Not every city gets the best of both scenic natural views and bustling urban beat; Da Nang is one of the lucky ones, and probably why is it one of the best cities in Vietnam – not just to live but also to travel and explore. This article will show you the best things to do in Da Nang City.
You’ve probably heard of Da Nang, Vietnam in passing, most likely as you rush right through it on your way to Hoi An, Mui Ne or Ho Chi Minh or Hanoi. Curiously, Da Nang does not enjoy as much of the tourist spotlight compared to the country’s more popular metros. Even with the many exciting things to do in Da Nang, most tourist books fail to point out this essential addition to your Vietnam adventure.
Is it an open secret just waiting to be discovered by travellers themselves? It’s hard to tell. But we’ll go out on a limb here, hope you will take our word for it, and actually make you stop and give this underrated destination a well-deserved chance. You might just be in for a worthwhile surprise.
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HOW TO GET TO DA NANG
Access to Da Nang by air is as easy as flying in and out of Da Nang International Airport, the third biggest airport in Vietnam located in Hai Chu District. The airport welcomes domestic flights coming from and to Ho Chi Minh City, Ha Noi, Hao Phong, Nha Trang, Dalat, Buon Ma Thuot, and Pleiku, and international flights from neighbouring Asian countries including Korea, Malaysia, and Singapore.
The city centre is only 2 kilometres from the airport and is short a 5- to 10- minute drive away. You can also read how to get to Da Nang from the north or south of Vietnam.
- By taxi – The popular choice; fares can go from VND 60,000 – VND 100,000. You can get to Da Nang from Hoi An by taxi.
- Motor taxi – Hop on the back of a motorbike if you’re in a rush and have a small carry-on with you. The fare is cheaper at only VND 30,000 – VND 50,000.
- By Grab – The booking app will only cost you around VND 20,000. It’s the preferred transportation of choice mostly for first-time Da Nang visitors who want to avoid the risk of getting ripped off by cabbies.
From Hoi An
Located about 40 km away from the city, Da Nang is best reached through a bus. Bus shuttles going to and from Hoi An costs about VND 130,000 and takes an hour of travel time. If you go by public bus (yellow bus), the fare is only VND 25,000 but can take at least 1.5 hours of travel. You can book a bus here.
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WHERE TO STAY IN DA NANG
There are many places to stay in Da Nang, either you want to be in the city centre or by the coast, you have plenty of options. There are luxury resorts, mid-range hotels, and budget-friendly hostels for backpackers that are easy to find as well. We have a massive list of accommodations in Da Nang if you need more options.
BASIC TRAVEL TOOLS FOR VIETNAM
These websites are amazing at providing affordable and flexible options. If you are unsure about your trip yet, some of these services offer free cancellation up to 48 hours before you trip.
THINGS TO DO IN DA NANG – Pinned Map
Click the enlarge button on the top right corner. Credit: map data: Google
Blue for attractions, orange for food and drinks, and purple for accommodations:
WHAT TO DO IN DA NANG: THINGS TO DO IN DA NANG
Da Nang is the correct name for this coastal city in central Vietnam. However, Da Nang and Danang are being used interchangeably. Da Nang and Hoi An is only 30-minutes from one another, which means that many tours and attractions in both cities can be reached either from Da Nang or Hoi An. You can check this list of things to do in Hoi An.
Da Nang serves as the gateway to central Vietnam. There are a lot of things to see in Da Nang, we highly believe that you should take advantage of this city’s convenient location by spending at least a day or two exploring the vibrant metro’s gorgeous beaches, scenic landscapes, and rich cultural and historical heritage. Check out these amazing tours for Da Nang.
Climb the Marble Mountains
In ancient Da Nang folklore, a dragon emerged from Non Nuoc Beach to lay its egg. A thousand nights and days later, the egg hatched and from it, a beautiful lady emerged. The shell fragments then grew into five mystical hills which are now known as the famous Marble Mountains of Da Nang.
Marble Mountains is a climb to behold. It’s comprised of a cluster of hills of limestone and marble compositions. Each one is named after the elements: earth (Tho Son), metal (Kim Son), fire (Hoa Son), water (Thuy Son), and wood (Moc Son). Today, the mountains are a known pilgrimage site dotted with 17th-century Buddhist sanctuaries, grottoes, and temples.
You’ll also find caves, peaks, and tunnels that have become a favourite amongst backpackers and hikers. From the mountains’ summits, a rewarding panoramic view of Da Nang will leave you no less than awestruck.
- Opening hours: 7 AM – 5:30 PM daily
- Entrance fee: VND 20,000 – 40,000
- Location: 2 Huyen Tran Cong Chua, Hoa Ai, Ngu Hanh Son, Da Nang
How to get there
From Hoi An, take the yellow bus to Da Nang. The nearest bus stop is less than a km walk back to the main mountain (Thuy Son). You can try asking the bus driver to drop you off somewhere closer.
If you plan on checking out other places for the day, rent a scooter for around VND 117,000 to get to the mountains and onto your next stops. Parking at the scooter park only costs VND 3,000.
Travel tip: Gear up for an early climb if you wish to explore all 5 mountains. It takes at least 4 hours to complete the stops. Wear comfortable shoes and clothing, and bring a flashlight for when you explore the caves and tunnels.
Visit the Cham Museum
The Da Nang Museum of Cham Sculpture is the world’s only museum dedicated to commemorating the Champa era and the unique culture and lifestyle of their time. Simply known as the Cham Museum, this essential stop in Da Nang will give you a glimpse of Vietnam’s indigenous Cham ancestors who lived in the coastal areas of the country.
They left behind the art and sculptural masterpieces, hundreds of terracotta artefacts, and stonework dating back to the 7th century. These elaborate creations are housed in 10 different exhibition rooms inside the Cham Museum.
The museum’s sandstone building itself is reminiscent of the Kingdom of Champa that governed the southern part of Vietnam from 192AD until 1697. It’s a fine example of Cham architecture with Hindu accents. As such, you’ll find simple flowing lines adorned with idols and holy animals.
- Opening hours: 7 AM – 5 PM daily
- Entrance fee: VND 60,000,
- Location: 02, 2 Thang 9 Street, Da Nang
How to get there
Go by taxi or take a short walk from the Dragon Bridge. You’ll find it on the city side of the river, at the roundabout in Bach Dang.
Travel tip: When you’re visiting sometime between April to September, go early in the morning to avoid the heat. The museum has no air-conditioning and can get uncomfortably hot inside.
See the Fire-Breathing Dragon Bridge
Da Nang’s most prominent landmark, the Dragon Bridge (Cầu Rồng in Vietnamese), is synonymous with the city itself. It’s a most frequented attraction that every traveller staying or passing by Da Nang should never miss out on.
Its name is derived from the golden Dragon structure towering in the middle of the 6-lane, 666-meter bridge that spans the Han River. The Dragon Bridge is especially dazzling to see at night when LED lights illuminate the 2,185-foot structure. On weekends, sightseers and photographers gather near the bridge and await the 9 PM pyrotechnic display. A golden dragon breathing fire and spitting water have become a much-awaited weekly show for both locals and tourists.
The golden Dragon Bridge opened in 2013 to commemorate Da Nang’s 38th year of liberation.
- Fire/Water Display: 9 PM on weekends
- Location: Da Nang City Centre, Da Nang
Travel tip: The Dragon Bridge shuts down before the weekend show and nobody’s allowed to cross. So, go early and get yourself a terrace seating in one of the cafes and restaurants nearby. Sit back, relax, and enjoy drinks and dinner with a marvellous show come 9 PM.
Take the scenic route with a side of thrill at Hai Van Pass
Hailed as one of Vietnam’s most stunning hillside roads, Hai Van Pass answers the question ‘why you should not pass right through Da Nang without exploring?’ Also known as the Sea Clouds Pass, Hai Van, at 500 meters above sea level, is the highest pass in the country.
Those who seek an off-the-beaten-path adventure will downright love the challenging 19km ride through winding roads that lead up and over mountains. This is easily one of the best things to do in Da Nang and one that you must-try during your visit.
It’s an adrenaline-packed destination that rewards you with the most stunning visuals of Da Nang City, the Son Tra Peninsula, Tien Sa Port, and the South China Sea. Along the way, this lookout point also gives you access to the remains of a French-built fort that Vietnamese soldiers used as a bunker during the Vietnam war, the Hai Van Gate from the ancient Tran Dynasty, and the Hai Van tunnel.
How to get there
Hai Van Pass is located 30 km north of the city. From Da Nang, head to Highway 1A then cross the Cu De River bridge. Turn left in 700m and you’ll find a tunnel; continue straight for Hai Van Pass.
Travel tip: The best way to get to Hai Van Pass is by motorcycle. Some prefer to cycle their way through but unless you have the stamina for hours of strenuous riding, the former is a better option. You can rent motorcycles for a day from VND 150,000 to VND 200,000. If you’re travelling with your family and have kids or seniors among the group, then go by private car or book a tour bus.
Explore the Golden Bridge at Ba Na Hills
One of the newest attractions that are bringing a buzz to Da Nang is the Golden Bridge. If you have seen a photo of it, it’s a bridge with golden railings being held by a massive stone hand. It is a 150-metre-long pedestrian bridge in the Ba Na Hills Resort. The bridge connects the cable car station and the gardens to showcase a scenic view.
The Ba Na Hills Resort will also give you the amusement park feeling. It is built with French architecture in mind since Vietnam was colonised by France. There are staff who are dressed like princesses and dancing joyously. There are also rides, restaurants, and cafes.
How to get there
It requires about half a day to explore Ba Na Hills resort. It is also a 35-kilometre drive from Da Nang city centre, which is about an hour. Some people rent a motorbike in Da Nang and drive it themselves. If you do this, simply put Ba Na Hills resort on the map and it should guide you well on how to get there, you can park your motorbike there. While others take a taxi, Grab, or join a tour.
- Ticket cost: 700.000 VND or US$30-$35 including the cable car ride, you can buy the ticket once you reach the foot of Ba Na Hills.
Have Fun at Asia Park
Asia Park is an amusement park created by Sun World. It is located just south of downtown Da Nang. If you’re looking for a fun place to bond with your family or friends, then Asia Park is for you! Aside from the lovely gardens, and a variety of dining options, it also offers an amusement park packed with rides and other attractions that people of all ages will enjoy.
You can also get a good view of the enormous Ferris wheel from the top along the riverside. It’s the highlight of the park which makes it absolutely worth seeing. You can easily spend 3-5 hours here. There are food stalls and restaurants whenever you need to take a break.
- Address: 1 Phan Đăng Lưu, Hoà Cường Bắc, Hải Châu, Đà Nẵng, Vietnam
- Opening times: Monday to Sunday, 3:00 PM – 10:00 PM
- Entrance fee: Adults: Monday to Thursday VND 200,000 or $8.53, Friday to Sunday VND 300,000 or $12.79 | Children (1-1.3 m): Monday to Thursday VND 150,000 or $6.40, Friday to Sunday VND 200,000 or $8.53
Explore Linh Ung Pagoda
The Linh Ung Pagoda is a mixture of the contemporary and traditional styles of Vietnamese Temples. To reach the main gate, you have to scale 20 steps. Coming to this sacred pagoda, you’ll be greeted with a 67-meter Lady Buddha statue, 18 Arhat statues, and many more.
You can’t go here by bus or train since the pagoda is situated on the Son Tra Peninsula. Instead, you can travel here by car, motorcycle, or taxi. So, if you want to spend some time away from the city in a peaceful setting while enjoying the view of the city’s landscape, forests, and mountains then consider adding this to your Vietnam itinerary.
This pagoda makes our list of the best temples in Vietnam.
- Address: Upper area of Buddha stream, Son Tra Peninsula, Tho Quang Ward, Son Tra District
- Opening times: 6:00 AM – 9:00 PM
Visit the Fifth Military Division Museum
Learn more about the way of life during the past war at the Fifth Military Division Museum (Zone 5 Military Museum, Bảo tàng Hồ Chí Minh chi nhánh quân khu 5 in Vietnamese). Get the chance to see exhibits of artefacts from the war and even photos taken by the soldiers.
Some of the must-see displays are military weapons and vehicles. The enormous museum is divided into four main areas where you can view iconic items including the A-37 Dragonfly, Cessna O-1 Bird, and M48 Patton gun.
- Address: 3 Duy Tan, Hai Chau, Da Nang, Vietnam
- Opening times: Monday to Sunday, 8:00 AM – 4:30 PM
- Entrance fee: VND 60,000 or $2.24
Check Out Da Nang Cathedral
One of the most distinctive Catholic churches in Vietnam is Da Nang Cathedral, which has a pink-painted building, stained-glass windows, and a bell tower with a rooster weathercock atop. It even earned a medal from the Vatican Holy See due to its stunning architecture and 70-meter height in the Gothic style.
If you want to attend their mass, the schedules are the following: Monday-Saturday at 5:00 AM and 5:00 PM, and on Sunday at 5:00 AM, 6:30 AM, and 4:30 PM. This place also provides a breathtaking perspective of the city and Han River, making it an excellent place to escape the busy city centre.
- Address: 156 Tran Phu Street, Hai Chau, Da Nang, Vietnam
- Opening times: Monday to Saturday 6:00 AM – 4:30 PM, Sunday 11:30 AM – 1:30 PM
Pay Respects at Phap Lam Pagoda
During your visit here, you will get to see the locals pay respects to their ancestors while the monks go about their daily activities. This pagoda houses a brass statue of the Goddess of Mercy, Dai The Chi, and a 1.1-meter seated Buddha.
In addition to providing a peaceful refuge from the busy city, Phap Lam Pagoda is an excellent place to eat vegetarian food because the surrounding neighbourhood is home to many restaurants and food stalls that serve the resident monks and worshippers
- Address: 574 Ông Ích Khiêm, Nam Dương, Hải Châu, Đà Nẵng 550000, Vietnam
- Opening times: Monday to Sunday, open 24 hours
BEST BEACHES IN DA NANG
If those weren’t enough to convince you (highly unlikely though) to make your stop in this city, then we’ll add gorgeous beaches to your list of things to do in Da Nang. This place does not only offer stunning views from above but also breathtaking seascapes from the coast or water activities such as snorkelling. There are many beaches in Da Nang that you can enjoy, while these three are the creme of the crop.
My Khe Beach
My Khe Beach is THE beach to be if you have sun, sand, and R&R in your agenda. The 20-mile stretch of My Khe is Vietnam’s most picturesque. The powdery white sand and turquoise waters make up the perfect setting for a day of complete and utter relaxation. High-end resorts are but a short stroll away if you want to top off the day with a massage and an unforgettable fine dining experience.
Non Nuoc Beach
Located a mere 10 minutes away from Marble Mountains, Non Nuoc Beach hugs five km of Hoa Hai Ward’s coastline. This white-sand beauty, long known to be one of the world’s best, features unpolluted waters and mild waves that beach bums can enjoy all year round. You can even get yourself some surf and paddling lessons once you’ve had your fill of sightseeing and lounging in the sand.
Son Tra Peninsula
In the Tho Quang Ward of Da Nang’s Son Tra District hides Con Beach, Bai Tac, and Tien Sa, three of Son Tra Peninsula’s best-kept gems, The Son Tra Peninsula is not only a must-visit beach and scuba diving destination but offers its very own paradise bursting with untouched beauty, a primitive jungle, and a thriving flora and fauna ecosystem that complements the rich marine life in the area.
BEST RESTAURANTS IN DA NANG
In Da Nang, the way to your heart is through your stomach, too. One of the best things to do in Da Nang is to explore its local cuisine. Being central Vietnam’s main gateway, Da Nang entices travellers passing through with its local offerings and culinary fusions that make wining and dining in this metro skyrocket to the top of your must-dos.
You’ll find high-end restaurants aplenty in this city, but if you’re one to seek a literal taste of the Da Nang culture, then let’s take your gastronomic journey to these local eats or you can also join a home cooking class to learn some local dishes.
You can try many restaurants in Da Nang during your stay, but here are the ones we highly recommend. We also have a list of the best Vietnamese snacks, see if you can find them while in Da Nang.
Mi Quang Ba Mua
Get yourself some Vietnamese comfort food aka Quang noodles at Mi Quang Ba Mua. This local and tourist favourite serve the tastiest Quang noodle in the city. The secret? The Quang noodle broth that’s perfectly seasoned and richly enriched with the flavour of your choice: beef, vegetables, chicken, or fish. Quang noodle is served with rice crackers, green chillies, and lime.
- Address: 21 Tran Binh Trong St., Hai Chu District, Da Nang
- Open from 6AM – 9:30PM
- Price: VND 25,000/bowl
Banh Xeo Ba Duong
A must-try when you’re in Da Nang – is the Ban Xeo (Vietnamese pancakes) at Banh Xeo Ba Duong. The place serves this city’s speciality in true Vietnamese style; crispy pancake filled with prawns, pork, and bean sprouts – it’s surely one of the best food in Da Nang if not Vietnam. The dish is served with pork skewers, rice paper, and sauce made of fish sauce, liver pate, pork, and peanut. The Banh Xeo in central Vietnam is the best in the country.
- Address: K280/23 Hoang Dieu, Da Nang
- Open from 3 AM – 10P M
- Price: Ranges from VND 20,000 – VND 55,000
Nguyen Tri Phuong Street Food
The local street food scene in Da Nang is alive and thriving at Nguyen Tri Phuong in Than Khe Ward. The bustling eateries are filled with scrumptious Vietnamese dishes sold at pocket-friendly prices. Be sure to check out Red Pepper and Ba Nhan during your food crawl. Go early to catch the food stalls serving breakfast since they sold out as early as 9 in the morning.
WHERE TO GO NEXT
If you are coming from the north, the next place for you to check out is Hoi An, the cute little town filled with colourful lanterns and popular for crab fishing and customised clothing and other accessories. This town can be reached via bus, taxi or Grab, and of course motorbike.
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While if you started in the south, Hue is your next stop. Which is also known as the food capital of Vietnam. It is believed that many Vietnamese dishes that are popular today came from Hue. It is also the home to the tallest pagoda in Vietnam. You can take a bus, taxi or Grab, or drive a motorbike to reach Hue.
I hope that you found this list of the best things to do in Da Nang helpful. If you have some questions or have tips to add, leave us a comment below.