What to do in Da Nang Travel Guide

Da Nang Overview

Danang is a resort city, the third largest city in Vietnam in terms of urban population and one of the major port cities, besides Ho Chi Minh City and Hai Phong. Da Nang is the commercial and educational center of Central Vietnam, with a well-sheltered, easily accessible port; its location on the path of National Route 1A and the North–South Railway makes it a hub for transportation. It is located within 100 km of several UNESCO World Heritage Sites, including the Imperial City of Hue, the Old Town of Hoi An, and the My Son ruins. The city was previously known as Cua Han during early Đai Viet settlement, and as Tourane (or Turon) during French colonial rule. Before 1997, the city was part of Quang Nam-Da Nang Province. On 1 January 1997, Da Nang was separated from Quảng Nam Province to become one of four independent municipalities (centrally controlled)  in Vietnam. Da Nang is listed as a first class city and has a higher urbanization ratio than any of Vietnam’s other provinces or centrally governed cities. Here are everything you need to know Da Nang Travel guide before your trip.

How to get Da Nang

Air

Da Nang International Airport (DAD) is located in the heart of the city centre.
The small airport is overloaded and barely able to handle current volumes. If departing from DAD, arrive on time because the queues for check-in and security can be ridiculous. A badly needed new terminal is under construction, optimistically slated to open in 2017 at the cost of 3.5 trillion dong (that’s US$158 million). Whether the seagull-shaped design does anything to create efficiency remains to be seen.

Sample destinations
Domestic
Buon Ma Thuot (Vietnam Airlines)
Can Tho (Vietnam Airlines)
Da Lat (Vietnam Airlines)
Cam Ranh/Nha Trang (Vietnam Airlines)
Hanoi (Jetstar; VietJet Air; Vietnam Airlines)
HCMC (Jetstar; VietJet Air; Vietnam Airlines)
Pleiku (Vietnam Airlines)
Vinh (Vietnam Airlines)

International
Beijing (China Eastern)
Hong Kong (Dragonair; Hong Kong Express)
Kunming (China Eastern)
Macau (Air Macau)
Seoul (Korean Air)
Siem Reap (Silkair, Vietnam Airlines)
Singapore (Silkair; Jetstar)
Tokyo (Vietnam Airlines)

Currently, the airport has plenty of meter taxis and ATMs outside the arrivals hall, including an HSBC ATM. There’s money exchange, a few eateries and booths selling SIM cards.

Many hotels offer airport transfers for an additional fee or sometimes free when you book a room, so be sure to ask. A meter taxi from the airport into Da Nang should run no more than 150,000 dong, but you could try sneaking a taxi upstairs, at the departures levels, after they’ve dropped off passengers and are now empty. They may cut you a deal.

Train

Da Nang train station is located on Hai Phong Street approximately five kilometres form the city centre. As you can book tickets through most hotels and guesthouses with a minimal commission charge (usually 20,000 VND) there really isn’t any need to go there to book your tickets. Soft seats are recommended for long journeys, but if you are just swinging up to Hue, go for the cheaper hard seat option, as it’s far more fun. There are four trains a day that stop at Lang Co enroute to Hue for 23,000 VND (two hours). Lang Co has lots of hotels now and train is a far easier and cheaper way to get there from Da Nang than bus. The ticket office is open daily, 03:00 to 19:30. T: (0511) 3823 810.

To Hue, Hanoi and Saigon
Odd-numbered trains head north, even-numbered trains head south. The TN trains are slower but still good value. The SH (shuttle trains) go between Hue and Saigon — they’re as slow as you can go, making all local stops, and not that much cheaper than a hard seat. Recommended only if you must get off the train at a stop not on the main line. 

Book your train tickets now!
Check prices and availability then buy your tickets online straight away to be sure of getting a seat.
Da Nang to Nha Trang
Da Nang to Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon)
Da Nang to Hue
Da Nang to Hanoi

Bus

Da Nang Central Bus Station (Ben Xe Tam Da Nang) T: (0511) 3680 670
Da Nang’s new bus station is located on Dien Bien Phu after it turns into Highway 1A. The simplest way to get there from the river is to take Quang Trang west, which turns into Tran Cao Van, veers left and meets up with Dien Bien Phu. Take a right and the station is 2.5 kilometres down on the left. This is where the local spur of the railway line intersects with Highway 1A just where it takes a sharp elbow turn. Traffic here is madness, so if you go out to the station by motorbike, use caution.

The bus station is one of the busiest in Vietnam outside Hanoi and Saigon. Both the north and the south of the country are serviced from the same terminal, and there are numerous departures for all domestic routes from very early morning until late at night. The exception would be international departures to Laos, but otherwise you don’t really need to book ahead — just show up and buy a ticket for the next bus. First and second class fares are available for many routes, and will buy you a more comfortable, less crowded ride.

Services within Vietnam

Kon Tum: 280,000 VND (ordinary), 340,000 VND (2nd class). Takes 5 hours.
Ho Chi Minh City: 727,000 VND (ordinary), 992,000 VND (2nd class), soft sleeper 1,132,000 VND. Takes 16 hours.
Da Lat: 800,000 VND (ordinary), 2nd class 860,000 VND. Takes 12 hours.
Nha Trang: 337 VND (ordinary) Hard sleeper: 474,000 VND, Soft Sleeper: 1,132,000 VND. Takes 10 hours.
Vinh: 520,000 VND (ordinary), 600,000 VND (2nd class).
Hue: 70,000 VND (ordinary), 108,000 VND (2nd class).
Dong Hoi: 440,000 VND (ordinary), 620,000 VND (2nd class).
Hanoi: 566,000 VND (ordinary), 874,000 VND (2nd class), 923,000 VND (first class). Takes 14 hours.


Services to Laos 
Pakse: 450,000 VND. Departs at 06:30 daily. Takes 29 hours.
Savannakhet: 800,000 VND. Departs at 19:30, Monday, Wednesday, Sunday. Takes 19 hours.
Tha Khaek: 730,000 VND. Departs at 05:00, Tuesday, Thursday. Takes 22 hours.
Vientiane: 940,000 VND. Departs at 14:00 and 15:30, except Sundays. Takes 29 + hours.

Other

To/from Hoi An
Most travellers skip Da Nang in favour of Hoi An, but a plucky few make the effort to do both. Renting a motorbike from one city or the other and returning it makes sense — it’s easy enough to find onward transport from either place. Otherwise, many travellers settle on a taxi for about 450,000 VND, or a moto-taxi for 250,000. One of the cheapest options for getting to Hoi An is to hop on one of the open-tour buses travelling between Hue and Hoi An. They stop in Da Nang throughout the day and early evening, and cost about US$8 for the trip to Hoi An. You can book through most hotels, or any tourism office in Da Nang.

Getting around

There are plenty of xe om in Da Nang, and you likely won’t be able to get far without being stopped by a driver asking if you want a lift (though they may all want to take you to the Marble Mountains). Rides around town and down to My Khe beach should be around a couple of dollars. While it’s fun to wander around Da Nang and most places are located around the Bach Dang/Tran Phu area, it’s a big city, so if you’re headed somewhere specific, you’ll have to rely heavily on xe om and regular taxis.

Mai Linh and Vinasun are the most trustworthy taxi companies and you should be able to flag one down easily in any of the touristed areas. Always go for the meter over negotiating a price. The flagfall is 12,000 VND and then it’s about 15,000 VND per kilometre. If you have a phone and you feel your driver is scamming you there will be an emergency number on each passenger door; operators will speak English so don’t be afraid to call the number while in transit to make a complaint, then hand the phone to your driver, whose English and directional skills will miraculously be reinstated.

Mailinh: (0511) 352 5252
Vinasun: (0511) 368 6868

Local buses leave from the bus station and cruise the city to pick up passengers on their way to Hoi An for 20,000 VND with an additional charge for luggage. Look for the bus stop signs in the city.

To/From the train station, downtown Da Nang
Da Nang’s train station is centrally located, and it makes sense to head here if you can’t get the rates below elsewhere in town.
To airport: 255,000 VND (taxi), 100,000 VND (xe om).
To bus station: 50,000 VND (taxi), 20,000 VND (xe om).
To China Beach: 100,000 VND (taxi), 60,000 VND (xe om).

Motorbike rentals
Most hotels can arrange for the rental of a motorbike. Otherwise, rentals are available throughout town, though the signs aren’t always in English: look for the words cho thue xe may. Daily rates are approximately 120,000 VND. Be warned that if you do not have a local Vietnamese license, which is difficul to acquire, your travel insurance will likely be voided.

When to go to Da Nang

If you are able to handle the heat and humidity of tropical weather, dry season is the ideal time for you to visit the coastal city. Focus Asia Travel share you some tips for travelling Da Nang , you should know the best time to visit Da Nang. Because this is when the weather is usually nice with sun and clear sky, and it’s good for outdoor activities. In case the weather is too hot, you can go up to the French Village and Ba Na Hills to “run away” from the heat, refresh yourself with some wind, while enjoying the beautiful scenery. Ba Na Hills is an old French resort modeled to look like a typical French city. It is located on the top of a mountain AND the world’s longest cable car leads you up to it. 

Da Nang travel guide
Da Nang Beach

Where to stay in Da Nang

For a city without many major attractions, Da Nang has loads of hotels. Most are targeted toward midrange business travellers and domestic tourists, but it’s still one of the cheapest cities to base yourself in, with plenty of budget options — decent, city-centre three-stars come in under $25, although there is a marked decline in quality and options for those on a lower budget. In general, hotel standards are high, and the city’s hotel staff are among the friendliest in the country we’ve found. For location, the best places to look are river-facing Bach Dang or the parallel running Tran Phu Street from where most of the attractions, restaurants and nightlife are within a short walk.

Some suggestions for you :

  • Funtastic Backpacker Hostel:
    115 Hai Phong, Da Nang
    T: (0933) 601 669
  • Happy Day Hotel:
    160 Bach Dang, Da Nang 
    T: (236) 356 6555
  • The Brilliant Hotel:
    56 Phau Chu Trinh, Da Nang 
    T: (236) 384 3333
  • The Da Nang Riverside Hotel:
    A30 Tran Hung Dao, Da Nang 
    T: (236) 3946 666
  • Grand Mango Hotel:
    60 An Thuong 1 St, Ngu Hanh Son District, Da Nang
    T: (236) 398 5888

What to do in Da Nang in dry season

Hiking Ngu Hanh Son Mountains (Marble Mountains)

Da Nang Travel guide
Marble mountain

If you are a morning person, it is a great idea to climb up to Thuong Thai peak (the highest peak of Ngu Hanh Son Mountains – also known as the Marble Mountains) to catch the sunrise and enjoy the magnificent view of Da Nang from up above. There are also many attractions to stop by like the Linh Ung Pagoda, Hoa Nghiem Cave, Huyen Khong Cave and so on. You can catch beautiful views over Da Nang bay from many different viewpoints, so make sure you explore around for a while. You need to put in your Da Nnag handbook guide.

Swimming on My Khe beach

Da Nang Travel Guide
Parasailing

Forbes magazine once rated My Khe as “One of the 6 most attractive beaches on the planet” so spending valuable vacation time on this beach is definitely a MUST! Not only can you swim on the crystal blue beach but you can also order yourself a cocktail from many of the beachside bars, find a chair to lie on and sunbathe for hours or read a book. Get that perfect summer tan! Some water sports are available like kitesurfing and wakeboarding and there are some sports a little further like snorkeling and diving – whatever you do is completely up to you.

Conquering the Hai Van Pass

Da Nang Travel guide
Hai Van Pass

A day trip to Hue from Da Nang is a great idea. Take the stunning Hai Van pass – I guarantee you views you’ve never seen before in your life. And make sure to do it on a bike! You can book tours or even consider renting your own motorbike.

We recommend you hit up the guys and do their Hai Van pass tour as they make multiple stops along the way, so you can make the most out of it. You should remember this destination in your Da Nang traveling tips. They also know the best viewpoints to stop at and maybe even some hidden ones to avoid tourists. You will feel like a Formula One racer when taking the many hairpin curves, which leads you to the crest of the pass. Along the way, you will see the town and the ocean appear, beautiful as a piece of art. It will surely be an unforgettable memory of your Vietnam trip.

Wandering around the city

Da Nang travel guide
Cau Rong Da Nang

When the weather is not too warm, it is a wonderful time to wander around this lovely city. Especially in the evening, when Da Nang puts on its colorful show of lights. You can go to Han River, enjoy the good scenery and drink some coconut juice. Or alcohol, we don’t judge. After all, it’s the evening. Weekly, on Saturday and Sunday at 9 PM, you can catch the fire and water performance of the Dragon Bridge. The dragon will come to life before you. Try not to get soaked in the water spray!

Even though heavy rain and sudden downpours might cause a down day during your trip and put a dent in your plans, you shouldn’t miss a chance to stop by Da Nang during the wet season. Unless there is a typhoon, the rain won’t last longer than a couple hours and it is likely to happen in the afternoon or evening. Notably, this is the low tourist season so the cost of travel is reduced – for example when it comes to accommodation and food. Isn’t this a highlight point for the budget travelers? Either way, the dry season and wet season both have their advantages. I love sitting alone in a café during the wet season and watching the rain as I sip on a hot cup of coffee and read a book. That is my ideal evening. What is yours? More info on traveling Da Nang during wet season to follow!

Traveling tips in Da Nang
Forever love

Travel tips for visiting Da Nang during the dry season

Here are some things you should remember when traveling to Da Nang during dry season:

  • Stay hydrated: Don’t forget to buy a big bottle of water and carry it with you, especially if you are visiting Da Nang during the dry season. The heat and humidity will make you sweat a lot so you need to prevent dehydration. Make sure to eat well too, to make up for the lost vitamins.
  • Apply sunscreen: Even if you want tan skin, you still need to put on sunscreen to protect your skin from the damaging effects of the sun. It can get pretty hot out there and we don’t want you to get sunburnt!
  • Wear protective clothes: If you don’t want to get sunburned after five minutes of being outside, you really need long-sleeve shirts/jackets. Oh, and don’t forget a cap or hat for your hair. Sunglasses are a plus too!
  • Bring a jacket: the weather during January to March is pretty cool. Sometimes the temperature can drop lower than 20 degrees Celsius (~68 degrees Fahrenheit), so you will need a jacket to keep you warm. It doesn’t have to be a thick winter coat but a suitable windbreaker or jumper will do.
  • Book accommodation in advance: in peak season in Da Nang, it will be tricky to find a place to stay (especially during Da Nang International Fireworks Festival). I suggest you visit booking.com, Airbnb or Christina’s Da Nang to reserve a room in advance.

What to do in Da Nang during the wet season

Visiting museums

Da Nang travel tips
Museum in Da Nang

Keep yourself dry in a museum, why not? For those of you who are interested in the past wars of Vietnam, Zone 5 Military Museum is a hub where you can find historical memorabilia collected in the Central Highlands of Vietnam. You can expect to see aircrafts, tanks, and weapons from the French War and American War. If history and wars are something you don’t like, you can also stop at Da Nang Museum for exhibitions about Da Nang’s history and culture or the Cham Museum to admire the world biggest collection of Cham artifacts.

Museum information

Zone 5 Military Museum x Ho Chi Minh museumAddress: 03 Duy Tan, Hoa Thuan Dong Ward, Hai Chau District, Da Nang City
Opening hours: 8 AM – 5 PM
Ticket price: Free for Vietnamese tourists. 20,000 VND/person, 1 USD for international tourists

Da Nang Museum
Address: 24 Tran Phu, Thach Thang Ward, Hai Chau District, Da Nang City
Opening hours: 8 AM – 5 PM
Entrance ticket: 20,000 VND/person (1 USD)

Cham Museum
Address: 2, 2 thang 9 street, Hai Chau District, Da Nang City
Opening hours: 7 AM – 5.30 PM
Entrance ticket: 40,000 VND/person (2 USD)

Take part in a cooking class

If the rain makes your day gray, don’t hesitate to fire it up by enrolling in a cooking class. Because cooking is fun, it is always a good solution for rescuing a boring rainy day. You will also have the opportunity to learn how to cook local food and learn about the cuisine of Vietnam.  Then when you go back home, you can throw a reunion party with Vietnamese food to impress your family and friends or make something for yourself when you’re feeling nostalgic. Some cooking classes I recommend are Da Nang Cooking, Da Nang Foodie and Da Nang Home Cooking Class.

If you can take a 30-minute ride out of Da Nang and into Tra Que vegetable village in Hoi An – do so! Tra Que is the first organic vegetable village in Vietnam and it is where all the herbs and veggies found in dishes throughout central Vietnam are grown. You can learn to be a farmer there and partake in farming activities and also fishing activities using traditional net traps. And with the ingredients you catch, you can cook food! I suggest trying the Hoi An Village Tour by Onetrip if this sounds exciting to you.

Watching the rain fall from the safety of a coffee shop

If you are looking for some romantic moments to spice up your trip then watching rain fall from coffee shops is a flawless option. There are plenty of coffee shops which have pretty decorations in Da Nang. On a lazy rainy afternoon, why don’t you make it a “do nothing day” by going to a cozy coffee shop, ordering a hot “ca phe sua” and staring at the raindrops out the window or reading the book which you haven’t had a chance to finish. You deserve proper “me time”. Or if you are with your partner, go have a coffee date and talk about your love of Vietnam.

Travel tips for visiting Da Nang during the wet season

So, what should you know before traveling to Da Nang in the wet season?

  • Carry a raincoat or travel-size umbrella: This is surely your bestie when traveling during rainy season. I bet you don’t want your cute outfit getting wet when a sudden downpour happens.
  • Check the weather forecast: You should really check the weather forecast to plan your day (and your stay). The weather forecast apps on your iPhone are pretty accurate. If you are not a fan of Apple, you can still check the weather on weather.com or accuweather.com
  • Have a plan B: Just in case it rains heavily for days or floods you should have a plan B in case your original plan doesn’t work out.

Long story short, Da Nang is a good place to stop by during any time of the year. Whether it is in dry or wet season, you won’t be disappointed when traveling to the “most livable city of Vietnam”. I’m looking forward to hearing your stories in Da Nang in the comments below.

Da Nang food guide

1. Bun Thit Nuong (grilled pork with vermicelli noodles)

Da Nang Cuisine
Grilled pork vermicelli

My personal all-time street food favorite. Grilled pork with cold vermicelli noodles topped off with peanuts, fresh herbs and doused in peanut sauce, I could eat this every night and be as happy as a clam. This is serious street food – I mean you’re literally on the side of a highway, with tiny plastic red chairs and napkins thrown on the floor.  You sit, you devour, and you go. And I wouldn’t have my bun thit nuong any other way.

FIND IT: 110 Nguyen Cong Try . Look for the sign that says “Bun Thit Nuong” on the corner of the street, diagonal from the roundabout. OPEN: Nights (around 7pm – 11pm, but subject to change if the lady feels like it).

2. Bánh tráng trộn (green mango and rice paper salad)

When I first fell into this place, I had absolutely no idea what I was eating – I just knew it tasted damn good. Shredded green mango, rice paper, spicy beef jerky, mint, cilantro, fried shallots, peanuts and a bunch of other tasty mystery spices make this dish chopstick-lickin’ good.

FIND IT: An Vat Kim Dong at 87 Trần Bình Trọng (city side) OPEN: 6pm – 10 pm

3. Bun Cha Ca

Da nang cuisine
Bun Cha Ca Da Nang

This is a Da Nang specialty. Another noodle soup, but this time with “fish cakes” in a limey fish broth, cooked with pineapple and tomato. (Pictured at the top of this post!). The best I’ve had is easily at Bun Cha Ca 109.

FIND IT: Bun Cha Ca 109, 109 Nguyễn Chí Thanh (city side)

4. Xoi Ga (sticky rice with chicken)

Da Nang traditional food
Xoi ga

Xôi Bà Vui serves up a mound of sticky rice topped with shredded chicken, thai basil and crispy fried onions. Of course, don’t forget to top that baby off with some chili jam and lime.

FIND IT: Xôi Bà Vui, 55 Duong Le Hong Phong (city side)

5. Banh Beo (steamed rice cakes)

Da Nang traditional food
Banh beo Da Nang

A specialty from Central Vietnam, these steamed rice cakes from Ba Bê are topped with mung bean paste, toasted shrimp, fried shallots and scallion oil. Throw a little chili fish sauce and there for an extra zesty kick.

FIND IT: Ba Bê, 100 Hoang Van Thu (city side)

6. Banh Canh Ca Loc (Thick Noodle soup with spiced fish)

Da Nang travel guide
Banh canh ca loc

When by the sea, thy must eat fish. And when in Vietnam, thy must eat fish in noodle soup. What makes Banh Canh special is the noodles, made from tapioca and rice flour for an extra thick and chewy consistency. Order Banh Canh “Ca Loc” (snakehead fish) from my favorite Banh Canh joint, Banh Canh Nga, with big pieces of marinated fish, noodles, scallions and love.

FIND IT: Banh Canh Nga, 78 Nguyen Chi Thanh (city side)

7. Mi Quang Ca Loc

Well, since writing that I’ve discovered my NEW favorite place. It’s called Mi Quang Dung, and the must-try dish here is mi quang ca loc (there’s that snakehead fish again!). Thick “Mi quang” rice noodles tossed in a full-of-flavor turmeric sauce with big pieces of fish, peanuts and fresh aromatic herbs.

Da Nang Travel guide
My Quang ca loc

FIND IT: Mi Quang Dung, 119 Đỗ Bá (beach side)

Focus Asia Travel : Da Nang Tours

Option 1: Da Nang – Hue- Hoi An 3 days

For your short time in Da Nang and to explore as much as you can, this 3-day tour package in Da Nang to cover the World heritage sites – Hoi An, Hue and My Son sanctuary and you also will enjoy a relaxing time at the beautiful beach of Da Nang.

Day 1. Da Nang – Hoi An (D)

Day 2. Da Nang – Hue city (B, L)

Day 3. Da Nang – My Son – Departure (B)

Option 2: Da Nang Food tour

Highlight of Da Nang Food tour

  • 1 Guide taste some of Da Nang local food
  • 5 tasting locations, 10 delicious samples ( enough for dinner)
  • Learn about traditional food and food history
  • Explore some places are not in guidebook
  • Experienced rider will bring you around
  • Take Vietnamese food challenge

Option 3: Hue – Danang – Hoi An – My Son : Cycling tour

Itinerary:
Day 1: Cycle Hue to Da Nang

Cycling distance:  (Min-Max: 45-80km cycling)
Inclusion: Fruit snack, purified drinking water, soft drink, sea food lunch,  High-end mountain bike, helmet, supported mini bus for carrying luggage and supporting on way cycling, English speaking guide.

Day 2: Cycle Da Nang to Hoi An

Cycling distance:  (Min-Max: 45-60km cycling)
Inclusion: Fruit snack, purified drinking water, soft drink, lunch, high-end Mountain Bike, helmet, supported mini bus for carrying luggage and supporting on way cycling, English speaking guide, all entrance fees, private boat trip 1 hour from Cam Thanh to Hoi An.

Day 3: Cycle Hoi An to My Son

Cycling distance:  (Min-Max: 30-50km cycling)
Inclusion: Fruit snack, purified drinking water, soft drink, picnic lunch, High-end Mountain Bike, helmet, supported mini bus for supporting on way cycling, English speaking guide, all entrance fees.

Option 4: Da Nang Beach Break 4 days

Tour Itinerary

Day 1: Arrival Da Nang – Relax at Non Nuoc Beach

Greeting at Da Nang airport on arrival. Transfer by private car to your resort. Check in. Free at leisure. Overnight at a luxurious resort in My Khe Beach, Da Nang.

Day 2 & 3: Relax on My Khe Beach (B)

Free time at your resort to enjoy the facilities and the comfort, enjoy the best beach in Asia. For your leisure time, you are free to meander in Hoi An, unwind at Cua Dai Beach, indulge yourself at a spa or take an optional half day trip to My Son Cham ruins, Da Nang city tour or Ba Na Hill tour

Day 4: Da Nang – departure (B)

Transfer to Da Nang airport for your onward flight departure or to your next destination.

Conclusion on Da Nang Travel Guide

With comprehensive guide in Da Nang, you can have tips in your pocket to prepare for Da Nang trip. Located nearby Hue, Hoi An, Da Nang is a coastal city for foreigners to explore.

In the end, if you consider yourself a bit of beaches, or are looking to take a high class break out of flash packing around Vietnam, this just will be the perfect weekend getaway. The beaches all get top marks for cleanness, although the strong surf and resulting rip current of East Sea might make swimming in certain areas. Regardless if you decide on public areas of the beach or private hotel areas, a lot of sofa seat options for choice and relax. Let enjoy a cold drink from the seaside.

There are a couple choices for skiing rentals and some other activities, but in general, Da Nang is beaches, and beaches alone.

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