- Cityscape Soaring skyscrapers meet sparkling seas
- City life Buzzing metropolis, beachside loungers
Vietnam’s third-largest city is an intoxicating mix of non-stop city life and tranquil bleached-sand beaches.
Situated midway between Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, Da Nang sits on of a long, thin peninsula stretching from Nui Soon Tra (Monkey Mountain) in the north to China Beach and Marble Mountains in the south. The city has traditionally been left off the sightseer trail – and it’s all the better for it, missing the hawkers and other tourist traps common in Vietnam’s bigger cities. In recent years, Da Nang has benefited from big-scale spending on tree-lined boulevards, beachside resorts and glittering high rises; ornate French architecture recalls the city’s colonial history. Soak up the rays on Da Nang’s picture-perfect beaches before delving into some culture at one of the city’s excellent museums (the Museum of Cham Sculpture is a must for history buffs). Further afield, the awe-inspiring Nui Soon Tra (re-named Monkey Mountain by American soldiers for its Mickey Mouse-esque shape) is an imposing sight, with spectacular ocean views from the summit. The five Marble Mountains, named after the five natural elements, lie to the south of the city. Thuy Son is the largest and most popular of the Marble Mountains, holding several natural caves which host early Hindu and Buddhist sanctuaries.
Do go/Don’t go
The best months to visit Da Nang are between December and May, when the city is not at its hottest (in June, July, and August temperatures can reach 40 degrees Celsius) and should be clear of its tropical storms (which usually hit in October and November).
Planes Da Nang is served by Danang International Airport (three kilometres from the city). The airport serves all major Vietnamese airports, as well as international destinations in China, Malaysia, Singapore and Japan.
Trains Da Nang railway station is served by all Reunification Express trains, with stops including Hué (two to four hours), Lang Co (two hours), Quang Ngai (two to four hours), Tuy Hoa (seven to 10 hours) and Nha Trang (eight to 12 hours). The train ride to Hué is one of Vietnam’s most spectacular, and is worth it just for the journey itself.