Located in the central Vietnam, roughly midway between Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, Da Nang’s strategic location was used to be the landing point of both the French and the Americans during their war with the Vietnamese. For a brief time during the war, Da Nang’s airport was the busiest in the world.
Today, Da Nang is Vietnam’s fourth largest city and one of the largest business center. With a major seaport, an international airport and its proximity to three UNESCO Heritage Site including Hue, Hoi An and My Son, making the city to be the great base for travelers to the Central region. However, Da Nang’s riverside boulevard, several attractions and friendly residents make it a wonderful city to stop by.
The Cham Museum housed in classical French colonial building hosts the world’s finest collection of Cham sculpture, much of it originating from the My Son site. The Marble Mountain, a cluster of five sacred marble and limestone rising from an otherwise flat plain. It’s possible to climb to the summit of one of the peaks, and it has become a huge tourist attraction. Get there early in the morning before the tour buses. The hundreds of narrow steps carved into the limestone are steep and often difficult to climb. A couple of caves along the way provide a cool break. The view of the surrounding plains and the sea is well worth the effort.
For beach lovers, the China Beach which became famous by the American television series of the same name. My Khe beach which is only a short southbound drive is reputed to be the “real” China beach. Or a few kilometers further south is Non Nuoc Beach which also claims its name for calm seas and clear blue water during four seasons.
Da Nang Bridge
Of all the bridges in the city, the most revered are the Rong (Dragon) bridge, a 166-metre, six-lane steel bridge designed to look like a dragon flying over the river, and the 731-metre Tran Thi Ly bridge in the shape of a giant sail. Both were opened in March 2013 and come alive at night when their array of coloured bulbs light up the city.
Every Friday and Saturday evening at 21:00 the dragon comes alive, breathing fire and water towards the east. It’s a spectacular display, and even if it’s just to absorb the energy of the atmosphere, it’s well worth timing your visit to Da Nang around this time of the week.
From Da Nang, it’s only take a short drive to explore the nearby famous tourist destination. The Hoi An ancient town is less than an hour’s drive by bus or motorbike, and makes an easy day trip. The former capital city of Hue lies about 100 km north via scenic Hai Van pass. You can take a minibus, hire a car and driver, or take the train.
The best time to travel here is from April to September, when it tends to be dry and hot. In winter, from October to March, the weather tends to be wet and hot.
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