Give Ho Chi Minh a miss and check out our list of the best things to do in the charming coastal city of Da Nang.
If you’re thinking of going on a quick getaway in Southeast Asia, the beautiful country of Vietnam may be top of your list. But we suggest giving over-crowded tourist hot spots like Ha Long Bay or Ho Chi Minh a miss. One oft-neglected area of central Vietnam holds more treasures than you might think. This particular city is full of history, sprawling nature and delicious food to satisfy your wanderlust. Its name? Da Nang. Read on for the best things to do there.
Best things to do in Da Nang
1. Stand in the hand of God
It’s no surprise this destination in Da Nang went viral when it opened in 2018. That’s because the Golden Bridge on Ba Na Hill isn’t just any old structure. Instead, you’ll observe two giant stone hands reaching out from the ground, and balancing its winding path in its palms. It’s quite the sight to behold, and makes an insanely beautiful backdrop if you’re snapping photos for the ‘gram.
Golden Bridge, Tuyen Cap Treo Len, Ba Na Hills, Hoa Ninh, Hoa Vang, Da Nang Vietnam
2. Cross Vietnam’s longest bridge
You might not be able to ride a dragon in this lifetime, but you can cross Vietnam’s famous Dragon Bridge (and we’d like to think that’s more or less the same thing). This magnificent dragon-themed structure is 666 metres long, 37 metres wide, and has six traffic lanes connecting the airport to other major roads in the city. We hear the dragon itself is illuminated in colourful LED lights on weekends and during festivals.
Dragon Bridge, 366G FGG, Phuoc Ninh, Hai Chau, Da Nang 550000, Vietnam
3. Wander through caves and tunnels in the Marble Mountains
The Marble Mountains in Da Nang are shrouded in myth and history. Old tales tell the story of a beautiful girl hatching from a dragon’s egg on the beach, and the egg shells forming the mountains that stand there today. It’s also littered with pagodas and tombs from over the centuries, and soldiers have used it as a hiding place and safe haven. Now you can visit it and walk through its myriad caves and tunnels while appreciating the significance of this landmark in Vietnam.
Marble Mountains, 81 Huyen Tran Cong Chua, Hoa Hai, Ngu Hanh Son, Da Nang 550000, Vietnam
4. Soak in rich indigenous history at the Cham Museum of Sculpture
Did you know some of the most iconic structures in all Vietnam were built by the Cham people? They were a great civilisation that inhabited the area nearly 1,000 years ago. Just swing by the My Son ruins for a peek at their longstanding handiwork. If you’re keen to learn more about them, we recommend a trip to the Cham Museum of Sculpture. It holds a vast collection of statues, carvings and artefacts that are breathtaking.
Cham Museum of Sculpture, So 02 D. 2 Thang 9, Binh Hien, Hai Chau, Da Nang 550000, Vietnam
5. Go on a snorkelling adventure around Cham Island
If an underwater adventure is what you’re interested in, sign up for a snorkelling tour at Cham Island. You’ll get to swim amongst beautiful fish and coral and visit local fishing villages on your day out from Da Nang city. Book with a tour company and you might even get a seafood lunch and transport from your hotel thrown in. We like this one from Seek Sophie.
6. Catch some waves at My Khe Beach
Can’t get enough of the sun, sand and sea? My Khe Beach is a must-visit. It’s not only the longest beach in Da Nang, but it’s also one of the best you’ll find in the area. Catch some waves on a surfboard before fuelling up on fresh seafood at nearby restaurants. There are plenty of surfboard rental shops along the beach’s stretch (think names like Sunny Surf and Surf Shack). You can even sign up for lessons if you’re a complete newbie.
My Khe Beach, Vo Nguyen Giap, T20, Phuoc, Son Tra, Da Nang 550000, Vietnam
7. Explore Hai Van Pass on a motorbike
Top Gear fans will recognise Hai Van Pass with ease. This scenic road stretches for 21 kilometres and offers gorgeous views of the ocean. We hear the best way to see this is on a motorbike. Sign up with a tour company for a guided experience. A full-day tour by Vespa Adventures will have you riding on aesthetic vintage Vespas from Hoi An all the way to Hue. You’ll pass by sights like old war bunkers, a hilltop pagoda, a Cham temple and more.
8. Slurp on beef noodles at Quan Bun Ba Dieu
We can’t forget the multitude of good food in Da Nang. There are plenty of delights like banh xeo (rice flour crepe), mi quang (chewy rice noodles with meat in peanut and garlic oil), and the all-too-familiar bowl of pho. But we recommend dropping by Quan Bun Ba Dieu for your fix of beef noodles. Think rich broth, tender beef ribs and slippery rice noodles. It’s absolute perfection.
Quan Bun Ba Dieu, 17 Tran Tong, Thac Gian, Thanh Khe, Da Nang 550000, Vietnam
9. Enjoy perfectly toasted banh mi at Banh My Ba Lan
You can’t visit Vietnam without sinking your teeth into perfectly toasted banh mi. If you need a recommendation on where to go in Da Nang, hit up Banh My Ba Lan. It uses richly-flavoured meats and seasoning enveloped in a crispy baguette. No wonder this stall is loved by locals and tourists alike.
Bang My Ba Lan, 62 Trung Nu Vuong Binh Hien, Hai Chau, Da Nang 550000 Vietnam
There you have it: the best things to do and places to eat in Da Nang!