaped country has a north-to-south distance of 1,650 km (1,030 mi) and is about 50 km (31 mi) wide at the narrowest point. With a coastline of 3,260 km (2,030 mi), excluding islands, Vietnam claims 12 nautical miles (22.2 km; 13.8 mi) as the limit of its territorial waters, an additional 12 nautical miles (22.2 km; 13.8 mi) as a contiguous customs and security zone, and 200 nautical miles (370.4 km; 230.2 mi) as an exclusive economic zone.

The boundary with Laos, was settled on both an ethnic and geographical basis, between the rulers of Vietnam and Laos in the mid-seventeenth century. The Annamite Range as a reference, was formally defined by a delimitation treaty signed in 1977 and ratified in 1986. The frontier with Cambodia, defined at the time of French annexation of the western part of the Mekong Delta in 1867, remained essentially unchanged, according to Hanoi, until some unresolved border issues were finally settled in the 1982-85 period. The land and sea boundary with China, delineated under the France-China treaties of 1887 and 1895, is "the frontier line" accepted by Hanoi. China agreed in 1957-58 to respect that border line. However, in February 1979, following the Sino-Vietnamese War, Hanoi complained that from 1957 onward China had provoked numerous border incidents as part of its anti-Vietnam policy and expansionist designs in Southeast Asia. Among the territorial infringements cited was the Chinese occupation in January 1974 of the Paracel Islands, claimed by both countries in a dispute left unresolved in the 1980s.

Hill 724

Hill 724 is a former U.S. Marine Corps (USMC) base near the summit of the Hải Vân Pass north of Da Nang in central Vietnam.

Hải Vân Tunnel

The Hải Vân Tunnel, the longest tunnel in Southeast Asia at 6.28 km (3.90 mi), lies on Highway 1 between the two cities of Da Nang and Huế in central Vietnam.

Names of Vietnam

Việt Nam (listen) is a variation of Nam Việt (Southern Việt), a name that can be traced back to the Triệu dynasty (2nd century BC, also known as Nanyue Kingdom). The word "Việt" originated as a shortened form of Bách Việt, a word used to refer to a people who lived in what is now southern China in ancient times. The word "Việt Nam", with the syllables in the modern order, first appears in the 16th century in a poem by Nguyễn Bỉnh Khiêm. "Annam", which originated as a Chinese name in the seventh century, was the common name of the country during the colonial period. Nationalist writer Phan Bội Châu revived the name "Vietnam" in the early 20th century. When rival communist and anti-communist governments were set up in 1945, both immediately adopted this as the country's official name. In English, the two syllables are usually combined into one word, "Vietnam." However, "Viet Nam" was once common usage and is still used by the United Nations and by the Vietnamese government.

Throughout history, there were many names used to refer to Vietnam. Besides official names, there are names that are used unofficially to refer to territory of Vietnam. Vietnam was called Văn Lang during the Hùng Vương Dynasty, Âu Lạc when An Dương was king, Nam Việt during the Triệu Dynasty, Van Xuan during the Anterior Lý Dynasty, Đại Cồ Việt during the Đinh dynasty and Early Lê dynasty. Starting in 1054, Vietnam was called Đại Việt (Great Viet). During the Hồ dynasty, Vietnam was called Đại Ngu.

Ngang Pass

The Ngang Pass (Vietnamese: Đèo Ngang, IPA: [ɗɛ̂w ŋaːŋ], literally "Transverse Mountain Pass") is a mountain pass on the border of the provinces of Quảng Bình and Hà Tĩnh, in the North Central Coast of Vietnam. National Route 1A crosses it as it traverses the Hoành Sơn, a side-spur of the larger Annamite Range. The pass is 2,560 m long, ascending to the height of 250 m (750 ft).

Historical French texts refer to the pass as Porte d'Annam.

North–South railway (Vietnam)

The North–South railway (Vietnamese: Đường sắt Bắc–Nam, French: Chemin de fer Nord-Sud) is the principal railway line serving the country of Vietnam. It is a single-track metre gauge line connecting the capital Hanoi in the north to Ho Chi Minh City in the south, for a total length of 1,726 km (1,072 mi). Trains travelling this line are sometimes referred to as the Reunification Express (referring to the Reunification of Vietnam), although no particular train carries this name officially. The line was established during French colonial rule, and was completed over a period of nearly forty years, from 1899 to 1936. As of 2005, there were 278 stations on the Vietnamese railway network, of which 191 were located along the North–South line.From World War II through to the Vietnam War, the entire North–South railway sustained major damage from bombings and sabotage. Owing to this damage, and to a subsequent lack of capital investment and maintenance, much of the infrastructure along the North–South railway remains outdated or in poor condition; in turn, lack of infrastructure development has been found to be a root cause for railway accidents along the line, including collisions at level crossings and derailments. Recent rehabilitation projects, supported by official development assistance, have improved the safety and efficiency of the line. As of 2007, 85% of the network's passenger volume and 60% of its cargo volume was transported along the line. The national railway company Vietnam Railways owns and operates the line.

Phú Lộc District

Phú Lộc is a rural district of Thừa Thiên–Huế Province in the North Central Coast region of Vietnam. As of 2003 the district had a population of 149,418. The district covers an area of 728 km². The district capital lies at Phú Lộc.The area abuts the South China Sea to the east and the Hải Vân Pass to the south. The city of Phú Lộc is the main economic focal point of the district, mainly due to tourism.

The district comprises the townships of Lăng Cô and Phú Lộc, and the communes of Lộc Trì, Lộc Bổn, Vinh Hải, Lộc Hòa, Lộc An, Lộc Bình, Lộc Thủy, Vinh Giang, Lộc Vĩnh, Vinh Mỹ, Lộc Sơn, Lộc Tiến, Vinh Hiền, Vinh Hưng, Xuân Lộc and Lộc Điền.

The district is divided into three sectors, from Huế and moving southwards towards Phú Lộc is Sector 1, opposite is Sector 2, and the region between Lăng Cô and Phú Lộc is Sector 3.

Railway accidents in Vietnam

Railway accidents in Vietnam are common. In 2010, 451 railway accidents were reported across the country's railway network, having caused 211 deaths and 284 injuries. A joint Japanese-Vietnamese evaluation team reported in 2007 that the poor state of railway infrastructure was the fundamental cause for most railway accidents, of which the most common types were train crashes against vehicles and persons, especially at illegal level crossings; derailments caused by failure to decrease speed were also noted as a common cause of accidents. As of 2010, around 90% of all railway accidents occurred at level crossings without safety fences, and most were said to have been caused by motorists failing to follow traffic safety laws.Along with recent efforts aimed at infrastructure rehabilitation, the recent adoption of safety measures by national railway operator Vietnam Railways has led to a decline in railway accidents. These measures include: public awareness campaigns on railway safety in the media; construction of fences and safety barriers at critical level crossings in major cities; mobilization of volunteers for traffic control at train stations and level crossings, especially during holiday seasons; the installation of additional auto-signal systems; and the construction of flyovers and underpasses to redirect traffic.

South Central Coast

South Central Coast (Vietnamese: Duyên hải Nam Trung Bộ) is one of the regions of Vietnam. It consists of the independent municipality of Đà Nẵng and seven other provinces. The two southern provinces Ninh Thuận and Bình Thuận are sometimes seen as part of the Southeast region.The Paracel Islands (Hoàng Sa District), and Spratly Islands (Trường Sa District), are also part of this region.

The region has traditionally been one of the main gateways to neighbouring Central Highlands. It has a complex geography with mountain ranges extending up to the coast, making transport and infrastructure development challenging but favouring tourism in some places, most notable around Phan Thiết, Nha Trang, and Da Nang. Tourism also benefits from Cham cultural heritage, including architecture, performances, and museums. It is generally much less industrialized and developed than the region around Ho Chi Minh City or the Red River Delta, but it has some regional industrial centers in Da Nang, around Nha Trang and Qui Nhơn.

South Central Coast (Nam Trung Bộ) - 8 provinces: Đà Nẵng, Quảng Nam, Quảng Ngãi, Bình Định, Phú Yên, Khánh Hòa, Ninh Thuận and Bình Thuận. In the Nguyễn dynasty, this area was known as Tả Trực Kỳ (the area located in the right of Thừa Thiên).

Tourism in Vietnam

Tourism in Vietnam is a component of the modern Vietnamese economy. In 2018, Vietnam received 15.5 million international arrivals, up from 2.1 million in the year 2000. The Vietnam National Administration of Tourism is following a long-term plan to diversify the tourism industry, which brings foreign exchange into the country.Tourist arrivals in Vietnam have continued to rise in recent years. In 2008, Vietnam received 4.218 million international tourists, in 2009 the number was 3.8 million, down 11%. In 2012, Vietnam received 6.84 million tourists. This was a 13% increase from 2011 figure of 6 million international visitors, which was itself a rise of 2 million visitors relative to 2010 arrivals. In 2016, Vietnam welcomed 10 million international visitors which represented a 26% increase from the previous year.

Trần Cao Vân

Trần Cao Vân (陳高雲, 1866–1916) was a mandarin of the Nguyễn Dynasty who was best known for his activities in attempting to expel the French colonial powers in Vietnam. He orchestrated an attempt to expel the French and install Emperor Duy Tân as the boy ruler of an independent Vietnam, but the uprising failed. Vân was executed while Duy Tân was exiled by the French.

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