Thrilling Experience Backpacking in Da Nang
“Hey, Can you share your experience backpacking in Da Nang?”
One friend texted me that via Facebook. It is a shame on me since I promised to write an article about traveling in Da Nang for a very long time.
The city and I have such an unfinished relationship. In August 2013, I went to Da Nang with the will to work and live there for a while. Before going, I was so in love with Da Nang in years. I wished I could have my steps in this city. I had a friend studying architecture there. As being proactive to mail and seek for an opportunity in a media company, I gained two choices. First one is working in that company. The second scenario is the manager would introduce me for an interview in Furama Resort (one of the best resort in Da Nang). That was it. A 22-year-old boy in Hai Phong decided to go far, to leave home to an unfamiliar city to live.
After arriving at Da Nang, I neither got a job at Furama nor found one on my expectation. However, I still stayed there for about two weeks with my friend; then I made my way to Sai Gon. At the time, I thought as if I was not born to be in Da Nang or my time for it had not come yet. In spite of bringing my curriculum to almost every place in Da Nang, I could not make it. I realized that this city may be a promising lane at first glance but the way it run was the opposite. I determined to leave.
Putting my personal story aside, I was so lucky to get used to some streets in Da Nang, to breath the air of the sea, to try the trendy 7,000 VND coffee cup in two weeks. Although the city cracked me up, I had to admit it is indeed a beautiful one which is worthy to give a shot. I had nothing to complain: most appealing beaches in the world, broad and clean streets, good service. The city is near other accommodations such as Hoi An. Cu Lao Cham, Lang Co, Hue, etc. You can combine Da Nang and others in one travel schedule. It is not a bad consideration.
Back to the main topic, in this article, I will share my personal experience backpacking in Da Nang. For your convenience, click the highlights to get the information you need.
– Best time to visit Da Nang
– The cost to travel to Da Nang
– How to get to Da Nang
– Tourist attractions in Da Nang
– Beautiful beaches in Da Nang
– Delicious food in Da Nang
– Hotels in Da Nang
– Schedule in Da Nang
– Tours in Da Nang
– Entertainments while in Da Nang
– Tips when traveling to Da Nang
Best time to visit Da Nang
I am never in Da Nang in both the winter and the spring, so I have no idea what it looks like at these time. However, I think the best time to be in Da Nang is the summer. Is there anything more interesting than to get to the seaside in summer? With the hot, that is up to 39-40 Celsius degree in Vietnam summer; I really long for swimming in the sea, long for cool sea water and rough waves splashing into my back with white bubbles. I miss the wandering time on the beaches with my friend, holding Larue beer as we thought about many things. I love Da Nang!
Da Nang is clean.
It is a city with charming bridges.
You pay only 7,000 VND for a cup of coffee.
You pay only 10,000 – 15,000VND for a bowl of noodle.
Being drown beer costs only 200,000 – 300,000 VND.
You solely pay 5,000 VND for parking fee to swim the sea (if you have a motorbike)
I see no stealing, pocket picking (or rarely happens).
I see no beggar in the streets.
I see no or fewer street vendors.
Top beaches in the world locate there.
Da Nang is a center of tourism in the Middle of Vietnam (near Lang Co, Hoi An, Hue. Cu Lao Cham)
There is so many interesting stuff in this city to go for!
How to get to Da Nang?
To be honest, from 2013 to the present (2016), I have been to Da Nang by many types of vehicle: motorbike, bicycle, coach, train, plane. The most convenient choice would be coach and plane.
The plane is the most suitable choice for traveling to Da Nang. I highly recommend it. You can check out three links here to find cheap flights to the city:
From Ha Noi or Sai Gon to Da Nang, it will take about 14 to 20 hours depends on the fast or slow speed of the train. Apparently. It takes more time than Ha Noi if you depart from Sai Gon.
Price from Ha Noi to Da Nang: 300,000 – 650,000 VND, depends on class.
Price from Sai Gon to Da Nang: 900,000 – 1,150,000 VND, depends on class.
By coach or open tour bus
Coach or open bus to Da Nang usually go from Sai Gon to Ha Noi (or called South to North) and vice versa daily. The tick price is quite the same, but I feel happy with the service of Hoàng Long and Mai Linh. Besides, you have other brands to put your money on such as Hlink, Thuan Thao, Phuong Trang, Sinh Cafe.
In Ha Noi, you can catch the coach goes to Da Nang at Giap Bat or Nuoc Ngam bus station.
In Sai Gon, you should buy tickets at Mien Dong bus station.
Notice: you should buy tickets in advance or call the station firstly to avoid the ticket sold out situation.
Transportation in Da Nang
The best options are motorbike and car. If you are still young and full of energy, you should hire a motorbike to visit the attractions near the city center. In that way, you not only save your time but also have the initiative for everything. In case you are not used to motorbiking, or you have family including kids and elders, you can consider hiring a private bus or car service to drive you from the airport to the city and from the city to other places. The alternative one is a taxi. Public bus and bicycle are not good ideas as they take so much time.
Private bus/car service in Da Nang
Taxi is not certainly an ultimate option since it causes pain to your wallet. In contrast, private bus/car tour to Ba Na Hill, Ngu Hanh Son. Hoi An, My Son, Hai Van is no a bad idea. I know a man with high regulation that you can trust. His name is Chau, a friend from Hoi An. He is a native tour guide who can tell you about the culture of the lane. Price for a 4-seat car is 220,000 VND per tour. Seven seats cost you 270,000 and sixteen seats cost you 320,000 VND. His phone number is 0932864368 in the domestic sim. Notice: he does not rent his car or bus for anyone. He goes with you on tour.
Some companies that you can trust to hire a motorbike in Da Nang
Before signing the contract, you should confirm meticulously about the time you received and give the motorbike back, any paper requirement and what type of motorbike you can use (auto or semi-auto).
1. Binh Minh Company: 0922.214.171.124 – 0938.006.843 (Mr. Khoa). It locates near the Dragon Bridge and My Khe Beach, Son Tra District. They have new quality motorbikes, which makes your trip safe. Also, they deliver the motorbikes to you quickly with no fee at the airport, train station, hotels. The staff is friendly, enthusiastic and willing to assist you 24/24 through the time you use their motorbikes.
2. Dat Phat Company (price from 80,000 to 120,000 VND per day, depends on days and number of motorbikes) – 0947.080.083 (meet Mr. Cuong) and 09126.96.36.199 (Mrs. Oanh). Address: 75 Huynh Tan Phat Street – Hai Chau – Da Nang. They deliver motorbikes to you with no fee around city center (hotels, airport, stations, seaside).
3. Truong Dat Company at K65/86 To Hien Thanh Street. Phone: 0969.722.744- 0969.822.844. What is the benefit in choosing the service at Truong Dat? Well, you will get your motorbikes with no cost of transportation in a quick time (in a radius of 5 kilometers) at the airport, station, hotels. In addition, you will receive free map and handbook which lists down entertainments, homestays, hotels, resting in Da Nang; not to mention two raincoats and two quality helmets.
4. Anh Tuan Motorbike Company near Da Nang airport. This company is the biggest one in renting motorbikes in Da Nang with hundred motorbikes in possession. You will get a special discount if you hire motorbikes in the long term. Address: 143/16 Tiểu La. Contact: 0905.70.80.90 (Mr. Tuan) or 0981.227.22. The company has just received a huge investment new hundred motorbikes and got high-rank ratings on Google Maps.
5. Le Truong Company. Phone: 0981.331.331 – 0966.000.126. They usually check and maintain their motorbikes in a strict schedule to make sure they are in good status. The company is the only one that provides the service at Da Nang Airport. It is not that easy to be chosen to run the business at Da Nang Airport since there are many rigorous tests to pass. The Vietnamese can be tolerant but not the foreigners since they expect safety, two mirrors on a motorbike, good brake, new tires. The company is good at it and on time.
Wel, if you consider getting a cab, here are the options:
Taxi Mai Linh – (0511). 188.8.131.52 – Taxi Hàng Không – (0511).184.108.40.206 – Taxi Sông Hàn – (0511).220.127.116.11 – Taxi Vinasun Green – (0511).18.104.22.168l.
Tourist attractions in Da Nang
Not so many cities have it like Da Nang. You can enjoy beautiful sea, alluring mountains, nice constructions in the streets. Therefore, you have plenty of choices there. Whatever it is artificial beauty or pure nature (for me), it deserves to be one of the best tourist cities in Vietnam. It is not wrong to say that Da Nang is the Vietnam’s best city to live in.
I still remember exactly the first view when I see the city from the Hai Van Pass. It slowly appeared in the afternoon fog. The coastline seemed to be endless. The color of the sea is perfectly blue. The ships and boats with tons of containers and cargos looked like small toys in my eyes. I wondered if I had been dreaming. I was like standing in a tourism adverts in America, not in Vietnam. It is hard to see a city that is beautiful from the inside and outside (looking at a far distance).
After going through Hai Van Pass, inside the city, you will be surprised many times. My next impression stuck with the bridges and the Han River. At night, local people light up along the riverside with colorful bright.
The city gives you beautiful locations. I divide them into two section: inside the city and the nearby areas.
Inside Da Nang City
Da Nang – City of bridges
First to mention is the bridges in the city center. You will see many bridges, but I solely comment about the five special bridges (for me).
Han River Bridge – it is the city symbol and also the first swing bridge to be built in Vietnam. Before the present time, to serve the demand for high boat traffic, it swang 90 degrees in the horizon at 1 p.m and swang back in the default position at 3.30 p.m. For now, it often swings at 11 p.m on Saturdays and Sundays to entertain the tourists. I am pretty sure it is the cool experience. You do not want to miss it.
The second one is the Dragon Bridge built in the shape of a dragon. The bridge has its part turns to the direction of the ocean. It breathes fire and water at 9 p.m on Saturdays and Sundays. Well, it is the biggest dragon-shape bridge in the world as I know. What a unique construction, right?
Next to the Dragon Bridge lies the Nguyen Van Troi Bridge. It was built for war. Now, the city keeps it as a memorial thing.
The fourth bridge is Tran Thi Ly Bridge designed like a sail. It was opened to traffic at the same time with the Dragon Bridge. It is among the new symbols of Da Nang City.
Last on the list is Thuan Phuoc Bridge, the longest suspension bridge in Vietnam (1,8 km in length). People built it in 8 years. You have to be there to observe its beauty and length. It is an ideal spot to see the sunset.
Along the banks of the Han River are two clean and beautiful one-way streets. On the street, there are coffee shops, restaurants, entertainments overlooking the river. The space is cool and clean to have some walks. You will not see the hot atmosphere and uncomfortable things in normal cities here.
Tourist attractions in Da Nang city center
There are lots of places to visit: Museum of Cham Sculpture (an amazing place which stores almost everything from Cham sculpture through decades – from the 8th to 15-16th century as I remember). It is a best one for people who have interests in history or Cham sculpture. Besides, we have Asian Park which provides cool games such as the Sun Wheel), Con Market, Hoa Phu Thanh Waterfall Surfing, the communal house of Hai Chau. Again, the broad streets and clean riverside are the appropriate places to walk on. Bar, pub, coffee, restaurant, food vendor are there for you on the Han Riverside.
Beautiful beaches in Da Nang
Away from the city center, driving for about 2 km, you will see one of “the six most seductive beaches” in the world. Last time I was there, the water is so clear that I can see fish under my feet. The waves are bigger than other beaches that I know. You will be amazed by the dawn and the girls there. I will use the word SEXY to describe that.
It is said that My Khe and Pham Van Dong are the most beautiful and famous beaches in Da Nang. You will swim in crystal water, big waves, clean sand. If you do research, you will find out that My Khe is one of the best beaches in the world. I mean, you have to be there to feel. Furthermore, there is Bac My An Beach located in Bac My An Ward, Ngu Hanh Son District. Fewer people swim here since it takes place in big resorts. Most people that you see there are local people. I was there once and so in love with it. You will see small fish washed up on the beach. At this corner, you look at the sunset through Son Tra Peninsula with the blue sea, the pink horizon, the strong brown color of the forest. All of them creates a picturesque sightseeing. However, the beach is far from the city, which is suitable for people who want peace to rest near Ngu Hanh Son.
Son Tra Peninsula
On the left side of the city (direction to the sea) is Son Tra Peninsula. This place is famous for Linh Ung Pagoda with the biggest Avalokiteśvara Bodhisattva (a Buddha) statue in Vietnam. Local people has it that ever since the statue was built facing the sea, they have fewer disasters. You will experience enjoyable service such as diving to see the coral reef, fishing with fishers, exploring Son Tra forest and sightseeing the city from the Ban Co peak of Son Tra Mountain. It is very cool and cloudy there. Taking photos on the peak is incredible! The city looks like a small model. Driving up to the foot of Linh Ung Pagoda in the afternoon, you can see the moment when the city is lightened up. You can see the alluring color of the sunset and the flickering Sun Wheel too. That is so romantic.
Notice: Because the road to Son Tra is sloping, you should hire a semi-auto motorbike. The taxi will not go there.
Ngu Hanh Son area
On the right is Ngu Hanh Son area, belonged to Ngu Hanh Son District. The place is famous for Non Nuoc handicrafts village which products exquisite sculptures made from stone. It is famous in Vietnam and worldwide. In this area, there is a group of monuments of Hang Pagoda. They are gorgeous lying along the mountain flank, in caves. The carving statue of Siddhārtha Gautama Buddha easily impressed me. It takes hours to go through the caves. I remember the time when I kept staying in the caves to take a good picture. What a pity! It was light rain and not a sunny day, so I failed. You should miss the place when you go to Da Nang. The pagodas are unique.
Da Nang’s nearby area to visit
Leaving the city and the beaches behind, you have quite choices: Ba Na Hill (~ 30 km), Hai Van Pass (30 km), Nam O Point (15 km), Van Village (30 km). Further places are Lang Co Bay (40 km), Tam Giang Lagoon (45 km), Imperial Hue. Back to the south, there is Hoi An ancient town (30 km), Cham Island (34 km on the lane and 15 km on the sea), My Son Sanctuary (60 km), Bich Hoa Tam Thanh Village (100 km), Ly Son Island (130 km). For your convenience, you should combine Da Nang and Hoi An in your schedule. They are only 30 km apart from each other. That means over 40-minute driving on a motorbike. Alternatively, you pay 20,000 VND for a bus from Da Nang to Hoi An and vice versa. Hoi An is a magnificent place which is recommended in the top 50 places to visit in a lifetime by worldwide newspapers. To be honest, there is nowhere in Vietnam that is still keeping the much ancient structure in Hoi An.
On the other hand, Hai Van Pass is another option described as the greatest viewpoint. You should go there by motorbikes heading to Lang Co to recognize the full beauty of this pass. I advise you to spend at least one day for this trip. It suits young feet who like adventuring. If you have a chance, do not forget Cham Island (one day in the World Biosphere Reserve of Vietnam. Why not?) or My Son Sanctuary (half day – a treasure of Cham culture, sculpture, and structure).
Best food in Da Nang
When you can not walk anymore, or you are tired of swimming, you definitely want something to regain the energy. Da Nang has lots of divine food of the Middle of Vietnam. I tried the prominent cooking such as girdle-cake with pork, Bun Bo Hue, Com Tam, grilled stingray, Balut eggs. Balut egg with Middle Vietnam style is put in a small bowl used to drink wine. In the North, they use small spoons solely. There are also Hu Tieu, Quang Noodle, Banh Xeo. Moreover, that is not all, guys but I can not list down all here.
Actually, I do not have a soul to enjoy eating. I was introduced to places to eat by my friend and his girlfriend. Food is affordable and tasty there. A whole grilled stingray for three mouths only costs you about 100,000 VND (~5 USD). Can you believe that? As I stated above, drinking a large amount of beer only costs you about 200,000 to 400,000 VND (~ 10 – 20 USD). It is so great, isn’t it? On a trip to Da Nang in June 2016, you tried Ca Cu Boozer near T20 area. The owner named Lan who is from the North of Vietnam. The food was cheap and delightful. Address: 01 – 02 – 03, Bach Dang Street (50 meters from T20). Phone: 0919.308.266. You tell her that Viet Anh dulichbui24h.com send you here, then you will get discounted for 10%.
It is said that Mr. Nguyen Ba Thanh (former President of the People’s Committee of Da Nang City who died years ago) instructed the city to ban the scamming on tourists. In case you unluckily face the scamming or cheating, please call Da Nang Visitor Center (0511 3550111). Later, someone will appear to help you out. Another interesting fact, right?
Here are the other delicious cooks you have to try: Quang noodle, Nam Co raw fish and vegetable, Bun Cha Ca, Banh Xeo, Banh Beo, Inhaling snail, grilled veal.
Hotel and Hostel in Da Nang
Remember this: you should stay near My Khe Beach or Pham Van Dong Beach in the summer. The hotels facing the ocean is at a high price, so the hotel which are about 50 to 100 meters to the beach will make your wallet happy. 50 to 10 meters is not that hard. In the winter, booking hotels near Han River Bridge or Dragon Bridge is my advice for the purpose of walking at night.
There is a wide range of price for hotels in Da Nang, from average 10 USD to 1000 USD. 4-5 stars resorts on Truong Sa Street charge that high if you ask: Furama, InterContinental, Fusion Maia, Furama, Hyatt, Crown Plaza, Life Style, Ocean Villas.
Of course, I will suggest affordable options. In the city, the price is much lower. 1- 2 stars hotels costs about 200,000 to 350,000 VND per night.
You can use the Traveloka for booking homestay Da Nang or hostel Da Nang.
Before doing that, here are my suggestions for affordable, nice services in the city center:
– Memory Hostel. Address: 03 Tran Quoc Toan, Hai Chau District, Hai Chau District. It locates near the Han River Bridge, Museum of Cham Sculpture and My Khe Beach (2,62 km). Starting price is 171,000 VND (7 USD). The reception staff here are very nice, enthusiastic consultants tourist destination for visitors, guiding the way, what to eat. If you go to Da Nang and do not know where to go, and how to go. Just asked the staff here; you will be very thorough consultation.
– Life Backpacker Hostel. Address: 22A Nguyen Tri Phuong, Thanh Khe District, Thanh Khe District. It is only 1,19 km from there to the airport and 2,41 km to Han River Bridge. The only drawback is it is a little bit far from the center for lazy feet. The price starts at 110,000 VND (only 5 USD) for a bed in a dorm ten bunk beds. It has good service with reasonable price.
-Vove Hostel. Address: 53 An Thuong 3, Ngu Hanh Son District. There are plenty of tourist attractions nearby, such as My Khe Beach within 1.03 km, and Museum of Cham Sculpture within 2.8 km. You pay 140,000 VND for a bed in a 6-bed mixed dormitory room.
Schedule to travel Da Nang
Four days and three nights are quite suitable for your trip in Da Nang. You can consult here:
Day 1: Linh Ung Pagoda – Son Tra Peninsula (Ban Co Peak, the airport, the ancient banyan tree) – My Khe or Pham Van Dong Beach – Driving on a motorbike at night – Seeing the bridges.
Day 2: Dawn in the sea – Ba Na Hills – Seafood tasting
Day 3: Long Coffee – Con Market – Musem of Cham Sculpture – Ngu Hanh Son – Hoi An – Watching the Dragon Bridge while it is breathing fire and water – Watching the swinging Han River Bridge in its action.
Day 4: Da Nang to Hai Van Pass – Lang Co Bay – Getting back to hotel/hostel
This one is the simple schedule I design based on my experience. You do not have to follow rigidly. After all, you will want to change it to meet your timeline.
Tours in Da Nang
There are lots of enjoyable combining tours to save time. I suggest young hearts not to buy tour but to hire motorbikes to explore. In that way, you save money and get a hell of an experience.
To people travel with family including elders and kids, you should avoid the hot, difficulties as well as save your time and have safety by buying combing tour in days. I give you the information table for the combining tours.
Entertainments in Da Nang
Dana Beach Club. Address: Starfish Park, My Khe). It is a general entertaining place including restaurants, concert, fashion show every night, sport activities such as surfing, Jetsky, sailing boat, paragliding, etc.
Beach Bar with 24/24 service and disco, DJ, will be worthy to try. They also hold camping, outdoor activities for team building or travel groups.
Camping, swimming in streams, fishing
There are many places to camp (Son Tra, Non Nuoc Beach) and do diving coral reef or fishing at Bai But Resort (Son Tra).
Bars, dance halls in the city:
Vegas Club. Address: 192 2/9 Streets. They have a restaurant, drinking, event organizing.
New Phuong Dong. Address: 20 Dong Da. They have a bar, singing, and dancing.
Seventeen Saloon on Tran Hung Dao Street. They have a restaurant, beer, beverage, arts, and bar.
TV Club at Trung Vuong theater. Activity: Bar, and singing.
Danang Beach Club on My Khe Beach, My An Ward: Bar, singing.
Memory on Bach Dang Street: Bar, singing after 21:00
– The dawn and the sunset are astonishing. The city center is more beautiful in the morning than the night. While it is dawn, you can go to the beaches to see it and how the fishers pull their net. It is such a scene.
– The airport is extremely near the city center. You pay about 50,000 VND to get to the Han River Bridge.
– The further you are from food and hotel area, the lower price you get (I used to have a noodle bowl for only 10,000 VND)
– If you get scammed, just call inspector of Da Nang Department of Culture Sports and Tourism (0511.3886761 – 090.5155159) or Da Nang Market Surveillance Agency (0511.3825467 -090.3502480).
– You should shop in Con Market, not Han Market.
– For women, remember to bring hat, sunny cream, and slippers when you visit tourist attraction because the sun in the Middle of Vietnam is harsh.
– Visit Linh Ung Pagoda and get to Ban Co Peak if you go to Son Tra. The whole city is all in the view.
– Spend time going to Hai Van Pass when you have some. The sightseeing is just magnificent (it is much amazing in Lang Co, Hue)
– Dragon Bridge breathes fire and water at 9 p.m on Saturdays and Sundays.
– Han River Bridge swings at 1:30 a.m
– Hoi An shuts down electricity on the 14th day in Luna calendar; then people use lanterns.
– My Khe and Pham Van Dong Beach have pigeon feeding activity at 4 p.m. You are recommended to go there to take photos and play with the pigeons.
– Ask carefully about time to receive and return the motorbike when you use the service. What happens if you violate the time? To go to Son Tra, you should use a semi-auto motorbike instead of an auto one since it is sloping there. You will not regret going there. Trust me.
– Check the quality and confirm the price before buying anything.
– Taxi brands that you can trust are Mai Linh, Taxi Xanh, Han River. Always take not the taxi ID number and the number phone of the taxi as well as the police contact.
This is the part that I do not want to write – goodbye to you! I solely hope this article is forever long to keep you here reading it. Is that too much to ask for?
You reach here anywhere! Thank you for your t time. I hope you have a wonderful time ahead and you get some useful information.
You can email me to receive full schedule about discounts, service, the price for tours in Da Nang.