I’ve heard many stories about the coastal city Da Nang… but never did I manage to pay a visit. I wanted to change that, so I took a flight from Hanoi to Da Nang during my last stay in Vietnam.
Arriving in Da Nang
National flights in Asia are relatively cheap, so you can go from Hanoi or Saigon to any airport for maximum 60 EUR. The most common carrieres are Jetstar Airlines and VietJetAir.
I traveled with both airlines already and didn’t have a good experience with VietJetAir.
Click if you want to read my short review:
My experience with VietJetAir
Sadly, I did not receive a confirmation mail after booking my flight and I could not do what I always do – take a screenshot. So I had no booking code and no proof for booking. Nevertheless, I did not expect this much trouble. At the airport it was possible to find my booking, but the would not certify that I had booked a return flight as well. So, when I arrived in Vietnam, I had to book an additional flight since I didn’t have proof for my departure. Therefore, I do not want to fly with VietJetAir again if not absolutely necessary.
If you don’t want to fly, you can take a bus as well. There are night busses where you can sleep comfortably. However, I have to warn you. Long bus trips may be dangerous in Vietnam. I don’t know if it’s because of the terrible roads or the ruthless drivers or even the tired bus drivers, but there are far too many accidents on long distance bus trips. I only did one of those trips and that took 7 hours from Saigon to Da Lat.
As a last alternative I want to mention driving by bike. Vietnam is famous for it’s many travelers that bought a bike and took across the country. Which is of course also dangerous, but nevertheless popular.
Accomodation in Da Nang
Normally, I do House Sitting* or I rent an Airbnb*, in order to live like the locals. In Da Nang, however, I booked a hotel for a change, since I was travelling with a non-nomad friend. We chose the Aria Hotel, in the second row to the beach and including sea view from the rooftop.
I was impressed by the kindness of the personnel. They tried to fulfill our every wish.
The room was a little small, even though we already booked a bigger type. Apart from that it was nice and also the bathroom was small but cute. Most interesting was a curtain in the bathroom, that allowed opening or shading a window directed towards the bedroom. A modern trend, apparently.
The location was ideal – second row from the sea and you can walk to the beach in only a few minutes. The beach is very inviting and offers pleasant walks. Directly at the beach you can find numerous restaurants and hotels with rooftops, if you want to enjoy the view.
What can you do in Da Nang?
I have to admit that I was drawn to a place outside of Da Nang. I wanted to see a bridge, that is carried by a gigantic pair of hands. I had seen them quite often on Instagram and I knew, this is the Must See in Da Nang. In the hotel, we made sure that we were going to the right place. Because the bridge is in the mountains and you cannot find the bridge on Google Maps. The staff told us, we were going to the right place and would need to pay 700.000 VND entry. We were irritated, as it is almost 30 EUR. We only wanted to see the bridge, nothing else, so we didn’t plan to pay any entry for anything else.
It took us almost an hour with a rented scooter, including a fuel brake. The drive was wonderful, through small villages, past rivers and streams and through the woods. Only at the end, the road started to go uphill. Once we reached our destination, we realized what the staff meant. The bridge is part of a theme park.
As we already drove this far… we just payed and went in.
We were supposed to take a cable car ride to the mountain top. Easier said than done. There are three cable car lines and the one we were supposed to take was closed. So we followed signs to find the next one, but somehow took a wrong turn and ended up taking escalator after escalator.
At some point, we finally reached the end and entered a gondola. I took photos like a maniac, especially excited by the glass floor! We went higher and higher and after 15 minutes, we reached the clouds. Everything became white and the atmosphere became rather mystic. We broke through the clouds and continued upwards.
The whole cable car ride took around thirty minutes. Once we reached the top, my world turned up side down. Is this… supposed to be Paris? Clad in winter decorations, we could see baroque churches and the Moulin Rouge. It felt like we’re in the wrong place. And also the only westerners around.
We took a walk through the park, looking for attractions but had to admit, that there are none – except one. A summer toboggan run. So we went there and stood in line. And waited. And waited. And waited. And after an hour, we had moved 10m. We gave up.
Only one thing left to do – looking for the bridge with the hands. For this, we had to take another cable car. The first one, that we were supposed to take in the beginning and that was out of order, would have stopped half way up the mountain and let us see the bridge straight away.
As we descended through the clouds, we could see the part of the park, where the bridge is. Our search is over. Yes, it’s beautiful! But… do you have to pay 700.000 VND enty? I dare to say ‘no’.
We took a last ride with the cable car and as a farewell gift we had the most beautiful view of the day, as the sun descended and covered the sky in myriads of colors.
If you pay attention, you can spot waterfalls running between the hills.
Down at the entrance / exit we took a walk through the beautiful Chinese Gardens of the park.
As we left the park, the sun disappeared. In the dusk, we made our way back to the hotel.
Lady Buddha at the Linh Ung Pagoda
The next day, we decided to take a trip on a scooter bike along the coast. From the beach, you can already see the female buddha statue on the other side of the bay. And Google Maps said, it was easily reachable via bike. Actually, it is a whole peninsula, named Son Tra.
To get there it took us around 30 minutes and once we left the beachfront, we drove upwards. Jungle to the left, seaside to the right. Beautiful!
There are several stops on the way that invite you to take a break and just enjoy the beautiful view. We only had limited time till our plane to Saigon took off, so we could only take short stops. And we also wanted to visit the cathedral and the dragon bridge.
The cathedral in the heart of Da Nang was built in 1923 by the french priest Louis Vallet. Even though it is not as bright as her sister church in Saigon, it is still famous for its pink color (here you can see one of my pictures of the Cathedrale in Saigon on Instagram). You can see a rooster on top of the church, which also gave it the nickname “Con Ga Church” – Chicken Church.
The Dragon Bridge
The dragon bridge connects the city centre of Da Nang with the seafront. it is 666 meters long and has 6 lanes. Definitely worth a visit and if you stay over the weekend, you can watch it breath fire every saturday and sunday from 9pm.
There wasn’t enough time for a visit in Hoi An, but if you can fit it into your travel itinerary you should definitely go there and maybe even spend a few days! I only heard beautiful and romantic stories about Hoi An and even the drive should already be worth the trip.
Conclusion Da Nang
Since I only knew the major cities Saigon and Hanoi, Da Nang was a more than welcome change. The traffic is much less aggressive, there’s almost no honking, the ocean view is soothing and even vegetarians find a lot of good options there! Da Nang has a lot to offer and I will definitely come back and enjoy the city a little longer.
Have you ever been to Da Nang?
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