Discover Da Nang: The Ultimate Guide of Best Things To Do
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Discover Da Nang: The Ultimate Guide of Best Things To Do

No trip to Vietnam will be complete without visiting Da Nang and exploring this historic city. We recommend staying here for 4-7 days to fully explore the area, however a day trip to see the highlights of Da Nang is also possible.

Vietnam's third largest city and the capital of the central region, Da Nang is a coastal city known for its beaches, cultural heritage and bustling nightlife. Da Nang has something for everyone, whether you’re a history buff, a nature enthusiast or a foodie. Follow along as we explore the different ways to get here, the top things to do and the best restaurants to dine in Da Nang, ensuring you make the most out of your visit to this beautiful city.

Don't have time to read the full article? These helpful links are for you:
👉 Check out the best accommodations for your visit.
👉 Start exploring the best tours around Da Nang
👉 Book your flights to Da Nang.

How to get to Da Nang

Da Nang is easily accessible by air, train, bus, and car. Though the most commonly visited by air or train, we will discuss all options to reach the largest city in Central Vietnam.

Arriving by Air

Da Nang International Airport (DAD) is the primary way to get to the city and is one of the busiest airports in Vietnam. Here’s how you can reach Da Nang by air:

International Flights: Da Nang International Airport serves several international destinations including major cities in Asia such as Seoul, Tokyo, Manila, Bangkok and Singapore. Note, that there are no direct flights from Europe or North America. Airlines like Vietnam Airlines, Korean Air and Singapore Airlines offer direct flights to Da Nang.

Plane at sunset traveling to Da Nang, the most common way to get to Vietnam.

Domestic Flights: If you’re traveling within Vietnam, you can catch a domestic flight from Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh City. Airlines like VietJet Air, Bamboo Airways and Vietnam Airlines operate frequent flights to Da Nang. Flight can cost $60 - $90 depending on where you are coming from and how well in advance you book your flight.

Traveling by Train to Da Nang

Traveling by train is a scenic way to reach Da Nang. The city is well-connected by the Reunification Express, which runs between Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City. Here’s what you need to know:

Booking Tickets: You can book train tickets online through the Vietnam Railways website or buy tickets at the train station. It’s advisable to book in advance, especially during peak travel seasons. Based on our experience, we were not able to book online since it requires a local number and bank account. Foreigners will only be able to pay with cash when booking at the station. 

Train Classes: You can choose from various classes including soft seat, hard seat, soft sleeper, and hard sleeper. For a more comfortable journey on long journeys from Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh, the soft sleeper is a must.

Train Experience: We got an overnight sleeper train with air conditioning, clean blankets and pillows. With the bright lights, moving train and noise, we didn't get the greatest sleep. Light sleepers will want to bring sleep-aids. There are washrooms and sinks for your hygienic needs. There are also vendors selling hot food, snacks and drinks.

Reaching Da Nang by Bus

Buses are a cost-effective option for reaching Da Nang from various cities in Vietnam:

From Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh City: Several bus companies operate long-distance buses to Da Nang, including Hoang Long, Sinh Tourist and Hanh Cafe. The journey can take anywhere from 14 to 20 hours depending on your starting point.

From Da Lat: There are overnight buses from Da Lat to Da Nang and travel time can take from 12 to 15 hours.

From Hoi An: Since it is a short distance, bus travel is only an hour.

Comfort and Convenience: While buses are cheaper than flights and trains, they can be less comfortable for long journeys. Consider traveling by sleeper bus for overnight trips.

Driving to Da Nang

For those who prefer the freedom of the open road, driving to Da Nang is an adventurous option. Bike rentals are cheap and are more common than cars.

National Highway 1A connects Hanoi, Da Nang and Ho Chi Minh City, cutting through beautiful landscapes and coastal towns. The drive from Hanoi to Da Nang is approximately 760 kilometers and takes around 14-16 hours. Ho Chi Minh City to Da Nang is about 960 kilometers, taking around 18-20 hours. 

The best things to do in Da Nang

1. Enjoy the Sun at My Khe Beach

My Khe Beach, often hailed as one of the best beaches in Vietnam, is a must-visit. It has a strip of long sandy beach that makes it perfect for swimming, sunbathing and water sports. The beach is lined with a variety of hotels, restaurants and bars offering delicious seafood and refreshing drinks.

2. Explore the Marble Mountains

Another must-visit in Da Nang is the Marble Mountains. These are a cluster of five marble and limestone hills named after the five elements: metal, wood, water, fire and earth. You can explore the caves, temples and pagodas within these mountains. And don’t miss the panoramic view from the top of Thuy Son Mountain. It will take 1-2 hours to fully explore the area. Entrance is $2. You can also take a day trip here from Hoi An.

3. Explore Son Tra Peninsula

Also known as Monkey Mountain, Son Tra Peninsula is a haven for nature lovers. You shouldn’t miss the Linh Ung Pagoda with its towering Lady Buddha statue, South Beach, Da Den Beach, Ban Co Peak and keep an eye out for the endangered red-shanked douc langurs.

4. Watch the Dragon Bridge breathe fire and water

The Dragon Bridge, an iconic symbol of Da Nang, is not just an ordinary bridge across the Han River. The 666m long dragon that lines its arches even breathes fire and water every Saturday and Sunday at 9pm. It’s a spectacular sight, especially at night when its 15,000 LED lights are illuminated. You can take a boat cruise by Han River or find great viewing spot here.

Dragon Bridge breathing fire illuminated at night in Da Nang

5. Then watch the Han River Bridge swing

Parallel to the Dragon Bridge, is the Han River Bridge or Han Bridge, the only swing bridge in Vietnam. After watching the Dragon Bridge Show, head close to the Han Bridge to find a good spot. Then at 10 PM, is when this spectacular sight happens.

6. Visit the Ancient Town of Hoi An

You can choose to stay in Hoi An or do a day trip from Da Nang. From just a short drive, explore the beautifully-preserved ancient town of Hoi An known for its lantern-lit streets, traditional wooden houses and vibrant markets. Don’t miss the Banh Mi from Madam Khanh, the boat tour at coconut forest, a specialty coffee from Faifo Coffee and Hoi An Memories Show from Memories Land.

7. Discover the Ba Na Hills

Ba Na Hills is the famous amusement park high in the mountains with French-inspired architecture, gardens and the famous Golden Bridge held by two giant stone hands. The cable car holds the Guinness world record as longest in the world and offers a breathtaking view of the surrounding cliffs and forests.

Helpful tips for visiting Ba Na Hills:

  • There are several tours that arrive here everyday, so book your Grab or taxi early, or buy tickets in advance which includes transport.
  • Most tours arrive at around 9 and leave around 3. That being said, if you want a quieter time for pictures, stay beyond 3. We find that late afternoon around 3-6 PM is the sweet spot. Do your shopping, dining and arcade gaming between peak times.
  • As the tourists start leaving around 3 PM, most shops and shows also start to close. Be aware of the closing times of your must-see attractions. This may be your best time to re-take your photos at your favorite spots without the crowds.

8. Indulge in Local Cuisine

Da Nang is a food lover’s paradise. Don’t miss local specialties like Mi Quang (turmeric noodles), Bun Cha Ca (fish cake noodle soup) and Banh Xeo (Vietnamese pancakes). For dessert, try the fresh tropical fruits and coconut-based sweets. Check out the restaurant recommendations later in this post.

9. Try a traditional Vietnamese attire at Viet Sense

Though a cafe, we loved the fact that you can rent traditional Vietnamese attires here and they have photo spots and backdrops in the building. It is a big plus that they offer food/coffee and rental packages. Their coffee and Banh Mi is nothing short of exceptional. If you wanted to take your costume outdoors, it is entirely possible to do so.

10. Experience the Nightlife

The nightlife in Da Nang is vibrant and diverse. From rooftop bars offering panoramic views of the city to beachside clubs, there’s something for everyone. Check out Sky36, the highest bar in Da Nang and the Under The Sea restaurant for a memorable night out.

Beer tasting at Da Nang
Beer tasting at Heart of Darkness Brewery, Da Nang

For a different night out, consider visiting Asia Park. For 200k VND, you can enjoy unlimited rides on the Ferris wheel and other amusement rides. The nighttime views of the city from the top of the Ferris wheel is not to miss.

11. Learn about the history of Cham people in My Son Sanctuary

My Son (Mee Sahn) which translates to beautiful mountain is a cluster of Hindu temple ruins, built by a now-extinct empire. We suggest getting a guide when visiting My Son to fully learn about the place and the history of Vietnam and the Cham people. Don’t miss the cultural shows, one during the day and one in the afternoon.

12. Visit the Museum of Cham Sculpture

Home to the largest collection of Cham artifacts in the world, the Museum of Cham Sculpture offers a glimpse into the ancient Cham civilization. The museum’s exhibits include intricate sculptures, statues and ceramics. Bring your phone for a free audio guide. Entrance is $3.

13. Visit the pink churches of Da Nang

When people mention the pink church of Da Nang, what usually comes to mind is the image of Da Nang Cathedral. And it is truly a sight to see. But did you know that there is another pink church in Da Nang? and it is the An Hai Church, located close to the cathedral. As Catholics, we visited these churches and tried to light a candle, only to our surprise, they burn incense instead, this could probably be due to the heavy influence of several other religion in this country.

14. Shop for Incredible Deals at a Night Market

Chợ Đêm Sơn Trà is the largest and most popular night market in the city. You'll find great prices on souvenirs, clothing and street foods.

colorful outdoor markets selling souvenirs in Da Nang,

Where to Eat in Da Nang

1. Madame Lan Restaurant

Located along the Han River, Madame Lan has a charming atmosphere with traditional Vietnamese décor. It’s renowned for its authentic Vietnamese dishes like Bun Cha Ca (fish cake noodle soup) and Banh Xeo (crispy pancakes).

2. Quan Com Gia Dinh - Mon Hue - Ton Nu Quan

If you want to try the flavors of Hue, Quan Com Hue Ngon is the place to go. This restaurant specializes in Hue-style dishes such as Bun Bo Hue (spicy beef noodle soup) and Banh Beo (steamed rice cakes).

3. Ba Duong

Ba Duong is famous for its Banh Xeo, a savory Vietnamese pancake filled with shrimp, pork and bean sprouts - it is a must-try. They also have skewers and spring rolls.

4. Mi Quang 1A

For the best Mi Quang, Vietnamese noodle dish, visit Mi Quang 1A. This popular eatery serves the traditional turmeric-infused noodle dish topped with shrimp, pork and fresh herbs.

5. Bep Hen Vietnamese Restaurant

Bep Hen is a cozy restaurant serving authentic Vietnamese home-cooked meals. Don’t miss the Com Tam (broken rice with grilled pork) and Ca Kho To (caramelized fish in clay pot).

6. Cửa Ngõ Cafe

This Moroccan-themed café is incredibly picturesque and serves amazing coffees. If you haven't tried a Vietnamese coconut coffee or cream coffee before, you're in for a treat.

If you are looking for more restaurant options, check out this post of the best restaurants in Da Nang.

Moroccan themed cafe in Da Nang is Cửa Ngõ Cafe
Cửa Ngõ Cafe, Da Nang

Where to Stay in Da Nang

There are plenty of stay options for you in Da Nang. Choose between luxury hotels, beachfront and budget-friendly options. One of the great things in staying in Da Nang are the prices of accommodations are a fraction of what you would pay in Western countries.

Paris Deli Danang Beach Hotel is a stunning beachfront property located at My Khe Beach. Enjoy the view of the coast as you power up with the free breakfast to start your day.

Luxtery Hotel and Spa is located in the main town with amazing views of the skyline and buildings from the sun terrace and fitness center.

Nature Hotel is another great option in the main town also offering a great view of the skyline and with breakfast included.

Breakfast at Grand Luxury Hotel, one of the best stays in Da Nang
Grand Luxury Hotel

Grand Ocean Luxury Boutique close to the beach and main town offers view of the skyline and the coast. Enjoy the breakfast or your time by the pool with the amazing view.

Valencia Da Nang Beach Hotel is a highly-rated and budget-friendly option close to the beach with modern rooms and good breakfast selection.

Final Take Aways

And there you have it. Da Nang is a city that beautifully blends natural beauty, cultural heritage and modern attractions. It is one of the places we visited that totally exceeded our expectations. Whether you’re here for a quick getaway or a longer stay, Da Nang is a great destination which promises an unforgettable experience. We hope that this guide will help you in planning and making the most of your visit in Da Nang.

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