Backpacking in Da Nang: The ‘European’ Asia adventure

At 1,487 metres in height, the seemingly magical outlook of a huge European-style castle stands elegantly amid the lush foliage, beckoning travellers to one of Vietnam’s most-visited destinations, Da Nang, to see this most stunning sight with their own eyes.

Along with the fabulous architecture which defines Da Nang’s world- acclaimed attraction, the city–Southern Vietnam’s most significant port town–is resplendent in abundant natural treasures, including lush valleys, azure-blue sea, white-sand beaches and other marvellous sights within its 1,256 sq. km. Da Nang also borders world heritage cities, including Hoian and Hue, connected by a scenic 30-kilometre coastal road, the Da Nang-Hoian Highway, and the 97-kilometre Da Nang-Hue Highway 97 as well as a time-saving traffic tunnel.

It’s no wonder that Da Nang has become one of the destinations travellers most aspire to visit, in particular these magnificent attractions, where one can fall in love.

Things to do in Da Nang

Ba Na Hills

This European-like city has been Vietnam’s top destination for over a century. The charming Ba Na Hills are blessed with clean mountain air, while French-influenced architecture abounds such as Bana Hills French Village; Fantasy Park Amusement Park; and, a reproduction of Paris’ famed Notre-Dame cathedral. This small town features abundant accommodation, restaurants and cafes as well as outdoor activities.

Ba Na Hills is accessible via a newly opened cable car service which holds the Guinness record for the world’s longest non-stop cable car line. The 15-minute, 5,801-metre ride begins at Suoi Mo Station, passing scenic highlights like mountain landscapes, oceanic views, a tropical waterfall shrouded in ethereal mists–truly a memorable experience. Cable car entrance fee including fun-fair rides are VND 650,000 for adults and VND 550,000 for children.

Marble Mountains

“The Mountain of Five elements” is known locally for its hills, both large and small, named after natural elements: Wood, Metal, Earth, Fire, and Water. Within the valley there lies a large concrete Buddha image, Chinese-God Shrine, Bodhisattva Statue and other likenesses of mythical Chinese Immortals. Another must-see attraction: remarkable views through the mountain gaps, as well as the Quan Am Pagoda situated on Kin Son Hill (Metal Hill), where spectacular stalactites and stalagmites can be found. On The tallest and most impressive marble mountain, Water Hill (Thuy Soy), is revered for its holy shrine which is believed to grant wishes for good health, love, money, and fertility. Visitors to the Da Nang lookout viewpoint will enjoy the awe-inspiring view of the town amid the verdant valley, with the sea and horizon beyond. Before leaving, browse the selection of hand-carved marble souvenirs and prepare to be charmed. Admission is VND 40,000, with Lift rides at VND 15,000 per trip.

Marble Mountains

Linh Ung pagoda

The largest temple in Da Nang is located on Son Tra island. Opened in 2010, the structure took 6 years to complete. Its most distinguishing feature, the statue of Guan Yin, is the world’s 4th tallest statue at 67 metres–equivalent to a 30-story building–which can be seen from Da Nang bay. Standing on the 35-metre lotus base, the image of the Chinese Goddess faces the peninsula with her back to the Son Tra Mountain, (Money Mountain), symbolising her willingness to protect fishermen as they ply the local waters. Most Vietnamese revere Guan Yin for her blessings of health, prosperity in business, safety and fertility. The pagoda’s highlight is the breath-taking panoramic view of the town and peninsula stretching out before the viewer’s eyes.

Linh Ung pagoda

Front left: Linh ung pagoda; Marble Mountains

Han River

Da Nang’s main waterway is the Han River, which runs through the centre of the city against the backdrop of the vibrant port town and green mountainscape. It is the perfect place for visitors to stroll and sightsee under colourful night-time lights or a soothing river cruise.

The Vietnam and Dragon Bridge was the country’s first cable-stayed drawbridge, and features a 666-metre-long ‘golden walkway’ illuminated by over 2,500 decorative lights commemorating the 38th anniversary of independence in Da Nang. A dazzling ‘dancing fountain’ light and sound presentation with a “dragon disappearing in the flame” highlight runs Fridays and Saturdays at 9 PM, and may be viewed free of charge.

Beach and Bay

Da Nang is also a ‘sea, sand and sun’ destination of sparkling blue waters where visitors can frolic in the surf or enjoy a leisurely stroll along the white-sand shores. The city’s most popular coastal site is My Khe Beach, which lies nestled between My An and Non Nuoc beaches. Known for its serene and secluded setting, My Khe Beach is ideal for swimming as well as dining, serenaded by the sound of the crashing waves. Non Nuoc, the world’s 6th most astonishing white-sand beach, is a surfer’s delight with plenty of wave action along this 5-km. stretch of paradise which fronts Da Nang’s marble mountain.

Da Nang Bay is a great place to observe the area’s fishermen and their traditional mariner’s life as some tally their catches and others head out to sea. The Son Tra Peninsula is also home to many nature conservation sites protecting the habitats of over 1,000 animal species. Visitors can also explore coral that dots the coastline, or trek to the nearby scenic hilltop some 700 metres above sea level.

Before continuing to Hoian or Hue, travellers are advised that a one-day stopover may be not enough to experience the charms of Da Nang, the holiday beach town renowned for its relaxing natural setting.

Direct flights to Da Nang International Airport (DAD) take just under two hours, and the local currency is the Vietnam Dong (VND). Electricity service uses three-pronged plugs operating at 220V/50Hz.

Beach and Bay

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