A 72 hours guide to Danang, Vietnam

A glorious sunset in Danang

Last updated on August 8th, 2019 at 02:34 pm

Danang is the third largest city in Vietnam and since my first visit in 2016 has become a popular up and coming destination. An itinerary around Danang not only includes the beach, a river and downtown, but also cool cafes and many day trip opportunities.

It has its own international airport close to city center not to mention it’s half an hour’s ride to Hoi An, one of the most well-preserved 16th-century international seaport in Southeast Asia. Even though it is not as famous Ho Chi Minh City or Hanoi, the beautiful beaches and cheap street food more than make up for it. While I spent a large part of my journey hiding in the hotel from the extreme heat, I still have time to see a fair amount of the city. Here is my 72 hours guide to Danang:

Danang itinerary

A glorious sunset in Danang, Vietnam | Laugh Travel Eat
A glorious sunset in Danang (taken 2016, now there’s a lot of buildings behind)

There really isn’t as much to see in Danang as Hoi An, but I won’t be so quick to dismiss Danang altogether as a destination. For starters, it has a better beach than Hoi An that is clear of jellyfish (at least, it was when I was there). Instead of making a list, I’ll present my rough itinerary:

>Note: I’ve done a separate restaurant and food guide for Danang which you can find here.

Day 1 in Danang

Marble Mountains

pagoda, Marble Mountains, Danang, Vietnam | Laugh Travel Eat
The pagoda right by the elevator entrance

Marble mountains are actually situated south of the city, en route to Hoi An. It is a collection of five mountains, each is named after an element: Earth, Water, Fire, Wood, and Gold.

map marble mountain danang vietnam - laugh travel eat
It can be confusing so here is a map of Marble Mountain!

The mountains themselves are a curious sight, rising over the flat plain near the sea in odd shapes. On the mountains are Buddhist and Hindu pagodas, temples and grottoes that date back to the prehistoric time. You can get up to the Water Mountain, via 156 stairs or a lift.

stairs marble mountain danang vietnam - laugh travel eat
It’s steep but shorter than you think

The stairs look steep at the beginning, but it’s actually very doable if you take your time and go up slowly. You should be careful as it is slippery marble, polished by millions of shoes, and budget around two hours up there. Here are some higlights:

Linh Ung Pagoda

linh ung pagoda marble mountain danang vietnam - laugh travel eat
The Linh Ung Pagoda is the first pagoda you see coming up on the stairs

Van Thong Cave

There is a small ‘exit’ at the back of the cave that will take you up to the view point. It’s very slippery so be careful. And don’t wear a dress like me if you want to climb up. There is another way up and down to here:

panorama on view point marble mountain danang vietnam - laugh travel eat

Tam Thai Pagoda

From Van Thong Cave to the left of the split road is Tam Thai Pagoda. If you don’t have much time, I’ll turn back here to go to the main cave as the other ones aren’t that interesting.

Huyen Khong Cave

This is the biggest and the most famous cave on Marble Mountain. It houses several Buddhist sculptures and shrines, as well as a doline. It’s best to arrive here around noon to see the light shine directly down!

There are also plenty of stone sculpture shops nearby – if you want unique souvenir, look no further!

Opening times: Daily 7:00 – 17:30

Admission fee: 15,000 dong, elevator extra 15,000 per person per trip

My Khe Beach

My Khe Beach, Danang, Vietnam | Laugh Travel Eat
The gloriously beautiful beach – pretty empty during the day, too!

Did you know that Danang is referred to as the Hawaii of Asia? And I heartily agree with that. With over 30 km of beaches that stretch all the way to Hoi An, the pristine white beach is in the best condition I’ve ever seen in a city beach. The locals, who are afraid of getting tan, don’t hit the beach until the late afternoon, meaning you usually get the beach to yourself in the morning. A sun umbrella will only set you back 40,000 dong for the day – it really is a no-brainer for you to schedule a proper beach day.

Danang My Khe Beach, Danang, Vietnam | Laugh Travel Eat
The lovely beach in the evening light

There are plenty of luxurious hotels or budget places to stay near the seafront for the beach lovers.

Pro tip: the sand in the morning reflect like gold glitters – go see it!

Address: southern side of the Danang shoreline

Seafood dinner

Quan b man b seafood mussels, Danang, Vietnam | Laugh Travel Eat
Half a kilo of mussels, with dips!

There are many seafood dining options along the beach. Most of them are open air where you can pick whichever seafood you desire, but if you fancy somewhere with air con, there are those, too. Head to my Danang restaurant post for more info.

Day 2 in Danang

Ba Na Hill

panorama at the top of bana hill danang vietnam - laugh travel eat
panorama of the top of Ba Na Hill

Ba Na Hill is the supposed #1 attraction near Danang – it is located in the Mountains west of Danang. It leverages its founding by the French in 1919 heavily, however, I have to warn you that all of the buildings are from this century and caters to wedding photography and locals.

Ba Na Hill, French Village, Danang, Vietnam | Laugh Travel Eat
Hello Paris?

If you have been to Europe, chances are you won’t be impressed, but the view combined with the architecture does make it look stunning. Since my first visit in 2016, they have expanded and added many new things which makes it more worth while to go but also attract more crowd.

theme park bana hill danang vietnam - laugh travel eat

Another thing is that they have some theme park facilities, and we manage to get on one – be warned, the queues can get LONG.

Golden Hand Bridge

golden hand bridge bana hill danang vietnam - laugh travel eat
That’s 50% of the bridge in photo

The most famous part of Ba Na Hill is now the Golden Hand Bridge. It’s only added in 2018 and already a favourite among instagrammers and wedding photography.

The first stop on the Ba Na Hill Cable Car is Gare de Marseille that directly connects to this bridge. It’s much shorter than expected and link to the Garden of Lovers. We tried to get there as early as we can, arriving 10 minutes after the cable car start running but it’s already pretty busy!

You can now book a tour to see the bridge on Ba Na Hill!

The Garden of Love

Garden of Love, Ba Na Hill, Danang, Vietnam | Laugh Travel Eat
The garden of love – or known as a’more park

Now directly connected at the end of the Golden Hands Bridge, the Garden of Love is a pretty place that oozes European vibes.

garden of love view bana hill danang vietnam - laugh travel eat

The best part, for me, is the view of the valley and Danang in the distant.

French Village

french village bana hill danang vietnam - laugh travel eat

The main part of Ba Na Hill is the French Village, now accessible by two (and soon three) cable car lines. You can get back to Gare du Marseille or take a train to another station to get up.

central square bana hill danang vietnam - laugh travel eat

Getting to Ba Na Hill

We booked a day tour via our hotel and it cost 850,000 dong (39 USD) in 2016, including the entry tickets and the buffet lunch. We have to pay extra (70,000 dong per person) to visit the Garden of Love, which offers a stunning view of the region, along with some temples and pseudo-roman architectures.

See the all-inclusive tour (tickets + lunch) here

Ba Na Hill view, cable cars, Danang, Vietnam | Laugh Travel Eat
The cable cars on Ba Na Hill – and a rad view!

For my trip there in 2019, we wanted to get there early for photos so we hired a private car for 900k dong that would take us there at 7. I had a horrible experience with them (Same Same but Better service) so won’t recommend, but do use mine as a price point.

As I’ve noted, there were a lot of people even early in the morning. I spoke to two girls who went there in the late afternoon and said it was better. That said, the park closes for guests (unless you are staying there) around 5-6pm so you won’t get to do much if you go late.

Admission cost is 750,000 dong (600,000 for children under 1.4m), which translates to around 32.3 USD or 252.5 HKD. I booked tickets on Klook to save using dong and it’s a little cheaper at 242 HKD. The pick up point is to the left of the entrance photographed above.

 
Address: Nhà máy nước Sân Bay, Trường Chinh, Hòa Thuận Tây, Đà Nẵng, Vietnam

Opening times: daily 7:00 – 23:30

Lunch recommendation: Mi Quang A1 or Pizza 4P

We depart from Ba Na Hill before noon and got the driver to drop us off down town for some lunch. I suggested Mi Quang A1 (which I loved from 2016) but my sister vetoed me for Pizza 4P.

Danang Spa

Salem Spa Garden

Salem Spa Garden, Danang, Vietnam | Laugh Travel Eat
kind of got a greek vibe!

A friend of ours booked us to this Day Spa that’s across the Quy My Bridge. Not to be confused with the Salem Spa, this one is newer and a few blocks down. Although the price isn’t particularly cheap in Vietnamese standard, the spa does have a nice décor and service.

We had a 90 minutes massage that is listed at 20 USD, but they charge a compulsory service charge so it ended up being 24 USD. The hot stone massage was heavenly and we got treated with soup and passion fruit juice afterwards. And did I mention they have the best design?

Address: 528 2 Tháng 9, Hải Châu, Đà Nẵng, Vietnam

Opening times: daily 9:00 – 22:30

Booking available on their website

Maison Spa

maison spa room belle maison parosand danang vietnam - laugh travel eat

If you are staying beach-side, Maison Spa is likely more convenient and I adore their decor and lovely service. It is located in the Belle Maison Parosand Danang Hotel, just across from My Khe Beach. I did a 60 minutes body massage and the room is heavenly. They also provide bathrobes, disposable underwear, and shower facilities.

Opening times: 8:30 – 22:00, last booking 21:00

Day 3 in Danang

Lotte Mart

For those of you who have the need to shop for souvenir with air con, then Lotte Mart is for you. Lotte Mart might just be a familiar name to some of you, that’s because it’s a Korean brand supermarket. But that doesn’t stop it from selling local produce. Here, you can find rice spring roll paper, dried fruit, coffee products, tea etc.; in fact, it’s where all the Korean tourists come to do their souvenir shop. There’s also a currency exchange service for those who have insufficient funds. You won’t find an easy place to exchange anywhere else.

Address: 6, Nại Nam, Phường Hòa Cường Bắc, Hải Châu, Đà Nẵng, Vietnam

Opening times: Daily 8:00 – 22:00

Han Market

han market danang vietnam - laugh travel eat

To be 100% honest, Han Market doesn’t stand out among the hundreds of markets that I’ve been to in the past. However, those of you who find the tailoring too expensive in Hoi An would be sure to find a myriad of choices and cheaper services here.

inside han market danang vietnam - laugh travel eat

It is situated in the downtown area of Danang, and therefore within walking distance from the Church, Han River, and various street food stores. So it’s worth a visit if you are in the area.

Address: 119 Trần Phú, Hải Châu 1, Hải Châu, Đà Nẵng, Vietnam

Opening times: daily 6:00 – 19:00

Con Market

con market danang vietnam - laugh travel eat

Still too touristy? Then head further west to Con Market – which sells pretty much the same thing as Han Market but local-orientated. Goods from each stall spilled into the narrow walkways with shop assistants gathering in huddle to chat among themselves. It can be quite hot and not necessarily fruitful for the average buyer given its chaotic structure.

inside con market danang vietnam - laugh travel eat

Many also come to their food court to eat. For someone like me who have issues deciding on what to eat, it can be a little daunting. But almost everything is super affordable here (around 20k dong) so just ask!

Address: 269 Ông Ích Khiêm, Hải Châu 2, Hải Châu, Đà Nẵng 550000, Vietnam

Opening times: 6:00 – 20:00

Danang Cathedral

daang cathedral danang vietnam - laugh travel eat

A curious pink church that stands in the Danang Downtown area, it is a testimony to the city’s French heritage. Built by the French priest Louis Vallet. Built in the early 20th century, the church that was the tallest in the area with 70m high dome.

back entrance danang cathedral danang vietnam - laugh travel eat

On my visit in July 2019 you can no longer enter from the front. There is a unassuming entrance at the back that you enter and exit through. We weren’t able to visit the inside of the church, however, it is an interesting spot to visit in downtown.

Address: 156 Trần Phú, Hải Châu 1, Q. Hải Châu, Đà Nẵng, Vietnam

No admission fee

Han River

Han river, Danang, Vietnam | Laugh Travel Eat
The sunny promenade of Han River

The river that runs parallel to the sea, the Han River is curiously wide and separated Danang into two parts. A series of five bridges, including the famous Dragon Bridge, span across it. You can get a pretty good view of the city from river banks, which also happens to be a great Pokemon catching spot. It’s good for an evening walk or to take some photos.

Linh Ung Pagoda

lady buddha statue linh ung pagoda danang vietnam - laugh travel eat

A white statue of the Lady Buddha, the Linh Ung Pagoda is hard to miss for anyone on the seafront of Danang. Located on the Son Tra Peninsular, it was built in 2004 on the site where a Buddha statue was said to washed up in the 19th century under the Nguyen Dynasty.

nearby pagoda linh ung pagoda danang vietnam - laugh travel eat

The pagoda stretches around the Lady Buddha statue with a main hall and a pagoda. It’s melting hot to visit during the summer but the onsite snack shop provide refreshment at a very resonable rate.

map linh ung pagoda danang vietnam - laugh travel eat
A simple map

I visited in the morning using Grab bike from my hotel – it was surprisingly easy to get one back since I barely stayed an hour due to the heat!

Address: Chùa Linh Ứng, Hoàng Sa, Thọ Quang, Sơn Trà, Đà Nẵng, Vietnam

Opening times: unclear

Admission free

How to get around Danang:

Danang is not a small city, and there tends to be a fair distance between each attraction. You can’t get around on foot, particularly not under the summer heat. There is only two way to go around:

Taxi

There is no shortage of taxis around Danang, in fact, we often got honked at by passing taxi drivers who wanted business. All of the taxi services are legit (unlike Hoi An), though do make sure you are on the meter. As I have written in my Vietnam survival guide, one driver pretended to be/ended up lost, so make sure you know where you are going. The best way is to show them the location on Google Map

*Note – since 2016 many people have noted that using Grab is more straightforward in terms of payment and you can track the driver’s progress.

Scooter

You can also rent a scooter to go around. However, a traveler we met expressed that Danang has one of the most chaotic traffic he had ever seen, and the roads can be pretty busy. I highly recommend using taxi wherever possible.

Where to stay in Danang

Danang Sunset, Danang, Vietnam | Laugh Travel Eat
The skyline of Danang in 2016 is very different to 2019

There are only two areas you should stay in, in my opinion: downtown or seafront. As I had mentioned above, Danang is not an easy city to get around unless you get a taxi/Grab. So depending on your interest, figure out which side you want to stay on. Here are some suggestions:

Beach front

Splurge: Danang Golden Bay

danang golden bay da nang vietnam - laugh travel eat-3

Technically neither beach front nor downtown, Danang Golden Bay is a bit out of the way but with many pros as well. Not only does it gives the best view in the city, it also has a 24k gold infinity pool that faces the glorious sunset everyday!

danang golden bay da nang vietnam - laugh travel eat

Its location also guarantee quietness, meaning you won’t be bothered by the loud Vietnamese Karaoke that plague the beach nightly. Its buffet breakfast and free shuttle to strategic locations in town, the beach, and the airport also make up for its remote location.

danang golden bay da nang vietnam - laugh travel eat-2

The rooms are minimalist and gives you a refreshing atmosphere. Our room faces the river which offers a stunning view on the balcony.

However, with 900 rooms in the hotel, it does get noisy and getting on an elevator during peak hours can be difficult.

Mid-range splurge: Belle Maison Parosand

beach front belle maison parosand danang vietnam - laugh travel eat

Just across the road from my Khe Beach, Belle Maison Parosand is ideally located by the seafront with a rooftop infinity pool to boast.

pool belle maison parosand danang vietnam - laugh travel eat

With kind staff, good breakfast, and fast WiFi, there’s nothing not to like about it! For a detailed review, read here!

Mid-range/Budget: Sea Wonder Hotel

Situated 2 blocks away from the beach, Sea Wonder Hotel is a decent hotel with basic breakfast provided. The wifi works well, the TV has cable channels and the aircon is great. Although the breakfast time ends a little early (around 8:30), the reception staff has been helpful and it was a good, budget stay – check out its review on bookings.com.

Downtown by Han River

Danang Han River Hotel

Not to be confused with the Han River Hotel, if you want to stay in the center, this hotel was recommended to us by two Korean tourists we met. It’s located in the downtown area close to everything, and according to them, they can’t fault the hotel. I mean, just have a look at its pool and beautiful decor!*

It certainly would have made my street food hunting life easier!

Danang to Hoi An

If you want to go from Danang to Hoi An, you can easily do so by a taxi. The distance between the two should cost about 350k VND, depending on where you are being picked up and dropped off. I would strongly recommend a metered taxi unless you are going during rush hours.

Alternatively, you can find travel agencies who run minibusses or buses between the two. But since it’s a half-hour by taxi, it’s much more time efficient!

Book private transfer from Danang to Hoi An here

this post contain affiliate links where I get a % sale if you book at NO COST to you.

Written by Nam Cheah

Hi, my name is Nam. I am 24 and spent half my life in Hong Kong and the other half in UK. I believe there's endless experience and beauty in the world and this is me chronicling how to experience the best at the best price.

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