Da Nang is written in two words ‘Đà Nẵng‘ in Vietnamese. However, I see people write in English in two way either ‘Da Nang‘ or ‘Danang’.
As a Vietnamese person, I will choose to write it in two words ‘Da Nang’ as we call the city in Vietnamese. So this might answer you If you wonder why sometimes you see it is written in two words sometimes is one word.
My family used to live in Da Nang city for more than five years before we migrated to Australia. We still have our house in Da Nang. While living here, we often went around and visited different places on the weekend.
There are many places to see in Da Nang. But, if you only have a few days in Da Nang, there are 5 best places I would definitely recommend visiting.
5 Places to visit in Da Nang, Vietnam if you only have a few days in the city.
1. Ba Na Hills or Bana Hills
The reason I put the word ‘Ba Na’ and ‘Bana’ is in Vietnamese we write and call them two words ‘Bà Nà’, however, some websites write them as one word ‘Bana’. I will use the two-word version in this blog as Vietnamese people use.
Ba Na hills is worth visiting. This is the first place that I recommend visiting. It is located around 36km from Da Nang city and approximately 60km from Hoi An Ancient Town.
Ba Na hills is a very famous tourist destination for domestic tourists and international tourists. Most Vietnamese tourists who visit Da Nang will plan to visit Ba Na Hills.
This is a tourism complex with lots of recreational amenities. The complex consists of three parts – Lower Part, Upper Part, and Mountain top.
It is a beautiful view from the cable car up to the mountain. The Lower Part of this complex will be the first stop. There are many places to visit in this area such as Linh Ung Pagoda, Le Jardin D’Amour Garden, Debay Cellar, and Golden Bridge.
Then, you will go back to the cable car to go up to the Upper Part. Here, you can visit the French village which Vietnamese people call a small European village. Then, Fantasy Park, some activities are included in your cable ticket but some activities are not. You can pay extra fees at the place to join those activities.
You can have lunch here or in the Lower Part. A buffet meal (around VND 350,000 = US$ 16) is very popular here. You can order on the menu too.
I would recommend asking more about where to have lunch when buying the cable car ticket. It might be changed depending on the season and the number of tourists at the time you visit.
Good to know:
In the late nineteenth century, this place was a favourite vacation destination of the French during their colonisation. In 2007, Sun Group Corporate started to invest in developing Ba Na hills into a tourism complex. It was opened to tourists in 2009. It quickly became a well-known attraction for its cable car systems. At that time, The cable car system in Ba Na hill was one of the longest cable car systems in the world.
How far is Ba Na hills from Da Nang
Ba Na hills is located around 36km from Da Nang city and approximately 60km from Hoi An Ancient Town.
How to go from Da Nang to Ba Na hills
If you travel on your own, you might want to ask the hotel for a day tour of the Ba Na hills to save costs and for “peace of mind”.
Often, the hotel will connect with a travel agent in Da Nang and Hoi An to organise a group tour. You will share a bus and a tour guide with a small group of tourists (around 16 people).
If you want to have a small adventure then get a taxi, or a ‘Xe Om’ – a motorbike taxi to go to Ba Na hills then buy a cable car ticket. It will take you at least 4 hours to visit Ba Na hills so if you get a taxi, you can book a return trip to save money.
Currently, no bus from Da Nang city to Ba Na hills is available.
2. Son Tra Mountain
The second place that is worth seeing in Da Nang is Son Tra mountain. It is also called Son Tra peninsula. This peninsula is referred to as “the lung of Da Nang city”.
The peninsula was a former U.S. army base for radar and communications. It is used as an army base by the Vietnamese army in one part of the peninsula. This area is barricaded to stop tourists and local people from the army base. Son Tra peninsula has beautiful beaches and views of My Khe and Non Nuoc beaches.
If somebody recommends you visit Monkey Mountain, this is the place for you. Money Mountain is a nickname of Son Tra mountain
Son Tra peninsula is not only a tourist destination but also a popular place for locals on the weekends. Many tourists often rent a motorbike to ride on the winding roads to the peak of the mountain.
If you are lucky you might spot a few red face monkeys (a rare species of monkey) while having a ride. I was lucky to see them very often when I went there in the early morning or around lunchtime when it was quiet.
You can stop on the way to take photos of the beautiful view of the city and beaches. Then, you can stop at one of the beaches to have lunch. If you are wondering the best local dishes in Da Nang? Head to THE BEST FOOD IN DA NANG
The restaurants in Son Tra beaches are very popular with the Da Nang people. It might be busy if you visit these places on the weekend. The food here is very fresh and has a local price. It is a good idea to check the price before you order (if they don’t have a menu with the price on it).
In fact, if you live in Da Nang, this could be your favourite place to visit on the weekends. When we lived in Da Nang, we often went to Son Tra peninsula for a ride, then lunch and swimming afterwards.
How to go to Son Tra mountain from Da Nang city.
Caution: If you are not used to riding a motorbike in Vietnam, it is a good idea to hire a local to drive you up there. A ‘xe om’ – motorbike taxi would be fun, a safer way to visit this beautiful place.
Grab – similar app to Uber, which is very popular in Da Nang; you can order a cab or a ‘xe om’ trip from this app.
3. Linh Ung Pagoda
While you are sightseeing in Son Tra peninsular you will not miss Linh Ung pagoda. The pagoda is located on Son Tra mountain and is one of the most famous destinations in Da Nang. You can stop at Linh Ung pagoda while are on the way to Son Tra mountain.
The pagoda is spotted with a stunning 67-meter-tall Lady Buddha. Da Nang people believe that Lady Budda protects the city from big storms and cyclones. Because in the past, Da Nang city often got hit by many big and dangerous storms that destroyed the city. However, since the Lady Buddha was built, almost every storm has been either moved in different directions or softened before it hit the city.
The Lady Buddha is also believed to provide protection to fishermen who are out into rough seas.
The pagoda is one of the largest pagodas in Da Nang. It has a main worship area, a big yard with 21 statues of the Buddha outside the main worship house, and is surrounded by beautiful gardens. The area of the tall Lady Buddha faces the city which gives you a fabulous view of the Da Nang beaches and the city.
If you are curious about big Buddha in Danang the Big Buddha in Danang blog will be fun to read.
4. Marble Mountain
Marble mountains are located along the coastal road from Da Nang to Hoi An. It is about 7km from Da Nang city centre. The mountains are a complex of of five marble and limestone outcrops.
‘Thuy Son’ (Mt. Thuy) is the main mountain that you can visit. Temples and shrines are built at the mountain summit and in caves a long the walk way. A little path with paved stone lines around the mountain. While you are walking along the path, you will see little pagodas hidden in the caves and under the trees.
On the top of the Mt. Thuy, it gives you a stunning view of surrounding areas, the coast, and Da Nang city. You might see our house from the top of this mountain too.
There are two ways to the top of the mountain. You can either choose to walk up to the mountain by the stone way. Or you can take a lift to the main mountain area then walk down the mountain. It is a bit steep so be prepared with a good pair of walking shoes. This would be a nice place to have a little trekking.
Good to know:
The “Marble mountains” are known as ‘Ngũ Hành Sơn’ in Vietnamese.
In my culture – Vietnamese culture, the majority of us believe in Eastern philosophy which consists of five elements – Kim (metal), Moc (wood), Thuy (water), Hoa (fire), and Tho (earth) in the universe.
‘Ngũ Hành Sơn’ means the five-element mountain. This Vietnamese name was given by the Ming Mang king in 1825.
The “Marble Mountains” was named by French geologists as they found the mountains contain marble during the French colonial period.
How to go to the Marble Moutain from Da Nang city.
It is about 7 km from Da Nang city centre. You can rent a motorbike or hire a local ‘Xe Om’ to take you there.
If you are on the way to Hoi An, when you book a car, you can ask to pay extra to stop on the way to Hoi An or vice verse.
Many of my friends did the opposite. While they were on the way to Da Nang airport, they booked a car and stopped at the Marble Mountains for an hour before heading to the airport.
5. My Khe and Non Nuoc beaches
Walking along Non Nuoc Beach and Swimming/sunbathing at My Khe Beach.
Da Nang is famous for its beautiful beaches. There are many beaches around Da Nang, but, if you only have a few days in Da Nang. There are two beaches that you should not miss out – My Khe and Non Nuoc beach.
Nuoc Nuoc beach is located at the bottom of the Marble Mountains. It is around 8 km from Da Nang city centre. The Forbes magazine selected Non Nuoc beach as one of the six best beaches on the planet in 2005.
This beach is heavily invested by private corporates to build hotels and resorts. So you need to keep an eye for the paths that local people use to walk down to the beach. You will see it, don’t worry, we use it all the time.
My Khe beach is one of the most beautiful beaches in Vietnam. My Khe beach stretches for around 10km from Son Tra peninsula to the Marble Mountains.
It is very popular with domestic and international tourists. During the domestic season, most Vietnamese tourists will try to stay at the hotels in this area. There are many activities a long the beach such as water sports, jet skiing or surfing.
How to go to My Khe and Non Nuoc beach from Da Nang city.
Non Nuoc beach is located at the bottom of the Marble Mountains. While you are with your local ‘xe om’ ask him/her to take you down.
It will be better if you can combine two places – My Khe beach and Non Nuoc beach and/or Non Nuoc beach and the Marble Mountains. Unless you want to spend more time swimming or walking for 5km along the beach. In fact, many of my friends when they visit Da Nang, they would combine three places in one morning or afternoon.
My Khe beach is very close to Da Nang city centre, it is around 3km. You might want to book a hotel in this area. The majority of the hotels in Da Nang are located in this area. If you stay in the city, you can catch a taxi, a ‘xe om’ or rent a motorbike to get there.
Dis-claimer: All of the content in this blog is based on my own personal experience. However, I have included some links that you might find useful – and I do make a little money if you use them.