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Da Nang is Vietnam’s 3rd biggest city, behind Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi, but in my opinion, feels like the most developed! Roads were wide which meant there was less traffic congestion and it wasn’t quite the nightmare when crossing the roads! Da Nang being a beach town also lends to its very relaxed vibe, which we thoroughly enjoyed. From the beachside to the mountaintop, follow along on my 5-day itinerary to discover the best things to do in Da Nang!
Da Nang Planning Tips
Best time to visit Da Nang
Da Nang has two main seasons: rainy and dry. Da Nang sees the most rainfall in the months of September through November, and the dry season starts from December to August. The weather is perfect from April to August, but also makes it peak season for tourism.
The best time to travel to Da Nang is from February to May.
We visited Da Nang in August and the heat and humidity were rather unbearable. It gets hot even early in the morning and lasts all the way through to the evening, which made any outdoor activities very uncomfortable.
Ready to book flights? I usually use Google Flights as a jumping off point. Click here to check for flight prices. If you need help planning your trip, check out my guide on How To Plan A Trip Like a Pro!
How many days in Da Nang?
Da Nang isn’t very big in itself. So a quick 3-day trip would suffice if you just want to do a touch-and-go of the city, or if you’re doing a quick long weeked break from Singapore or KL. However, I would recommend at least 5 days so you get to do a few day trips out of the city.
We spent 5.5 days there and were able to travel at a very nice relaxing pace.
If you like to take things nice and slow on your vacation, consider these cafés and coffee shops in Da Nang to enjoy a slow afternoon.
Getting to Da Nang
For most international travelers, you would be arriving into Da Nang via air at Da Nang International Airport (DAD).
As I mentioned, Da Nang isn’t very big so the airport is conveniently located just 3 km from the city center. It’s a quick 10-minute ride to the airport and should cost you only 60,000-100,000VND ($2.6 – $4.4).
If you want to save the hassle, just book yourself a private transfer right to your doorstep. The driver will be waiting for you at the arrival hall, so no need to haggle about prices or struggle with the language barrier.
Da Nang is about 780 kilometers from Hanoi and 605 kilometers from Ho Chi Minh City, so traveling via land will take some time.
If you plan to travel to Da Nang by bus or train, keep in mind that there are no bullet trains in Vietnam, and the infrastructure is not in tip-top condition.
Buses from Hanoi or Saigon to Da Nang can take up to 14 hours each way.
Train standards are not as high as in Europe, so temper your expectations. It will take over 15 hours to travel from Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh City. There are sleeper trains available, and I have always been a fan of sleeper trains so this might be an option if you are already in Vietnam. I have personally not tried this route.
I was actually pleasantly surprised by how developed Da Nang was. There were no tuk-tuks that are usually common in neighboring cities. The roads were wide which allowed for smooth traffic flow at most times.
Motorbike – This is one of the most cost-effective and convenient ways to get around if you know how to ride. Check out Nguyen Hoang Motorbike at 114 Ly Thai To Street in Thanh Khe District.
Grab – This is our preferred way of getting around, especially if you’re traveling in a group of 3 or more. Rides were very cheap, with most rides costing about $1-2 only. Grab is South East Asia’s version of Uber. This is the most convenient and comfortable way of getting around. We even took the Grab further distances to Marble Mountains, and there is even an option to Grab to Hoi An. If you’re up for it, you can also try GrabBike which is an Uber on a motorbike.
Where to stay in Da Nang?
Da Nang in itself isn’t actually very big. But it is quite diverse as you get to choose between staying by the beach or in the city center. I remember doing a lot of research and having a hard time choosing a location to stay at.
If you’re a beach lover, I definitely recommend staying by the beach! We stayed at Chi House Danang which was just 5 mins walk to the beach. Unfortunately, I forgot that my family aren’t big beach buffs so we only visited the beach once. If I had had this in mind, I would have preferred to stay in the city center where most of the action is.
Here are my recommendations: (prices are estimates and will fluctuate throughout the year. Click through to get the lowest rates now!)
My Khe Beach
Chi House Danang, US$27 per night (this is where we stayed!)
Sofiana My Khe Hotel $ Spa, US$27 per night
Intercontinental Danang Sun Peninsula, US$330 per night (if you’re ready to splurge, I would highly recommend this!)
Things to do in Da Nang
Here’s a checklist of things you should do in Da Nang:
- See the fire-breathing dragon on the Dragon Bridge
- Hike up Marble Mountains for 360° views of Da Nang
- Ride the world’s longest cable car up to Ba Na Hills
- Get a tan at the many beaches
Da Nang Itinerary
Day 1: Explore Da Nang City
Today you’ll be arriving into Da Nang, probably around mid-day, so I’d suggest taking it easy. Plus, there’s so much to see in Da Nang itself, and you’ll have the rest of the days to venture a little further.
Check into your hotel and have a nice lunch. We had lunch at Cơm Nhà Linh which was closeby to our hotel. It came highly recommended as they serve local home-cooked dishes. And it’s easy if you’re in a group as they provide set lunches in case you are stuck on what to order.
Address: 35 An Thượng 26, Bắc Mỹ Phú, Ngũ Hành Sơn, Đà Nẵng 550000, Vietnam
If you’re serious about your coffee, I highly recommend 43 Factory Coffee Roasters. If not for their coffee, the interior is spacious and Instagrammable. It’s a great place for an afternoon of work too. I saw many people working away on their laptops; I wish I had brought mine! Later I would discover that Da Nang has a rather strong co-working space culture, something I found very interesting!
If the weather is good, consider sitting out on their lake pods which I found to be quite unique. Prices are a little steeper than other cafés around but they pride themselves on being transparent about their whole coffee bean supply chain. There are even profiles of the local coffee bean farmers they work with.
Address: Lot 422, Đ. Ng. Thì Sĩ, Đà Nẵng, 550000, Vietnam
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Once you’re all caffeinated, it’s time to check out the local market scene in Da Nang. There are two major markets in Da Nang: Con Market, which is where most locals go to do their weekly grocery shopping, and Han Market, which is more targeted at tourists and where you’ll find souvenirs and cheap knockoffs. Both are worth visiting.
In Con Market, I recommend trying their coconut shake!
In the evening, take a lovely stroll down the beach closest to you. Da Nang is well-known for its pristine sandy beaches and there are plenty to choose from. One of the closest to Da Nang city center is My Khe Beach.
Tip: The locals are quite averse to the sun so if you want the beach all to yourself, come early in the morning. I went early around 8 am, and the beach was empty. The crowds start to come in around the evening when the weather cools down. There are vendors with beach chairs that you can lounge on but they charge 40,000 VND (around $1.67 at the time of writing) per seat. They also serve drinks which are optional.
Vietnam isn’t as famous for its night markets like their neighbour, Thailand, but they sure know how to do them well! We visited the Helio Night Market, which was absolutely lively and bustling! It’s not your typical touristy night market. In fact, we might have been the only tourists there. It felt like it was mainly geared toward locals and featured mostly food stalls, not much shopping. But I highly recommend checking this one out and soaking in the atmosphere!
Address: 2/9 Street, Hai Chau District, Da Nang City
Opening time: Every day from 17:00 to 22:30 (free entry)
End the night off with a good full-body massage. We really enjoyed Panda Spa, and even went back multiple times during the trip! The receptionist speaks perfect English and was really helpful. Their masseuses are highly trained so just tell them where you’d like to focus on. We had such a great sleep after this!
Address: 229 Nguyễn Văn Thoại, Phước Mỹ, Sơn Trà, Đà Nẵng 550000, Vietnam
Day 2: Ba Na Hills
Ba Na Hills is probably the reason you’ve come to Da Nang! It’s where you’ll find the poster picture for Da Nang, the famous giant hands holding a bridge.
Insider tip: If you get the chance, I highly recommend visiting Ba Na Hills by Night. It usually runs from June to September, and you can experience the park in both daytime and nighttime. Plus, you’ll get to avoid the crowds! The park is extra magical once it’s all lit up.
We went to Ba Na Hills because coming from a tropical country, we really wanted to take a break from the incessant daily heat and experience the cool weather up in the mountains. But Ba Na Hills turned out to be a rather peculiar spot to me. It houses the famous Golden Bridge, an amusement park, and a European-inspired town you can walk around. I couldn’t find a unifying theme here except that it was built as a tourist attraction.
In any case, enjoy the cable car ride up and the cooling weather which is usually around 10°C cooler than in Da Nang city. It also boasts the longest cable car ride in the world which is something to talk about!
The park opens at 8 am, and if you’re not purchasing the Ba Na by Night tickets, I would highly recommend you arrive as early as 8 am to avoid the crowds and have the park to yourself for at least a little while! Throughout the day, the park can get pretty packed so plan your day wisely.
We managed to get to Ba Na Hills at about 3 pm, so we got to enjoy the park when most of the tourists were leaving because the park closes at 5 pm for regular ticket holders. We also got to see the park after sundown which was so magical. You really feel like you’re being transported to an old European town. Trés bon!
Purchase your tickets in advance to avoid the queues and get a discount! I used Klook to book all my trips and transfers on my trip here and it was so fuss-free. You can opt for a packaged tour to Ba Na Hills via shuttle bus or you can book a private transfer separately. We opted for a private transfer so we could have some flexibility with our timing. The driver picked us up and waited for us until we were ready. Everything was so convenient.
On the way back, we got our driver to drop us off at the famous Dragon Bridge. It’s a rather beautiful sight to see especially at night when the lights are all up. The dragon even breathes fire and spits water on weekends at 9 pm. The spectacle lasts about 15 minutes but boy, does it draw in the crowds.
I’ll tell you a funny story. Our driver dropped us off at the bridge about 45 minutes before 9 pm and there was no one else around. So we were happily taking pictures with the dragon and securing a nice spot to capture the fire-breathing action!
About 15 minutes before 9 pm, we noticed no one else was around us so we thought maybe there weren’t many people watching the show. Luckily, a kind samaritan pointed us to the opposite side of the bridge and told us to hurry. Then we realized we had been waiting at the dragon butt!
We rushed over to the other side of the dragon where the head actually was! And there was already a huge crowd there waiting. Boy, was it crowded and stuffy!
After it was all over, the whole area was jam-packed with cars and motorbikes. It was absolute chaos. We couldn’t get a Grab back to our hotel for a good half an hour, and had to walk another kilometer away from the bridge to get away from the traffic. To be honest, I don’t think I would repeat that experience. But perhaps knowing this, you would be able to plan ahead much better!
Day 3: Marble Mountains/Hoi An
The Marble Mountains is another one of those things you must do on your trip to Da Nang.
I advise getting there as early as possible before the weather gets hot and the crowds come in. We got there at around 8 am and it wasn’t too crowded but the morning sun was already killing us. Due to the humidity, it makes for a rather uncomfortable hike. Once we got up to the peak, I had never sweat so much in my life!
The hike is rather steep and is only about 100 steps up. My mother who was nursing a bad hip could even do the hike (with sheer perseverance of course). But was the hike worth it? I’m not too sure. Once up at the peak, you get 360-degree views of Da Nang, but the heat was too unbearable to stay up there for more than 5 minutes.
If you’d like to take a break from the heat, visit the many caves and pagodas to cool off.
TIP: There is actually an elevator that takes you up so you won’t need to hike all the way up! But the elevator only takes you about halfway. You will still need to climb up to the highest view point. Costs extra 15,000VND ($0.65).
You will spend about 2-3 hours here depending on how much time you spend at each cave.
How to get there: You can easily catch a Grab here (it’s only about 20-30 minutes away from the city centre) or hire a private driver if you’d like the added convenience.
Our next stop will be to Hoi An at 2 pm. But after the Marble Mountains, you might want to head back to your hotel and freshen up–we definitely did after breaking out such a sweat!
If there was one thing you need to try in Da Nang, it has to be mỳ quảng. It is a Vietnamese noodle dish that originated from the Quang Nam province and can be found in many eateries in Da Nang. We had an awesome lunch at Mỳ Quảng Cô Sáu. I loved the texture and taste of the noodles, I couldn’t stop at one bowl!
Address: 37B Phạm Quang Ảnh, An Hải Bắc, Sơn Trà, Đà Nẵng 550000, Vietnam
After lunch, our driver whom we booked from Klook picked us up and we were off to Hoi An! The trip to Hoi An takes about 1 hour, and the easiest way is to hire a driver who will take you there and back. You can also book a Grab on the spot, but we were worried about getting stranded at Hoi An if we were unable to get a ride back to Da Nang! Hiring a driver in advance helped put our minds at ease. Click here to check prices.
The reason why we’re getting to Hoi An so late in the day is that it is a rather small town and there isn’t much shelter from the heat in the day! After much research, many other travelers actually regretted getting there so early and having nothing to do whilst waiting for the sunset, which is when Hoi An really starts to shine.
Of course, Hoi An is well known for its lanterns so the best time to see Hoi An is during and after sunset. Getting there around 3 pm is just perfect for a walk around the historic city while getting a little shopping done.
If you have the chance, I highly recommend going for a coconut boat ride! I booked my tickets via Klook and they only cost about US$4 per ticket. It’s much better than getting hustled to buy tickets on the spot which can be way more expensive. You can book your tickets here.
It is a rather touristy thing to do but it was a lot of fun! It is 15 minutes away from Hoi An town center so make sure your driver knows to drop you at this spot and wait for you before transferring you to Hoi An town center.
If you don’t get motion sickness, I recommend trying to tell your boatman to spin you in the coconut boat! It’s definitely an experience!
In Hoi An center, there is the famous Bánh Mì Phượng made famous by the late Anthony Bourdain. Unfortunately, we were not able to try it as they were closed for the day. But locals say even though it has become a rather touristy spot, it still tastes good and locals do still patronize the spot.
Address: 2b Phan Chu Trinh, Cẩm Châu, Hội An, Quảng Nam 560000, Vietnam
A must-try dish in Hoi An is cao lầu – a Vietnamese noodle dish that can only be found in Hoi An (the authentic one, that is!). Read on for the interesting story of cao lầu below.
Some notable shops in Hoi An:
- Friendly Shoe Shop – Custom leather shoes and bags. Customize your dream shoe at affordable prices! I’m wearing their shoes now as I type this up and it’s still very comfortable and durable. Their service is certainly top-notch. Even if you’re not staying in Hoi An, they can deliver your shoes to Da Nang the next day. And if you’re not satisfied with it, they’ll refund you 100%. They even have a 6-month warranty for peace of mind. If any defects are found, or if you simply don’t like it, they’ll refund 100% of your money.
Address: 18 Trần Phú, Cẩm Châu, Hội An, Quảng Nam, Vietnam
- Mót – If you see a snaking queue outside a store while walking down the streets of Hoi An, it’s probably Mót! This little herbal tea store has become so famous, probably because of Instagram. Pop by for a quick refreshing iced tea – trust me, it’s what you’ll need after a hot afternoon walking around Hoi An!
Address: 150 Trần Phú, Cẩm Châu, Hội An, Quảng Nam, Vietnam
- Sunday – If you like handicrafts and cute little trinkets like me, you will love Sunday. The things here are a little pricey, but it doesn’t hurt to look!
Don’t forget to cross the Japanese Bridge – one of the main sights of Hoi An. But not before you fight the crowds here! There is ordinarily someone at the entrance of the bridge collecting an entry fee to cross the bridge, but if you go later in the day, there’s usually no one there so you can cross for free!
Like I said earlier, Hoi An really shines once the sun starts to set. Make sure to be around the river around sunset to capture these breathtaking views!
Take a walk around the Hoi An Night Market and be dazzled by the lanterns. But if you want that Instagram pic with the lanterns, you’ll have to pay VND10,000 ($1). I personally didn’t find any sense in paying money for a photo so I skipped this.
Day 4: Da Nang City
After such intense days exploring outside of Da Nang, today you can have a relaxing day in the city or you could take another day trip out of the city!
Son Tra Peninsula
Son Tra Peninsula is a beautiful peninsula in Da Nang with long, white sandy beaches, picturesque landscapes, and primeval forests, and is just 10km north of the city center. People visit this location for its natural beauty and breathtaking sunset. If you’re a nature lover, I highly recommend this trip.
You will definitely need a driver or to rent a car to get there. The best option will be a motorcycle because some areas cannot be reached by automobile and the roads are rather narrow.
Your best chance would be to look online, where there are numerous independent operators if you need a private driver for the day. You can do this tour which combines Son Tra, Hoi An and Marble Mountains all in one day!
If you’re a history buff, Hue is a must-visit! Hue is an imperial city with a rich and long history, serving as the capital of two dynasties: Da Thong and Nguyen.
During this period, huge stone structures were built to strengthen the royal palace so there is plenty to explore. Visit ornate royal tombs hidden away in sublime jungle settings. Although poorly maintained, you can still see some royal relics and monuments, and get a sense of what life was like at the palace through numerous exhibits.
Hue is about 2-2.5 hours away from Da Nang so a private tour is the best way to visit.
Most tours will take you through Hai Van Pass, which was named one of the best drives in the world, and was even featured on Top Gear! Book your day trip to Hue here.
Da Nang City
We were not too keen on taking any more day trips so we opted to relax in the city itself. If you haven’t been to Han Market or Con Market, visit this today.
Today we went on a food hunt! What’s a trip to Vietnam without trying phở. We had our lunch at Phở Cù Hà Nội and we thoroughly enjoyed it! I highly recommend it.
Address: 5 Trần Quốc Toản, Phước Ninh, Hải Châu, Đà Nẵng 550000, Vietnam
It’s a relaxing day so how about another massage at Panda Spa Body & Foot Massage? Or get a mani-pedi at the many salons around.
Since there are so many beaches in Da Nang, pick another beach to lounge on for the rest of the evening! I recommend visiting The DeckHouse An Bang Beach and stay for the sunset!
For dinner, we went to Bếp Hên. They serve local Vietnamese dishes that taste and look so home-cooked. The place is stylishly decorated with many antiques that give off a very nostalgic feel. It really feels like you’re eating in someone’s kitchen! Highly recommend trying this cute little spot.
Address: 47 Lê Hồng Phong, Phước Ninh, Hải Châu, Đà Nẵng 84236, Vietnam
Day 5: Cooking class
We had an extra day in Da Nang and didn’t feel like taking another day trip out of the city so we opted for a cooking class. And it turned out to be one of our favorite days on our trip!
Learning to cook a country’s local food is one of the best ways to experience the country in its true essence.
We went with Jolie Cooking Class, and we lucked out as me and my mum were the only two on the tour that day, so we essentially got a private class! Rosie met us at our hotel lobby and took us to a local vegetable farm where we got to see how a local farmer tends to her farm. We even tried our hand at a little gardening! Then, Rosie took us to a local coffee shop where we had a lovely chat about the local culture here in Vietnam. We then went to the local market to buy some ingredients where Rosie introduced us to some local produce.
Then we were off to Rosie’s kitchen where we learned to make some local dishes – pho, fresh spring rolls, banh xeo, and tomato steamed fish! The menu differs by day so check the menu on your selected day.
It was really so enjoyable cooking in Rosie’s kitchen and chatting about everything and anything. And I highly recommend for anyone visiting Da Nang have this experience. You can book your class here on Klook.
Another dish to try in Da Nang is cao lầu. We were introduced to this dish by Rosie, and were told about the interesting story behind this dish. It’s actually a noodle dish that originated from Hoi An, and the water used to grind the rice for these noodles is found in a specific well in Hoi An. So this distinct and authentic taste can only be found in Hoi An. So if you are reading this before your trip, do me a favor and try cao lầu in Hoi An! Anyway, it was too late for us so we settled for it in Da Nang. We had it at Cao Lầu Hoài Phố, but we wish we could’ve tried the authentic one in Hoi An!
Address: 255 Nguyễn Chí Thanh, Phước Ninh, Hải Châu, Đà Nẵng 550000, Vietnam
After dinner, we went to another night market. Tonight, we picked the Dragon Bridge Night Market. This one is a lot more touristy than the Helio Night Market we went to on the first night. There is a wide variety of gifts, souvenirs, and food but be aware that this market is geared toward tourists so shop wisely!
And that wraps up our trip to Da Nang. I hope you’ve had some valuable takeaways from this guide that will help you plan your very own trip!
Visiting Da Nang Checklist
⇢ Compare accommodation options and prices on Booking.com
⇢ Book tours in advance on Klook or Viator
⇢ Get your data roaming sorted before you arrive with Airalo!
⇢ Spend abroad without hidden fees. Sign up for a Wise travel credit card!
⇢ Don’t forget travel insurance! Travel insurance is the most overlooked purchase when traveling, but one of the most essential. Anything can happen when you’re on holiday and you’d want to be covered in the case of travel mishaps such as flight delays, personal accidents or theft. Choose World Nomads Travel Insurance, designed by travelers for travelers.
⇢ Don’t leave home without a power bank!
So does Da Nang look like a city you’d visit? What are you most looking forward to? Let me know in the comments below! Or if you know of more hidden gems in Da Nang, hit me up in the comments too!
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