Danang

Dragon Bridge in Danang: A Bridge That Breathes Fire and Spews Water

The Dragon Bridge (Vietnamese spelling: cầu Rồng) is the de facto symbol of Da Nang and  most iconic bridge in all Vietnam. If you’re off to the shorefront of My Khe Beach or heading from Danang International Airport, you’re bound to cross paths with the Dragon. 

Dragon Bridge is best appreciated from the numerous vantage angles along the river’s edge, including cafe restaurants and hotel rooftop lounges. The best time to view the Dragon is at night when 15 000 LED lights change from color to color, or Saturdays when it breathes fire. 

Enter the Dragon

Vietnamese Water Puppets Riding a Dragon
Vietnamese Water Puppets Riding a Dragon
[ by Paul Mannix from Flickr ]

In Eastern mythology, the dragon remains closer to its origins as a giant water serpent. The Greek root of the word is ‘drakon’ which means seafish or serpent. Dragons were often associated with rains, typhoons, and storms. 

Unlike legends in the West, eastern dragons can transform into other creatures and even into human beings. The dragon is associated with imperial royalty and connotes strength, virtue, and immutable natural law. 

Design and Construction of Da Nang Dragon Bridge 

The Dragon Bridge was built to celebrate the 38th anniversary of the liberation of Danang which began with the Tet Offensive of January 30, 1969. It officially opened on March 29, 2013. 

It was designed, nonetheless, by the US-based Ammann & Whitney Consulting Engineers and the Louis Berger Group, in cooperation with a number of Vietnamese national engineering corporations. It’s received a number of prestigious awards

Coincidentally or otherwise, the Dragon Bridge of Da Nang has some compelling facts and figures. It’s 666 meters long and cost 88 million dollars. The triple six, in some eastern cultures, is considered fortuitous, as is the lucky 88. 

Location and Getting to Da Nang Dragon Bridge 

Dragon Bridge and Danang Foreshore
Dragon Bridge and Danang Foreshore
[ by Person-with-No Name from Flickr ]

This most famous bridge is in a direct line and route to Da Nang International Airport. From above it appears like the dragon snake is flying across the river and towards the ocean. The bridge road toward the sea is Võ Văn Kiệt, and toward the airport it’s Nguyễn Văn Linh. 

Coming from afar, especially from Hoi An, the Dragon Bridge is often included in a typical tour itinerary. Tours to Marble Mountain and / or the Son Tra Peninsula will often stop by the bridge for some photo sessions.  

Locally, it’s easy and relatively inexpensive to get to the bridge from anywhere in Danang town by bike or taxi. The bus stop is the Da Nang Museum of Cham Sculpture (Bảo tàng Điêu khắc Chăm Đà Nẵng) stop.

Da Nang Dragon Bridge Show Times 

Dragon Fire on Ocean Side of the Bridge
Dragon Fire on Ocean Side of the Bridge
[ by Robson Hatsukami Morgan from Unsplash ]

If you want to see the Dragon fire breathing show, then you’ll have to be around on Saturday night around 9 p.m. The bridge is temporarily closed off to traffic and mostly young crowds gather on the ocean side for the thrilling spectacle. 

For kids, it’s fun to be on the bridge, but be careful about getting too close to the Dragon head. When it spews water you may get drenched and afterward smell like dragon breath (or gasoline). The ocean side by River Park near DHC Marina is the best place for ground views. 

Note: For the duration of the Covid Pandemic or until further notice, the fire breathing is suspended, as is the swinging of the Han River Bridge (cầu sông Hàn). 

Best View Point of Da Nang Dragon Bridge 

This multiple award-winning bridge still captures the imagination of photographers all around the world, so you may want to snap that amazing shot yourself. 

  • Along the Bach Dang Boardwalk, especially at night. 
  • Venues like Bamboo 2 on Bach Dang Str. from upper floors. 
  • Hotel rooftop lounges such as Brilliant Hotel. 
  • Du Thuyền Tàu Rồng Sông Hàn pier coffee shop. 
  • River Park and DHC Marina on the ocean side. 
  • Along the way to Craft Beer Euro Village nearby. 
  • Form the decks of day or night boat cruises.

View all locations mentioned here

Things to Do and See Nearby 

If you’re into photography, you’ll want to capture all sides and angles of Dragon Bridge. It is, after all, one of the most iconic structures of Vietnam. For some people, however, it’s just a bridge— and that’s what it is, but you can get the full experience stopping by restaurants, cafes, and other attractions with a good view. 

Danang Cham Museum 

Danang Cham Museum
[ by Gary Todd from Flickr ]

If you’re just going to look at the bridge, it doesn’t actually take that long, so a great Dragon Bridge Day itinerary filler is the Cham Museum. It’s just on the intersection at the downtown side of the bridge. 

It’s not a big museum, but it has some really old and interesting artefacts. The ancient Cham Empire spread as far as Hue, and their remnants are an important part of the history of southern Vietnam. 

Han River Cruise Pier 

This pier is kind of opposite and across from the museum. You can buy tickets here for cruises at Han River at Du Thuyền Tàu Rồng Sông Hàn. It’s a short walk down and to the right as you face towards the ocean side. The view of the bridge here is more of a wide angle. There’s also a coffee shop where you can relax and casually take in the dragon view. 

DHC Marina and River Park

View from DHC Marina and River Park
View from DHC Marina and River Park
[ by QuangAnh1986 from Pixabay ]

No visit to the Dragon Bridge is complete unless you actually walk the Dragon. Fear not because there’s plenty of pedestrian room along the sides. When you walk across the bridge from downtown, to your left on the other side, is another pier and marina. 

River Park before the pier has some great ground views and shots of the bridge, especially at night and for the fire breathing on Saturday. The DHC Marina is also where you’ll find a water-spouting baby dragon statue. 

It’s kind of reminiscent of the Merlion in Singapore, except that it’s actually a carp dragon. This relates to the legend of the carp that transforms into a dragon, or vice versa, which is a story often told at water puppet theatres. 

At the DHC Marine, there are some souvenir shops and public restrooms. At the shops, you can buy love padlocks to bind your passion to the rails along the river. Private tour boats stop here as well as some of the bigger dinner cruise boats. 

Draft Beer Euro Village 

View of Dragon Bridge near Euro Beer Village
View of Dragon Bridge near Euro Beer Village
[ by Quangpraha from Pixabay ]

If you’d like a bevvie with your view, head on over to the beer village. You can see the signpost to the Draft Beer Euro Village as you look to your right, and it’s about 250 meters away. 

There are some great relaxing views here, and a nice spot to chill out at night and watch the dragon transform through its different hues. The beer here is some of the best you can get in Danang, but the service is often sub-par. 

Fat Fish Restaurant 

If you’re looking for some dinner or lunch nearby, either before or after your Dragon viewing, the Fat Fish Restaurant has excellent food and personable staff. It’s actually the first craft beer establishment in the city, and one of the top recommended Danang restaurants on Tripadvisor. They’re open from 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. all days. 

Fat Fish is about 200 meters down from the marina, across the road. There is no view of the bridge here, but it’s well worth the food. If you can handle your drink, then you can always go to the beer village afterward. 

Son Tra Night Market 

From the ocean side of the bridge straight ahead and down a little you will come to a small night market. It opens from about 6 p.m but it’s more of a local market rather than a tourist market. There are also kids’ rides here and lots of noise. 

Other Worthy Bridges and Han River Boat Tours

Night View of Tran Thy Li Bridge
Night View of Tran Thy Li Bridge
[ by Tycho from CC ]

From the mouth of the Han River at the Bay of Da Nang, the Dragon Bridge is the third bridge. The first bridge, Thuan Phuoc Bridge (cầu Thuận Phước), is across the mouth of the bay and is the longest suspension bridge in Vietnam. 

The next bridge is the Han River Bridge which is a cable swing bridge the swivels open to allow bigger ships through. It swings at 11 p.m. on weekends. 

After Dragon Bridge is the colorful Tran Thy Li Bridge (cầu Trần Thị Lý) with its pylons shaped like the mast of a ship. Both these latter two bridges can be seen from the Dragon Bridge vantage point. 

Cruises and tours by day and by night provide great views of all these bridges, although night cruises are the most colorful. Tours can be booked at Du Thuyền Tàu Rồng Sông Hàn pier opposite the Cham Museum. You can also book online or through an agent.

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