While most tourists neglect Vietnam’s fourth-largest city in favor of nearby Hue and Hoi An, Danang has considerable charm in its own right. The economic powerhouse of central Vietnam, it combines the buzz of a bigger city with beautiful beaches and great restaurants. A lot of money has recently been poured into tree-lined boulevards, bridges and beachside resorts.
Back in the heady days of the American War, Danang was referred to as the ‘Saigon of the North’. This held a note of both praise and condemnation: like its big southern sister, Danang was notable for its booming economy, fine restaurants, busy traffic and glittering shops. Entertaining the soldiers from the nearby American base was a profitable business – bars and prostitution were major industries, and that sleazy legacy lingers. Danang marks the northern limits of Vietnam’s tropical zone and boasts a pleasant climate all year round.
Sightseeing in Danang
Champa Sculpture Art Museum - Located at the junction of Trung Nu Vuong and 2/9 Streets, Danang City, the Champa Sculpture Art Museum was built in 1915 under the sponsorship of the French School for Far Eastern Studies in Vietnam. It is based in the Danang region which was the seat of the old Champa Kingdom and boasts many attractions like Tra Kieu, Dong Duong, My Son and Thap Mam. In 1936 the Museum was expanded, and opened to the public in 1939. It conserves the last collection of the Champa Sculpture Art in Vietnam and the world. Its architecture bears the features of Cham architecture. It boasts a row of showrooms white in color with simple yet graceful decorations. The Museum exhibits 300 original sandstone sculptures and some baked clay products collected from the temples and towers that lie scattered from Quang Binh to Binh Thuan in Central Vietnam. The exhibits are statues, embossments, images, and patterns displayed in 10 rooms named after the places where they were found.
Pagodas in Danang - Danang comprises a large number of pagodas, most of which are situated on mountains like the Marble Mountain. Each pagoda attracts visitors by the different in way of arrangement, structure and surrounding landscape. Tourists can have deeper knowledge on the Buddhism of Vietnam in general and of Quang Nam - Danang in particular when traveling to Vietnam.
Pho Da Pagoda – Constructed in 1932 with the combination of the western and eastern architecture style. The original name was “the branch of Trung Phan Academy”. Then it was renamed Pho Da and the name remains until now. In the presbytery, there are three copper statues casted in 1947 including the statue of Di Da Buddha, Quan Am and Dai The Chi Buddha. Currently, this place is the home to the school of the Basic Buddhology where many generations of buddhist monks and nuns of Danang and Quang Nam are trained.
Quan Am Pagoda - Situated on the Kim Son Mount of the Marble Mountain. In front of the pagoda is the charming Stork’s Neck River. Behind the pagoda is Quan Am grotto with interesting images created by the stalactite which looks similar to the statue of the Buddha in legend. A bonze named Phap Nhan had found the grotto in 1956, and he created a hermitage to sit in meditation in three years, then he took all his wealth to set up this pagoda. This is the place where the Quan The Am Festival is organized on 19th of lunar February. It is said that this pagoda is very sacred and solemn; so many visitors come here to ask for happiness and luck.
Linh Ung Pagoda - Lying within the area of Thuy Son Mount of the Marble Mountain tourist site, this is an ancient pagoda with high historical value. In the period of Gia Long King, the pagoda is constructed and named Ung Chan. Until 1841, Thanh Thai King renamed it Linh Ung Pagoda. The presbytery worships the three Buddhas: Thich Ca Buddha in the center, Di Lac Buddha on the right hand side and Di Da Buddha in the left hand side. In the pagoda, there are two valuable golden escutcheons, one of which is the recognition of the pagoda as the national pagoda in the sixth Minh Mang year and another is the recognition to rename the pagoda to Linh Ung in the third Thanh Thai Dynasty.
Son Tra Peninsula - Situated at the entrance of Danang harbor and acting as a screen protecting the city against winds and storms, Son Tra Peninsula is an ideal site of sandy beaches, historical remains, and rare bird and animal species. It is 13km from the centre of Danang City. Son Tra Peninsula is a natural ecological region rising 693m high from the sea level. It is not only a natural conservation but also a highly potential eco-tourism resort of Danang. This is an ideal place to develop the sport tourism such as sea diving, stream bathing, fishing and climbing.
Hai Van Pass - Situated on the road between Danang and Hue. From this site, there is a beautiful view with the sea in the distance, bringing the sensation of being in a paradise of clouds. It has been a source of inspiration for many scholars and poets.
Marble Mountains - Also called Ngu Hanh Son, the mountains are located approximately 8km southeast of Danang City, close to the sea. In the early 19th century, King Minh Mang (King of Nguyen Dynasty), named the five mountains according to the five elements of nature: Kim Son (metal), Moc Son (wood), Hoa Son (fire), Tho Son (earth) and Thuy Son (water). Of the five mountains, Thuy Son is both the largest and the most beautiful.
Non Nuoc Marble Carving Village - The marble-carving handicraft in Non Nuoc was founded in the 18th century by Mr. Huynh Ba Quat from Thanh Hoa Province. It used to be a side occupation, but since the 19th century it has been the main source of income for Hai Hoa Village (part of Non Nuoc Village). A wide variety of articles are sculpted in marble, including Buddhist and saint statues, animals and bracelets.
Ba Na - Chua Mount tourist site - Lies within the area of Hoa Vang District, Danang City, about 50km to the west of city center. Located at 1.487 meters high above sea level, this area has a year round cool climate which makes it an ideal resort in the central region. Visitors have to pass through 15km of winding road in order to reach the top of Ba Na Mountain. Coming to this site, visitors will not only have chance to enjoy the green and fresh atmosphere but also to observe beauty spots which can hardly be found in other regions. Besides, Ba Na possesses a rich and diverse flora and fauna system. In 1986, the site had been recognized as the natural reserve which preserve and protect the tropical forest and many precious species.
At the beginning of 20th century, the French had built many hotels, villas on Ba Na Mount to satisfy the demand for relaxation and entertainment of French people. After the war, this site had been destroyed and people were likely to forget it. However, in recent years, Danang has gradually upgraded and improved the old villas of the French, the Buddhism cultural area and series of hotels, bars, tennis court, etc. Visitors can transfer to the center of Ba Na – Chua Mount tourist site from Vong Nguyen Hill through a modern hanging cable system.
Non Nuoc Beach - Stretches five kilometers along the shore of Hoa Hai Ward at the foot of Ngu Hanh Son (The Marble Mountains). The beach is famous for its seaweed, which reaches exportation standards. Many five-star hotels were built in Non Nuoc to accommodate the domestic and foreign tourists in the area. Together with its feature of wave degree, climate, weather and salinity, Non Nuoc Beach is suitable for water sports, especially surfing. In 1993, there took place an international champion with the participation of nearly 40 athletes from many countries around the world.
Along the beach, on the white sand is a forest of age-old casuarinas which is shady, green and is waving in the whistling wind. This is an ideal place for resting and camping. When the darkness falls and the moon rises, you can set yourself free on smooth benches along the beach to listen to melodious sounds of the waves.