Situated in the central of Vietnam, Danang is a lovely coastal city that lies between Ho Chi Minh and Hanoi and is the fifth largest city in Vietnam. The city is surrounded by beautiful nature where the mountains are on the west side of Danang and beautiful sandy beaches looking out towards the South China Sea.
As part of my Central Vietnam trip, I spend two nights on the weekends to explore the city. Here are the lists of recommended things to do and places to eat during a short stay in Danang city.
Danang International Airport (Airport Code: DAD) is located 3 kilometers from the city center and is an important getaway to access to central Vietnam including nearby towns such as Hue and Hoi An.
It seems like there are no public buses to get into the city center. I could recommend a reliable taxi company like Vinasun. They are more honest and charge using the meter. Alternatively, you can use Grab, an e-hailing ride service company in Southeast Asia that is similar to Uber (Remember to download the Grab mobile app beforehand).
By Sleeper Bus and Minivan
You can take either a sleeper bus or minivan from many cities or towns throughout Vietnam. They run several times a day and prices are pretty affordable. The seats in the sleeper bus are comfortable and allow you to recline like an airplane seat (Click here to make the bookings).
Danang is quite a small and laid-back city in the central of Vietnam. Many attractions here are within walking distance and you can get there on foot. If you are going to hit the beach or visit Marble Mountain, you can either take Vinasun, Grab car, or a local bus
Interesting Places to visit for 3 days in Danang
Danang does not have many historic landmarks or history like Ho Chi Minh or Hanoi (apart from Vietnam War), but the city comes with its own charm. Before going to its neighboring towns like the famous Hoi An and Hue, I would recommend spending 2 days and 3 nights in Danang soaking into the local vibes.
Roam around Fresco Village
Wander along with the open-air street art of Fresco Village (Làng Bích họa) hidden within the alley of a residential neighborhood in Hai Chau district. It has plenty of pretty artworks painted on the walls of the houses that symbolize Vietnamese culture and animals.
Visitors can come here at any time of the day and there is no entrance fee. Do keep in mind that this is a housing area, so keep your voice down to avoid disturbance of the local people here.
Enjoy the night performance show at Dragon Bridge
Cross the 666-meters long Dragon Bridge to watch the night lights of Han River Bridge, Cầu Trần Thị Lý bridge and the surrounding buildings along the riverside. The bridge was opened on March 29, 2013 to mark the 38th anniversary of the taking of Danang by the North Vietnamese near the end of Vietnam War.
If you are here during the weekends, don’t miss out this short but spectacular 5-minutes show at 9 pm. You can watch the dragon breath fire for 2 minutes and later sprinkler water for 3 minutes from its mouth.
Travel tips: If you want to enjoy a good spot, come here 30 minutes before the show starts because many tourists and locals will gather here.
Night out at Son Tra Night Market
Walk down the busy Son Tra Night Market to try some local food. I enjoy the delicious broken rice sold at one of the street stalls, This Vietnamese dish is served with rice, pork ribs, tomato, cucumber, egg, and dressing.
You can also find vendors selling handicrafts, clothing, accessories, souvenirs, and Vietnamese coffee along this long pedestrian-friendly street.
Climb the Marble Mountain
Start off the morning by going up the Marble Mountains (Ngu Hanh Son), located about 8 km south of Danang city. They are a cluster of five hills made from limestone and marble. Each of them was named after the elements of metal, wood, fire, water, and earth.
Take the lift up to the edge of the Water Mountain and began climbing up the steps. You will walk through its pilgrimage site with peaks, caves, tunnels, and temples. There are Buddhist sanctuaries and places of worship here. Glad that I made it to the summit and enjoy the breathtaking panoramic views of other mountains, Danang city, and the beach. It took me 3 hours to explore the entire pilgrim sites, considering making a few breaks in between.
According to an ancient folktale, a dragon emerged from the water on Non Nuoc Beach and laid an egg. A thousand days and nights passed before the egg hatched, and out stepped a beautiful girl. The fragments of the shell were left on the beach and ended up growing into the five mystical Marble Mountains.
Travel tips: Take the local yellow bus No. 1: Danang to Hoi An to Marble Mountain which will cost 30,000 Dong one way. Get there as early as possible to avoid the crowds and heat and give yourself up to four hours to explore the mountain.
Opening hours: Daily from 7 am to 5.30 pm
Entrance fee: 40,000 VND (You need to pay extra 15,000 VND to use the lift to reach the top of Marble Mountain. Otherwise, you can climb 157 steps to the top for free
Vsit Hàn Market
Explore the local Hàn Market (Chợ Hàn) and enjoy some Vietnamese food here before continuing to stroll through the market. Just like Ben Thanh market in Saigon, you can get fresh groceries, dried fruits, local coffee, housewares, fabrics, and clothes.
If you are looking for Ao Dai, a traditional Vietnamese garment worn by local women, you are in the right place. There are plenty of choices with different colors and designs. You can find this beautiful Ao Dai selling from 250,000 Dong. You also can get the opportunity to get up front and see how they are made here.
Address: 119 Đường Trần Phú, Hải Châu (near to Hàn Bridge)
Opening hours: 6 am to 7 pm
Have a tea break at Highlands Coffee
Chill out at Highlands Coffee, a local coffee shop chain after walking half the day in hot weather. I bought their Lychee Tea (trà thạch vài) and yummy Green Tea Cheese Cake (bánh phô mai trà xanh) and the taste is really great.
Admire the beautiful Danang Cathedral
This unique pink-painted Danang Cathedral was built by French priest Louis Vallet in 1923. Standing at 70 meters tall, this catholic church is known as Con Ga Church (Rooster Church) due to the imposing bell tower with a rooster weathercock on top. As it was Sunday afternoon, I got to see its people perform mass prayer here.
Address: 156 Đường Trần Phú, Hải Châu 1, Hải Châu
Opening hours: Daily from 5 am to 5 pm (Visitors are only allowed to visit at a certain time on Sundays due to Sunday mass prayer)
Entrance fee: Free
My Khe Beach
Relax on the beautiful sandy beach of My Khe Beach and enjoy the cool sea breeze. You will see the locals and tourists doing all sorts of fun activities, including parasailing, beach volleyball, jet skiing, swimming, and yoga exercise. Kids too were happily playing around and building sand castles, which reminds me of my younger days.
Take a night walk at Love ‘lock’ Bridge, an arc-shaped wharf right next to the famous Dragon Bridge. It is a fascinating attraction where you can see or carve your own padlocks on this romantic bridge. It was inspired by bridges like Pond des Arts in France and Milvio in Italy.
Chu Linh Ung
Take a morning visit to the pagoda of Chùa Linh Ứng located about 9 kilometers away from the city center on the hill of Son Tra. It was constructed on 30 July 2010 and considered a meeting place of heaven and earth’s sacred air and people’s heart.
The shrine’s roof is curved in dragon shape and the solid pillars surrounded by sophisticated sinuous dragons. The Lady Buddha is one of the tallest statues in Vietnam, standing 67 meters high with a 35 meters diameter lotus.
According to legend, there was a Buddha statue drifted out of nowhere on the sandbank here during the time of Minh Mang King (Nguyen Dynasty) in the 19th century. The people believe that was a sign and later built a shrine for worship. The fishermen could work in peace for a long time. The pagoda now was established upon the place where the statue was drifted, naming it Bai But which meant ‘Buddha land on Earth’.
Chua Linh Ung offers a stunning view of the city and My Khe Beach and is accessible by car, motorcycle, taxi, and Grab car.
Opening hours: 24 hours
Entrance fee: Free (but a small donation is much appreciated to upkeep the temple)
Other Stuffs to Do in Danang
Having some extra time in Danang? Yey, good on you. Here are some places you can visit including visiting Cham Museum, taking a half-day tour to Golden Bridge and Ba Na Hills or take a drive with a scooter or car to Hai Van Pass to enjoy the mighty landscapes of Vietnam’s mountain Road linking Danang to Hue.
Going Elsewhere in Vietnam?
If you are planning for a long adventure in Vietnam, you can check out some of my other posts: