The Coastal City of Da Nang
The coastal city of Da Nang is located in the very center of Vietnam. With a population of 1.2million, Da Nang is the 5th largest city in the country and a desirable destination for local holidaymakers and foreign tourists. The cities’ long stretch of beach and all year warmth makes it an appealing destination for all. Popular on the tourist map, Da Nang also has various different attractions, which draw people from all over the world. There are many international flights landing there every day.
Vietnam has many visitors hoping to explore everything the country has to offer. Due to this, many opt to fly into either Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh City, traveling between the two during their stay. At the very center of the journey between north and south, you will find the coastal city of Da Nang. Well connected by road, train and plane from both major cities, Da Nang is an ideal place to stop and break up the journey. Not to mention the added bonus of some relaxing beach time.
Da Nang itself is a lively city with various different attractions. As a result, the city makes an excellent place to spend a few days with something for all holidaymakers to enjoy. Be it driving Hai Van Pass by motorbike, snorkeling over coral, strolling the lantern-lit streets of Hoi An or snoozing under a palm tree, Da Nang has it all.
Da Nang: Our Top 10 Things To Do
1. Da Nang (My Khe) Beach
Da Nang is famous for its long stretch of coastline and accompanying white sanded beach. This 20 mile stretch of glorious beach is one of the cities main attractions and is the reason local tourists visit from all over Vietnam. Lined with palm trees, restaurants, hotels and bars, My Khe beach is the ideal location to enjoy a day by the sea. And with various different activities, such as sunbathing, surfing, parasailing, swimming and many more, this is an attraction for all to enjoy.
Due to this, the location is extremely popular with both foreign and Vietnamese tourists. The beach begins to fill at sunrise with people making the most of the cooler morning temperatures to enjoy a dip in the sea. At sunset, the beach continues to be alive with people enjoying a place to drink, relax, exercise and generally chill out.
When staying in Da Nang, My Khe beach is a location not to be missed! The destination offers all visitors a place to relax, soak up the good vibes and enjoy being by the sea.
2. Hoi An
30 km south of Da Nang tourists can find the ancient city of Hoi An. This UNESCO protected world heritage site is one of Vietnam’s most famous attractions. As a result, Hoi An is a destination drawing visitors from all over the world to the quaint coast of Vietnam. Well known for it’s well preserved ancient town, visitors can experience walking quaint streets winding between small yellow brick buildings and beneath colorful lanterns. As a former port town, the cities history is reflected in its mix of architecture and styles.
Visitors can experience the town in an afternoon and evening. Walking the streets in the afternoon and shopping for souvenirs. Later choosing one of the many restaurants to enjoy a meal next to the canal and by lantern light.
Many tourists opt to stay in Hoi An as opposed to Da Nang. However, to make the most of your trip, we suggest staying in the more central destination of Da Nang. The town of Hoi An can be enjoyed and explored in one day.
3. Hai Van Pass
Made world-famous in 2008 by the Top Gear: Vietnam Special episode, Hai Van Pass is a 21km stretch of coastal road located between the cities of Da Nang and Hue. This short but stunning section of the road has riders twisting along the mountainside overlooking the deep blue ocean. Popular with travelers from all over the world, this stretch of road is easily one of the best attractions accessible from Da Nang. There are various options available to those wanting to experience the drive, however, we feel it is best experienced by motorbike.
Hai Van Pass is approximately 20-25km from the center of Da Nang. And a return journey takes around 3-4 hours. However, to make the most of your drive we suggest putting aside one day to complete the journey. Taking speed, lunch and stops to enjoy the view into consideration.
CAUTION ! ! : Completing the route can be challenging for new drivers, so be sure to take your time and be wary of other vehicles.
At the far side of Hai Van Pass, you will find the fishing town of Lang Co. Just a few km from the end of the mountainside pass sits the stunning Lang Co Bay. An idyllic bay surrounded by beautiful mountains and home to a few tasty fresh fish floating restaurants.
4. Marble Mountains
The Marble Mountains overlook Da Nang from 10kms south of the city. This cluster of 5 limestone and marble mountains is a fantastic half-day trip for visitors. Known for stone cutting and sculpture, this area has an element of industry and culture. The mountains themselves are named after the elements of wood, water, fire, earth, and metal. The Marble Mountains are home to many caves and grottoes used during the war to spy on US troops at My Khe beach. Which adds an additional element of history to the attraction. Visitors are given the opportunity to explore these hidden coves at their leisure.
There are also various different temples and Buddhist sanctuaries built into the mountains and inside the caves. Most of which have been used as a place of worship since the 17th century and are still used still today. One of the main attractions is a hike to the mountain peak. Here you are able to enjoy spectacular panoramic views across Da Nang and My Khe beach.
It is a good idea to plan a trip to the Marble Mountains in the morning to avoid completing the hike when the sun is at it’s highest and hottest.
The entrance to the mountains will cost around 40,000VND.
5. Son Tra (Monkey Mountain)
Located a 35-minute drive from Da Nang, Son Tra Peninsula is a well-visited national park that sits over 600m above sea level. As a popular destination for foreign and Vietnamese tourists, this park offers visitors a tranquil escape from the busy streets of Da Nang City.
Monkey Mountain is the most well-known peak in the park and offers a great lookout point for visitors. Used during the American-Vietnam war as a prominent observation base, the mountain is home to two radar domes that are now used by the Vietnamese military. With 360-degree views of Da Nang City, Hai Van Mountain, the Cham Islands, and sprawling ocean, the mountain peak is the main attraction of the park.
The park is also a hot spot for motorcyclists as it is home to many winding hillside roads that boast incredible views. It is possible for motorcyclists to spend a day cruising along these winding roads and absorbing in the breathtaking scenery.
For those who prefer to explore on foot, there are also many different hiking trails through the park that can be enjoyed. Offering an idyllic place for walkers to absorb the beautiful surroundings and breathe the fresh ocean air. Another popular attraction within the park is the Linh Ung Pagoda. Sitting proudly on the side of Monkey Mountain, this pagoda is even visible when standing on My Khe beach. However, it is even more impressive when viewed up close.
Built-in the 18th century, this impressive pagoda stands at a tall 67 metres. The pagoda itself is a white statue of the goddess of mercy standing on a lotus-shaped platform. The structure is made up of 17 different levels and houses a total of 21 miniature statues of Buddha.
6. Cham Islands
Located approximately 9 nautical miles off the coast of Hoi An, the Cham Islands offer a tropical getaway for tourists. A total of 8 islands make up the Cham islands, spanning 235 square km across the ocean. These beautiful islands are surrounded by coral reefs and are an ideal day trip from Da Nang. There are various different tour companies that offer day trips from Hoi An’s port to the islands.
Day trips usually include swimming, snorkeling, and diving around the islands. And after a day of activity, you’ll be ready for an afternoon of chill on the main beach of Bai Huong. The coral reef surrounding the islands is surprisingly rife with color. However, compared to other spots in SE Asia, it is lacking in tropical fish and sea life. Nevertheless, it is an incredible experience for all and a rare one in Vietnam.
An afternoon on Bai Huong beach is also not to be missed. This beach has a surprising tropical island feel to it. Because of its crystal clear waters, a canopy of palm trees and hammocks for snoozing, it truly is idyllic. It feels completely removed from the nearby coastline and Vietnam in general.
7. Dragon Bridge
Da Nang is home to the longest and most glamorous bridge in Vietnam. This eccentric bridge is 666 meters long and is decorated with an impressive metal sculpture of a dragon. Dragon Bridge was constructed in 2013 to celebrate Da Nang’s 38th liberation anniversary. It is a sight to behold at any time of the day. However, it is specifically impressive at night when it comes alight with glowing LED reflecting off the river below.
The waterfront around the Dragon is lined with bars and restaurants. The ideal place to spend an evening and to watch the bridges display! Despite the bridge being somewhat tacky in appearance for some, it is still worth a visit and is extremely impressive to behold.
Location: Da Nang city centre
To see the bridge in all of its glory, visit on a weekend after 21:00 to see it breathing fire and water.
8. My Son Sanctuary
40km and around a 1-hour drive from Da Nang lies the ancient ruins of My Son. Dubbed as Vietnam’s Angkor Wat, this cluster of derelict Hindu temples constructed by the Champa Kingdom is a fascinating and historical sight to behold.
From the 4th to the 14th century the site was used as a place of religious ceremony for kings ruling dynasties of Champa. Also used as a burial site for Cham national heroes and royalty. As a result, the ruins create a somewhat eerie atmosphere. And in 1999, My Son became a UNESCO protected sight in order to preserve what still stands of the temples.
Sitting in a green and hilly landscape, these ruins stand out and are truly beautiful to explore. Despite being considerably smaller than similar sites in SE Asia, My Son is still very impressive and particularly so for Vietnam.
The ruins are a rare sight in Vietnam and should not be missed by those visiting Da Nang. An ideal morning or afternoon trip. Visiting My Son from Da Nang is simple and can be done by taxi, bike or tour. A guided tour will cost around 100,000VND.
9. The Museum of Cham Sculpture
The My Son Sanctuary is just one of the attractions showing the historic architectural works of Vietnam’s indigenous Cham people dating back to 192AD. The Museum of Cham Sculpture is located in Da Nang city and is home to a wide collection of ancient sculptures from this period. It the largest collection of Cham sculpture in the world with over 300 terracotta and stone sculptures. All pieces ranging from the 7th to 15th centuries. Due to this, visitors are given the opportunity to absorb some of Vietnam’s most fascinating and original artwork.
Many of the pieces in the museum have an evident Hindu influence. However, it is possible to see a Buddhist influence in some of the sculptures. Many of which are altars and deities. The museum itself is an impressive building to behold and is an ode to Cham architecture.
As the only collection dedicated to Cham Sculpture in the world, it is definitely worth visiting whilst staying in Da Nang!
Opening Hours: Daily 07:00-17:00
Location: At the intersection of Bach Dang and Trung Nu Vuong in Danang by the Han River
10. Non Nuoc Beach
South of My Khe Beach you will find the stunning and more remote 5km stretch of beach known as Non Nuoc. Due to its distance from the city, this stretch of beach offers visitors a more peaceful and relaxed atmosphere. Although similar in style, this beach is less attended and as a result, has a more remote feel.
First of all, tourists are able to embrace warm and unpolluted waters all year round. Enjoying a dip in the sea or another more thrilling activity such as surfing. Surfing at Non Nuoc is best during the months of April to September.
Visitors are not only able to enjoy activities in the sea. There are also a wide variety of beach bars and restaurants where visitors can enjoy a dish of fresh seafood with a cocktail. Located a 20-minute drive from Da Nang, Non Nuoc is also home to a number of premium resorts. Guests are able to enjoy private access to the beach whilst feeling as though they are miles away from the neighboring city.
Due to its location, Non Nuoc is an ideal escape from the busy city for all tourists for a day by the sea!