It´s difficult to describe Danang in a few words, because it really does have a little bit of everything. You have one half of the city with a city centre, which is bustling with shops, restaurants, coffee shops and bars, through to the other half, which has pristine beaches, many luxury resorts and awesome mountains that are full of hidden gems. The city is also surrounded by many great attractions such as Ba Na Hills, The Marble Mountains, My Son Sanctuary and many more…
The Atmosphere in Danang
The atmosphere in Danang definitely is not as lively as Hanoi and HCM. The locals here are a lot more reserved, and the general pace of life is calm and relaxing. It is a great place to come to refresh after a week or so in the hustle and bustle of HCM.
Best Time to Visit Danang
The best time to travel to Danang is from March to October. July to August are the hottest months, with temperatures between 26 – 34 degrees. November to February is the rainy season, with temperatures between 16 – 22 degrees. Even during rainy season, the city is lively, and the rain is not 24 hours. However, I would highly recommend avoiding the last week of January. This period is known as TET (Vietnamese Lunar New Year) which is the most significant festival in Vietnam. The Vietnamese tradition is to spend time with family during this period. Danang becomes a ghost town with most restaurants, supermarkets and attractions closed.
How to Get Around Danang
Danang is quite a big city and everything is spread out. If you´ve already travelled around other parts of Vietnam, you´ll already know, getting around on foot is a challenge due to the pavements been full of parked motorbikes and many other obstacles in the way. Unless you´re walking on the beach, their are only really 2 ways to get around:
I would recommend just hiring a scooter for a few days. It is cheap and it gives you full flexibility to explore at your own pace. The traffic in Danang is slow moving but yes, you do need to be careful if you´re not used to riding in Asia…
If you´d rather not take the risk of hiring your own scooter, Grab taxi is incredibly easy to use, and very cheap. If you´ve used Uber before, the concept is the same… you simply download the app, put in the address of where you want to go, and it will display the price to you. When you´re ready to book, simply click book now and your driver will be with you usually within a few minutes.
Things to do in Danang
Marble Mountains (Ngu Hanh Son)
Marble mountains are situated south of the city, on route towards Hoi An. There are 5 mountains in total, each named after the five elements of philosophy: Kim Son (Metal Mountain), Moc Son (Wood Mountain), Thuy Son (Water Mountain), Hoa Son (Fire Mountain) and Tho Son (Earth Montain).
The mountains themselves are a inquisitive sight, rising over the flat plain near the sea in odd shapes. On the mountains are Buddhist and Hindu pagodas, temples and grottoes that date back to the prehistoric time. You can get up to the largest mountain, Thuy Son (Water Mountain), which has the most features to explore including Am Phu cave via 156 stairs or a lift. Inside the cave you can make a steep climb towards the light and through a small opening to find great views of the surrounding area.
Opening times: Daily 7:00 – 17:30
Admission fee: 15,000 dong, elevator extra 15,000 per person per trip
My Khe Beach
Considered to be Vietnam’s most picturesque beach, the white sandy 20-mile stretch of My Khe Beach offers excellent sunbathing. The locals, who are afraid of getting a tan, don’t hit the beach until the late afternoon, meaning you can usually get the beach to yourself in the morning. I often come here for a few hours at around 11am:
Ba Na Hill
Ba Na Hill is the supposed #1 attraction near Danang – it is located in the Mountains west of Danang. It leverages its founding by the French in 1919 heavily, however, I have to warn you that all of the buildings are from this century and caters to wedding photography and locals.
Golden Hand Bridge
The most famous part of Ba Na Hill is now the Golden Hand Bridge. It’s only added in 2018 and already a favourite among Instagrammers and wedding photography.
The first stop on the Ba Na Hill Cable Car is Gare de Marseille that directly connects to this bridge. It’s much shorter than expected and link to the Garden of Lovers. We tried to get there as early as we can, arriving 10 minutes after the cable car start running but it’s already pretty busy!
The Garden of Love
Now directly connected at the end of the Golden Hands Bridge, the Garden of Love is a pretty place that oozes European vibes.
The best part, for me, is the view of the valley and Danang in the distant.
The main part of Ba Na Hill is the French Village, now accessible by two (and soon three) cable car lines. You can get back to Gare du Marseille or take a train to another station to get up.
A curious pink church that stands in the Danang Downtown area, it is a testimony to the city’s French heritage. Built by the French priest Louis Vallet. Built in the early 20th century, the church that was the tallest in the area with 70m high dome.
On my visit in July 2019 you can no longer enter from the front. There is a unassuming entrance at the back that you enter and exit through. We weren’t able to visit the inside of the church, however, it is an interesting spot to visit in downtown.
The river that runs parallel to the sea, the Han River is curiously wide and separated Danang into two parts. A series of five bridges, including the famous Dragon Bridge, span across it. You can get a pretty good view of the city from river banks, which also happens to be a great Pokemon catching spot. It’s good for an evening walk or to take some photos.
Where else in the world will you find a fire and water breathing Dragon Bridge? The bridge breathes fire and water on a Saturday and Sunday at 9pm. Watch from a distance on one of the parallel bridges and see the entire dragon or you can get closer to the action near the bridge itself and the dragons head.
Hai Van Pass
Info to follow soon…
Son Tra (Monkey Mountain)
Son Tra (Monkey) Mountain is a breath-taking national park in Da Nang that stands 693 metres above sea level. It’s a 35-minute drive from Da Nang, making it a popular retreat amongst locals and travellers looking to escape the heat and busy traffic of the city. Locally known as the Son Tra Peninsula, the verdant mountain is also surrounded by pristine beaches such as Bai Bac, Bai Nam, Bai But, and Tien Sa Beach.
Linh Ung Pagoda
Linh Ung Pagoda is one of Danang´s main attractions, which is also set on Son Tra (Monkey) Mountain. The stunning pagoda was built during the 18th century and houses a 67 metre-tall white statue of the Goddess of Mercy, built in 2004, which is set atop a lotus-shaped platform. Hailed is the tallest statue of the deity in Southeast Asia, there are 17 levels within the structure and a total of 21 miniature Buddha sculptures. I rode here by motorbike in the morning. It was surprisingly easy to, around 40 minutes from the city. Entrance was also free.
Address: Chùa Linh Ứng, Hoàng Sa, Thọ Quang, Sơn Trà, Đà Nẵng, Vietnam