Da Nang Attractions – Bach Ma national park, Cu Lao Cham islands, and Ba Na Hills are popular destinations to visit around Da Nang for one day. When we lived in Da Nang with our boy, we often went somewhere on the weekends. We had a list of favourite things to do on our weekends around Da Nang.
Here are 5 places we often went out for a day on our weekends:
1. Bach Ma National Park
Bach Ma national park is famous for its semi-tropical rainforest beauty. It is home to some rare animals (e.g., the Macaca monkey, Smooth-coated otter, etc.). It has diverse flora with 2,147 species and fauna with more than 1,500 species. There are many beautiful places in the national park, from the spectacular waterfalls to the peaceful zen monastery. This is an absolutely beautiful place to go, even if you just want to get away from the busy, hustle of daily life in the busy city.
If you enjoy conquering nature and exploring new places, Bach Ma national park is an off-beat destination in Vietnam. This is the place for you.
Where is Bach Ma National Park?
Bach Ma national park was the place we wanted to go to when we first moved to Da nang. Although the national park is not in Da Nang city, it is one of Da Nang’s attractions. Because it is only about 65 kilometres north of Da Nang and about 40km from Hue city. It will take about nearly 2 hours to go to the national park from Da Nang. The road is winding when you get off the main road, so it takes time to go there.
Bach Ma national park is located in Phu Loc District, Thua Thien Hue province. Bach Ma national park covers 37,487 hectares. The official website of Bach Ma park is http://www.bachmapark.com.vn/.
You can go to the national park by car or by motorbike if you are an adventurous person.
It is a beautiful place to go with your kids too. We went there twice. Our friends drove us there in 2015, and the second time, we hired a car with the driver in late 2018 before we migrated to Australia. Our son really enjoyed the beauty of the park. He learned about animal and plant species on the way. Both times, we packed our lunch, walk to the top of the mountain, and had our picnic there.
You can visit the national park by yourself just like us, or if you are keen to have more adventurous and in-depth knowledge of the species, then the best way to do this is either contacting the national park or a travel agent. They can help you to organise and tailor-made your tours. Or even join a group tour for sightseeing, having companies, and sharing the cost.
When is the best time to visit Bach Ma National Park
Well, I guess you would want to go there on a dry and sunny day. For international tourists, I think the dry season from November to April next year would be the best time. It also will not be too busy.
It is advised to visit the park from March to December for Vietnamese tourists. The rainy season is during this time. I guess because we loved to see the waterfalls 😀
The entrance fees in Bach Ma National Park:
Children and students: 20,000vnd (around A$1.5)
Adult: 60,000vnd (A$3.5)
Please check the Bach Ma Park website for the updated fee.
2. Cham Islands – Da Nang attractions
A one-day trip to Cham islands – this is a must-do tour for any of our friends who came and visited us while we were in Da Nang. Even my parents I also booked a day trip to Cham island for them when they came to stay with us.
Where are the Cham islands
Cham islands (known as Cu Lao Cham island) are around 22 kilometres from Hoi An ancient town and around 45km from Da Nang city. It is a cluster of eight islands. However, it is referred to by a single name, Cham islands. The islands lie just off the coast of Hoi An (around 15 kilometres away from the coastline). Cham islands area is home to Cu Lao Cham Marine Park, recognised by UNESCO as a World Biosphere Reserve.
Things to do
Cham islands are beautiful destinations where you can have one day off from the city with a lot of sunshine, walk on the hot sand beaches, eat fresh seafood, and snorkel or dive to explore corals etc. Hon Lao is the biggest island and the only island inhabited by humans. In Hon Lao, you can explore the local island lifestyle, pagoda, small museum, and a local market on this main island. It can be very busy during the summertime. Cham islands are popular with domestic and international tourists.
Various tour options are offered, whether you just want to have one day off the city or enjoy exploring marine life. Many companies offer a generic one-day tour from Da Nang and more unique experience options like walking along the ocean floor or a small group tour diving in unpopular places to discover the sea life.
I often took the easy option. I just wanted to get out of Da Nang city, had one day with the sea and enjoy local foods. A car picked us up from Da Nang city, and then we went to Hoi An to join other tourists. They took us to Cua Dai pier to get on a high-speed boat. Hon Lao was our first destination. After visiting the pagoda, museum, and local market, We got on the boat after that to go snorkelling and swimming. Then, having lunch at a beach with beautiful fresh seafood and veggie, then, another swim before we headed back.
How to get to the Cham islands.
There are only two ways to go to Cu Lao Cham islands (Cham islands), either by canoe (high-speed boat), or wood boat. If you want to travel to Cham islands solo, you can get a return boat ticket from Cua Dai pier.
Please note that there are limited accommodations in this area, so if you want to stay overnight, make sure you book your accommodation beforehand. The storm season is very tricky and dangerous, so make sure you check the weather before you go. The best time will be the summer, from April to September.
3. Ba Na Hills – one-day trip
I wrote an article about places to visit in Da Nang, Vietnam, and I included Ba Na hills in the article.
Spending one day at Ba Na hills is another option. Ba Na Hills is a tourism complex located in the west of Da Nang city. The complex has three parts – the Lower Part, the Upper Part and Fantasy Park. The most beautiful part of Ba Na hills is the view from the cable car, in my experience. Also, the beautiful gardens and the atmosphere in this area bring a unique experience.
For children, I think my son really enjoyed Fantasy Park, where he joined others on different amusement rides. This place is suitable for both little kids and teenagers. Lately, Golden Bridge is promoted as a symbol of Ba Na hills. Tourists go to Ba Na sometimes just to take a photo at the bridge.
You can go by yourself or book a tour and join a group there. If going by yourself, it will be better to buy a cable car ticket ahead. Particularly during the summertime. You don’t want to go there and find out there is no ticket available.
To be honest, Ba Na Hills was a bit expensive for our family because we had to pay for transport to Ba Na Hills, then cable car to the tourism complex. It was a treat for us occasionally.
4. Swimming at Non Nuoc beach, then lunch at the Korean Hamburger
How about a day with no expenses?
Da Nang has many beautiful beaches right around the city. Our family often went to different beaches on the weekends during summertime.
The two most beautiful and popular beaches are Non Nuoc Beach and My Khe Beaches. You can easily walk to these two beaches if you live or stay in a hotel nearby.
Riding a motorbike is the best option. Have a swim on one of the beaches or both as you can walk along from My Khe beach to Non Nuoc beach. If you are visiting Da Nang with your kids, the best places to stay would be Non Nuoc beach or My Khe beach. Kids can just walk out of the hotel and have a swim.
There are many activities along these two beaches, e.g., jetskiing, Banana boat riding, parasailing & paragliding etc.
After having swims, we often went to a Korean Hamburger place called ‘burger house’ to have lunch. It is a small, clean and delicious restaurant with a Korean owner.
5. Hoi An Ancient Town and Lunch in Ba Le Well
Hoi An Ancient Town is a ‘must-go’ place for any tourist. It is a charming town with lots of things to do. The town used to be a trading town with Chinese and Japanese tradesmen.
The former port city architecture is reflected in the structure of the town. It is a mix of eras and styles, from ornate Vietnamese tube houses to wooden Chinese shophouses and temples, and colourful Fench colonial buildings. When you are in Hoi An, you won’t miss the iconic Japanese Covered Bridge and its pagoda.
You can spend a whole day in Hoi An, wandering around the town, and visiting historical places: The Assemble Hall of Fujian Chinese, Hoi An Museum, the Japanese Covered Bridge, Thu Bon River, Hoi An market etc…
Hoi An is a great place to have lunch. There are many places and dishes to choose from. You can try food from one of the popular restaurants in town, e.g., Morning Glory restaurant, Lotus restaurant, or eat at the local market. Try local food in the Hoi An market.
How to get to Hoi An from Da Nang
We used our motorbike, and it takes only 20-30 minutes on the bike to Hoi An. We had one honda cup bike and one Honda Lead scooter. But, if you want to ride a motorbike in Vietnam, please read the motorcycle trip through Vietnam safely before you do that. There are things that you have to be careful about when you do that.
Another option is using ‘xe om’ – a motorbike taxi or renting a car with a driver.
Ba Le well is our favourite place for lunch. This place is very popular with local people as well as tourists, so it is quite busy. But, there is always a table for you. The restaurant is located in a small alley in Hoi An. It used to be a small place for locals, with food served on little tables in the alley. Now the owners expanded to a big front yard.
Their popular dishes are BBQ minced pork, BBQ Pork, and Banh Xeo – Crispy Pancake (Hoi An style) served with lots of salads and herbs, complete the taste with their lovely dip source.
All of the content in this blog is based on my own experience. However, I have included some links that you might find useful – and I do make a little money if you use them.