Da Nang, a place previously known as a provincial backwater, has emerged as one of the fastest-growing cities in Vietnam.
In Da Nang, the old and the new blend in seamlessly — apart from its famous ancient pagodas, French colonial buildings, nature parks, and popular beaches, the city also boasts of modern hotels, fancy restaurants, and new, breathtaking landmarks like D-City. Compared to Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh, life here isn’t as fast and busy — tourists can take their time exploring the sights and wonders of Central Vietnam’s largest city.
Da Nang is home to a number of attractions that cater to those who love history, culture, nature sights, and impressive architectural designs. The Fifth Military Division Museum of Da Nang offers an insightful display of how tumultuous the war was, while the Cham Museum commemorates the life and cultural heritage of the famous Cham tribe of Vietnam. Don’t miss the impressive, and photo-worthy landmarks such as the majestic Dragon Bridge, Phap Lam Pagoda, the impressive Hai Van Pass, and the elegant Da Nang Cathedral. If you’re looking for places that offer a retreat from city life, hike the Son Tra and Monkey Mountains, or frolic along the coasts of Non Nuoc Beach and My Khe Beach.
You can travel to Da Nang via plane, train, bus, and private car. Daily flights from Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh, and international flights from Singapore, Hong Kong, Kuala Lumpur, Guangzhou, Siem Reap, and Tokyo fly to Da Nang International Airport. The city centre is a 10-minute taxi ride away from the airport. Taxi fares start at VND 45,6000 (USD 2).
North and south-bound trains frequently make a stop at Da Nang. Taking this option can extend travel time to 10 hours, but trains are equipped with soft-sleepers ready for the long ride. Reunification Express provides 5 train schedules from Nha Trang to Da Nang Daily. Travel time is 9 hours and the fare ranges from VND 683,500 to VND 11,117,400 (USD 28 to USD 43). Trains from Hanoi leave five times daily. Travel time is around 14 hours and fare plays around VND 890,000 to VND 1,231,470 (USD 39 to USD 54). Another option is to take a 17-hour train ride from Ho Chi Minh. The fare is between VND 987,000 to VND 1,437,000 (USD 43 to USD 63).
If you’re coming from Hue and Hoi An, you can access Da Nang via bus. Travel time from Hue to Da Nang is three hours and costs VND 40,000 (USD 1.75). From Hoi An to Danang, travel time is only 1 hour and the fare is around VND 8,000 (USD 0.35).
Da Nang is a well-developed city and ATMs are everywhere. You can withdraw up to VND 5,000,000 (USD 250). Cash is king, especially in secluded attractions. Some vendors may sell products to you in dollars — Viets consider dollar more stable than VND — but make sure you are not overcharged. Exchange dollars for VND in jewellery shops or gold traders — they offer a much favourable rate than banks.
Compared to other cities in Vietnam, Da Nang has a relatively cooler weather due to its proximity to the Pacific Ocean. The hottest days fall between May and September. The wet season — which brings heavy rainfall — lasts from September to January. The ideal time to visit is between February and May. Da Nang gets crowded with domestic tourists from June to August so its best to avoid these months.
Tourist attractions around Da Nang are not located close to each other so getting around by foot is not an option. Tourists can rent out bicycles (VND 50,000) and motorbikes (VND 80,000 – VND 150,000) from locals. You can also reach several attractions by bus. The fare is around VND 5,000 per ride.
Central Vietnam has its own unique dishes that are widely popular around Quang Nam, Hue, and Da Nang. Stop by Quan Ba Be and order banh beo, a rice cake or rice pancake served with different kinds of sauce. Ba Dieu’s bun — also known as Central Vietnam’s pho — is a hearty, comfort food made of rice noodles, beef, and flavourful broth. Ba Duong — also known as Mrs. Duong — is a crowd favorite thanks to their Ban Xheo, a dish made of spring onions, sprouts, shrimps, and mung beans wrapped in rice flour crepe.
Exploring Da Nang is seeing Vietnam in a different light — simple, beautiful, ever improving. As you visit attractions, swim in one of its pristine beaches, and savour the ever relaxing ambiance of its mountains, you’ll slowly discover why Da Nang is different, and why Da Nang stands out.