If you’re travelling between Dalat and Nha Trang, ditch the bus and grab a motorbike. You’ll be happy with your choices, trust me. Motorbiking along the Khanh Le Pass from Dalat to Nha Trang not only goes down as one of my favourite drives in Vietnam but also as one of the highlights of all my travels in Vietnam. I had zero expectations going into this drive; hardly anyone talks about this route, instead, focusing on more iconic roads like the Hai Van Pass that connects Hue and Da Nang. I’m so thankful for the lack of expectations because just wow, This was an unexpectedly amazing day.
I only stopped once motorbiking from Dalat to Nha Trang for photos, though I could have stopped a hundred times. I’m normally glued to my viewfinder but I was so consumed by the moment on this drive that I came away with only 1 shaky video and a handful of shots from the viewpoint. No photos can do justice to the winding mountain roads and the feeling of cruising along the mountain roads.
Khanh Le Mountain Pass
The most beautiful part of the drive from Dalat in the central highlands to Nha Trang on the southern coast is the Khanh Le Pass*. The road is named after the mountains and makes up ~30km of the route. I had actually never heard of this mountain pass, which is strange considering it is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful drives in all of Vietnam (I would even risk saying it has views to rival the Hai Van Pass in Da Nang).
After a little bit of research, it started to make sense why I hadn’t heard that much about this road; it was only officially opened in 2007 making the route around 15 years old! Apparently, the French colonist wanted to open this route but deemed it too dangerous to construct at the time.
Khanh Le Pass takes you through multiple areas of protected natural beauty, such as the Hon Ba Nature Reserve and the Bidoup-Nui Ba National Park, and reaches heights of 1,600m. As you can imagine, the views down from these parts of the pass are stunning.
How to motorbike from Dalat to Nha Trang
There are two ways to motorbike along the beautiful Khanh Le Pass between Dalat and Nha Trang:
1️⃣ Self-drive with a one-way rental (rent a motorbike and drive yourself from Dalat to Nha Trang)
2️⃣ Take an Easy Rider tour (ride on the back of an experienced driver’s motorbike)
One-way motorbike rental
If you aren’t already motorbiking across Vietnam, you can opt for a one-way motorbike rental to experience this drive for yourself. There are a number of motorbiking rental agencies that offer pick-up in Dalat and drop-off in Nha Trang. Most of these companies also offer to transport your luggage so you don’t need to drive with it. These are some of the reputable companies offering one-way rentals in Dalat:
While it’s possible to drive this route on an automatic motorbike, I recommending opting for a semi-automatic if you can for a little more control. Expect to pay more for a one-way motorbike rental than day rentals.
💰800k / $34
Easy Rider between Dalat and Nha Trang
If you aren’t motorbiking or don’t know how to ride then you can still experience this drive through an Easy Rider tour. Easy Rider is the name given to motorbike tours where experienced drivers take you on the back of their motorbike. For roads like this, it is most common for the driver to take you from one destination to the next, as a transfer. Most of these trips happen on cruisers that have space for your luggage. Alternatively, you could arrange to do this road as a day trip, returning to the same start place.
Here are some companies that offer Easy Rider:
• EasyRiderTrips (offer both directions, Nha Trang – Dalat and Dalat – Nha Trang)
• Dalat Easy Riders (they only seem to offer multi-day trips right now)
• Mr Vu Easy Rider (I think this is the trip I would pick myself)
A route for motorbiking the Khanh Le Pass
There are a few different routes between Dalat and Nha Trang – I’ve actually done two of them and can confirm that the Khanh Le Pass is the best route. The road is undoubtedly scenic in both directions, but I feel like going from Dalat to Nha Trang offers more dramatic views as you look down on the valley rather than up at it. I re-drove this route in 2020 and the mountain roads have been re-tarmacked and are in excellent condition.
The drive takes ~ 3 hours, but I would set aside at least half a day with stops along the way.
Starting in Dalat the weather was cool, and I was actually bundled up in my jacket and sweater as we departed the central highlands. The mountain roads quickly climb and by the time we hit the peak of the pass and started the descent towards Nha Trang the temperatures were in the 30s. Wearing transitional clothing is essential for this drive, so make sure to pack layers you can remove en-route.
The lowdown on motorbiking from Dalat to Nha Trang
For motorbiking from Dalat to Nha Trang, you will need to book accommodation for one night in each city. For information on planning a trip to Dalat, including other things to do, where to stay, and what to eat, check out my travel guide to Dalat.
💰 800k+ for a one-way motorbiking rental + ~150k for petrol
⏰ half to full day
✍ For more information on motorbiking in Vietnam, check out my Complete Guide to Motorbiking in Vietnam.