About Da Nang
Da Nang is a big and modern coastal city in Central Vietnam, mostly known for Ba Na Hills, but offers so much more, from beaches and surfing to nature and mountains, and most importantly – great food.
It’s a perfect place for an active vacation and an excellent pick for digital nomads, so don’t skip Da Nang on your visit to Vietnam.
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Top things to do
We bring you the top 17 things to do on your visit to the beautiful city of Da Nang that you should not miss!
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1. My Khe Beach
My Khe beach is one of Vietnam’s most beautiful beaches. It’s an 18km long, white, sandy beach. The water on the My Khe beach is warm all year round, and the waves are usually not strong, even though they are pretty frequent. It has a long shallow entrance, so it’s a perfect choice for everyone.
However, we’re not the biggest fans of the My Khe beach, at least the part right next to the city, as we found it hard to swim there, due to frequent small waves and not being deep enough, so we found the An Bang beach near Hoi An actually better than My Khe if you want to actually swim. But if you’re a fan of sunbathing, running, or exercising on the beach, then the My Khe beach is still an excellent spot.
2. Marble Mountains
Marble Mountains is a group of five limestone peaks that were significant for the people of Central Vietnam in the past. Today, it is referred to mostly one limestone peak called Mt Thuy, the water mountain, which you can visit by yourself and admire a small paradise full of gardens, caves, small temples, and viewpoints.
While at Marble Mountains, visit the Huyen Khong Cave, the largest and most beautiful one of the whole complex. You can even see light rays coming down through the collapsed ceiling on a sunny day. There’s also a massive stone Buddha in the cave and two shrines with other beautiful decorations.
The 30 meters high Xa Loi Tower is another highlight of the Marble Mountains and houses around 200 Buddha statues.
- Visit early in the day as it gets scorching hot and humid later. Even though there is a lot of shade everywhere, it’s still going to be very hot, and there are a lot of stairs to climb!
- If you don’t want to climb stairs to the first part of the Thuy Marble Mountain, you can use the elevator, which costs around 15.000 VND or about $0,60. However, you may miss some parts that way.
The entrance ticket for Marble Mountains is 40.000 VND or $1,75.
Opening hours for Marble Mountains are daily from 7 am till 5:30 pm.
Depending on your interest, you may spend anywhere from 2 to 5 hours at the Marble Mountains in Da Nang.
Book your tour: Marble Mountains Tour (also includes Son Tra Peninsula)
3. Dragon Bridge (Cầu Rồng)
The Dragon Bridge over the River Han in Da Nang is one of the most unique bridges in Vietnam and South East Asia. This mighty yellow dragon on the 666 meters long Cầu Rồng bridge is also breathing fire and water (literally!) during the weekends.
Every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday at 9 pm for 15 minutes, the dragon comes alive, and you can witness the so-called ‘Dragon Show‘.
Tip: Make sure to arrive early to take your spot as this is one of the most popular attractions in Da Nang. But beware, you will get wet if you stand too close to it!
Unfortunately, we didn’t witness the Dragon Show, as when we were there, the show was canceled due to the pandemic. However, we did enjoy seeing the dragon change colors through the night.
2022 UPDATE: We finally managed to visit the Dragon Show in Da Nang in September, and it was an amazing experience! We will update the blog with photos and publish a guide to it very soon!
If you can’t make it to the dragon show, then at least go over the bridge or observe it from the side as it’s indeed an extraordinary sight and an excellent photo spot as well. You haven’t been to Da Nang if you haven’t snapped a photo with the dragon.
4. Drive over Hai Van Pass and take in all the views
Hai Van Pass is a 20 kilometers long route that winds through the hills and coastline between Da Nang and Lang Co towards Hue. At 500 meters above sea level, it offers stunning panoramic views of the coast and nature.
You can drive over the Hai Van Pass in 30 to 45 minutes. If you have more time, try to check out some side roads as well. They’ll usually be quiet and without traffic. That way, we found a fantastic sunset spot. And if you’re more adventurous, you can try to find your way to some of the secluded and deserted beaches there.
Driving over the Hai Van Pass with a motorbike is simply a must while in Da Nang! You can also extend your drive and go all the way to Hue in about 2 hours as we did.
5. Son Tra – Monkey Mountain
Son Tra Mountain, also known as Monkey Mountain, is a peninsula and mountain range overlooking the Da Nang Bay and the East Sea. On the Son Tra Peninsula, you will find a mix of beautiful nature, amazing views, and culture, making it a must-visit area in Da Nang. It’s one of our favorite spots in Da Nang.
Three main spots on the Son Tra Peninsula are the Linh Ung Pagoda with beautiful gardens, the 67 meters tall Lady Buddha, one of the tallest Lady Buddha statues in Vietnam, and the Son Tra Nature Reserve.
The Son Tra Nature Reserve is quite a big area, but the most visited and easiest spots to get to are the 1000 years old Banyan Tree and the Ban Co Peak.
If you’re lucky while at Son Tra, you might see the Red Shanked Douc monkeys – a very rare and endangered species of monkeys. They’re a bit shy and don’t like to interact with humans, so the best chance to see them is if you trek a bit deeper into the forest. However, if you want to see the “regular” monkeys, there are plenty of them at the Son Tra Nature Reserve entrance that are even a bit too friendly.
2021 UPDATE: The Son Tra mountain is a perfect spot to watch the sunrise from, but be aware that it’s no longer possible to enter the park and watch the sunrise from the very top as it was before. Now, the park has opening and closing hours, and the guards won’t let you in before it (we tried). You can still drive one part of the road up, though.
Know before you go
- Please don’t feed and tease the monkeys there
- Respect nature by picking up your trash
Automatic scooters are prohibited at the Son Tra mountain.
You may drive an automatic scooter to the Linh Ung Pagoda, but the area of the Son Tra Nature Reserve beyond a point a further 2km away allows only a semi-automatic or a manual scooter. It’s a necessary safety precaution as Son Tra has many steep hills, and it’s definitely not a joke, as there were many bad accidents before.
Book your tour: Son Tra Peninsula (also includes Marble Mountains)
6. Lady Buddha & Linh Ung Pagoda
The 67 meters tall Lady Buddha in Da Nang is one of the tallest Lady Buddha statues in Vietnam. Next to it is the Linh Ung pagoda which is gorgeous! It has a beautiful entrance, a lovely garden with beautiful bonsai trees, and even a small pond with turtles and fish. This whole complex is so beautiful and definitely worth a visit.
7. Da Nang Cathedral
Da Nang’s beautiful Cathedral is painted in a soft pink color like the one in Ho Chi Minh City. It’s an excellent spot to stop by when visiting the city. We met some friendly kids there that made us company while checking out the cathedral.
Travel tip: The entrance is from behind the Cathedral, and the main gates you see from the road are almost always closed.
Book your lesson: Da Nang Surf Lessons
We did our surfing lesson in Mui Ne, but Da Nang seems like an equally good spot for it, so make sure to give it a go. It’s so fun!
9. Try durian dessert
If you are in Da Nang, Vietnam, and are looking for a way to cool down from the hot weather, try to find the durian ice dessert, a trendy dessert in this region of Asia. They are sweet and creamy and have a mild flavor. Many places sell these desserts, but one great place to try them is at the Chè Thái Sầu Riêng on Chi Lăng street.
On a recommendation of a Vietnamese friend, we went to Chè Thái Sầu Riêng and tried durian there for the first time. It wasn’t that bad, even though some people compare the taste and smell to feet.
We don’t necessarily hate it, but we don’t love it either, so we can’t choose which side we’re on. 😁
Tip: You need to try durian while in Southeast Asia at least once. And if you’re too scared to try it, a dessert like this might be a good way to start as you’ll see right away if this is something for you or not.
Here is the exact location: Chè Thái Sầu Riêng
10. Hoa Trung Lake (Hồ Hòa Trung)
Hoa Trung Lake is a picturesque lake and a hidden gem of Da Nang, located only about 20 km from the city center. It’s an artificial lake built to provide water for daily life and cultivation for people who live in the area. The lake has numerous little islands with green grass that change depending on the water level, and it’s what makes this lake so unique.
Hoa Trung Lake is becoming an attractive destination for locals who wish to enjoy the outdoors and spend peaceful time with their family and loved ones. That’s why it’s not so uncommon to see tents there as well as some decide to enjoy this little piece of heaven for a bit longer.
It should also be possible to take a boat ride or even rent a boat from locals there, but as we were there during the pandemic.
We loved our visit to the lake, and if you have time, we’d suggest you visit before it becomes overcrowded.
Tip: As this is not a tourist attraction just yet, you won’t find any tourist facilities or services here. Help keep this place pristine, and pick up your trash when leaving.
11. Ba Na Hills – Golden Hand Bridge
Ba Na Hills near Da Nang is a place to visit if you like a more theme park vibe and want to see its main attraction, the Golden Hand Bridge. It’s a large theme park and resort area built in a French style. This is the most popular tourist destination in Da Nang.
The photo of the Golden Hand Bridge is one of the main photos that represent Vietnam on Instagram. It looks like a peaceful and secluded place in nature, but in reality – it’s part of a big amusement park. So keep that in mind if the only reason you want to visit Ba Na Hills is the bridge.
Book your tour: Ba Na Hills – Golden Bridge
12. Fresh seafood market
Da Nang’s local economy depends heavily on seafood, and there’s no better place to see this firsthand than at the fresh seafood market in Tho Quang Bay. It pops up every morning on the last stretch of the beach close to the Monkey Mountain. The Tho Quang Bay is also where you will find hundreds of moored fishing boats, many of them iconic Vietnamese basket boats.
Location: Fresh seafood market (Bãi tắm Thọ Quang)
13. Day trip to Hoi An
Hoi An is a picturesque and colorful town that’s only about 30 minutes drive from Da Nang, and it’s definitely worth a visit. It’s part of the UNESCO World Heritage, and some of the top things to do there are strolling around the Old Town, visiting Fujian Assembly Hall, Japanese Covered Bridge, relaxing at the An Bang beach, and visiting the night market.
Book your tour: Hoi An Hidden Gems (walking tour)
14. Day trip to My Son Sanctuary
One of the best day trips from Da Nang is to My Son Sanctuary, a complex containing one of the largest preserved clusters of temples of the Kingdom of Champa. The ancient city of My Son was only discovered in 1889 and was constructed between the 4th-14th centuries.
My Son Sanctuary is part of the UNESCO World Heritage and is one of the most important examples of Champa people who lived in the area between Da Nang and Binh Thuan province.
Book your tour: My Son Sanctuary (includes rice paper making and boat trip)
15. Day trip to Tam Ky’s Mural village
From Da Nang, you can visit the Tam Thanh Mural Village near Tam Ky. The Village is full of beautiful murals, which can usually be found even just strolling down the street. However, some are hidden in the back alleys, so keep an eye out for those!
Book your tour: Tam Thanh Mural Village
16. Day trip to Cham Islands (Cu Lao Cham)
In 20 minutes by speedboat from Da Nang, you can visit the Cham Islands (Cu Lao Cham), a UNESCO-protected biosphere area. The Cham Islands are famous for their diving & snorkeling experiences, as the waters there have rich marine life and rainforest landscapes.
If you love to laze on the beach, this is a great place – the islands offer beautiful sandy beaches.
Book your tour: Full-Day Cham Islands
17. Day trip to Hue
Hue is around 100km and 2 hours away from Da Nang but is still an excellent option for a day trip. This beautiful city along the Perfume River holds many fascinating historical sites and incredible architecture that you should take some time to explore.
Some of the top things to do in Hue are:
- Hue Imperial City
- Tomb of Tu Duc
- Thien Mu Pagoda
- Abandoned Water Park
For all the foodies out there, Hue is a hub of Vietnam’s cuisine and culture, as it was the country’s capital for 150 years during the Nguyen Dynasty.
Book your tour: Full-Day Hue City Tour
Best time to visit Da Nang
The best time to visit Da Nang is between February and May when you can enjoy it to the fullest with sunny skies and minimal rainfall while hitting the beach or its attractions.
The less ideal time to visit Da Nang would be from May to October during the rainy season. The last few years there were some crazy storms that didn’t make it all that fun to be there at that time.
Where to stay in Da Nang?
Most visitors to Da Nang stay in the area near the My Khe Beach, in the eastern part of the city. This is the best and most popular area and caters to ex-pats, digital nomads, and tourists with plenty of western restaurants, bakeries, salons, and anything you need.
My Khe Beach in Da Nang is where the line of countless resorts starts, as they stretch for almost the whole way (20km) towards the An Bang beach in Hoi An.
For a more authentic experience of the local life in Da Nang, cross the Dragon Bridge to the western part of the city, where you can experience the classic bustling Vietnam mixed with hip new upcoming neighborhoods.
We lived in An Thuong in the My An area of Da Nang for two months, and we loved it (especially because of having the beach just 2 minutes walk away).
On our visit to Da Nang in 2020, we arrived in the city the last day before the lockdown in April, so we couldn’t really pick accommodations anymore, and we had to rent a big house with two bedrooms, three bathrooms, a big open living area, and a kitchen. The house could easily host six people, and our monthly rent was about $450.
Book your stay: Da Nang Hotels
Where to eat in Da Nang?
Da Nang offers incredible food, and it’s even a perfect place for vegetarians/vegans. In addition, the city has a significant ex-pat community, and it, therefore, offers a lot of western restaurants, bakeries, and cafes.
Some of our favorite restaurants in Da Nang were:
Make sure to also stop by Chè Thái Sầu Riêng and try that famous durian dessert.
Recently, iVegan (a popular vegan restaurant in Vietnam) opened there as well, which was previously only in Hanoi.
How to get to Da Nang
Being on the South-to-North route, Da Nang is also very well connected by train and bus.
How to get around Da Nang
The best way to get around Da Nang is by renting a scooter or booking a ride through Grab.
Renting a scooter in Vietnam is super easy. Driving in Da Nang is more relaxed than, for example, in Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh City. The scooter rental in Da Nang should be between 5 and 10 USD per day, depending on the type.
However, if you don’t want to drive yourself, you can always book a taxi or scooter taxi. It’s a cheap and reliable way to get around Da Nang. So just download the Grab or Gojek app on your phone (similar to Uber), and you’re good to go.
You can also go around Da Nang in a regular taxi, but they are usually more expensive.
How long should I stay in Da Nang?
Plan to spend about four days or three nights in Da Nang at least, so you can visit the main attractions and do a day trip to Hue, Hoi An, or Cham Islands.
Prices in Da Nang
Da Nang is a city that offers something for everyone, no matter your budget. Find cheap and delicious street food, upscale restaurants, budget-friendly hostels, hotels, and luxury accommodations. Da Nang can host any traveler.
Ready to splurge a bit on your trip to Da Nang? You can do that too. Along the My Khe beach, there are all the bigger hotel chains and immense resorts.
|Hotel: $20 – $50 / night||Inexpensive meal: $1 – $2.5||Taxi 1km: $1 – $2|
|Hostel: $5 – $10 / night||Mid-range meal: $5 – $10||Motorbike rental: $5 – $10|
Is Da Nang safe?
Da Nang, as well as Vietnam in general, is a very safe destination. It’s a popular tourist destination and home for many ex-pats and digital nomads. Locals are friendly and always willing to help. You have absolutely nothing to worry about if you follow the standard safety precautions. 🙂
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Is Da Nang worth visiting?
Da Nang is absolutely worth visiting as it’s a great beach destination with lush mountains as a backdrop and offers something for everyone! That’s the reason why Da Nang is known as the capital of Central Vietnam’s tourism activities.