One of the major port cities in Vietnam, Da Nang is rapidly growing. With an ever expanding urban development and a booming tourism industry, it is rightfully Vietnam’s next rising star.
The city, often overlooked for more popular destinations like Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh, Hue, and Hoi An, is truly an underrated gem with so much to offer – beautiful scenery, mouthwatering local cuisine, cultural attractions, and breathtaking coastlines, among other things. And while you can certainly see modern developments mushrooming all over the city, the overall atmosphere is still charming, relaxed, and laidback in the most pleasant ways.
Having said that, a trip to Vietnam shouldn’t be without a few days’ worth of stay in Da Nang. And if it will be your first time there, here are a few important things you need to know.
1. Da Nang is a beach destination. With its mesmerizing 90 kilometre-long coastline and beautiful beaches, the beach-lover in you will be spoiled in Da Nang. There’s the popular China Beach, and the world-renowned My Khe Beach, often referred to as one of the finest beaches in the world.
2. Da Nang is a gateway to many interesting attractions. Another thing that adds to Da Nang’s appeal is its convenient location, making it a great starting point if you plan to travel to Hue and Hoi An. You can reach Hue in about three hours while Hoi An is a mere 30-kilometre drive through the coastal road connecting the two cities.
3. It is culturally rich. If you want to take a peek into Da Nang’s rich heritage, head to the Museum of Cham. The Cham Museum houses hundreds of terracotta and sculptures by the Cham tribe, some of them dating back to the 7th century. Da Nang is also home to several temples, the most notable of which is the Cao Dai Temple. Located on Hai Phong in Central Da Nang, it is still functional and serves thousands of followers. For Catholic visitors, the city boasts of one of the most beautiful churches in Vietnam, the Da Nang Cathedral. Situated in Tran Phu Street, the pink coloured church is an iconic landmark in the city.
4. The local cuisine is absolutely sumptuous. There are so many restaurants in Da Nang right now but if you are looking for cheap but nonetheless delectable eats, you have to eat like a local and hit the streets.
For a true taste of the local cuisine, try having mi quang, a savoury noodle dish, from the food vendors at Da Nang’s markets or even those along Han River. For an affordable late night meal of noodles and chicken rice, go to Pham Hong Thai Street. For toasty breads and sandwiches, you’ll find the best on Phan Cu Trinh Street. Other must-try local dishes include cah ga chien mam – which is fried chicken in fish sauce – and bun cha ca or noodle soup with homemade fish balls. For the best street food experience, join a motorbike food tour that will take you to the best spots and hole in the wall restaurants in the city.
5. You can engage in many outdoor activities in Da Nang. Contrary to what you may think, Da Nang isn’t just about spectacular beaches. It has its fair share of equally beautiful limestone formations, hills, mountains, and national parks, too. A popular attraction is the Marble Mountains, a small group of majestic marble hills that are peppered with pagodas, caves, and even temples. Another attraction worth seeing is Hai Van Pass, also called the Sea Clouds Pass. Built 500 metres above sea level, the mountain pass presents tourists an opportunity to take in the awe-inspiring beauty of Da Nang’s impressive natural landscape.
5. Da Nang has wet and dry seasons. Da Nang has two seasons: the dry season, and the rainy season. The rainy season is typically between the months of September to March. If travelling to Da Nang during these times, do not forget to bring an umbrella with you as rain often happens unannounced. The dry season in Da Nang is from April to August, and usually the best times to be travelling around the city and nearby surrounds.
6. Da Nang has many modern attractions. Da Nang is developing at a blazing fast speed and proof of this are the many modern attractions in the city. Not to be missed during your trip to Da Nang are the city’s modern bridges, namely: the Dragon River Bridge, the rotating Han River Bridge, and the Thuon Phuoc Bridge.
Among the city’s bridges, the top favourite among tourists and locals is the Dragon River Bridge, the longest of its kind in Vietnam. Easily recognizable because of its shape, the Dragon River Bridge connects the international airport – one of the world’s best airports – to the center of the city, and is one of the main tourist attractions in the destination. The bridge changes colours and at 9 pm every weekend, you can catch the dragon spew fire.
If you are not afraid of heights, two attractions you will surely love are the Sun Wheel and the Ba Na cable car. The Sun Wheel is a 64-cabin observation wheel that’s believed to be one of the largest in the world. A ride on the ferris wheel offers a 360-degree view of Da Nang. If you can, hop on the Ba Na Cable Car as well. It is the steepest the longest and steepest nonstop cable car in the planet.
7. Da Nang is one of the most livable cities in Vietnam, if not in Southeast Asia. The local government has consistently shown commitment to keeping the city globally competitive while keeping it clean, green, safe, and culturally diverse. Other noteworthy initiatives of the local government include its thrust to eradicate societal concerns such as illiteracy, hunger, mendicancy, and addiction and the focus on providing citizens with adequate jobs and housing.
Need help with putting together your Da Nang travel itinerary? Check out these amazing Da Nang tours and activities on Travezl.com.
By: Brendelyn Balaga