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Danang to Hue

Nothing so etches a road into one's memory as to travel it with people shooting at you. Which was a regular practice on Vietnam's Route 1 between Danang and Hue. But, luckily for you this was forty years ago and those being shot at were wearing American army uniforms. So relax, no need to pack the flak jacket.

Even then, however, the American grunts marvelled at how beautiful this route was; the sea shimmering in the heat, the paddies orderly as fields in France, the mountains hidden in mist. Danang is a commercial harbor city on the southern tip of the long blue crescent that is Danang Bay. The road runs out of the city along a beach that once was lined with American installations. It crosses the Nam O Bridge and then winds up into a spur of mountains that runs east from the great north-south cordillera and juts into the sea, dividing Vietnam in half.

Halfway up into the mountains if you look back – watching out for Charlie, of course, are ferns and waterfalls, the rippling, dripping sounds of the jungle. Below you, waves break gently on beaches sculpted out of the rocks.

Continuing on Route 1, you follow the steep road up to Hai Van Pass, the Pass of the Ocean Clouds, which offers sweeping views up and down the coast. Descend from the pass through a green-blue landscape of mountains and water and bamboo forests, and you'll eventually come into Hue, where, if you’ve any sense you’ll pull into the Orchid Hotel, OrchidHotel.

Whatever you do, don’t ruin the trip by going in the rainy season. Check out Weather2Travel.

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