“What to do in Da Nang?” is a question most of the travellers have. While other travel websites would give you the top attractions in Da Nang or tourist attractions, this article aims to do things differently.
Whether you are in visiting Da Nang for a day or a month, we want to show you that you can do things that you are in the mood for and will enjoy!
After living in Da Nang for over six months now, I have realized that the real fascinations were never listed anywhere. You have to discover them yourself!
In this article, I will highlight the places and things to do in Da Nang that very few people know about.
Things to do in Da Nang
Visit the beautiful beaches of Da Nang
The first thing I would ask you to do is get your ass to the beach. The sea around Da Nang is good for swimming all year round but particularly from May to August because of the gentle waves.
The beach slopes are not the steepest so you will not be able to swim unless you go really deep into the water. The beach guard team that works from 05:00 to 20:00 every day will ensure your safety.
The beaches in Da Nang are all connected. It one big strip divided into smaller areas.
While all the beaches are similar in texture and whitewater, some of them give you more privacy, and that is what I’m going to focus on here.
So let’s get started with that, shall we?
- Ngũ Hành Sơn
PLUS CODE: 2786+6F Hoa Hai, Ngũ Hành Sơn, Da Nang, Vietnam
Where do I start on this beach? Cleanest of them all, the best waters to surf (some might say otherwise), and literally no one around you because this beach is sandwiched between two private beaches.
Mind you, there are no shacks/restaurants around if you want to sit down, have a drink or perhaps even munch on some seafood.
- My Khe Beach
PLUS CODE: 27W2+W5 My An, Ngũ Hành Sơn, Da Nang, Vietnam
This beach is more popular amongst the ex-pats. This beach directly connects to the An Tong area, where most of the hostels, hotels, homestays are.
Not as crowded as the Bãi tắm Phạm Văn Đồng beach, you can find shacks and deck chairs around here to take a sunbath or simply enjoy the ocean.
3. Enjoy a variety of water sports
If you are into water sports, Da Nang is the place to be! There are a variety of water sports for you to indulge in. Here are some highlights:
Here are a few recommendations:
- Surfing: If you are here between May and August, Da Nang’s beaches are perfect for surfing. During other times the waves all break at the same time making lots of white water.
- Snorkeling: Going snorkeling at Cham Islands is one thing you should not miss out on. These islands are not too far from the coast. The waters are rather clear and I can promise you that the experience will leave you spellbound!
- Parasailing: Personally speaking, after a couple of times of parasailing, I have come to be bored with it. But if you have never tried parasailing, Da Nang is a good place to try it for the first time because of the panoramic view of the concrete and natural jungles.
- Paddleboarding: If surfing is not your thing, you can go for paddleboarding. Stand up paddleboarding is a popular water sport along the beaches of Da Nang and you will find several places that offer to teach you, even if you have no prior experience.
2. Hike the hills of Da Nang
Da Nang has some of the most beautiful hiking trails in the world. Hiking is probably the second most popular activity among tourists. If you love walking in nature and are looking for a breath of fresh air, then here are my two top recommendations.
- Marble Mountains
The Marble Mountains are perhaps Da Nang’s most famous attraction. 10 kilometers (6 miles) south of the city center, this is actually a range of five mountains made of marble and limestone, named after the elements metal, wood, water, fire, and earth.
The mountains are frequented by locals and tourists who visit many Buddhist (and some Hindu) sanctuaries. There are many temples, sculptures, and caves worth exploring. The peak of Thuy Son, the water mountain offers some breathtaking views.
There are a lot of stairs to climb, so make sure you have good footwear. Of course, you can skip the hike and use the elevator to get to that main plateau of the mountain. Make sure you set aside 2-4 hours for your visit. Of course, you are likely to spend much more time exploring.
- Hike Son Tra Mountain
This nature preserve, also known as Monkey Mountain, is located on the Son Tra Peninsula. It is approximately a 35-45 minute drive from Da Nang. At a height of 2000 feet, it will get chilly. So bring a light jacket.
If you’re up for the challenge, you can hike all the way up. Or you can even choose to get dropped off halfway. When it isn’t foggy, the peak offers stunning views of the city.
Of course, you are likely to spot a few monkeys that give this mountain its nickname. There are different types of rhesus and langurs if you’re able to differentiate them. A downhill hike takes approximately 3.5-4 hours.
3. Party in the best clubs in Da Nang
Da Nang has one of the best nightlife if you are one of the many who love partying and socializing.
An Thuong area attracts the most number of ex-pats and this is where I spend most of my time as well. Create working spaces include SpaceA, Mu Coffee, Arkedia, 43 Factory.
Crazy Cats, Heaven, Filling Station, The Kneipe for great music, food, cheap drinks. One of these places always has a gig filling your week up with live music and great parties.
The bars need to shut down by 1:30 – 2:00 AM but the 24-hour supermarkets are surrounded by tables so you can always your party there.
Shamrock, an Irish Pub, is open seven days a week. Fancy a beer with the sunrise? Haha, that is a low life moment but you can get one anywhere.
Yet another activity I love doing is Latin dancing. There are dedicated nights like Wednesdays and Fridays that are only for Latin dancing. There are classes for Kizomba, Bachata, Salsa and Zumba almost through the week as well.
Social dancing has brought me much solace. You should step out and try for yourself as well.
4. Admire the Da Nang’s beautiful architecture
Da Nang has an architecture that is worth exploring. From the mountains to the city, you will find structures that take your breath away. Here are some of my favorites:
- Golden Bridge (God’s Hands)
This is one that you have probably seen pictures of before. The Golden Bridge or God’s Hands, as it’s popularly called, is a 150-meter course lined with flowers. It shimmers against the Ba Na Hills, supported by a pair of giant hands. Sitting at 1,400 meters above sea level, the bridge creates the illusion of a silk strip hiding in the clouds when seen from below.
The giant hands give you the impression of age and antiquity. The Chrysanthemum flowers that line the perimeter of the bridge add a dash of color to the gold balustrades.
- Dragon Bridge
The longest bridge in Vietnam, the Dragon Bridge offers a display of lights, fire, and water that will leave you spellbound! Constructed in the shape of a golden dragon, this bridge is 666 meters in length. Spanning the Han River, it serves as direct routes to My Khe Beach and Non-Nuoc Beach.
The dragon is a symbol of power, nobility and good fortune, and the bridge was built to commemorate the 38th anniversary of Da Nang City’s liberation. If you plan to visit, make sure you go in the evening, as the bridge is illuminated with colorful LED lights. On weekends and annual festivities, there is a water and fire show that’s quite a spectacle.
You can spend time along the waterfront too, where there are marble carvings of animals and deities are set along the Han River.
- Lady Buddha
The Lady Buddha is Vietnam’s tallest Buddha statue at a height of 220 feet (67 meters). It is perched on top of a lotus-shaped temple and is the world’s largest statue of an indisputably feminine Buddha.
You can climb the 17 floors to the top of the statue, offering homage to the different Buddhas that each floor is dedicated to. The top floor offers spectacular views of the city.
The grounds around the statue have an impressive collection of life-sized statues and topiaries and offer a view of the city of Da Nang below.
4. Explore religious sites of Da nang
Da Nang has some unique religious sites that you will not find anywhere else in the world. Here are two of the most interesting ones that I found – one is the Cao Di Temple and the other is the Da Nang Cathedral.
- Cao Di Temple
Completed in 1955, The Cao Dai Temple is a sacred temple of the Caodaists who believe that all religions are ultimately the same and seek to promote tolerance throughout the world. This is why you will see statues of The Lord Buddha, Jesus Christ, Muhammad and Confucius here!
The design of the temple is similar to a Christian Cathedral featuring side aisles and an altar, a central nave and a high dome decorated with clouds and saints. Watching the Caodiasts pray is a delightful experience – the lay followers dress in long flowing robes of white and the priests in yellow, blue or red. Worship takes place every six hours and starts at midnight with chanting at 06:00 and 18:00 daily.
- Da Nang Cathedral
The Da Nang Cathedral, also known as the Ga Church (Rooster Church) due to the imposing bell tower, stands at 70 meters. It was built by French priest Louis Valley in 1923 and features an elegant interior design of engraved motifs, rhombic-shaped arches, stained glass windows, and statues depicting events from the Bible.
This is the only church in Da Nang and it has services in different languages daily, with English-spoken sermons on Sundays at 9:00. Entry into Da Nang Cathedral is free of charge. With its impressive Gothic-style architecture and quiet surroundings, Da Nang Cathedral is a perfect getaway from the bustling city center.
5. Try the delicious food in Da Nang
The local cuisine of Da Nang is gaining massive popularity amongst tourists. Whether you are trying the food at roadside stalls, family homes, or dingy-looking shops set along narrow alleyways, you will find the dishes unique and flavourful! Because the South China Sea is close by, Da Nang’s seafood delicacies are rated among the best in Vietnam!
Among the many restaurants you can try, here are my top two favorites:
Quan Com Hue Ngon
A five-minute walk from Da Nang Cathedral, this restaurant offers an array of authentic Vietnamese BBQ dishes at affordable prices. My recommendations are the barbecued octopus, squid in stone, and barbecue pork, which are served with an overflowing platter of fresh lettuce and dipping sauces.
Banh Xeo Ba Duong
Located within a narrow alleyway on Hoang Dieu Street, Banh Xeo Ba Duong is where you can enjoy traditional Banh Xeo. When you get a table, you will be served with a platter of delicious Vietnamese pancakes filled with pork, beef, chicken or prawns, and beansprouts. Don’t forget to try Nem Lui or grilled pork with lemongrass skewers.
6. Shop in the massive malls of Da Nang
Shopping in Da Nang is an opportunity to purchase local handicrafts and experience the culture of this bustling coastal town. Since most of the shopping centers are close to each other, you can travel on foot or motorcycle. Here are two of my must-visit locations:
- Han Market
Active since the French occupancy in the 1940s, Han Market is a significant landmark in Da Nang. It hosts hundreds of stalls selling a host of local produce, handicrafts, T-shirts, and accessories. In front of the Han Market are fruit stalls selling tropical fruits such as bananas, mangoes, durian, and jackfruit. You can also purchase souvenirs for loved ones back home here.
- Non-Nuoc Fine Arts Village
Set at the foot of Da Nang’s Marble Mountains, Non-Nuoc Fine Arts Village has various artisan workshops and retail outlets selling marble goods at affordable prices. This 300-year-old village draws locals who come to purchase rice mortars, grain grinders, and tombstones. You will find an array of handcrafted jewelry, including rings, necklaces, pendants, and bracelets. Non-Nuoc Fine Arts Village also has elaborate marble sculptures of Buddha, sphinxes, animals, and national icons.
7. Sports and adventure in Da Nang
Da Nang doesn’t just offer water sports, there are adventures waiting inland as well! I have chosen to highlight two of my favorites here – the Golf Club and the Jeep Tours through the countryside.
- Da Nang Golf club
The Da Nang Golf Club was designed by Australian legend and world-renowned course designer Greg Norman. This golf course has established the area as a golf destination in its own right. Danang Golf Club is spectacular, with holes such as the 16th—a short par-3 played towards China Beach.
- Da Nang Tours
The whole country of Vietnam has a gorgeous countryside, but this is particularly the case around Da Nang. You can take tours of the same in refurbished US Army jeeps, which is fitting given the history of Vietnam. You can take short rides between Danang and Hoi An and longer journeys north to Hue or south to Quy Nhon through the mountains.
So What to do in Da nang?
With its sandy beaches and history as a French colonial port, Da Nang has a lot to offer. It’s not as well known as other tourist destinations in Vietnam like Ho Chi Minh or Hanoi, but this is exactly what makes it a perfect getaway.
As an added bonus, I’m going to let you in on a little secret — just off the coast of Da Nang is the best snorkelling spot in Vietnam. It’s called Cham island and not many tourists actually go there. So if you want to avoid crowds and spend time in nature, this is where you must go!
What are some other places in Da Nang that you love? Let me know in the comments! Happy travels!