Da Nang unfortunately gets overlooked because of its location between two more touristy locations- Hoi An and Hue. While you’ll get the chance to visit both during your time staying in Da Nang, don’t miss out too much on the city itself! There are many locations in and around that aren’t worth skipping. It is also ranked the most liveable city in Vietnam!
Da Nang is an up-and-coming city which is quickly developing. I met a man, Peter, who said that Da Nang had doubled in size within the past ten years! However, it’s a city where you can experience many lifestyles. Head to the east to soak up some sun on the awesome beaches or go to the west to live the city life. What splits the two? Several unique bridges.
Connecting the city and beach is a bridge constructed to look like a dragon. Its body curls up and down and even the bridge itself is wavy. It’s an awesome sight, especially at night where it changes colours.
At the weekend, it even blows fire and squirts water out of its nostrils. This is a popular event with both tourists and locals; we went near the dragon’s head one week and the race to get away from the water was hilarious.
You can see Lady Buddha from Da Nang itself although she is located about 10km from the city. She’s the largest Buddha statue in Vietnam and is the same height as a 30-story building so you can’t miss her. It is also located near some traditional Chinese-style architecture so you can check those out at the same time.
She looks down over the coastline which is also a great place to snap some photos of the coast and city.
There are 5 Marble Mountains named after the elements- Metal, Water, Wood, Fire and Earth. These are south of the city.
Each mountain has tunnels and caves (one of which was used as a hospital in the Vietnam War) so you can explore as well as get some awesome panoramic views from the top. There are multiple pagodas to check out, as well as a Buddhist grotto.
There are two Sun World’s you can visit near Da Nang- one inside the city and one in the Ba Na Hills. Have you seen the photos of the awesome hand bridge circulating around? This is in the Ba Na Hills park.
These theme parks are heavily thematic. You can learn about Asian cultures in the Da Nang park and there is a French-style village in Ba Na Hills. I personally didn’t visit in 2019 but it looks insane!
HAI VAN PASS
This difficult 21km of road isn’t for a new driver, but the views are amazing! It is very popular to do on a motorbike and we went with a tour company called easyiders. It used to separate kingdoms and is known for its overhanging mist. It featured on Top Gear in its 2008 special and has gone from a relatively quiet road to one popular with tourists and locals alike.
The hostel Global Grads will be staying in is near My Khe beach, which is located right next to the city but is still in excellent condition. I spent quite a few evenings/nights walking up the seafront- just be careful as nowhere is safe from motorbikes!
Vietnam has a very social culture and so you can see many activities alongside My Khe during the evening. We witnessed a rap battle once! If you fancy somewhere quieter, you’re right on the coast- there’s some pristine but isolated beaches just a few kilometres down the road.
We regularly hit up one of the night markets located in Vietnam, which had some delicious foods. You could try the local cuisine (Bahn Mi, anyone?) or go on a global gluttony trip. There was Filipino, American, Italian cuisine and more. If you want to find out where I’m referring to, ask one of the Location Managers or Student Ambassadors.
However, there are many other locations for food, and it’s also super cheap. Georgia managed to find some Bahn Mi for 2000VND (7 pence)! So you can definitely get your fill of Pho and other Vietnamese delicacies while in Da Nang. If you have dietary requirements, rejoice! As a vegetarian with allergies, I found it very easy to eat around the city.
Da Nang is both an amazing city in itself and a hub for many other locations in and around. Check out the Hoi An and Hue blogs! There are also many other locations nearby which are worth visiting- do some research and you’ll be able to find both hidden gems and tick some main sights off your list. Make the most of your three weeks in the city!
About the author
Jasmin Dawling is one of Global Grad’s January 2019 students and is completing a full-time Bachelor’s degree with the Open University in International Studies. While this is her first time formally blogging, she has had plenty of writing experience in the past, from novel writing since the age of six to working on the school newspaper. Apart from seeing the sights of South East Asia and working on her degree, Jasmin spends most of her time either procrastinating or writing down her novel ideas, be it on her travelling-inspired new ideas or the 7-part series she’s been toying with for almost ten years.