If you’re a travel addict on Instagram you’ve probably seen of some of the most popular places for photos in Vietnam. Be it the famous Golden Hands Bridge at sunset or the temple ruins of MySon, the good news is that most of them are located around one place - Da Nang! The heart and soul of central Vietnam. As central Vietnam’s most important French colonial port in the 19th century and leading industrial centre of the present, Da Nang has still kept its charm and now proudly shares its culture through several surrounding World UNESCO Heritage Sites. In addition to that, Da Nang gives you all the perks of being a coastal city, and then some. Here’s how you can experience a bit of all the best things that Vietnam’s fifth largest city has to offer during your trip.
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Da Nang has its own airport called the Da Nang International Airport so if you’re travelling from anywhere outside the country, you can buy a direct flight here. The airport takes flights from most countries in Southeast Asia including Malaysia, Singapore, Japan, Thailand, Korea, and China. The cheapest and most convenient mode of transport from Hoi An is by local bus. Local buses depart from Nguyễn Tất Thành station daily and the ticket shouldn’t cost more than RM5. Rent a private car to travel from Hue to Da Nang. This allows you to take your time and enjoy incredibly scenic coastal views while on the Hai Van Pass. Private car rentals usually include an English speaking driver and prices start at RM270 a day depending on how many seats you need. You can also take the train. The Reunification Express Train can cost about RM62 one-way for a 3 hour 30 minute ride from the Hue Railway Station. Once you’re there, rent a motorbike for the duration of your stay or hail a Grab Car ride whenever you need to get around.
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Wake up to a sparkling blue sea or river view from one of Da Nang’s many luxurious hotels. Novotel Danang Premier Han River Hotel is located right next to the Han River, making a night river cruise easily accessible. Another recommended hotel with a fantastic view is the Four Points by Sheraton that is located very near the beach and has bicycle rental services if you’d like to explore the coast on two wheels. Sanouva Danang Hotel is an option if you prefer a full city skyline view. It’s a decent 3.5 star hotel located further in from the river. Regardless of where you choose to stay, make your hotel booking with Mayflower between now and 15 August 2019 to enjoy a 20% discount and RM25 cash back when you pay using the Boost app!
Known as the “Angkor Wat of Vietnam”, My Son Sanctuary is a wonder to behold. It was one of three Hindu temples built by the ethnic Cham people of Vietnam in the 14th century and has now been made a UNESCO World Heritage site. It makes for an easy day trip out of Da Nang as it is only about an hour and 20 minutes by bus from the city. Most hotels will have more transport information for you. If you love the outdoors, you’ll love exploring Son Tra Peninsula. It is also known as Tien Sa Mountain and is most famous for Lady Buddha, who stands at 67 meters tall at the top of the mountain. She is said to be Vietnam’s tallest Buddha statue, overlooking the sea from Linh Ung Pagoda. It will be tempting to pull out your drone to capture the best scenic photo of her at this point, but drones are illegal in Da Nang and many travelers have gotten their equipment confiscated at Da Nang International Airport. Stick with a hand held camera for this view, we say.
Other things you can do on the peninsula is to watch the sunrise at Nghe Cape, swim in clear rock pools at Da Den Beach, and bask in the sun on the finest white sand at Tien Sa Beach. Another one of Da Nang’s natural wonders is a cluster of five great limestone mountains called the Marble Mountains, just 22 minutes by car from the city centre. Each mountain is named after a natural element: Kim (metal), Thuy (water), Moc (wood), Hoa (fire) and Tho (earth). There are many hidden temples within the mountains that you can explore by foot. Allocate about 4 hours for this excursion and wear good shoes.
Yes, Da Nang has an island! It’s called Cham Island and one of the top activities here is snorkeling and diving at Cu Lao Cham Marine Park. This is best done between June and August. Cham Island Diving offers 3-day PADI diving courses starting at RM1600 with meals and also offers snorkeling packages complete with gear rental and boat rides for about RM197 for a full day (8am - 5.30pm). There are about six smaller surrounding islands that are under the protection of the UNESCO Biosphere Reserve with up to 180 species of reef fish, some of which are listed in Vietnam's and the World's Red Book of Endangered Species. A boat ride from Chua Dai Beach on the mainland to the island will cost about RM41 for a one-way ticket.
Source: Bep Hen
The most authentic meals are usually from someone’s home kitchen and so your closest chance of having a home cooked meal in Da Nang is at Bep Hen Restaurant. This non-halal restaurant serves dishes that are unique to the region and pretty much what a local family would have on their dining table as well. Recommended dishes are the braised pork dish, eggplant dish, morning glory dish, and garlic prawns. You might already be familiar with Pho noodles as a generic Vietnamese dish, but in Da Nang try Bún bò Huế noodle soup. It’s got a richer broth with beef ribs and thicker rice noodles. One of the most famous and oldest restaurants known among locals with this dish is the humble Bún bò bà Diệu Restaurant, open from 3-7pm daily. It’s really all about noodles in Da Nang because locals eat it for breakfast as well! Mi Quang noodles are a morning staple in this region along with Bánh xèo which is a crackling rice flour pancake snack filled with an assortment of ingredients such as mung beans, bean sprouts, shrimp, and spring onions. Both dishes are usually available from street food vendors. Also worth trying if you happen to be near Hà Bổng street, is the coffee at Ka Cong Coffee. It’s not every day you get creamy coconut milk in your coffee!
Source: TripAdvisor @ Ddorisy
There is a whole list of shopping places in Da Nang and some popular ones are Vinh Trung Plaza, Han Market, and even Lotte Mart (which is originally from Korea by the way - not a very authentic Vietnamese experience). If you have the energy and are a serious bargain hunter, we recommend Con Market. This is the largest wholesale market in Da Nang with almost 2,000 stalls that sell everything under the sun - craft, clothes, accessories, and even food! It is open from 8am daily and is a favourite among locals. Once you’re done shopping for the day, treat your tired body and feet to a good massage at Charm Spa, Maison Spa Da Nang, or Herbal Spa. These are some of the best spas in Da Nang and I always think you get the best value out of a massage when you need it the most!