The poetic Central area of Vietnam, particularly Danang, has been considered one of the most charming destinations in the world lately. Because of the favorable position that contributes a great deal to the country’s economy, there’s a bunch of different methods to get to the big city of Danang. The most efficient and easiest way is by airway.
People usually arrive directly at Danang’s airport. Or they can choose to arrive at Phu Bai in Hue City first before continuing to go about 105km south to Danang center. The good thing is, regardless of where you are in the world, you can get here easily because these are both international airports to serve a variety of different countries.
And if you’re thinking of making a trip but don’t know what to do in Danang coastal city just yet, check out this article to get some really good inspirations!
Famous Tourist Attractions Non Nuoc Beach
On the outskirts of Danang – Hoa Hai Ward, Ngu Hanh Son District to be more specific stretches a white sandy beach named Non Nuoc. The site is quite famous for its breathtaking beauty and history during the War as an R&R terminus for American troops. Today, Non Nuoc coastland is home to high-end resort complexes and many entertainment facilities.
My Son Holy Land
My Son is located on Duy Xuyen District, some 70km west of Danang city, Quang Nam Province. The whole place is a stunning archaeological spot dating back over a millennium. The land on which it was built is a secluded forested valley. My Son Holy Land was the religious center as well as the former capital of the Cham Kingdom. Once upon a time, this culture-rich kingdom contained excessively of 70 styles of pagodas and temples.
The site has withstood the harshness of historical events. Now, over 20 structures are still quite intact. In 1999, it was stated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Visitors can get to My Son with a small fee every day and from 6.30am – 5.00pm.
The Marble Mountains – also known as Ngu Hanh Mountain or Five Elements Mountains, includes 5 impressive mountains named after 5 essential elements of the world: Metal, Wood, Water, Fire, and Earth. They actually a cluster of limestone hills and, as the name suggests, marble. It’s just 7km away from Danang city center.
The marvelous mountains contain numerous ancient caves and complex tunnel systems as well as Buddhist shrines. This is also why the mountains are considered a sacred land of Quang Nam Province. The site welcomes all travelers with a small fee and from 07:00 am – 05:00 pm daily, but the best time to visit should be 8:00 am – 11:00 am.
Also, at the foot of this magnificent mountain is the Non Nuoc Village that is renowned for stone carving. Visitors can observe some examples of their elaborate stonework in the workshops on the roadside around the Marble Mountains.
Son Tra Peninsula
The only rainforest that sticks out into the azure ocean from Danang city is the Son Tra Peninsula (a.k.a. the Tien Sa Mountain). The massive size of Son Tra is over 4,000ha containing many untouched coastlines along the peninsula together with some favorable viewpoints, making it one of the perfect getaways from the city.
The pristine picturesque place has all the elements any visitors would want to organize a picnic with fun activities. The unsullied jungle offers a fresh cool climate suiting to set up awesome adventure/exploring of the rich flora and fauna here. Though the admission is free and people can get here anytime, the best time to visit should be from 2pm-5.30 pm.
And while you’re at Son Tra Peninsula, you might as well make a stop at the Man Thai fishing village, whose location is just a short distance before the road leads up the hill. This village supplies seafood for most of the restaurants in the town. If you come here at around 6-7am, you’ll get to see morning rituals of fishermen returning after a night of offshore fishing.
Also, at Son Tra Peninsula, there’s a must-stop destination that is Linh Ung Pagoda, which houses a 69.7-meter high statue of Guan Yin – the Goddess of Mercy. This statue is not only Danang city’s unofficial symbol, but also the highest Guan Yin sculpture in Viet Nam.
Bún Thịt Nướng (Grilled Pork Vermicelli)
Also called Grilled Pork Noodle Salad, this yummy dish should be eaten with lots of vegetables. This is the type of delicacy you can’t just miss if you decide to visit Danang city. Aside from the traditional grilled pork, diners can add crunchy slices of “chả giò” (deep-fried eggrolls).
- Vermicelli rice noodles
- Vegetables: lettuce, cucumber, pickled daikon, bean sprouts, mint, basil, peanuts.
Bún Chả Cá (Grilled Fish Cake Noodle Soup)
The shorter names for this amazing dish are fish ball vermicelli, fish ball noodle soup, or fish cake noodle. You could say that a good part of Danang Cuisine is made up of noodles. And though this dish can be found anywhere in the country, Danang’s fish cake noodle is the most special one. If you haven’t tried this iconic dish, you haven’t visited Danang at all!
- Vermicelli rice noodles
- Fish: lizardfish, barracuda, mackerel
- Vegetables: pumpkin, tomato, cabbage, dried bamboo shoots, pineapple
Gỏi Cá Nam Ô (Nam O Raw Fish Salad)
Another name for this dish is Nam O Sashimi. Everything about this salad screams “Danang!” – from its origin (which is the Nam O fishing village at the foot of Hai Van Pass) to its ingredients (the veggies eaten with this salad dish include the forest leaves which grow exclusively on the Hai Van Pass).
The fish used for this curious dish is often herring and can be made raw or dried jerky. Our suggestion? – Never to miss this heritage dish!
- Fish: herring, pilchard, top fish anchovy, etc.
- Vegetables: forest leaves, chilies, etc.
- Sauce: boiled fish-water, Nam O fish sauce, etc.
This can be done with a rented motorbike or scooter. And if you already read Danang’s geographic position, you can see that Danang lies between two other famous UNESCO-listed Heritage Sites that are the Ancient city of Hue and the Old Town of Hoian. Both of which are conveniently not very far away from Danang center (about 100km north from Hue and 30km south to Hoian). So, you can ride there anytime.
And if you do plan to visit Hue, you can go there by taking the Hai Van pass. This spectacular mountain pass (which is 21km long!) links Danang and Hue while offering the most breathtaking ocean views. Or you can also reach Hue’s famous Lang Co beach with only leisure drive up over this pass from Danang city.
Don’t worry if you still want to go sightseeing at Hai Van pass but aren’t confident with your motorbike riding skills, for there’re also many tour companies out there that can assist you in conquering the Hai Van Pass.
This option is preserved in case you:
- Aren’t an adventurous type of person
- Don’t know what to do in Danang
- The financial condition permits it and that you choose to stay in a high-end hotel or resort
Then don’t hesitate to try out the various activities the place provides! For example, certain luxurious resort complexes offer the guests unforgettable experiences with its Dolphin Performance, eco-tours, safari, and many other unique leisure activities. Or if you are a golf lover, you can enjoy to play 06 amazing golf courses in Danang & Hoian: BRG Danang Golf Club, Montgomerie Links Vietnam, Ba Na Hills Golf Club, Laguna Lang Co Golf Resort, Vinpearl Golf Nam Hoian & New course: Hoiana Shores Golf Club.
Visitors arrive in the coastal city of Danang during certain special months will get to see cultural events held by the locals, listen to them retelling the legends of each festival, and enjoy the performances and foods here.
Lễ Hội Cầu Ngư (Whale Festival)
If you know the traditional career of the place you’re visiting is mainly fishing, then what else to do in Danang – a city by the sea – if not celebrating one of the region’s most typical events, the Whale Festival? For fishermen in this central coastal city, Cau Ngu Festival has long been the biggest, and most important event and that it attracts numerous foreign travelers visiting to enjoy the animated atmosphere.
The Whale festival is held for two days in the mid-March of lunar month every year to show the villagers’ gratitude and respect to Cá Ông (the Whale Deity), which is also believed to be the Sea God and Savior of men in trouble at sea. Local fishermen will pray to the Whale Deity for a safe, abundant fishing season as well as a peaceful life for those risking their lives on the sea.
Throughout the time this festival occurs, every family reverently place lots of offerings on their altars while the fishing vessels are adorned beautifully with colorful lamps and fresh flowers. The first day is for ceremonies and worshipping rituals; the second day is for recreations. After the ceremonies are finished on the second day, all locals and visitors can join in some traditional games and competitions such as regatta, swimming, tug of war, football, etc. There’re also many live performances of traditional plays and folk songs.
Lễ Hội Quán Thế Âm (Goddess of Mercy Festival)
This Buddhist festival celebrated annually on day 17th-19th of the second lunar calendar, right after the New Year festival. It takes place at Quan The Am Pagoda at the foot of the Metal Mountain (Kim Sơn) in the Marble Mountains area of Danang City. The event held to honor Quan The Am Bo Tat (Guan Yin/ Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva) and worship the spring season, while praying for prosperity and peace for the country as well as the whole world.
Like other traditional events, this religious festival also includes two parts: the ritual ceremony and the followed festivities. The ceremony is carried out in this order:
- Incense offering and sutra chanting
- Praying for peace happiness (to the living), for freedom from suffering, and resting in peace (to the late ones’ souls)
- Preaching sessions (regarding culture and arts)
- Quan The Am statue procession
Among many other exciting cultural activities, those that are most typical are boat race, “Light” procession, camping, Lantern festival (only at night-time), art performances and exhibitions, etc.
Lễ Hội Pháo Hoa Quốc Tế Đà Nẵng (Danang International Firework Festival)
Since Danang is the wonderful place where traditions meet innovations, it isn’t strange to see there’re new festivals invented and added to the long list of traditional events here. One of those new galas is the Danang International Firework Festival.
This colorful festival is annually organized from late April (before or on Vietnam’s National Reunification Holiday) to Middle or late June. For safety purposes as well as better visual effects, it usually takes place on the main street of Tran Hung Dao on the peaceful Han River’s eastern side.
Danang International Fireworks Festival has reinvented and redefined itself constantly in order to finally archive the title of World-class Cultural and Tourist Event.
This is a spectacular symphony of color, light, and sound, as the festival lights up Danang’s night skies with breathtaking series of fireworks performance. Teams and groups of pyrotechnic experts worldwide gather here to show off what they have carefully prepared for months in this festive contest. Spectators can look their fill because the festival now lasts for several weeks!
Festival goers can also find and enjoy a range of other activities, attractions, events and programs simultaneously taking place. Along Tran Hung Dao street and around Danang city, there will be a boat parade, Carnival street, art decorations, food festival, folk performances, Flash Mob contest, and various types of water sports.
So, what to do in Danang? The answer is simply “countless”. Let’s get itchy feet and visit this great romantic coastal city.