Things to do in Da Nang for both locals and tourists
Da Nang is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Vietnam, and for good reason. Known as the most liveable city in the country, its beautiful nature scenery, charming beaches, friendly people, and delicious foods have enthralled many a visitor.
That said, Da Nang is a big city with many things to do, and famous places such as Ba Na Hills or My Khe Beach are but the surface of what the city has to offer. So we’ve taken it upon ourselves to compose an ultimate guide that covers everything you can do in Da Nang.
We’ll start out with 10 basic recommendations, but this article will be updated and expanded regularly, so stay tuned.
1. Natural attractions
1.1. My Khe Beach – crystal clear water and white sand
Image credit: @ngoanh1988
Your Da Nang experience would not be complete without taking a swim at its famed My Khe Beach. Its sparkling white sand and crystal clear water rightfully earned it the reputation as one of the most beautiful beaches in Vietnam.
Image credit: @cuong.korun
The beach faces directly eastward, so set your alarm clock early to catch the sunrise. Dawn is also the best time to go kayaking if that’s on your agenda, as the weather won’t be too hot and there won’t be too many people. And did I mention the beautiful sunrise?
Image credit: @khoa.cung
Many locals have also set up shops here to provide all sorts of services, from beach chairs and drinks to lockers for you to put your personal items before going into the water, and tapwater showers to rinse yourself after.
1.2. Son Tra Peninsula
A road section on Son Tra Peninsula.
Image credit: @27tthang5
Encompassing the My Khe Beach is the Son Tra Peninsula, frequented by locals and tourists alike thanks to the magnificent views and fresh air it offers. Simply drive along the beach, and soon enough you’ll find a wide, well-built road leading up to the peninsula, with many spots to look down at both the city and the ocean below.
There are many places to take pictures with beautiful views.
Image credit: @tuongvy_2104
You’re also likely to encounter packs of pigtailed macaque – an endangered primate species that calls the mountain home – along the way. And yes, you might be tempted to lure these fascinating creatures over with snacks for a closer look and perhaps some pictures, but please, do not feed them.
Don’t feed the monkeys. Seriously, don’t.
Image credit: @rosie_ngochang
Tourists feeding these macaques is a major concern for Da Nang authorities, as it creates a bad habit for these wild animals, making them dependent on humans for their food source. There have also been many cases where they jump onto visitors’ cars and bikes to beg for food, causing accidents.
2. Spiritual attractions
2.1 Linh Ung Pagoda – with Vietnam’s tallest Guanyin statue
Image credit: Denys Pasishnyi
Located on the Son Tra Peninsula and therefore offering the same pretty ocean views, the Linh Ung Pagoda is one of the most popular spiritual attractions of Da Nang, and of Vietnam as a whole.
Image credit: @chaeyean.ing
The venue is marked by a giant statue of the Buddhist deity Guanyin that can be seen from miles away. Standing at 67 meters, this is the tallest statue of the deity in Vietnam and one of the iconic landmarks of Da Nang.
Image credit: @lecacphuonguyen
Many locals believe the pagoda suppresses frequent storms and brings prosperity to the city, and so they flock here regularly to offer prayers. Of course, you can visit simply to take a stroll in the pagoda’s quaint garden and enjoy the views. Do note that it’s a common etiquette to dress somewhat formally as you visit temples and pagodas in Vietnam. While not always required, attires such as trousers, long skirts, and sleeved shirts are encouraged.
GPS coordinates: 16°06’00.8″N 108°16’40.3″E
Opening hours: 6AM-9PM, Daily
2.2 Marble Mountains – limestone mountains with Buddhist altars
Views from the Marble Mountains.
Image credit: @amiameo
6km from the My Khe Beach lies the Marble Mountains, also known locally as Ngũ Hành Sơn, or the Five Element Mountains. This is a cluster of several limestone mountains with Buddhist statues and altars built in their many caves and tunnels, making them another place of worship in Da Nang.
There are many caves with Buddhist altars in the mountains.
Image credit: @though_i_thought_it
There are stairs for you to climb up the mountains and enjoy the views. Or you can opt to take a lift for VND40,000 (~USD1.71) to go straight to the top.
Shop for sculptures and trinkets around the mountains.
Image credit: Jason Huynh
Around the mountains are many shops offering marble sculptures and trinkets as souvenirs. These items are believed to have fengshui properties said to bring health and happiness to the owner as well.
Address: 81 Huyen Tran Cong Chua Street, Ngu Hanh Son District, Da Nang
Opening hours: 7am-5pm, Daily
Entrance fee: Free Entry | VND40,000 (~USD1.71) to use the lift
3. Theme parks
3.1. Ba Na Hills – with the iconic Golden Bridge
Image credit: @fabrizio.speranza095
The Golden Bridge of Ba Na Hills, which appears as if held by two giant stone hands protruding from a mountain, is an internationally known symbol of Da Nang. It would be remiss of us not to mention this mountaintop theme park as one of the destinations you must visit.
Image credit: @jomjoysstory
Not that the bridge is the only thing of note here. It leads to the heart of Ba Na Hills: a recreation of a French medieval village, complete with colorful gardens, restaurants, and cafes.
Image credit: @vilovely25
We’ve covered everything you can do in Ba Na Hills in this article. Do check it out for more information while you plan your visit.
GPS coordinates: 16°01’34.7″N 108°01’57.1″E
Opening hours: 7AM-8PM, Daily
Contact: 0236 3749 888
Entrance fee: VND750,000 (~USD32.25) per adult | VND600,000 (~USD25.80) per child between 1-1.4 meters in height
3.2. Asia Park – thrilling rides right inside Da Nang
Image credit: @semi_1101
While the Ba Na Hills require an hour’s drive to get to from Da Nang, the Asia Park is another popular theme park right inside the city that you can check out.
Image credit: Công Viên Châu Á Đà Nẵng
Having just reopened after a 2-year hiatus due to Covid-19, the park offers a plethora of entertainment activities, from a giant ferris wheel that allows panoramic views of Da Nang, to thrilling rides such as rollercoasters and drop towers. There are also dance and music performances on special occasions.
Image credit: @vilovely25
One section of the park is a food court with shops offering various Vietnamese dishes and snacks to savor.
Address: 01 Phan Dang Luu Street, Hai Chau District, Da Nang
Opening hours: 3pm-10pm, Daily
Entry: Free entry | VND200,000 (~USD8.54) for an all-in-one ride ticket
Contact: 091 130 5568 | Asia Park Da Nang Website
4. Nighttime activities
4.1. Watch the Dragon Bridge Show
Image credit: @geobraxmg
The Dragon Bridge is another landmark synonymous with Da Nang, and apart from being a popular check-in spot with river views, it’s also known for its weekly Dragon Bridge show.
Every weekend night, from Friday to Sunday, the dragon exhales fire and water from its mouth for 15 minutes starting from 9pm, drawing crowds of fascinated spectators.
Image credit: @prime_swj
Note: do try to stay a safe distance from the dragon’s head. You obviously don’t want to be too close to the fire, but even the streams of water can splash surprisingly far and drench your clothes if you’re caught off guard. Or, just do what this guy did and come prepared with a raincoat.
4.2. Shop at the Son Tra Night Market
Image credit: @the.arale
Right under the dragon’s head is the Son Tra Night Market, where you can have a taste of Da Nang’s nightlife.
Aside from shopping for all sorts of items such as clothing, souvenirs, phone cases, and other trinkets, you can also participate in a plethora of activities such as carnival games or getting temporary tattoos.
Grilled balut at Son Tra Night Market.
Image credit: @delusns
The market is also not a bad place to have dinner. Grilled meat and seafood are displayed in abundance here, and if you’ve already eaten, help yourself to snacks such as beef jerky or ice cream.
Address: Mai Hac De Street, Son Tra District, Da Nang
Opening hours: 5pm-12am, Daily
5. Foods to eat
5.1. Mỳ Quảng – signature noodles named after the province
Image credit: @hmy9x
Mỳ Quảng – Quảng-style noodles – is named after the province Quảng Nam, which Da Nang used to be a part of. That the dish is named after the province itself is a testament to how popular it is.
At its core, mỳ Quảng is flattened noodles served with meat and veggies in a moderate amount of sauce. The meat used can be the regular pork or chicken, or less common flavors such as frog meat. The dish can also be eaten with crushed peanuts and bánh đa – a type of flattened, crunchy flour cake.
Try this dish at:
Mỳ Quảng Dung
Address: 121 Do Ba Street, Ngu Hanh Son District, Da Nang
Opening hours: 5.30am-2pm, Daily
5.2. Bánh Xèo Nem Lụi – crunchy pancakes with pork sticks
Image credit: @thu.anna89
The term bánh xèo nem lụi actually refers to two different dishes. Bánh xèo is a kind of Vietnamese pancake with a crunchy flour layer wrapped over shrimp, meat, and bean sprouts. Nem lụi is pork minced and squeezed into sticks, then grilled on charcoal.
Bánh xèo and nem lụi are best enjoyed together.
Image credit: Love Kim
You can, of course, opt to have bánh xèo or nem lụi separately, but the two are most often served together as they bring out each other’s flavors. Use a piece of rice paper to roll both together with lots of herbs, then dip the roll into a thick sauce made of meat and sesame for a tasty bite that still feels fresh and not too meaty.
Try this dish at:
Kim Anh Eatery
Address: 63 Huynh Thuc Khang Street, Hai Chau District, Da Nang
Opening hours: Mon-Sat 6.30am-10pm | Closed on Sunday
Contact: 0236 3582 486
Things to do for a fulfilling experience in Da Nang
These 10 recommendations are but the most basic things to do to have a fulfilling trip in Da Nang if you only visit for a limited time. But if you plan to stay long, the city has hundreds of other places to explore and foods to savor.
And mark our words, we’ll keep this article updated to cover them all. Follow The Smart Local Vietnam to keep yourself updated.
For now, here are some of our other recommendations you can check out:
- 8 top-rated Da Nang hotels
- 8 new cafes in Da Nang
- Guide to Ba Na Hills
- Guide to Hoi An
- Art in Paradise – 3D museum