Distance from Danang: 45 km
Best transport: Taking the bus is the cheapest & easiest, most choose to drive by motorbike, though the terrain is rough and tricky. https://dichungtaxi.com/en/blog/how-to-get-from-da-nang-to-my-son-sanctuary
Famous: UNESCO World Heritage Site for ancient temples & stupas
Entry: 150.000 vnd (http://en.mysonsanctuary.com.vn/tin-tuc/15/ticket-prices/)
My Son is an archaeological site dating back more than a thousand years, in Quang Nam. Located in a remote forested valley some 70 km west of Da Nang, this former capital and religious center of the Champa kingdom once contained in excess of 70 style temples and stupas. Although badly damaged by bombing raids in the 1960s, the site still has more than 20 structures and was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1999. Many statues, sculptures and reliefs recovered from Mỹ Sơn are kept in the Museum of Cham Sculpture, near the Hàn River in the heart of Da Nang. Dating from the fourth to the 14th centuries, the sensual artwork on these works depicts daily activities as well as Hindu and Buddhist religious themes.
My Son Holy Land is located around 40 minutes drive from Da Nang. There are multiple companies that organise trips there, or you can drive by yourself. I got there on a scooter and it was a little scary. The roads in Vietnam are dangerous and busy. I don’t think I would do it again by myself.
Son Tra Peninsula
Distance from Danang: drive 10 km to enter the mountain route. Driving around the mountain will be about 35 - 40 km.
Best transport: Most scenic & adventurous drive by motorbike, allows you to stop, relax & explore.
Famous: Scenic drive, views over the ocean & Danang.
From the beaches of Danang, you can see the beautiful luscious Son Tra Mountains to your left. Son Tra Peninsula is not only famous for its amazing views, but as you explore up the mountain you’ll find a lot of hidden places like restaurants, cafes, hidden beaches etc.
If you decide to take a drive up the mountain, here is a list of what you can expect on your way.
Make sure you have a full gas of tank, sunblock lotion & if you’re driving back after sunset bring a jacket because it can get cold.
Distance from Danang: 7 km
Best transport: Motorbike, bus
Famous: Mountain cluster of marble & limestone, caves, tunnels & shrines.
The Marble Mountains, also known as “Five Elements Mountains”, used to be mined for valuable stones. You can see examples of skillful stonework on the road side surrounding the Marble Mountains.
You can enjoy beautiful views on the top of the cliff of Non Nuoc Beach and the South China Sea. The caves nestled in the cliffs were originally inhabited by the Cham people. Later, the Nguyen Dynasty built numerous pagodas among the caves. The Marble Mountains are home to various artisans producing sculpture and artwork at its base at Non Nuoc Village. Non Nuoc Beach is a white sandy beach on the outskirts of Danang which is significant for both its beauty and for its history as an R&R destination for American troops during the Vietnam war.
Hai Van Pass
Distance from Danang: Start of Hai Van Pass is about 24 km from Danang. Total Distance: 165km (or 135km)
Best transport: Motorbike; roads are smooth, wide, paved back-roads & light traffic.
Famous: High coastal passes, excellent sea views, empty beaches, fishing villages, farmland, cities.
Made famous in an episode of the TV show, Top Gear, the Hai Van Pass has now become a bucket list item for thousands of motorcycle enthusiasts (and amateurs) and adventurers looking for alternative things to do in Da Nang.
This 21km mountain pass between Da Nang and Hue offers some of the most incredible ocean views in all of Vietnam. A new highway tunnel that has been built to bypass the road ensures that traffic numbers now are low, although the ride can still be quite technical; especially if you are inexperienced or the weather turns bad.
There are also a number of tour companies that can help you ride the Hai Van Pass if you aren’t a confident motorbike rider.
Distance from Danang: 47 km
Best transport: Take a boat in Hoi An to Cham Islands. Options: High-speed boat at Cua Dai port, a local-ferry at at Hoai River, near Hoi An fish market or take a speed boat in Danang from the Han river, in front of Da Nang’s Vietnam Television Center.
Famous: Coral reefs, island beach, snorkelling, canoeing.
Just of the coast of Hoi An, a cluster of eight islands known as Cham Island, or Cu Lao Cham, offers travellers a little getaway. The main island Hon Lao, the largest and the only one inhabited, is less than two hours’ away by public boat – or a good 30 mins across by speed boat. It boasts beaches, diving, snorkelling, seafood and one very scenic drive. If you’re impressed with Hoi An’s An Bang Beach, wait until you see Cham’s white sand and sparkling turquoise waters.
Cham Islands makes for a great day trip, or you can camp there for a couple of days.
It’s quite hard to organise a trip to Cham Islands by yourself. You have to go to the marina early in the morning and hope for a place on a boat. There is also no information about when the boats go back. Some say it’s better to book a trip through the Da Nang Visitor Centre, where you can also book a snorkelling tour.
There are several challenges for independent travellers. Foreigners are not allowed to ride motorbikes on the island. Without motorbike or bicycle rentals, it’s very difficult to get around from beach to beach.
Hoi An Ancient Town
Distance from Danang: 28 km
Best transport: Motorbike; local bus, taxi
Famous: UNESCO Heritage site for a well-preserved trading port (15th - 19th centuries). Original buildings & structures reflects a fusion of indigenous and foreign cultures (principally Chinese and Japanese with later European influences). Currently tourist town; handmade leather items, clothes, cafes, restaurants, boat rides etc.
Fee: During certain times, they will ask a fee at a booth to enter the Ancient Town
The surviving wooden structures and street plan are original and intact and together present a traditional townscape of the 17th and 18th centuries, the survival of which is unique in the region. The town continues to this day to be occupied and function as a trading port and centre of commerce. The living heritage reflecting the diverse communities of the indigenous inhabitants of the town, as well as foreigners, has also been preserved and continues to be passed on. Hoi An Ancient Town remains an exceptionally well-preserved example of a Far Eastern port.
Things to do in Hoi An:
Bà Nà Hills
Distance from Danang: 37 km
Best transport: Motorbike; local bus, taxi
Famous: French style resort, longest cable car in the world, Fantasy indoor entertainment zone, restaurants, famous Golden “hands” Bridge.
Fee: 700,000 VND including return cable car ticket, access to all games in park, Funicular, Debay ancient wine cellar & Le Jardin D’Amour’. Excluding the fee for visiting Wax Museum, cotton animal game and carnival skill at Fantasy Park.
Ba Na Hills, a resort founded in the 1920s by French colonists. Once in the mountains, board a cable car and ride to the summit of Nui Chua Mountain. Make the easy trek to Nghinh Phong Peak and enjoy a panoramic view of the surrounding region, and then stop at a restaurant for a tasty lunch of Vietnamese cuisine. Later, venture to Ba Na Hill's Fantasy Park, an indoor entertainment zone with thrilling games for the whole family.
Many people compare Ba Na as the “Dalat” (Đà Lạt) of Central Vietnam. The weather in Ba Na is cold all year round, covering the whole of Ba Na Hills with a white color like fog.
The golden bridge is seemingly suspended in the air by a pair of giant hands that lifts it towards the heavens. The nearly 500-foot-long bridge opened in June of 2018 as part of the continuing development of the Thien Thai Garden within the resort. Visitors can already visit the Fantasy Park, which was inspired by 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea and by impressive French Gardens.
Da Nang is also a place for authentic local cuisine. Due to its low volume of visitors, residents’ lives take place the way they have been for years. Many street vendors can be found in the market and along Han River, offering My Quang (A famous noodle dish).
Da Nang is probably most known among Vietnamese for its speedy real estate and private property development. The beach slide, which starts with Lifestyle Resort and ends in the border with Hoi An, is fully privatized, with major land used for constructing beach resorts and ocean villas. What this mean for tourists is a second-to-none beach holiday in Vietnam - in other words, Da Nang has recently emerged as a luxury destination
Distance from Danang: 94 km
Best transport: Train, bus, motorbike
Famous: Renowned as the most royal city in Vietnam, historic citadel, UNESCO World Heritage Site
Pronounced ‘hway’, this deeply evocative capital of the Nguyen emperors still resonates with the glories of imperial Vietnam, even though many of its finest buildings were destroyed during the American War.
is a city in central Vietnam that was the seat of Nguyễn Dynasty emperors from 1802 to 1945, and capital of the protectorate of Annam. A major attraction is its vast, 19th-century citadel, surrounded by a moat and thick stone walls. It encompasses the Imperial City, with palaces and shrines; the Forbidden Purple City, once the emperor's home; and a replica of the Royal Theater. The city was also the battleground for the Battle of Huế, which was one of the longest and bloodiest battles of the Vietnam War.
What to see in Hue
If you are a history buff, or simply love discovering exotic cultures, Hue- Vietnam’s former Royal Capital is definitely on the top list of your travel plan. The city represents the outstanding demonstration of the power of the vanished Vietnamese feudal empire, including a complex of monuments, tombs and pagodas that attract tourists coming from all over the world.
Ancient Forbidden City
• Hue Citadel:
Occupying a large, bounded area on the north side of Perfume River; four citadels were comprised to create the Capital City: Hoang Thanh (Imperial City) for royal palaces and shrines, Tu Cam Thanh (Forbidden Purple City) for royal residences, Dai Noi (Inner city) and Tran Binh Dai, which exclusively ancient architecture. Tourists are expected to spend at least one day to visit the whole complex. They can also catch a taxi, hire a bicycle, rent a “xich lo”- Vietnamese cycle if do not feel like walking around the site.
• Emperors Tombs:
There are several tombs of ancient emperors scattering along the Perfume River: such as Minh Mang, Khai Dinh, Tu Duc, Dong Khanh, etc. On Cam Khe Hill, Minh Mang Tomb was built in 1843, with the area of 18 hectare, 3-meter-high defended wall, and nearly 20 architectural constructions. Lying in the middle of a pine forest, Tu Duc Tomb belongs to Duong Xuan Moutain, 8km far from Hue.
Featured in various songs and poems, Thien Mu Pagoda has become an essential part of Hue City. With the symbol of the octagonal 21-meter-high tower, the pagoda is the perfect combination of artificial architectural work and picturesque nature. Tourists can also visit other pagodas such as Tu Dam, Tu Hieu, Huyen Khong.
Thien Mu Pagoda, Hue
What to do in Hue
Besides visiting ancient monuments and tombs, coming to Hue, you can also have a chance to bath and lying under the sun on the most wildly beautiful beaches in Vietnam. Thuan An and Lang Co beach are among the most wonderful ones, twinkling in sunshine with limpidly blue ocean and white silky sand. Moreover, there are some mineral hot springs available like Thanh Tan in Phong An, Phong Dien; where tourists can totally be relaxed after a long walking day.
At the height of 1450 meter; Bach Ma Mountain, 60km southern the city, represents the four-season type of weather of the temperate zone.
Many tour agencies also arrange a boat trip along Perfume River; in which tourists can witness the splendid sceneries while enjoy Hue specialties and watching royal art performance.
Being one of the most impressive bridges in the world, the Dragon Bridge will stun you by it’s modern design and by the impressive ability of breathing fire. Every weekend night at 9pm you can see the dragon come to life as it spits out real fire.
Opened to traffic in 2013, the Dragon Bridge is the 7th bridge spanning the famous Han River of Danang City, making travelling for foreign teachers living by the beach and working in the city much more convenient and faster.
This is the first time a project of Vietnam, made by a Vietnamese lighting designer, receiving the award of IALD in the history of 31 years of the oldest award in the industry, which is considered equivalent to an Oscar in cinematography or Pritzker in the architecture field.
The friendly and helpful locals
The local people in Da Nang are known for their friendly service. When you want to ask for directions, a hotel address, restaurants etc. they tend to go out of their way to help.
Local young people are always looking for opportunities to learn more about the culture of foreigners and for opportunities to practice their English. It’s not a strange thing if you get stopped along the way by a local for a quick conversation.
My Khe (Mỹ Khê) Beach
My Khe beach was praised as one of the six most attractive beaches on the planet by the US economic magazine “Forbes”.
Having a length of about 900m, famous for its white sandy beaches, peaceful ocean waves, warm blue water all year round and coconut trees surrounding the beach, My Khe beach is a peaceful and adventurous beach to visit, whether you want to lay in the sun and read a book, go jet-skiing, paragliding or just take a swim. Further up, near Temple Beach you can rent a surf/ paddling board, it’s best to go early in the morning when the sea is at its calmest.
Free Wifi Covers the Whole City
You do not always have to go to a café to get wifi, Danang offers free Wifi coverage throughout the downtown area in order to help residents as well as tourists connect to the internet. In Danang, you can use Wifi in every corner of the city. There is no other city in Vietnam having this type of special free service.
The Food is Delicious and Cheap
Like all cities in Vietnam, Danang also has its special famous dishes. Ranging from ‘on the go’ fast meals like banh beo (bánh bèo), banh nam (bánh nậm), to delicious bowls of sauce noodles, Banh Xeo, sticky rice with chicken, fragrant baked meat and rice noodles for just 15,000 – 20,000 VND (under a dollar); or a bread loaf with egg and meat (Banh Mi) for half a dollar, 10,000 VND.
Con (Cồn) Market – A Place to Enjoy Good Food and the local market.
Situated on Ong Ich Khiem (Ông Ích Khiêm) Street, right across the road from the famous supermarket Big C, the Con Market is considered one of the main and oldest markets in Danang, built in 1940.
You can buy ridiculously cheap second hand clothes and bags, fresh produce, flowers, spices and differse household products for a better price than you would usually buy it in a supermarket. There are also a whole section of food stalls where you can sit and eat. If you really want to get the feel of local life in Vietnam, this is the place to visit. Note, that you have to bargain for prices.
These are just a few of many other reasons you can see why Da Nang is such a fun and lively place to visit, but like everything else in life, don’t take our word for it - come see for yourself!