Up the coast from Da Nang, Highway 1 zigzags over the Hai Van Pass, a wonderfully scenic ride by road or (especially) rail. These days, most buses cut out the pass via the Hai Van Tunnel, leaving a more peaceful journey for those that choose to take on the pass. From the top of the pass there are superb views, weather permitting, over the sweeping curve of Da Nang Bay, with glimpses of the rail lines looping and tunnelling along the cliff. The two routes converge again where the tunnel emerges, at the small beach town of Lang Co, whose beach boasts brilliant white sands – and is still, as yet, markedly undeveloped. To the west is Bach Ma National Park, a gorgeous place where the remains of another French-era hill station are swamped by some of the lushest vegetation in Vietnam.

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