Da Nang: Not just a gateway to Hoi An

Da Nang is one of the most underrated places in Vietnam. Most people only knows about it because they land in Da Nang Airport to go to Hoi An (or Hue), or they stop here for a night to rest before going further south. But Da Nang should be more than a pitstop: it is a destination that should be explored. Although it is far more calm than the big cities such as Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh City, Da Nang still has as much charm and ambiance. There’s also a lot to do in Da Nang as well, so spare some extra time here and see what Da Nang has to offer!

While you are eagerly planning your Vietnam trip, make sure that you don’t forget to apply for your Vietnam visa. There are three possible ways for you to do this, depending on which country you are from. The first option is to apply for an E-Visa. To find out if you are eligible, please contact your embassy and ask them first. Otherwise there are two other options that works out just as well. You can apply for a Visa on Arrival, which is the much preferred option since it’s both convenient, easy and it’s quick to get. The other is to go to your local (or nearest) Vietnam Embassy or Consulate and get a Vietnam visa. This is a good option too if you live close to an Embassy, but what’s so good about the Visa on Arrival is that you can do it anywhere in the world – you just need your computer and internet to apply!

Once you’ve gotten your Vietnam visa, you should include Da Nang in your itinerary. Here are some of the things that you should not miss out on in Da Nang:

Marble Mountains

Am Phu Cave - Marble Mountains - Da Nang
Am Phu Cave – Marble Mountains – Da Nang

Probably the most visited and famous spot in Da Nang, it is a cluster of five hills made from marble and limestone and is a well-known pilgrimage site. It lies about 9 km south of Da Nang and is very easy to get to with public transportation (or why not rent a bike and go there!). The caves within the mountains were used in the war, to spy on US soldiers who were on My Khe Beach below. But these days the caves are used as Buddhist sanctuaries and it is a place of worship. If you want to get a great view over Da Nang, go to the summit and enjoy some amazing panoramic views.

My Khe Beach

Hammock in the My Khe beach, Danang, Vietnam
Hammock in the My Khe beach, Da Nang city, Vietnam

For the warmer summer months in Vietnam (does it ever get cold though?) you have the beautiful My Khe Beach, which is both popular amongst locals and internationals. This long stretch sand beach was named by the American troops who came here during the war. These days you can come here for sunbathing, snorkelling, surfing, jet-skiing and even fishing! There’s also many luxurious resorts and great seafood restaurants by the beach.

Son Tra Mountain

Linh Ung Pagoda in Da Nang city, Vietnam
Linh Ung Pagoda in Da Nang city, Vietnam

Around 12 km north of Da Nang lies this breathtaking national park that stands at 693 metres above sea level. People who loves good viewpoints will want to go here. If you like to hike, there are trails here in the jungles and you might even spot some rare species such as the red face monkeys. Don’t miss out on seeing the Linh Ung Pagoda if you are there. One of Da Nangs biggest attractions, it houses the tallest statue of the Goddess of Mercy and has a total of 21 miniature Buddha sculptures built atop a lotus-shaped platform. This is a view like none other and that should not be missed out on.

The Dragon Bridge

Dragon River Bridge (Rong Bridge) in Da Nang, Vietnam
Dragon River Bridge (Rong Bridge) in Da Nang, Vietnam

The city of Da Nang is one of the most beautiful ones in Vietnam and much might be thanks to the Dragon Bridge, which you can find in the middle of the city. It is the longest bridge in Vietnam and is in the shape of a golden dragon, which symbolises good fortune, power and nobility (according to the locals at least). The best time to see the bridge is during night when you can see all the colors come to life. On weekends the dragon breathes fire and spits out water from 21:00 and onwards.

Fifth Division Museum of Da Nang

This massive museum is divided into four main sections. If you are interested in learning more about the tumultuous war in Vietnam and want to see actual aircrafts, weapons, military tanks and weapons that were used in the war, then pay a visit to this museum. You will also be able to see articles and photographs taken by soldiers of the Fifth Military Division.

After you have explored some of these sights, why not head back to the city where you can find tons of nice restaurants and cafés. There is a bit more of a “local” vibe in Da Nang and the city has yet reached its full potential when it comes to tourism. But once people start discovering how amazing Da Nang can be, it will become a hit with internationals.