Are you looking for a travel destination in Vietnam that is not so mainstream and overcrowded? A place where you can still immerse yourself in the Vietnamese culture but not be bombarded with overpriced, touristy gimmicks? If so, Da Nang is the place for you!
Da Nang is not the first place you’d think of when you hear about Vietnam. It’s either Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh, so we can’t blame you if this is your first time hearing about the city.
But before we talk about all the places you can visit in Da Nang, here are some information that would hopefully give you an idea about Da Nang.
Da Nang City, Vietnam
Where is Da Nang?
The city is located in the South-Central part of Vietnam. It is a popular destination for tourists because of its coastal location. It is the third-largest city in the country and is regarded as one of the best places to witness the economic growth of Vietnam!
What makes Da Nang special?
Vietnam is full of adventures and every place or city holds its own story. It’s the same for Da Nang.
What makes Da Nang special is that this city has witnessed history with its own eyes and now, it has perfectly merged both history and modernity into its identity.
That is why a lot of tourists consider Da Nang a special place in Vietnam since this is where you’ll find the prime example of how Vietnam is emerging as a force to be reckoned with in terms of economic growth.
The city holds epic skylines, a majestic river, and stunning beaches that will make you wish you’d stay longer! This is simply the place to be if you’re looking for another place to travel to in Vietnam.
Is Da Nang expensive for tourists?
To no surprise, the city of Da Nang is an inexpensive tourist destination! In general, Vietnam is not an expensive country to travel to. In fact, it’s a classic favorite for budget travelers. We talked about Vietnam’s cost of travel in our other blog and we highly recommend you to check it out!
A day in Da Nang can cost around $40! You can even spend less if you’re smart enough to opt out of fancy restaurants, etc.
When is the best time to visit Da Nang?
The best time to visit Da Nang is around January to March since the weather is not too hot or too cold. There are not a lot of tourists during that period, so you’ll be able to spend a lot of time enjoying places to yourself!
10 Best things to do in Da Nang!
1. Son Tra Mountain
The first on our list is the beautiful “Monkey Mountain” that extends to the sea from Da Nang, Son Tra Mountain, or locally known as Son Tra Peninsula.
This 4000-hectare rainforest is home to a rare species of monkey called, Red Shanc Duoc. The monkeys are petite in size, slim-bodied, and are covered in predominantly black fur with red fur covering their legs as if they’re wearing red boots, and white fur covering their hands and arms as if wearing gloves. Their faces are quite small too and are distinctly yellow-colored.
These monkeys are quite beautiful and if you go to Son Tra Mountain, you might get a glimpse of them on your trail!
Aside from the Red Shanc Duoc monkeys, Son Tra Mountain is also home to a wide variety of plants and animals with approximately 300 species of inhabitants. And if you like walking along the shores, Son Tra Peninsula has some of the most pristine and untouched beaches in Vietnam!
You can rent a motorbike to navigate through the peninsula using the newly built trails or book an organized hike or tour if you’re not confident enough to explore by yourself. The hike includes visiting the beach, getting a glimpse of the monkeys and other animals, and visiting sacred spiritual sites.
Location: Da Nang
Entrance Fee: $1 or VND23,000 for caves and other sites.
Open Hours: Depends on the sites.
Linh Ung Pagoda
Speaking of spiritual sites, one of the sites you’ll be able to see is the Linh Ung Pagoda.
There are actually three Lin Ung Pagodas in the coastal city of Da Nang but the one located in Son Tra Peninsula is considered to be the biggest and the most attractive pagoda due to its intricate architecture and design that combines traditional and modern architectural styles of Vietnamese pagodas. There are three entrance gates, an ancestors’ house, and an eye catching megastructure which is the statue of Quan Yin Bodhisattva.
Quan Yin Bodhisattva is known as the Goddess of Mercy of Buddhism. Her statue stands at a stunning 67 meters tall making it the tallest statue in honor of the Goddess. The statue is laid on a lotus-shaped platform. And inside the statue lives 21 Buddha statues that vary in size, shape, posture, and facial expressions.
Do note that the Linh Ung Pagoda is a holy place so make sure to cover up or just wear a decent attire beforehand.
Location: Vườn Lâm Tỳ Ni, Hoàng Sa, Thọ Quang, Sơn Trà, Đà Nẵng, Vietnam
Entrance Fee: FREE
Open Hours: 24 hours
2. Marble Mountains
The Marble Mountains is another place in Da Nang that showcases the beauty of Vietnam’s geography.
Ngu Hanh Son or the Five Elements Mountains are made up of limestones and marbles arranged in a cluster. As the name suggests, each mountain in the cluster is named after the five elements of nature: Thuy Son (water), Kim Son (metal), Moc Son (wood), Hoa Son (fire), and Tho Son (earth).
According to legend, there was once a dragon who laid an egg on the shore after emerging from the seas and when the egg hatched, out came a beautiful lady. The remains of the eggshells grew into mountains!
You can also find three caves in Ngu Hanh Son that you can explore but the most popular cave can be accessed through a “secret road to heaven”. In the end, you’ll see a spectacular view overlooking the area!
This is a must for people who are coming to visit Da Nang. The best part is that there is an elevator which brings you up to the top of the mountain if walking is difficult or impossible.
Location: 81 Huyền Trân Công Chúa, Hoà Hải, Ngũ Hành Sơn, Đà Nẵng 550000, Vietnam
Entrance Fee: $2 or VND40,000, elevator costs $0.60 or VND15,000.
Open Hours: Daily, 7 AM to 5 PM
3. Dragon Bridge
Have you seen a real-life dragon before? We haven’t but the Dragon Bridge in Da Nang is probably the closest we’ll get to seeing a real dragon!
Dragons are a symbol of power and prosperity in Asian countries and in most Asian culture, dragons are always present even in folktales, legends, and myths.
The Dragon Bridge in Vietnam represents good luck in Vietnam. The Dragon is 666 meters long and is awarded as the longest bridge in the country.
Even though it’s just “a bridge”, it looks more majestic in real life as if you’re really in the presence of a real-life dragon! And if you plan on visiting the Dragon Bridge, you can visit on a Saturday or Sunday at 9 pm as this dragon spits fire and water out of its mouth! There’s also a light show too!
Make sure to come an hour to 30 minutes before the show so you can secure yourself a viewing spot with no obstructions!
Location: 366G+FGG, Phước Ninh, Hải Châu, Đà Nẵng 550000, Vietnam
Entrance Fee: FREE
Open Hours: 24 hours, daily.
4. Ba Na Hills
Ba Na Hills is a popular tourist destination not just for foreigners but for the Vietnamese people themselves. One of the reasons is because of its cold climate which is far cooler than the usual climate in Vietnam. Another reason is because of the amusement park that is found here.
However, climbing up the hill may not be fun for everyone but have no fear since you can ride on a cable car that will take you up there!
There are a lot of things to do to keep yourself entertained like visit the French Village, visit the 100-year-old Wine Cellar, or pay respect to the pagodas around the area. But perhaps the most popular site here is the Golden Hands Bridge which is a massive sculpture that leaves everyone in awe!
Golden Hands Bridge
The Golden Hands Bridge, aka Cau Vang, is a 150-meter-long pedestrian bridge that has gained popularity because of its gigantic hand sculptures that seemingly hold the bridge up.
The Golden Hands Bridge was a project by TA Landscape Architecture under the Ho Chi Minh City, University of Architecture. The structure was designed by Trần Quang Hùng and managed by Nguyen Quang Huu Tuan, and was spearheaded by the company’s own founder, Vu Viet Anh. The megastructure was finished in 2018.
It is said that the Golden Hands Bridge is meant to symbolize “the hands of God pulling gold from the resource-rich area”.
Tour packages to Ba Na Hills cost a bit more, usually starting at $40 or VND900,000 but if you use the booking websites we trust, you’ll surely get discounted deals!
Location: Trường Sơn Mountains west of the city of Da Nang, in central Vietnam
Tour Prices: Starts at $40 for adults and $33 for children.
Open Hours: 7 AM to 9 PM.
5. Da Nang Beaches
Sometimes, we crave for tranquility and peace, especially in a country like Vietnam where despite the lush nature, modernity has found its way to disturb it.
So, in this list, we’ve included two beaches you can go to in Da Nang that will give you just that!
My Khe Beach
This 20-mile-long beach is believed to be one of the most beautiful in Vietnam! But this is not just a mere beach since this beautiful escape has tons of activities for you to do!
You can go snorkeling, scuba diving, or just sunbathe by the beach until the sun goes down. If you’re up for something even more thrilling, you can try to do some exciting water sports like jet skiing, surfing, and many more!
Hotels are relatively cheap here too for a beach as beautiful as this! Prices can go as low as $7! Simply check our list of the best booking websites for the best deals on hotels and hostels!
Non Nuoc Beach
Another beach you can wander to is Non Nuoc, a beach that continues the coastline of My Khe.
Non Nuoc is 5 kilometers long and extends up to the base of the Marble Mountains. It is 20 minutes away from the center of Da Nang and 11 minutes away from My Khe.
My Khe Beach can get a bit too crowded because of its popularity and proximity to the city but if you’re looking to really relax and unwind by being farther away from tourists, Non Nuoc is best!
Surfing is a popular activity to do in Non Nuoc and surfers often gather here. The surfing community in Vietnam has grown and more people have gained an interest in it.
If you go hungry while sunbathing, you can grab a meal at the restaurants here. They serve fresh seafood and other delicious Vietnamese food as well as international options. After that, you can walk on the shoreline up until the foot of Marbles Mountain where you can begin to find pagodas and other holy shrines!
These beaches have their own unique characteristic and no matter which one you end up spending time in, you’ll definitely enjoy!
6. Cham Museum
Before the French colonized Vietnam, the country was already inhabited by indigenous people and tribes. One particular group of indigenous people in Vietnam is the Chams.
The Cham Museum is a tribute to the once glorious Champa Kingdom which gave a profound contribution to the precolonial history of Vietnam, being the main connection of trade between China, India, and the surrounding kingdoms.
The Cham Museum is located in the Hai Chau district of Da Nang and was opened in 1915. The exhibits include stone pieces, terracottas, and other artifacts that date to the 7th century. You will also be able to find some examples of Cham Art which is always an interesting sight as these kinds of art show us a glimpse of life many years ago.
This museum is solo traveler friendly as it offers an MP3 audio guide for you to listen to as you go around learning about the Cham People.
Location: Số 02 Đ. 2 Tháng 9, Bình Hiên, Hải Châu, Đà Nẵng 550000, Vietnam
Entrance Fee: $3 or VND60,000.
Open Hours: 7:30 AM to 5 PM, daily.
7. Hai Van Pass
A top attraction that you definitely should not miss out on is the Hai Van Pass which is located 500 meters above sea level and offers a great panoramic view of Da Nang! Looking over makes you think that you’re on top of the world since this is the highest pass in Vietnam.
The best way to navigate Hai Van Pass is to use a motorcycle. This mode of transportation became popular due to the appearance of Hai Van Pass in an episode of Top Gear. Now, it’s a popular place for motorcycle enthusiasts.
The dark side to this pass, though, is that a lot of accidents have happened here due to the sudden turns of the roads. Thus, we advise you to be careful when motorcycling here alone. Also, watch out for the shrines dedicated to the people who perished in the area.
But recently, a tunnel was built to avoid future accidents so you can relax a bit and not worry about the safety of the pass. Buses and other vehicles usually take this route too.
Location: Da Nang, Vietnam
Transportation Fee: Transportation cost starts at $1.
8. Da Nang Cathedral
Da Nang Cathedral is unique amongst other Catholic churches since it is painted pink on its exteriors. You should not confuse this with the Tan Dinh Church we featured in our article about the interesting places to visit in Ho Chi Minh City.
The Da Nang Cathedral is locally known as the Rooster Church or Con Ga. The pink paint of its exteriors is unique but the architecture of its interiors is stunning! The church follows a Gothic-style architectural design and dates back to 1923.
The cathedral is home to the Virgin Mary Grotto which is believed to be a replica of the Lourdes Grotto found in France.
The Da Nang Cathedral is worth a visit since this is the only church built during the French colonial period. It is also one of the last French architectural structures that survived.
The church’s nickname which is Rooster Church stems from the fact that its bell tower has a rooster weather cock attached to it. So, no, there are no roosters here!
Location: 156 Đ. Trần Phú, Hải Châu 1, Hải Châu, Đà Nẵng 550000, Vietnam
Entrance Fee: FREE!.
Open Hours: Monday to Saturday- 6 AM to 4:30 PM, Sunday- 11 AM to 1 PM
9. Cham Islands
Considered as a Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO, the Cham Islands is perfect if you want to get in touch with marine life in Vietnam. But despite garnering recognition, Cham Islands is still unspoiled and is almost untouched by modernization.
Cham Islands is locally known as Cu Lao Cham. It consists of eight islands, the largest being Hon Lao which covers 1,317 hectares. The rest of the islands are named Hon Cu, Hon Kho, Hon La, Hon Dai, Hon Lo, and Hon Tai.
The Cham Islands is home to some of the world’s most endangered species like the pangolins. Aside from that, it boasts 135 coral species, 84 mollusk species, and 4 tiger shrimp species! You can also venture through some of the caves here and go swimming in the clear waters!
This is definitely the place for the adventurous!
Location: Da Nang, Vietnam. It can also be accessed through Hoi An.
Tour Packages: Packages can go as low as $25 or VND500,000 for a full-day tour.
10. My Son Sanctuary
The last on our list is My Son Sanctuary which is located west of Hoi An but is just an hour’s drive from Da Nang.
This archeological site is small in size compared to similar sites from other countries like Myanmar’s Bagan but the contrast between the lush vegetation and the deep colors of the ancient bricks is truly a sight to see.
The My Son Ruins holds dear to the Vietnamese culture and history as was where the religious and political capital of the Kingdom of Champa once stood in the 4th and 13th centuries. Because of this, it was recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site!
What’s most fascinating about My Son are the intricate carvings depicting Hindu gods around the ruins. Today, the ruins still stand and some would simply consider this a place to take pictures, but this was once a place teeming with life, and that in itself is worth a visit!
Tours are available and generally only cost around $16 to $20 but the entrance fee is only $7 or VND150,000!
Location: Đường vào Mỹ Sơn, Thánh địa Mỹ Sơn, Duy Xuyên, Quảng Nam, Vietnam
Entrance Fee: $7 or VND150,000
Open Hours: 6 AM to 5 PM, Daily.
It is not surprising to see that most of these attractions are reminiscent of Vietnam’s colorful history and are focused on nature’s beauty. Da Nang is definitely one that is worth visiting as it showcases the harmony between the seas, the mountains, and the rivers!
Da Nang is also a perfect place for budget travelers since most attractions and tours do not cost too much! So, the next time you travel to Vietnam, you must visit Da Nang!
Which of these activities have you tried before? We want to hear from you, so comment your experiences below!