- Top Things To Do in Danang
- 1. Marble Mountain Temple Caves: The Best Thing to Do in Danang
- 2. Redshank Monkeys and Son Tra Peninsula
- 3. Linh Ung Pagoda and The Lady Buddha
- 4. Ba Na Hills Extravaganza
- 5. Waterslides Pools and Spas at Nui Than Tai Hot Springs Park
- 6. My Son World Heritage Sanctuary
- 7. Seafood BBQ and Cham Island Diving
- 8. World Class Top Golfing Courses
- 9. A Day Trip to Ancient Hoi An
- 10. Family Fun at Sun World Danang Wonders
- 11. A Thrill Day of Watersports
- 12. Sun Out on My Khe Beach
- 13. Surf and Chill on Pham Van Dong Beach
- 14. Join a Cooking Class
- 15. Unwind Along Hai Van Pass to Lang Co Beach
- 16. Travel Back 1000 Years at Cham Museum
- 17. Enjoy a Day In a Spa
- 18. Laughs at Art Paradise 3D Museum
- 19. The Charming Danang Show
- 20. The 5th Military Division Museum
- 21. Dress Local with Ao Dai Rental
- 22. Stroll along Bach Dang Riverside Boardwalk
- 23. Walk The Dragon Bridge
- 24. Han River Night Cruise Illumination
- 25. Party the Night While Danang is Young
- Getting Around Danang: Car and Taxi
- Getting Around Danang: Motorbikes and Bicycles
Danang (Vietnamese spelling: Đà Nẵng) is the central jewel of Vietnam. It’s located just below the Truong Son mountain range (dãy Trường Sơn) which separates Danang from Hue (Huế) city to the north. Danang International Airport offers an alternative entry point for exploring Vietnam. In the often stressed out world of mass tourism, it’s a more relaxed alternative. Apart from the many fun things to do in Danang, there is also easy access to popular attractions in Hue and Hoi An (Hội An) cities.
Top Things To Do in Danang
Apart from miles of relatively unspoilt beaches, the best things to do in Danang include the Marble Mountains just outside the city, a day at the Ba Na Hills amusement resort with spectacular cable car rides, the Nui Than Tai hot springs and waterpark, and three of the best golf courses in Asia.
There are many water sports to enjoy, some of the best seafood in Vietnam, and numerous popular cafes. For natural scenery, you can explore the Son Tra Peninsula and maybe get a glimpse of rare redshank monkeys.
1. Marble Mountain Temple Caves: The Best Thing to Do in Danang
Marble Mountain consists of five marble limestone hills about 8 km outside Danang along the coastal road to Hoi An. The main attraction is a series of typical cave temples and Non Nuoc Pagoda (Chùa Non Nước) on the top overlooking the flat plain below.
Emperor Minh Mang (Hoàng đế Minh Mạng) named the five hilltops Ngu Hanh Son (Ngũ Hành Sơn) after the five sacred elements, and this place was a popular destination for royalty and elites from Hue.
You can easily spend half a day exploring the main hilltop footpaths and visiting the caves. Inside you’ll find various Buddhist shrines and other alters where you can experience an intense spiritual ambience and the play of light through cave roof holes.
There are locations on the mountain where you can buy drinks and snacks, and also an elevator to the top. Below are many shops selling marble or granite carvings, semi precious gemstone ornaments, and trinkets.
2. Redshank Monkeys and Son Tra Peninsula
Son Tra Peninsula is great for a lazy half day of sighting and enjoying some splendid views. The first stop on the way up is the Lady Buddha Pagoda, but to enjoy the Peninsula more, Linh Ung Pagoda (Chùa Linh Ứng) can be left for another day.
Apart from various great vistas of the turquoise waters and rugged sea cliffs, you can stop off at the ancient Banyan Tree (Cây đa Sơn Trà) and a small lighthouse (Hải đăng Sơn Trà). If it’s sunny out, relax in the tranquil bay of Bai Bac Beach (Bãi Bắc)—one of the most beautiful beaches in Danang.
Son Tra Monkey Pass (Đèo Khỉ Sơn Trà) takes you through the middle of the Peninsula to Ban Co Peak (đỉnh Bàn Cờ) with great views of Danang city. If you’re lucky, you might see the rare Red Shanked Monkey, for which Son Tra is a protected reserve. You can also see a giant Confusious playing oriental chess, or visit some small pagodas along the way.
3. Linh Ung Pagoda and The Lady Buddha
Linh Ung Pagoda (Chùa Linh Ứng) is one of the must see places and things to do in Danang. From anywhere along the Danang shoreline you can view its 67 meter high Lady Budhha statue. This vast modern complex is testimony to the resurgence of a vibrant Budhhist culture in Vietnam in tune with traditional architectural design.
There are some stunning viewing spots of Danang city along the way as the road winds part way up the Son Tra Peninsula. You can enjoy the many beautiful gardens with bonsai and seasonal flowers, go up the pagoda tower, and there’s a gift shop that sells drinks and ice creams. Sometimes you can see monkeys around at the lower end of the Lady Buddha statue.
You have to go there by car, tour van, taxi, Grab, or rent a motorbike. A taxi may cost around VND200,000, but some people like to rent a bicycle or even take a hiking challenge.
4. Ba Na Hills Extravaganza
Sunworld Ba Na Hills Fantasy World is one of the top rated attractions in all of Vietnam. This theme park and resort is set in the cool hillsides of An Son Village (thôn An Sơn) some 20 km outside of Danang. From the ground station, you take an impressive cable car ride to the tabletop at 1 487 meters above sea level.
There’s a ton of things to do in the Ba Na Hills. Attractions include the famous 150m Golden Bridge Walk through giant terracotta hands, and Fantasy Park indoor theme world with numerous rides and fun activities—including indoor rock climbing. There’s a Funicular ride outdoors, Alpine roller coaster, French gardens, a quartz cave, or even visit the Linh Phong Pagoda and Holy Mother Shrine (Miếu Bà).
Attractions, shops, and eateries are housed in buildings with French architectural styles. There’s also a four star hotel that serves the resort. The best way to get there is by private car, tour, or a shuttle bus. You can take a motorbike, but make sure you’re an excellent navigator.
5. Waterslides Pools and Spas at Nui Than Tai Hot Springs Park
Nothing can get you out and relax for a day like a trip to Nui Than Tai Hot Springs Park (Công viên Suối khoáng nóng Thần Tài). This premium hot spring resort of Danang is about an hour drive away due southeast below the Ba Na Hills. It’s designed as an eco-park and lies in Ba Na – Nui Chua Nature Reserve (Khu bảo tồn thiên nhiên Bà Nà – Núi Chúa).
Here you can enjoy the day relaxing in nature hotspring baths, mud baths, jacuzzi, or swim in pools and the wave lake. There are fun activities for kids and adults such as the waterslide park, a dinosaur park, BBQ area, orchid garden, and even a mini football court.
The standard entrance fee is 350,000 VND or about 15 USD. A round trip private car for the day can cost between 30 to 40 USD, or there are shuttle bus tours for around 15 USD. There are various private spas like the herbal bath, wine bath, tea both, and more. There’s a buffet restaurant, and also the Ebisu Hotel.
6. My Son World Heritage Sanctuary
My Son Sanctuary (Thánh địa Mỹ Sơn) is a collection of mostly temple ruins that were at the center of the ancient Cham (Chăm) Empire that stretched throughout most of southern Vietnam.
If you’re interested in historical and religious sites, then My Son is a place you shouldn’t miss. The best way to visit it is to book a guided day tour. It takes just over an hour or so by motor vehicle.
You can experience some eight centuries of this ancient Hindu culture including royal tombs, and temples still housing Shiva deities and ancient lingams. There are about 71 standing structures in eight clusters built in characteristic red brick with intricate bas-relief carvings along the edges.
7. Seafood BBQ and Cham Island Diving
Cham Islands (Cù lao Chàm) are a small cluster of islets a 15-minute boat ride from Hoi An. They are a popular day outing activity from either Danang or Hoi An. Tours often include a stop over at Marble Mountain or some sightseeing in Hoi An city.
Alternatively, you can get there on your own and then take a public ferry. Be careful to check the last ferry which can change according to season or the weather.
If you take a tour you can also do some diving and snorkeling, and often a seafood barbeque is part of the deal. The waters are really clear, just as the beaches are clean, but the small coral reefs are not as good as places like Nha Trang.
The main island Hon Lao (Hòn Lao), is fairly large and you can rent a motorbike to go around. There are various historic Cham sites around and temples, but most people come to enjoy the beach, the seafood, and browsing around the village stores.
8. World Class Top Golfing Courses
If you’re a golfer, one of the best things to do in Danang is to spend a day or so on one of its world class golf courses. One of these is the BRG Danang Golf Course. Designed by Aussie golf legend Gregg Norman, this is one of the most acclaimed courses in Asia.
It’s along the scenic coast half way between Danang and Hoi An just down from Marble Mountain. Day visitors are welcome, there’s full equipment hire, and you can play 9-18-27-36 hole courses.
Right next door is the Montgomery Links Course at the Pullman Resort which was voted by Vietnam Golf Magazine as Vietnam’s Best Championship Course 2013. If you prefer a cooler location, you can enjoy a game at the Ba Na Hills Golf Club course designed by Luke Donald.
9. A Day Trip to Ancient Hoi An
There’s just as much to do in Hoi An (Hội An) as Danang, but if you don’t have time to stay over, you should at least spend a day there. There are many tours from Danang, and some include the popular Marble Mountain caves. Alternatively, it’s only 45 minutes by motorbike and the coastal highway is pretty good.
Hoi An is one of the most picturesque and beautiful towns in Vietnam. The old town is a listed world heritage site and has many wooden framed shop fronts with walls painted in bright yellow. You can spend the day browning some really nice souvenir and boutique stores— with much better shopping options than Danang.
There are also some unique Doaist temples with giant spiralling incense coils, and you can take a break in an antique coffee shop. Perfect vacation photo opportunities abound, and the most charming time is during any full moon on the 14th Lunar day of each month when the lanterns are lit up.
10. Family Fun at Sun World Danang Wonders
Previously known as Asia Park, Sun World Danang Wonders is home to the giant ferris wheel that lights up the Danang skyline. In recent times the park has not been exceedingly popular, but now it’s under the same management corporation as the Ba Na Hills.
In early 2020 it was under renovation scheduled to reopen by the summer. This park has included a rollercoaster, other high thrill rides, as well as rides suitable for young children, a games center, and more.
This is a fun place to go if you have young kids or teenagers, or if you need a break from being a tourist. The ferris wheel also has some of the best night skyline views in Danang.
11. A Thrill Day of Watersports
Apart from the two surfing or paddle boarding rentals, there are other water sports to do in Danang. Heading south down My Khe Beach (bãi biển Mỹ Khê) you’ll come to the Dana Beach Complex where you can make a booking for various fun activities on the water. The exclusive resorts around Danang also offer many water sport activities, especially the Pullman Resort.
Things you can do are parasailing, jetski, banana boat, wakeboarding, or you can rent a speedboat. Prices are fairly reasonable and depend on the number of people in your group. Parasailing can be done at an individual price.
12. Sun Out on My Khe Beach
The east coast side of Danang is miles and miles of unspoilt sandy beach. Fortunately, most developments are kept away from the beach, so you can also enjoy walking or jogging along the beachfront boardwalk, or relax in one of the shady park zones.
If you head over the Dragon Beach and continue down Vo Van Kiet street (đường Võ Văn Kiệt) to the shoreline, you’ll come to the main part of My Khe beach. To the right are quieter areas with thatched umbrellas along the way and a surfboard rental shop. To the left you’ll find a stretch of beachfront cafes and restaurants.
My Khe beach has quite a history. It was the place where the first American troops landed during the occupation, and they nicknamed it China Beach. It was also voted some time back as one of the six best beaches in the world by Forbes magazine.
13. Surf and Chill on Pham Van Dong Beach
Continue up My Khe Beach, or along the Vo Nguyen Giap Boulevard (đại lộ Võ Nguyên Giáp), in the direction of the Lady Buddha, and you’ll come to Pham Van Dong Beach (bãi biển Phạm Văn Đồng). There are some nice shady areas along the shorefront here and places along the beach with deck beds and umbrellas.
There are also change rooms, toilets, and showers to be found. If you walk up the beach some way, you will eventually come to the Danang Surf School where you can take some surf lessons, and rent a surfboard or stand up paddle board.
If you want to stroll all the way up the beach, after about 3.5 km you’ll come to a small bay. A lot of local fishing boats park in the waters here as well as bamboo baskets used to get out to the boats. It’s a great location for some interesting photography.
14. Join a Cooking Class
Danang is famous for its fresh and plentiful seafood, and its many seafood restaurants along the shorefront. Nobody should leave Danang without indulging it’s seafood, but one of the nicests things to do in Danang is to join a friendly cooking class and try your hand at a few local dishes.
There are many Danang’s specialties such as My Quang (mì quảng) rice flour noodles served in different kinds of seafood or meat broths. Another is Bun Cha Ca (bún chả cá) or various kinds of ground fish cakes served in a broth with cabbage, pumpkin, and pineapple.
If you join a cooking class you might learn to make various noodle dishes or things such as Banh Xeo (bánh xèo) savory pancakes. Cooking tours often include visits to local village markets, and some also cater to vegans and vegetarians.
15. Unwind Along Hai Van Pass to Lang Co Beach
A trip to Lang Co Beach (bãi biển Lăng Cô) is the perfect opportunity to experience the scenic and winding Hai Van Pass (đèo Hải Vân) on the way to Hue. Hai Van pass takes you along and through the Truong Son mountain range which is the geographic dividing line between Hue and Danang.
The road, famous for its hairpin bends, is about 21 km through lush forests with stunning views of Danang Bay and the southern coastline. The rocky shores and tight bays eventually give way to the wide expanse of Lang Co Bay and its sparkling sea lagoon.
There are various full or half day tours you can book, or you take hire a private car and driver. Motorbike tours are popular too, and since the opening of the alternative route through the Hai Van Tunnel in 2005, it’s a lot safer. From November through to March, the weather on the northern side can be quite cold and wet.
16. Travel Back 1000 Years at Cham Museum
Museum of Cham Sculpture (Bảo tàng Điêu khắc Chăm) is a small museum on the corner of a busy downtown intersection right next to the Dragon Bridge. Most of the artefacts are of Hindu pantheon gods and sacred animals made from sandstone and terra cotta.
You can see artefacts and building stoneworks dating from the seventh to the fifteenth centuries and get an amazing insight into the Cham people and their ancient civilization that dominated much of southern Vietnam.
The yellow brick building was opened in 1919 as a museum by French archeologists and the complex gained extensions in the 1930’s, and again in 2002.
17. Enjoy a Day In a Spa
Danang is the quintessential local tourist town rather than a bustling metropolis. It doesn’t boast countless historical monuments like Hue, but it’s a gem for ordinary holiday makers. You can immediately sense it’s peaceful, laid back vibe with miles of chilled out beach front.
Danang is also famous for its many exclusive resorts, but even in the main town you can indulge in various spa treatments. Make sure not to leave Danang unless fully rejuvenated.
Some of the best spas in Danang include a mud spa, hot stone therapy, bamboo massage, traditional Vietnamese and Thai massages, Himalayan rock saunas, or herbal spas with an array of aesthetically pleasing interior designs, or places for outdoor relaxation. For the complete spa experience, you can take a trip out of town to the Nui Than Tai Hotspring Park.
18. Laughs at Art Paradise 3D Museum
This museum is not such a well known attraction, but it’s a real fun thing to do in Danang for children or experiencing your inner kid while on vacation. Following in the footsteps of similar ventures in other countries, this unique to Danang experience has over 130 amazing 3D art pieces hand painted by artists from Korea.
You can marvel at the 3D illusions or become part of them yourself. Immerse yourself into famous stories, the ocean, the jungle, or become an Egytptian pharaoh. You can catch it all on camera and share your super cool vacation pics. It’s easy to get there by taxi and entrance fees vary according to age and height for children.
19. The Charming Danang Show
This local cabaret show was piloted by the Department of Tourism with the collaboration of top local artists and performers. The show incorporates different ethnic costumes, folks songs, dance, and stories. You can enjoy a full display of traditional Ao Dai dress, and various elements from Cham culture.
They have a mid afternoon and early evening show and tickets. The show lasts for 70 minutes, and although well worth it, the usual tickets are a bit pricey at 35 USD.
20. The 5th Military Division Museum
For a full-blown experience of military history and revolution in Vietnam, The 5th Military Division Museum (Bảo tàng Quân khu 5) is an interesting place to explore the past, or for those who just love military museums.
Outdoor displays feature original tanks, aircraft, and weaponry dating from the first French and American wars. Inside the large building are around 12 showrooms of various military artefacts including hundreds of photographs, documents, and personal paraphernalia.
Next door there’s also a museum to Ho Chi Minh and a replica of his official residence, but it’s closed on Mondays and Fridays. Tickets for both places can be purchased at the door and are relatively inexpensive at 40 000d each, and you may have to pay an extra 10 000d to take pictures.
21. Dress Local with Ao Dai Rental
Ao Dai (áo dài) is the traditional dress of Vietnam. Vietnam’s national dress has a long history and has undergone various evolutionary design changes. The establishment of a national costume or dress code was first dictated by the Nguyen lord Phuc Khoat (Nguyễn Phúc Khoát) back in 1744.
Ao Dai are mostly worn for formal occasions, national events, new year celebrations, or by shop staff and receptionists. There are Ao Dai for both men, women, and children. Some Ao Dai rental shops will do indoor photo shoots for you.
If you want to go outside, you usually have to pay a little more and also a refundable deposit. Danang always has a relaxed holiday vibe and her sidewalks are quite pedestrian friendly.
22. Stroll along Bach Dang Riverside Boardwalk
Danang is partly situated on the Han River (sông Hàn) which empties into the Bay of Danang. A casual thing to do in Danang is to take a stroll along the riverfront boardwalk, especially in the evening. The best part of the boardwalk extends between the Dragon Bridge to the Han River Bridge, with the Vincom Center on the other side.
Fortunately, Bach Dang street (đường Bạch Đằng) which runs alongside is only one way. Walk across and there are numerous restaurants, coffee shops, ice cream parlors, and boutiques. Other popular eateries and some pubs are situated on the side streets. At night you can admire the changing light displays on the bridges and take some prime pics too.
23. Walk The Dragon Bridge[by QuangAnh1986 from Pixabay]
There are a number of iconoclastic bridges over the Han River. The Dragon Bridge is the more recent of these and the local favorite. Just before you cross, on the right hand side, is the Cham Museum. Continue towards the sea and you will come to My Khe beach.
Apart from its unique design based on a Le Dynasty motif, the Dragon also breathes fire. This happens Saturday and Sunday evening at 9 pm when the bridge is temporarily closed and young crowds gather. It’s an impressive display and afterwards the Dragon also spews water.
At night, the Son Tra Night Market starts right next to the bridge to the right. Along the left bank is the DC Marina where boat tours leave from. On the pier there’s a souvenir shop, and you can secure love locks to the handrail gates.
24. Han River Night Cruise Illumination
Being a young and vibrant city, Danang enjoys a flashy lightshow. One of the best things to do in Danang at night is cruise along the Han River where each distinctive bridge vies for your attention.
The Dragon Bridge is 666 meters long and has some 15 000 LED lights that cycle the bridge through different color hues. The Han River Bridge was the first cable swing bridge in Vietnam, and the suspension cables light up in a pyramid shape.
Other sites along the way include the Asia Park Sun Wheel, which was the world’s fourth largest ferris wheel at its opening in 2014. There are various tour options to choose from. Some include a full dinner course with traditional dancing and singing. Other boat tours may include visiting other city night spots by motorbike.
25. Party the Night While Danang is Young
Trendy night spots come and go, but a few good favorites have stood the test of time.
One is the WaterFront Restaurant Bar— a lively eatery with both local and western cuisine, and a sports bar on the top floor. It faces the Han River half way between the Dragon and Han River bridges on the town side.
Just further back down the road you’ll come to the Bamboo Bar II which is one of liveliest expat bars in town. They have plenty of burgers, pizzas, sandwiches, and local favorites on their menu.
For something more energetic, there’s the famous New Phuong Dong Club which is one of the largest and most extravagant in Vietnam. The popular SKy36 Club occupies the three upper levels of the Novotel Danang Premier Hotel. Drinks are rather pricey, but the views are great.
A more chilled spot is the Brilliant Hotel Roof Bar— just a block up from the WaterFront restaurant.
Getting Around Danang: Car and Taxi
Getting around Danang is fairly easy and stress free. The roads are much wider and less congested than most other big cities, and pavements are more pedestrian friendly. It’s fairly easy to hail a taxi along the street. Taxis are all metered, and you’re not likely to be overcharged.
A number of major taxi companies also have mobile applications with English language interfaces. In this way you can get a taxi to your pick up point without having to speak or know any Vietnamese. To register you need to be able to receive a text message locally on your phone, and any email account.
An alternative to a taxi is Grab Corporation. Grab is the regional equivalent of Uber, but in many ways much better. You can order different types of private taxi cars at different prices, and you can also rent a driver by the hour. They also have basic help and support in English. Alternatively, often your hotel can arrange a private car rental, but it may cost more.
If you’re planning a day trip to Hoi An, the Son Tra Peninsula, Hai Van Pass, or a day out in Hue, the best option would be to take a private or group tour.
Getting Around Danang: Motorbikes and Bicycles
If you just need to get around locally a Grab motorbike taxi is a good choice for one or two people (single riders only). Motorbikes are also relatively inexpensive to rent for a day or more, and you can reserve or order bikes including online.
Deals depend on the company or website, but a scooter for the day is as little as 6 USD you will need to show your passport, national and international driving license. For a scooter or a 50cc you do not require a license.
Bicycle rentals and even electric bicycles are also a popular choice for exploring Danang. Many guest houses and hostels may provide free bikes to their guests, but there are also numerous bicycle rentals available. Bicycles are not that much cheaper than motorbikes to rent, and a good mountain bike can cost up to 13 USD per day.