Apart From Hanoi And Ho Chi Minh, Da Nang Has It’s Own Charms Too
Previously occupied by both the French and the Americans, Da Nang marks the halfway point between the capital in the north, Hanoi, and Ho Chi Minh City in the south. The fourth largest city in Vietnam, Da Nang is in close proximity to Hue- 3 hours North and Hoi An- 30 minutes South, which makes it a perfect stop point for those who need a break from touristy areas.
Da Nang is growing into one of the most organized urban area, with attractive beach front villas on the one side and Han River flowing on the other.
Shoppings, local markets and historical sights are just one of the main attraction luring tourists from around the world.
Apart from some shopping highlights and historical sights, the main reason for most travelers staying here is its proximity to the well-known China Beach, Lang Co Beach, Hoi An and My Son.
Lang Co Beach is lined with palm trees, the water of the nearby ocean crystal-clear and enticing, lapping onto white sand. It is a peninsula with a sparkling lagoon on one side, and the beach on the other. The area is fairly under-developed, although recent years have seen many new hotels opening.
China Beach is more developed, since it was a popular spot for American soldiers seeking R&R during the Vietnam-US War. Water sport activities here are in abundance, and it can get very crowded over weekends and holidays. Da Nang’s coastline stretches 30 kilometres, renowned for calm, cool waters and also popular for fishing, water-skiing, diving, and yachting.
Ba Na hills – 45 minutes drive from Danang or around 40 km (25 mi) west of Danang, Ba Na is located 1,487 meters above sea level in the Truong Son mountain range. Ba Na was formerly a 1920’s French resort and once boasted 200 villas, restaurants, and clubs. It is well known as the second Da Lat or Sa Pa in central Vietnam. Its temperate climate, unspoiled forest, and spectacular views over the South China Sea and the Lao mountain range made Ba Na a popular retreat for both the French and the wealthy Vietnamese. Today the area still attracts locals and tourists alike thanks to a new cable system that was officially opened on 25th March 2009 and set two Guinness World Records for its height and length.
Dragon Bridge. Near the giant ferris wheel on the Han River, there is a bridge with a giant metal dragon built into it. At night it changes colors, and on Sunday nights around 8:30pm it blows fire and water. Large crowds so get there a little early for good photo ops. Looking out on both sides of the bridge is very colorful and scenic at night.
Marble Mountains (Ngu Hanh Son; admission 15,000 dong, tel. 511.961114)] are 9 km south of downtown and across the street from many of the larger beach side resorts. In other words, despite being mountains, they are within the city limits and very accessible (15-30 minutes from your hotel depending on your location). The group includes Kim Son (Mountain of Metal), Moc Son (Mountain of Wood), Thuy Son (Mountain of Water), Hoa Son (Mountain of Fire), and Tho Son (Mountain of Earth). Several Buddhist temples have been built into the caves and grottoes, and it’s a popular pilgrimage site.
The real fun, though, is at the Am Phu cave, where you can make the steep climb up toward the light and a view from the top of the mountain, surrounded by approving sacred images…or head in the opposite direction, physically and spiritually, down to the crude Hieronymous Bosch-esque statues of sinners getting their due in the caverns below, with appropriately eerie lighting. Either way, bring walking or climbing shoes. Please note that exploring all five mountains might be ambitious for a single day’s touring and would probably require quite a few hours. For those who would rather just visit one because of limitations on time or energy, go to Thuy Son which is the largest of all of the mountains with the most features to explore (including the aforementioned Am Phu cave).
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