As someone who’s been fortunate enough to call Da Nang home for the past year, it’s been a pleasure to explore every nook and cranny of this coastal city.
For those unacquainted with Da Nang, envision this: a lively city where the serene blue sea kisses the sparkling white sandy beaches, surrounded by impressive mountains. Add to this scene the buzz of a cosmopolitan city with skyscrapers, bridges, and vibrant nightlife.
In this travel guide, I’ll share some of my favorite things to do in Da Nang. Whether you’re a foodie, a history buff, or simply someone looking to soak up the sun on a beautiful beach, there’s something here for everyone.
Have a fun day at Ba Na Hills
One of my all-time favorite experiences in Da Nang is visiting Ba Na Hills. It’s a charming mountain park with a delightfully cool climate, where the average temperature is a refreshing 18 degrees Celsius.
The main attraction here is the stunning Golden Bridge. Standing on this iconic bridge, supported by giant stone hands, you can witness a panoramic landscape of rolling clouds and majestic mountains.
For first-time visitors, I recommend reading my comprehensive guide to Ba Na Hills, which helps you navigate this expansive park.
I’ve also found that booking Ba Na Hills tickets in advance not only saves cost but also avoids the long queues at the entrance. Taking a tour from Da Nang to Ba Na Hills, which includes lunch, is another fantastic option. Remember to wear comfy shoes and carry a light jacket, as the weather can be a bit nippy.
Go hiking at the Marble Mountains
Another excellent activity in Da Nang is trekking up the Marble Mountains. These five majestic mountains, each symbolizing one of the elements – Kim Son (metal), Moc Son (wood), Thuy Son (water), Hoa Son (fire), and Tho Son (earth) – are not just geographical marvels but also rich in cultural heritage.
Exploring this complex always leaves me in awe of the natural beauty and man-made structures that coexist harmoniously. The sight of the moss-covered stones, coupled with the historical buildings and ancient temples, is quite a treat for history buffs and nature lovers alike.
For those wanting a guided experience, I suggest booking a trekking tour of the Marble Mountains. I’ve found that the insights and stories shared by the local guides add a whole new dimension to the visit.
If you prefer exploring at your own pace, hiring a private car charter for a day trip is an excellent alternative. Also, don’t forget to relax at the pristine Non Nuoc beach nearby after a fulfilling day of exploration.
Eat your way through Da Nang
As someone who believes that food is an integral part of travel, the culinary scene in Da Nang is an absolute treat.
My favorites include Cao Lau, Mi Quang, and Chicken Rice, a simple yet tasty local choice. For the adventurous foodies, try Banh Trang Cuon Thit Heo, a dish of rice paper rolled with pork – it’s a delightful combination of flavors and textures that I’ve found addictive.
One of the best ways to explore the food culture is by joining a Da Nang Food Tour. Riding on a motorbike through the city’s bustling backstreets, sampling local delicacies, and learning about Vietnamese cuisine is a must-do for any food lover.
Be amazed at Hai Van Pass
As I rode along the winding road, I was mesmerized by the lush green forest on one side and the vast, stunning mountain view on the other.
At the top of the pass, you’ll find panoramic views of Da Nang City, Tien Sa Port, and even Thua Thien – Hue territory. The contrast between the bustling cityscape and the tranquil natural beauty is a sight to behold.
Two of the most popular ways to traverse this pass are by motorbike or train. If you opt for a motorbike tour, prepare to be blown away by the sense of freedom and adventure. Alternatively, if you choose the train, make sure to pick a seat on your right side to get the best views. This, without a doubt, is one of my favorite day trips from Da Nang.
Enjoy a fun day at Asia Park
Nestled in the heart of the city, Asia Park isn’t just about thrilling rides; it’s a cultural and entertainment hub that offers an insight into Vietnam’s diverse cultural heritage.
My favorite rides here include the Monorail, Vietnam’s most modern high-speed tram, and the Queen Cobra, the largest hang glider in Vietnam.
Standing at a towering height of 47 meters, the Golden Sky Tower also offers spectacular city views. A ride on the famed Asia Park’s Sun Wheel, standing at 115 meters, offers another vantage point for unforgettable panoramic views.
Beyond the rides, the park also features architectural marvels from various Asian countries. From India to Nepal, the diverse cultural representation makes it a fascinating place to explore. And let’s not forget about the food – there’re many delicious dishes from all over Vietnam to sample here.
Explore the Cham Museum
One of my favorite spots in Da Nang is Cham Museum. Rich in history and culture, this museum is a treasure trove of ancient Champa Kingdom artifacts, mainly sandstone sculptures. Even if you’re not a history buff, I recommend this museum for its sheer beauty and the stories these relics narrate.
The museum showcases a collection of over 300 pieces that trace back from the 7th to the 15th century. The exhibits highlight the talents of the Cham people, who are skilled in creating intricate works of art, from deities to animals and scenes from Hindu epics.
My tip: Bring your earphone to listen to the audio guides. You’ll better understand the artifacts’ cultural and historical significance. The narratives they spin around the ancient relics truly bring the past to life.
Although the Cham Museum isn’t grand in size, it’s vast in historical and cultural value. I suggest spending at least a couple of hours here, delving deep into the rich history of the Champa Kingdom.
Discover local flavors with Da Nang Cooking Class
One of the most enriching things to do in Da Nang is undoubtedly participating in a traditional Vietnamese cooking class. For me, food has always been a bridge to understanding cultures and people.
When planning to take a cooking class in Da Nang, the number of choices can be overwhelming. My advice? Look for a course that offers more than just a cooking session.
Many classes provide packages that include market tours – an excellent opportunity to delve into the bustling world of local food markets and get acquainted with the vibrant array of Vietnamese ingredients. I highly recommend Jolie Cooking Class, which includes a market trip and a visit to a local coffee house.
Here’s a tip from personal experience: Try opting for a morning class. Early mornings are when the markets are most vibrant and full of life. But if mornings are not your forte, afternoon and evening classes will still offer an equally insightful culinary journey.
Always remember: Curiosity is your best friend in such settings. Don’t hesitate to ask questions. Chefs love sharing their knowledge, and who knows, you might even discover a secret tip or two that could revolutionize your cooking back home.
See the grandeur of Linh Ung Pagoda on Son Tra Peninsula
I’ve always been fascinated by the spiritual aspect of Vietnamese culture, and one of the best places to explore this is Linh Ung Pagoda, located on the scenic Son Tra Peninsula. A mere 10 km from the city center, this pagoda is not just a spiritual destination but also a place of natural beauty.
Entering the gate, you’ll see the two rows of majestic Buddha statues that lead up to the main pagoda. What I found most astonishing was the towering Avalokitesvara statue, standing at a height of 67 meters, equivalent to a 30-story building. The sheer scale of it is enough to leave anyone in awe.
To reach Linh Ung Pagoda, I’d recommend booking a private car charter or joining a Da Nang Day Tour. These offer a convenient way to visit not just the pagoda but also other major attractions in the city.
Immerse in the warmth of Than Tai Hot Springs
Tucked away in the beautiful wilderness near the Ba Na Nui Chua nature reserve, Than Tai Hot Springs is one of Da Nang’s best-kept secrets and a destination that you simply must not miss.
The hot springs are the main attraction, and they’re truly a treat for your senses. Imagine sinking into a warm, mineral-rich pool, with the gentle sounds of the forest around you – it’s the ultimate relaxation experience.
The water in these hot springs is naturally heated and is said to have healing properties, which made my dips here feel not just enjoyable, but also rejuvenating.
There’s a variety of pools to choose from based on your comfort and preference. My favorite one is the Japanese-style Onsen, where you can soak in wooden tubs under the open sky. For the adventurous ones, the park also offers a thrilling waterslide, which is a lot of fun!
At the end of the trip, you can try out the spa services. The traditional massages are heavenly and the perfect way to wrap up a day of relaxation.
Go sunbathing on the My Khe beach
Visiting the beautiful My Khe Beach is one of my favorite ways to unwind in Da Nang. Renowned for its white sandy beaches, calm sea waves, and clear, warm waters, it offers the perfect setting for a leisurely day under the sun.
My Khe is not just about sunbathing; there’s a range of outdoor sports to indulge in as well. From beach volleyball to surfing, you can be as active or relaxed as you want.
Even if you’re not into sports, simply taking a walk along the water’s edge, feeling the soft sand under your feet, and listening to the gentle lapping of the waves can be incredibly therapeutic.
Many hotels are conveniently located along the coast, so finding accommodation close to the beach is relatively easy. I have always found it enjoyable to wake up in the morning and have the beach just a minute’s walk away. A pro tip – try to catch the sunrise or sunset at the beach. They’re truly magical.
Take a dip in Suoi Mo Waterfalls
A hidden gem nestled North of Da Nang, Suoi Mo Waterfall is a nature lover’s dream come true. This gorgeous waterfall originates from the underground waters of the majestic Ba Na mountain, adding an enigmatic allure to its already enchanting beauty.
From the moment I arrived at Suoi Mo, I was amazed by its untouched charm. The locals have a fascinating story about the waterfall’s name, which translates to “Dream Stream.” It is said that the name was inspired by the waterfall’s steady flow that remains cool throughout the year, painting a dreamlike picture that’s almost too beautiful to be real.
For me, one of the highlights of Suoi Mo was the crystal-clear lakes. The peace and serenity enveloping the place are truly amazing. The joy of being one with nature and reveling in the grandeur around you is an experience that words can hardly justify.
Getting to Suoi Mo
- Starting from the Dragon Bridge, drive in the direction of Dien Bien Phu Street to the West, passing the Hue Overpass in the highest lane.
- After crossing the bridge, you continue straight until you see the signboard of Ba Na – Suoi Mo on the left. Move onto Hoang Van Thai Street, and follow the detailed instructions on the signboard to arrive.
Stroll around Han Market
One of my favorite pastimes in Da Nang is wandering through the bustling Han Market. It’s a lively, vibrant place where you can get a feel for the local life. From fresh produce, clothes, and handicrafts to mouthwatering local food, you’ll be amazed.
The market is divided into sections. I usually start with the food area, tasting local delicacies, before moving on to the souvenirs and clothes section. I’ve found some unique trinkets and silk scarves here at reasonable prices. Don’t shy away from bargaining; it’s part of the experience!
Get lost in the 3D Art Museum
Art in Paradise, Da Nang’s 3D Art Museum, is a fun place to let your inner child out. It’s home to over 130 different 3D paintings, spread across nine sections. Each piece is meticulously crafted, creating optical illusions that allow you to be a part of the artwork.
My friends and I had an absolute blast here, taking humorous and creative pictures. It’s a fantastic place to visit, especially if you’re traveling with kids. Make sure to keep a few hours for this activity – you’d be surprised at how quickly the time flies when you’re having fun!
Get captivated by Dragon Bridge’s Weekend Show
One of my favorite things to do in Da Nang at night is seeing the captivating show at Dragon Bridge. The bridge itself is a feat of modern architecture, designed to resemble a dragon, which is a symbol of prosperity.
Every weekend and on holidays, between 9 pm and 9:15 pm, this magnificent structure transforms into a fiery spectacle, spraying water and breathing fire.
To grab the best spot, I’d suggest arriving around 8:45 pm, and remember to carry a light jacket as the evenings can get a bit breezy by the river.
Visit Da Nang Cathedral
No trip to Da Nang would be complete without a visit to the city’s famous Pink Church, the Da Nang Cathedral. Its towering steeple, rose facade, and rooster weathervane makes it easily identifiable and adds to its unique charm.
Constructed by French missionaries in the early 1920s, the Da Nang Cathedral serves as a shining testament to the city’s French colonial history. Its Gothic-style architecture is a refreshing sight amidst the traditional Vietnamese landscapes. I have spent many peaceful moments admiring the cathedral’s intricate stained-glass windows and observing the devout prayers of the locals.
During Sunday service, the cathedral comes alive with locals flooding in for the mass. Even if you’re not religious, attending a service just to experience the cultural aspect is something I’d recommend.
Visit the Hoa Trung Lake
Located about 20 km northwest of Da Nang, Hoa Trung Lake is a hidden gem that took me by surprise. If you’re a lover of nature like I am, this is one spot you should not miss.
The picturesque mountain view, the serene lake, and the untouched beauty of the surrounding area is a welcome change from the bustling city life.
One of my favorite things about this location is the nearby rice paddy field on Tan Ninh Street. It’s always exciting to get an insight into the local lifestyle, and this area offers just that. As it’s relatively unknown to tourists, you can truly enjoy the calm and tranquility of rural Vietnam here.
The best time to visit Hoa Trung Lake is in October when the water levels are low, and the expansive grassland reveals itself. It’s also an excellent spot for camping. To reach this secluded location, I’d recommend booking a private car charter, as it can be a bit challenging to navigate the small streets leading to the lake.
Visit Stone Carving Village
Tucked at the foot of the Marble Mountains, the Non Nuoc Stone Carving Village is a place I always make time for when visiting Da Nang.
This traditional village is a testament to Vietnam’s rich artisanal history, dating back to the 18th century. Walking around the area, you’ll be impressed by the skill and finesse with which the artisans transform rough marble into exquisite works of art.
There’re several stone products on display – from intricate statues of Buddhas and gods to more familiar objects like stone lamps, jewelry, and even representations of legendary creatures like unicorns and dragons.
It’s not just a marketplace, but a living museum of sorts, showcasing the tradition of stone carving. So if you have a keen interest in art and history, I highly recommend adding this village to your itinerary.
Each one offers a different facet of what makes Da Nang unique, from its cultural heritage to its natural beauty and vibrant food scene. Whether you’re a thrill-seeker, a foodie, or a nature lover, you’ll find something to love about Da Nang just as much as I do.