Da Nang is a coastal city in Central Vietnam, and it is the third-largest urbanized area in the country. The city is widespread, and it has become one of Vietnam’s largest ports. Historically, Da Nang was a French colonial port. Now, a population of 1.3 million permanently resides in Da Nang.
In recent years, Da Nang is becoming more and more popular as a tourist destination. Sandy beaches beckon travelers and the port city’s vibrance keeps them entertained. Following in the steps of Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi, Da Nang becoming one of Vietnam’s easily recognized destinations.
Largest City in Central Vietnam
Rated as a first-class city by the Vietnamese government, Da Nang is one of 5 municipalities in the country. Located almost exactly in the center of Vietnam, Da Nang is a hub for commerce and transportation. As a municipality, the city stands on its own and it is no longer a part of a province. Within Da Nang, the Hai Châu District acts as the capital of the city and municipality.
Tourism is another steady industry in Da Nang and people travel from both northern and southern regions of Vietnam to vacation in this coastal city. Despite Da Nang being far away from big cities like Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh, it is relatively easy for travelers to find transportation to the region.
The least common way to get to Da Nang is by driving. Ho Chi Minh City is 520 miles (836 kilometers) away from Da Nang and Hanoi is 475 miles (764.5 kilometers) away. To cut back on travel time, tourists often choose to fly or take an overnight train to Da Nang.
As a part of the coast of the South China Sea, Da Nang has served a long history as a French colonial port. Da Nang was also where the French first landed to conquer the country. During the war of Vietnam, Da Nang was used as a major airbase for US and South Vietnamese forces. During that time, the city’s airport was one of the busiest in the world.
Before Western contact, Da Nang was once a part of the Kingdom of Champa. Dong Duong, a modern village that is just outside of the city, used to be the capital of the kingdom. During the late 11th century, the Dai Viêt Kingdom began to lay claim to the land and by the end of the 15th century, most Cham territories had been annexed.
In today’s world, traces of the past can be seen clearly in Da Nang and the surrounding area. Within 65 miles (105 kilometers) of the city, there are multiple UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Some of the most popular sites for tourists include Old Town in Hoi An, the My Son ruins, and the Imperial City of Hue.
Close to the center of Da Nang, historical artifacts from the previous centuries are housed in the Museum of Cham Sculpture.
- Da Nang is believed to be a Vietnamese translation of the Cham word, “da nak”, which means “opening of a large river”
- There are 1,064,100 people living in Da Nang
- San Francisco, California in the United States is a sister city to Da Nang
As one of Vietnam’s most popular tourist destinations, Da Nang boasts a number of terrific attractions that are unique to the region. Due to its relatively warmer climate, tourists can enjoy Da Nang’s top attractions all year-round. Thanks to wonderful beaches, rich history, and welcoming people, Da Nang is a fun coastal city to explore.
The Golden Bridge
Arguably one of the most jaw-dropping bridges in the world, the Golden Bridge in Da Nang has captured the world with its unique design. Rising from the earth and upheld by two massive hands, the Golden Bridge has become of the “must-see” tourist sites in Da Nang. Located in the Sun World Bà Nà Hills, the bridge is accessed by a cable car.
Surrounding the bridges are perfects landscaped gardens and a breathtaking view of the area.
Cross the Dragon Bridge
Similar to other coastal cities, Da Nang comes to life at night. One of the city’s main attractions is the Dragon Bridge. Impressive in the daylight, the Dragon Bridge is even more beautiful in the evening when it is lit up. Mimicking a real dragon, tourists will delight at the bridge’s fire-spitting display, which happens every night at 9 pm.
Close by to the Dragon Bridge, the Han River Bridge is also illuminated at night and an attraction in its own right.
My Khe Beach
Thanks to a 20-mile (32 kilometers) stretch of white sand, My Khe is known to be one of Vietnam’s most beautiful beaches. Forbes Magazine once dubbed My Khe “one of the most luxurious beaches in the world” because of the excellent resorts. Aside from high-end accommodations, My Khe is a glamorous hideaway and good surfing spot.
Visit the Marble Mountains
Nestled in the hills, the Marble Mountains have become a pilgrimage site. Carved from limestone and marble, the mountains harbor caves, tunnels, and pagodas that are just waiting to be discovered.
Also known as the “Five Elements Mountain”, the Marble Mountains are approximately 4.3 miles (7 kilometers) from the city center, which makes them easily accessible. In addition, tourists who are in the area and up for a little hike can climb to the summit for a bird’s eye view of Da Nang.
My Son Sanctuary
For visitors in Da Nang who have an hour to spare, the My Son Sanctuary should be a “must” on your list. Nicknamed the “Angkor Wat of Vietnam”, the sanctuary is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. At My Son, visitors will discover the history of Southeast Asian civilizations like the traditions of Indian and Chinese people.
Pick and Enjoy
Da Nang is surrounded by beaches and visitors only need to pick one or two to enjoy a quiet afternoon in the sand. Popular beaches in the city that are acclaimed for their beauty include Non Nuoc, Bac My An, and Thanh Binh Beach. All of these sandy spots have premier resorts and restaurants to serve visitors.
Beaches in Da Nang are typically quieter in the late afternoon. Around 3 pm is the best time to take advantage of the smaller crowds.
About an hour boat ride from Da Nang are the Cham Islands. Ideal for water activities, the islands have exceptionally clear waves, which makes them a superb place to snorkel. Somewhat developed, visitors can plan a day trip or stay the night and camp on the beach.
Party at Night
A lively place at night, Da Nang is a great spot for parties. There are many clubs, bars, and restaurants that are open until dawn. A mix of energetic and chill places ensures that there is a spot for everyone. With many venues situated on the river, patrons can have a drink and enjoy the view.
Adventurous travelers should rent a scooter to explore the area. Motorbike enthusiasts will most likely be interested in driving the Hai Van Pass, which runs between Da Nang and Hue. A 13-mile (21 km) pass, Hai Van has spectacular views of the hills and ocean.
Tourists can go on their own, but most advice suggests that people arrange a trip with a tour company. Providing transportation, tours can assist travelers who are not that confident in their motorbike skills.
Read more about the best things to do in Da Nang.
Hotels and lodging:
- Read about the best hotels in Da Nang.
- Read about the cheap hotels in Da Nang.
- Read about the beach resorts in Da Nang.
Like Hanoi and Saigon, there is a fair share of world-class five-star hotels in Da Nang as well as a myriad of affordable accommodations. Common for a big tourist city, popular accommodation options include resorts, hotels, hostels, and vacation rentals through sites like Airbnb.
Vinpearl Condotel Riverfront Da Nang – Managed by the Vingroup, a famous Vietnamese conglomerate, the Vinpearl Condotel Riverfront Da Nang consistently ranks as one of the best resorts in the city. Featuring a neoclassical design, this resort is advertised as a modern apartment hotel, which means that there are both long-term and short-term guests using the property’s facilities.
Service is top-notch at the Vinpearl and staff always ensure that guests have everything they need to complete their stay. Common amenities included in the price include free parking, access to 3 different pools, free Wi-Fi, spa services, and a beach.
Brilliant Hotel – Located in the heart of Da Nang, the Brilliant Hotel overlooks the Han River. A major benefit of this hotel is that it is within walking distance of many of the city’s best points of interest. A contemporary European design combines luxury and elegance with Vietnamese hospitality.
With comprehensive services, business and vacation travelers will fall in love with the Brilliant Hotel.
Luxury Apartment – Just steps from My Khe Beach, the Can Ho Nghi Duong Muong Thanh apartment is one of the best-rated rentals in Da Nang. Highly rated by guests on sites like booking.com, the apartment is a great choice for families and groups of travelers. Full service is included in the rental and there is a restaurant and casino on-site for good meals and entertainment.
Monarque Hotel – Overlooking the Forbes rated “most luxurious beach”, My Khe, the Monarque Hotel is a convalescence for tired travelers. Providing its guests with splendid comfort, the hotel has 75 rooms available. A rooftop swimming pool has become the hotel’s premier feature as it provides guests with a panoramic view of My Khe Beach.
Additionally, guests are provided with a complimentary breakfast and afternoon tea every day.
Tran Hotel – The Tran Hotel is an affordable multi-unit property located near the Han River that is a top choice among backpackers. Guests have the option to choose between multiple room layouts and each unit comes with air conditioning as well as a flat-screen TV. Nearby points of interest include the Love Lock Bridge and Indochina Riverside Mall.
Da Nang’s central location is more than convenient as it makes the city’s culinary scene come to life. Featuring local and national dishes, Da Nang excels at preparing traditional Vietnamese food. Often listed as one of the best places to eat in the country, there is a broad mix of restaurants, bars, cafes, and markets. From expensive to affordable, Da Nang is a culinary delight.
Limoncello Da Nang
An Italian restaurant, Limoncello Da Nang has earned a reputation for having the best pizza in the city. Serving generous portions, travelers can indulge in a little comfort food from home as they explore the city. Located in the Hai Châu District, the restaurant is frequently a very busy place with both tourists and locals eager to grab a bite.
Mi Quang Ba Mua
A local chain in Da Nang, Mi Quang Ba Mua is an affordable option with tasty meals. Serving noodle dishes filled to the brim with beef broth, the restaurant has become the go-to choice for breakfast. Rice noodles are the main ingredient in the dish and most add a variety of proteins and condiments to enhance the flavor even more.
Bright and bubbly, Bà Duong serves the local favorite, Bánh Xèo. Bánh Xèo are pancakes that are stuffed and served with ingredients like cabbage, meat, and cucumbers. Some people add seafood options like shrimp to change up the flavor. Bà Duong is located in a downtown alley and its multi-colored light display is a beacon for hungry travelers.
For travelers who have chosen to stay at a resort, good meals are often only a few floors away. All the big resorts in Da Nang have at least one, if not multiple, high-quality restaurants to serve their guests. With renowned chefs and fresh ingredients, travelers are guaranteed to have a fine meal at any of the city’s top resorts.
Some of the popular options include The Sail at the Hilton Da Nang and the Oriental Restaurant at the Vinpearl Da Nang.
A few times during the year Da Nang is packed like sardines as people gather in celebration. Based on the Vietnamese Lunar Calendar, there are multiple festivals held throughout the year.
Mid-Autumn Moon Festival – Known in Vietnamese as “Tet Trung Thu”, this is one of the most popular festivals in the country. The festival is held on the 15th day of the 8th lunar month. Similar to Halloween and Thanksgiving in Western countries, children celebrate by carrying colorful lanterns as they parade and sing in the streets.
Whale Festival – The Whale Festival is an annual celebration for the fishermen in Quang Nam, which is a province in Da Nang. Held for two days, the festival honors the ocean, and it is a way to ensure the village’s prosperity for the coming year. During the Whale Festival, boats and houses are beautifully decorated.
At a nearby temple, village elders make offerings that specifically do not use seafood as an ingredient.
Many parts of Da Nang city can be navigated on foot. With many tourist spots situated in a concentrated area, walking around the neighborhood, beach, and attractions is a good way to experience the city. However, there is a lot to explore in Da Nang and sometimes it is better to take a taxi when you are pressed for time.
Taxis are common throughout the city and have relatively affordable prices. Any staff where travelers stay will be happy to assist in arranging for safe transportation. At the bigger resorts, it is worth asking whether the hotel provides free transportation to its guests.
Cycling through a wet and dry season, the best time to visit Da Nang is from January to May. During these winter and spring months, the weather is relatively dry with low humidity. The sun should be shining clear and temperatures will be lower. Summer months also see a spike in travelers, though it is the hottest time to visit the city.
September, October, and November are the months to avoid traveling to Da Nang because of the wet season’s rain and high humidity.
With a harmonious balance of the sea, river, and mountains, Da Nang is an iconic destination in Vietnam. Reaching the ranks of Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi, travelers are raving about their time in Da Nang. The calm ocean waves and emerald green mountains are a playground for nature lovers, while the high-class resorts cater to life’s luxurious indulgences.
Exciting and upbeat, Da Nang is a tried-and-true vacation destination.
Activities near Da Nang