Danang travel guide
Danang is the third-largest city in Vietnam. It sits on a large, sheltered bay, making it an excellent harbor
and shipping port. The War resulted in the creation of a large air base here, but few signs remain.
When Hoi An’s harbor began silting in the 18th century, shipping traffic moved to Danang. The French had a concession here from the late 19th century. When Vietnam was partitioned after World War II, Danang ended up on the South Vietnamese side, but was only 200 km/120 miles away from the former DMZ (demilitarized zone). During the Vietnamese-American War, the nearby China Beach became well-known as a rest and relaxation site for American military personnel. The city also became a destination for refugees fleeing the communist North. The city was “liberated” on March 29, 1975.
Getting There & Away
Danang is a transportation hub in the area. If you want to go to Hoi An you will likely go through Danang.
The airport is really close to the city. You can take a taxi for $2 to town. It should cost $10-$15 to go on to Hoi An.
The train station is also close to town and costs about $2 by taxi. It should cost $10-$15 to go on to Hoi An.
The long-distance bus station is just past the train station. Open tour buses drop you at the Cham Museum or their in-town offices.
Danang is too spread-out for much walking. Your best bet is to rent a bicycle ($2 per day) or a motorbike ($6-$10 per day) at your hotel or a tour agency.
Car rentals will run about $25 per day, but driving is risky and chaotic.
Where to Eat
There are plenty of decent restaurants in the area. Here are some choices to start.
Bamboo Bar, 11 Bach Dang, On the river, with decent food, cheap beer, and music some evenings. They can also help with bike hires and tour arrangements.
Hana Kim Dinh, 15 Bach Dang. This is a floating restaurant, just north of the Han Bridge. It serves a good mix of Asian and Western food, and is not as expensive as it looks.
What to See & Do in Danang
Few people (except some American military who served in the area) come to Danang for the sights. They come to visit surrounding areas (China Beach, Marble Mountains), or they stop here en route to or from the DMZ. Or they use Danang as the entry point to Hué or Hoi An. Still, there are a few sights worth a day of your time.
The Cham Museum
The ChamMuseum, located at 1 Duong 2 Thang 9, is small, but well worth seeing. Visiting here before you go to the Cham ruins at My Son provides historical and cultural perspective. The museum is open every day and charges a small admission fee. There are terracotta figures displayed in a courtyard garden, and numerous other artifacts throughout the museum.
The Coa Dai Temple
The temple, located at 63 Hai Phong, was built in 1956. It is the second-most important temple (after Tay Ninh).
Day-Trips from Danang
China Beach, and many other beaches (Red Beach, Non Nuoc, all the way south to Hoi An), is the main reason many people give Danang more than a passing glance. The beaches are usually clean, with fine white sand. The riptides and undertows make swimming very risky. Lifeguards are non-existent.
This is the site of marble quarries and sacred caves. Most tour buses will stop here for a few hours to give you time to hike up to a cave (admission fee). You can also wander the many carving shops – some of the work is quite good.
Bach Ma National Park
This park (www.bachma.vnn.vn) is about 70 km/42 miles north of Danang, or 40 km/24 miles south of Hué. You can arrange a tour form either place. The area is well suited to hiking and biking. There are plans to develop it as an eco-resort, but the location so far off the main tourist track is slowing things down for now.
Note: There are over 1,400 species of flora and 230 species of birds in the park. You may also see the Asian black bear, leopards, and other interesting mammals.
If you don’t arrive with a tour, you can go to the Visitors’ Center and arrange transportation, tickets, and accommodation. You can also get several useful guidebooks and find out about the six nature trails in the area. You’ll need a motorbike, car, or strong legs and a good bike to come on your own.
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