I read somewhere that Da Nang was the best city to live in Vietnam. Well, to foreign tourists, that might not be the best advertisement, but let’s try what Trip Advisor says about this city:
Da Nang is laid-back and friendly, maybe because everyone you meet has just finished an amazing meal. Culinary tours are a hugely popular way to experience literal local flavor. After you’ve stuffed yourself with bold noodle soups and savory street foods, walk it off by exploring the limestone caves and Buddhist grottos of the Marble Mountains.
Now that sounds a bit too exciting for this rather peaceful yet active city. To me, Da Nang simply is a rising city lying quietly by the Han River with sincere, smiling residents. A city where every place, everyone, every moment feels warm, almost hot, as much as the weather and the food in this place, enough to draw any wandering heart back to this sun-filled land.
The smallest city in terms of area in Vietnam, Da Nang still needs at least 2 days to explore.
- Beach beach beach:
Da Nang is a beach city, with beaches embracing its Eastern coast. Wake up early (and I mean early) to watch the sunrise on one of its various beaches.Go for a run, play some beach volleyball on the sand heated by the rising sun. Then when the sand has just enough time to turn scorching hot, jump into the year-round cool and clean water for a morning swim.
The most famous beach, Non Nuoc, is secured for 5-star resorts only, but other beaches, such as My Khe, rival Non Nuoc in terms of beauty and blue as well as warmth of the water while they’re open to public, and closer to city center.
- Linh Ung pagoda on Son Tra peninsula
I came here for the view over the city and the sea, not for the pagoda itself. Under this blue sky, overlooking at this blue sea, who would need the zen pagoda to feel at peace ?
- Marble mountains
A group of 5 mountains, named after the 5 elements – Metal, Wood, Water, Fire, Soil, Marble mountains are mentioned in the last sentence I quoted above. Exhibiting some limestone caves and a decently easy climb to the top for a stunning view of the city and the ocean, the Water mountain is the most visited one. At the foot of those mountains is a craft village where works from marble and limestone are hand-made and sold all over the country. The price is over the moon though.
- Bien Dong park
A tiny public area most famous for thousands of doves/pigeons (don’t ask me the difference) flying from 4-5 each afternoon. However, to get a photo with these pigeons, you’ll have to compete with at least 5 couples of bride-groom taking their wedding photos here.
- Stroll along the Han River
Every province in Vietnam evolves around a river, it seems. For Da Nang, it’s the Han River. Late in the afternoon, when the tropical sun gradually sets over the city, the best activity is to take a walk along this river, watching the peaceful life happening right around you. Across this river are 4 bridges: most ancient is the Revolving Bridge, most famous is the Dragon bridge, most impressive is the Tran Thi Ly Bridge, and farthest from city center but maybe most loved by the locals is the Thuan Phuoc Bridge. The walk from Dragon bridge to Revolving bridge would show you the busiest, most exciting area of the city.
- Asia Park
Asia Park is designed to be a place to introduce Asian cultures in fun themes. This is most visited, however, for Sun Wheel – the highest ferries wheel in South East Asia. London has London Eye, and Da Nang has Sun Wheel, duh.
- Watch the city at night from above
Either by going to Novotel in downtown Da Nang and take the elevator to the pricey Sky bar on level 36, or by driving a bit from the city and climb with your own feet the limestone mountain to reach the affordable coffee shops. The first option seems more comfortable and rational for foreign tourists, while the second should fit the financial situation and taste of Vietnamese youth. Either way, you can enjoy the view of Da Nang lit in neon lights.
- Ba Na Hills
See my post earlier here for more information
- Beach beach beach
Yep, right , before leaving the city, you should again enjoy the warm and blue water of Da Nang beach, don’t you?
- Street food tour
At one end of Tran Thi Ly bridge lies the most amazing street food town that is incredibly cheap and amazingly good. Have you ever tried yogurt with salt? Or teary-eyed spicy mango salad ? Or .. Nah, just go there and figure out these food yourselves.
- Watch the Dragon breathe fire, and water
Yes, the Dragon, the Dragon. Every weekend night, it breathes fire and water at 9 pm. You can take a cruise along the Han River for a better view of this event, but just sitting at a street corner is already enough to fully take in its essence. I myself prefer mingling in with locals and tourists along the river banks, sipping from a glass of ice-cold sugar cane juice, and watching the fire and mist coming out of the dragon mouth more.