Da Nang’s close proximity to the Imperial City of Hue, the Old Town of Hoi An, and the My Son ruins, gives backpackers a good base from which to explore.
The tourism sector is a vital component of Da Nang’s economy. Its status as a transportation hub for Central Vietnam and its proximity in the middle of the Marble Mountains and the Imperial City of Hue on one side, and Hoi An Old Town, and the My Son ruins on the other side, fuels much of its tourist activity. I also loved the option of taking a river cruise from Da Nang Airport (or close to it) to Hoi An.
While perhaps not quite as impressive as Christ the Redeemer in Brazil, nor the giant equestrian statue of Genghis Khan in Mongolia, the Lady Buddha here in Da Nang remains one of the big sights of the city. As part of the Linh Ung Pagoda complex, it towers over all before it (including a laughing Buddha), and its location on the slopes of Monkey Mountain give it an ethereal feel. (There is a smaller Lady Buddha statue at Phap Lam Temple, but give that one a miss and come to Linh Ung instead).
Non Nuoc Beach is a white sandy beach on the outskirts of Danang is renowned for both its spectacular beauty and for its history as an R&R destination for American troops during the Vietnam War, when it was known as “China Beach”. Today, the beach, along with My Khe beach to the north, are home to expensive resorts, surfing, and entertainment facilities.
Monkey Mountain (officially known as Son Tra Mountain) was not a place that I wanted to visit at first, but a friend suggested it to me as something to do on my way back to the airport after exploring some other sights during my stay (including the far more impressive Marble Mountains). Nevertheless, I am glad that I visited Monkey Mountain and crossed it off my bucket list in the end. You will not be disappointed with the amazing views from up top, and despite being one of my choices for the top attractions in Da Nang, you will be very surprised at how un-touristy the place is. Just watch out for those monkeys – they are very territorial of “their” mountain!
Dragon Bridge is a modern feat of engineering that crosses the Han River at the Le Dinh Duong/Bach Dang traffic circle, providing the shortest road link from Da Nang International Airport to other main roads in the city, and a more direct route to My Khe and Non Nuoc Beaches. The bridge was designed and built in the shape of a dragon, and late in the evening (at least once that I saw), this dragon breathes fire into the night sky!
Han market is ideal for those looking for some Da Nang’s souvenirs before heading home. If you have more time to spare in Vietnam, stock up on fresh fruits and local snacks. Some specialties found in Han market include Ly Son garlic, Chili paste, dried rice crackers, and dried squid. At the front of the market are fruit stalls, abundant with tropical option from bananas to jackfruits. In addition to its wide variety of goods, Han Market also attracts a lot of people (locals and tourists alike) because of its relatively low prices. I spent a lot of time travelling to and from my hostel near the beach to this market by taxi, which cost me around $6 return each time.
Have you been to Da Nang? Would you agree that a stopover here is only worthwhile if you’re planning to go beyond and trek down to Hoi An and My Son?