Danang is a laidback coastal city bursting with stunning beaches, rolling mountains, and religious relics. Once considered a drop-off point for many of Vietnam’s smaller cities dotting the coast, Danang is now drawing in its own tourists to gawk at natural beauty and historical remnants. Here are 10 must-visit attractions.
Vietnam’s newly debuted Golden Bridge is popping up on screens around the world. Two giant stone hands jut out of the mountainside appearing to cradle a delicate strand of gold that is now packed with eager camera-wielding tourists. The bridge offers breathtaking panoramic views of the valley below as well as the rolling Trường Sơn mountains. This architectural marvel is suspended nearly 4,600 feet above sea level and was built to entice more tourists into Danang’s Bà Nà Hills. Mission definitely accomplished.
This mountain at the north end of Danang’s My Khe beach is nicknamed Monkey Mountain for the rare species of monkey that dwells inside the dense forests. Sơn Trà Mountain was a former U.S. Army base for radar and communications, with some of the radar domes still visible today. Tourists usually rent a scooter or hire a local to drive the steep, winding road to the peak to see the sprawling city and coastline in all its glory. Several local tour companies organize hikes up and around the mountain, where lucky tourists might catch a glimpse of some playful monkeys.
This fairtytale-like hill station is modeled on an old European city complete with castles, cobblestone streets, and beautiful courtyards. The complex also features Buddhist statues and temples built for entertainment only, which makes for a quirky combination of old East and West. To get to the top, visitors must ride the world’s longest cable car lift which offers spectacular scenery of the valley below. Temperatures atop the mountain are refreshingly cool and there are endless photo opportunities at this unique complex. Tickets to Bà Nà hills don’t come cheap but they are well worth the stunning views and long list of facilities to keep the whole family entertained for the day.
The Marble Mountains are a cluster of five mountains named after the earth’s elements: Kim (metal), Thuy (water), Moc (wood), Hoa (fire) and Tho (earth). The mountain accessible to tourists is Thuy, where a labyrinth of caves and passageways await exploration. There are several stunning pagodas and temples nestled in different areas of the mountain so it’s best to purchase a small map before embarking on the hike. The largest cave’s entrance is at the base of the mountain and is described as ‘hell’ by the locals; various creepy statues and engravings hidden inside this deep cave depict an afterlife of suffering and torture. Make sure to wear a pair of trainers with some grip – the marble steps are slippery and not suited for flip-flops.
Danang’s Museum of Cham Sculpture houses the world’s most extensive collection of ancient Cham relics. Champa was an ancient kingdom that flourished in southern Vietnam beginning in the 4th century. The Mỹ Sơn ruins are the former worship grounds for the kingdom and is a famous tourist destination in the country. If you’re looking to continue your education about these ancient peoples, definitely pay this museum a visit and spend a day soaking up fascinating knowledge about this archaic culture.
The most popular beach in Danang is also one of the cleanest and most beautiful. Clear waters lap the shore of a white-sand beach that is framed by picturesque mountains and dotted with umbrellas and chairs. The beach is also surrounded by restaurants offering fresh seafood and cold beers. My Khe is the place to try some adventurous water sports such as parasailing and jet-skiing or simply snap some gorgeous shots of one of Vietnam’s most gorgeous beaches. It’s best to visit My Khe in the morning or early afternoon to beat the crowds that pour in around 4 p.m.
Recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage site, the Mỹ Sơn Holy Site hosts the abandoned ruins of Vietnam’s ancient Champa civilization that once occupied southern Vietnam. Mỹ Sơn depicts intricate carvings of various Hindu gods and makes an informative, fascinating day trip. A tour with a knowledgeable guide is highly recommended so you get the most from the area. Only a few buildings remain as the majority were destroyed in a carpet-bombing campaign by the Americans during the war; there are large bomb craters still visible around the site. Don’t miss the opportunity to learn about this ancient kingdom and explore the overgrown ruins surrounded by mountains.
One of Danang’s most iconic symbols, this intricately designed bridge depicts a fire-breathing dragon heading toward the East Sea. It won a 2014 Diamond award for Engineering Excellence and weighs 8,164 tonnes and stretches an ominous 666 metres in length. The bridge is best seen during a walk alongside the river after the sun sets as the bridge gradually changes colour every few minutes. Not to mention it’s an excellent backdrop for a good Instagram pic.
While frolicking in the clear waters of My Khe beach, you might notice a gigantic white statue nestled in the mountain at the far end of the beach. It is the stunning 67-meter tall Lady Buddha majestically looking out over Da Nang Bay. Legend says the Lady Buddha provides protection to fishermen who venture out into rough seas and provides them safe passage. Aside from this gorgeous sculpture, the pagoda itself is one of the largest in the city, featuring a curved roof and pillars surrounded by dragon statues.
Art in Paradise is a fantastic 3D art museum perfect for anyone looking to escape the midday heat or taking refuge during a rainy day in Danang. The museum is separated into nine different zones distinguished by various themes, all created over a period of four months by 20 Korean artists. Their skill has resulted in some jaw-dropping works of intricate trick art that make for an entertaining afternoon for the whole family, not to mention some great pictures!