Da Nang is the third largest city in Vietnam and the biggest city along the coast of Vietnam. It is the commercial and educational center of central Vietnam and is growing faster than any other city in South East Asia, so fast that the Da Nang Airport is getting a brand new International terminal to help deal with the influx of tourists. In the Vietnam War, the US Military used Da Nang beach as an R&R getaway for soldiers. It was popularized by the hit 90s American TV series China Beach that depicted Da Nang as a white sand, blue watered haven.
If you ask any Vietnamese person where the best place to live in Vietnam is, they will invariably say Da Nang. This is because of its proximity to the beach, its wide open roads, its few cars and its year-round climate that is perhaps a little more stable than the far north or south. Basically Da Nang is a big little city that is growing at a substantial rate.
Many tourists choose to leave Da Nang off their itinerary and catch a taxi straight to Hoi An, not realizing how much the city can offer. If you have a couple of days to spend in Da Nang there are plenty of things to entertain you. Something as simple as Da Nang Easyrider will allow you to experience Da Nang and Son Tra peninsula by bike.
While Hoi An may exude historical houses and charm, Da Nang is perhaps a little more authentic ‘Vietnamese city life.’ Unlike the other bigger cities in Vietnam, its people are still wide eyed when seeing tourists. Walk or ride a bike around Da Nang and you will be greeted wherever you go.
Perhaps what most sets Da Nang apart from any other city in the world is its 30 km long, white sand beach. Virtually deserted in the day, you can spend the entire day laying on a sun lounger without being bothered by hawkers or tourists.
As the city grows so do the number of bars, restaurants and cafes. Although you will find hundreds of great seafood restaurants to choose from, there are now also pizza, Indian, Thai, American and other Western eateries.
To really enjoy Da Nang, you need transport. This is not a walking city. Hire a bicycle or motorbike for the day and brave the streets. There is so much to see in the central city as well as four spectacular bridges that cross the Han River to the beach side. One of the newer bridges (Dragon Bridge) breathes actual fire once a month.
Take a drive to the beach and then follow the coast up to Son Tra Peninsula to many seafood restaurants on secluded beaches. Da Nang is also located within several UNESCO World Heritage Sites including the Imperial City of Hue, Hoi An Old Town, and the My Son Ruins.
For a slice of big city life with small city charm, visit Da nang.