June 28, 2020

City Guide: How to Maximise Your Da Nang Experience in 3 Days

Da Nang may not be Vietnam’s capital city, but it is regarded as the most livable city and the pearl of central Vietnam. It is a former French colonial port that is famous for its stunning beaches, delicious food, impressive landscapes, and warm and welcoming people. Being the fourth largest city in the country, it is strategically located halfway between Hanoi in the north and Ho Chi Minh in the south.

Da Nang features historical sites, shopping highlights, and tons of stunningly white sand beaches. In fact, it hosts many of the top luxury resorts of Vietnam with a growing collection of bars, restaurants, and cafes that are frequented by both tourists and locals alike. And like most other Vietnamese cities, it is known for its delicious and very affordable street food. It is the dream destination of food lovers as it is lined with seafood eateries offering bowls of pork shrimp, yellow rice noodles, and some flavourful broth that brims with fresh herbs and chopped nuts.

Best time to visit Da Nang

aerial view of tourists walking on one of Da Nang's famous destinations

Like the other Vietnamese cities, Da Nang experiences tropical weather, which makes it a perfect holiday destination all year round. However, the best months for a visit are between March and May and September and October when the crowds are minimal due to the warm weather. Most local tourists come here between June and August when it is very hot and has very little rain. It’s perfect for beach activities because the water is calm and the skies are clear. However, if you prefer the coldest season in Da Nang, which isn’t really cold, you can come here between November and January.

Da Nang offers a myriad of experiences that are unique to it. So, when you come here, you are guaranteed fun that’s inexpensive but truly worthwhile. Generally speaking, a good and fulfilling exploration lasts between 4 to 5 days but with the many other cities to explore in Vietnam, 3 days is good enough if you have all the sites planned for every day.

Therefore, we suggest this 3-day itinerary that can help you maximise your experience of Da Nang.

Day 1 Exploration of Da Nang, Da Nang Museum of Cham Sculpture, Lady Buddha, and My Khe Beach

one of the artefacts in the Da Nang Museum of Cham Sculpture

Your first day in Da Nang may be spent lightly, which means you can spend it in the city proper to imbibe its atmosphere and have an idea of how the locals go about their day. It’s best to head out early from your hotel to go to a restaurant or a sidewalk cafe in the central district for breakfast. Have a cup of traditional Vietnamese coffee and a delicious meal. It’s a good opportunity to meet some of the friendly locals and get insights on where to go and what to do in the city. After all, who knows Da Nang better than them, right?

With a full tummy and eagerness to start exploring, take a ride aboard their local transportation to the Da Nang Museum of Cham Sculpture. As the most popular museum in all of Vietnam, you’ll find an extensive collection of Cham artefacts here. You’ll be amazed by the museum, which by itself is a fine example of Cham architecture. Inside the building, you can find an abundance of Hindu-influenced pieces, altars, deities, and decadent pieces that come from the Champa golden age.

From here, move on to the Lady Buddha or the Statue of Bodhisattva of Mercy. It is the tallest Buddha statue in all of Vietnam believed to be the protector of the Da Nang people. The Lady Buddha is found inside the Linh Ung Pagoda on the Son Tra Peninsula with a height of 67 metres and a lotus diameter of 35 metres.

the towering Lady Buddha in Da Nang

As this is only about 9 kilometres from My Khe Beach, why not just pull the throttle all the way and head there to cool off? This place offers one of the best lunches in its many seafood restaurants. Think about getting the freshest catch straight to your plate for a bountiful meal?

the beautiful and white sand beach of My Khe

Afterwards, you can proceed to spend the afternoon in My Khe Beach. Swim in its crystal clear waters, bask in the white sands, and just get yourself all prepped up from the next day’s adventure.

Day 2 Marble Mountains Day Trip and bar hopping

Inside one of the caves in the Marble Mountain

Rise and shine early to make the most of your second day in Da Nang. You’ll make a trip outside the city to what they call the Marble Mountains or Ngu Hanh Son. Not only is this trip a relaxing escape from the hustle and bustle of the city but it is also a great chance to experience the cultural and historical side of Vietnam. If you opt to join a tour, there are many tours available in the city, which you can ask about from your hotel. Otherwise, you can be more adventurous and make your way to the rural district of Ngu Hanh Son in the southern part of Da Nang.

Marble Mountains is also known as the Five Elements Mountain because it features five natural elements—metal (Kim Son), water (Thuy Son), wood (Moc Son), fire (Hoa Son), and earth (Tho Son). At the top of the mountain, you can find numerous famous sights such as Hindu and Buddhist sanctuaries, caves and tunnels, stone sculptures, and Confucian shrines.

Afterwards, make your way back to Da Nang to enjoy the rest of the day and night.

photo of a cocktail on a table with the silhouette of a mountain in Da Nang on the background

Once back in the city, why don’t you relax with a bountiful dinner and bar hopping afterwards? There are many nightlife spots in Da Nang where you can get a fusion of western and traditional Da Nang beverages. You can choose from bars with live music or more relaxed ones where you can carry on conversations with your friends and meet some of the locals.

Day 3 Da Nang food tour

colorful street food

No Vietnam excursion is ever complete without spending a time going on a food tour. As already mentioned, Vietnamese cities are known for their great food scene, which is affordable and very delicious.

In the central district alone, you can find many foodie shops scattered everywhere that serve Mi Quang or noodles with pork, shrimp, roasted nuts, and broth. You can just grab a plastic chair on the side of the road and enjoy a hearty meal at a super low price! You should also try the Bánh xèo, which literally translates to ‘sizzling cake’ made from turmeric powder, eggs, shrimp, bean sprouts, pork, and rice flour with tuong sauce.

Then, make sure to leave some stomach space for more like the Bún mắm, which is another noodle soup dish, and Bún bò Huế or Vietnamese soup with rice and beef. There are also many other street food to try in Da Nang but the ones we have mentioned here are the most popular. If you don’t try them, you really haven’t gone to Da Nang.

close up photo of a popular street food in Da Nang

There you go—an experience you won’t ever forget in Da Nang. If you can stay longer, then do so to experience more of the city’s offerings. You might fall in love with the city so much and end up wanting to move here. After all, it’s the most livable city in Vietnam, so what’s not to love about it?

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