Our time in Da Nang was a good example of how you need to keep yourself flexible and open while you travel. A city of bridges, we came to see the famous “Dragon Bridge” and the “Golden Bridge” (the one with the giant hands). And while in the end we couldn’t afford the golden bridge, we did end up going roller-coaster crazy for next to nothing in the local theme park, exploring the caves on marble mountain and watching a bridge breath fire. Not a bad compromise.
From Hue To Da Nang:
We decided to take the train from Hue to Da Nang as it would steer us through the famous Van Hoi Pass, over sheer cliff sides and through dense jungles, an option we wouldn’t have had with a bus or minivan. There are four trains a day, 8.30am,9.30am, 10.30am and 6.30pm.The journey takes about 3 hours and will cost you 80,000 VND (€3). We suggest you book in advance if you can or are passing the station as this line is popular and tends to book out quickly. We booked the day before and had no problems. The easiest way to get to the train station is via a Grab cab (We couldn’t find a local bus). Cost 30,000 VND (€1.15) local taxis will charge anything from 50,000 VND (€1.90) upwards. If you have a small bag order a Grab moto instead for about 17,000 VND (€0.65) From the train to: Main beachfront area via public bus: Exit train station, cross the road and head straight down Hoang Hao Tham through the busy Le Duan main street crossroads onto the next big junction (on the corner of Hung Vuong). The #12 passes here, either flag it down or look for a blue stop or a blue makeshift sign claiming to be a bus stop. You’re heading towards Vo Nguyen Giap (beachfront road), the #12 bus line runs the whole way to Truong Sa bus station so you can say this to the driver to check you’re on the right bus, just make sure to get off before the station. The ride takes 20mins and costs 5,000. Hoi An: To travel onwards to Hoi An from the train station, exit the station, cross the road and head straight down Hoang Hao Tham towards the busy Le Duan junction. Cross the road and take a left down Le Duan, in 100 metres or so is a blue bus stop sign. From here take the #1 bus all the way to Hoi An.
Accommodation In Da Nang:
Private rooms aren’t cheap, especially if you want to be close to the beaches. To score a really cheap deal, you could stay away from the beaches and city centre and instead arrange to rent a bike for a few days.
If you’re looking for a dorm, you are in luck as you won’t pay more than 130,000 VND (€5) for one and there are plenty of hostel options available.
For couples like us, if you cannot find a deal on Booking.com, have a search on Agoda instead. We found cheaper deals on Agoda and bagged ourselves three nights in “Top Hotel” for only €20. A two-star hotel within walking distance of the beach. Other than passable WiFi the hotel didn’t have any facilities.
Things To Do In Da Nang:
At a whopping 666 meters (coincidence that its the number of the beast?), you will find the majestic Dragon Bridge, the longest bridge in Vietnam. During the day it’s a traffic cone orange motionless serpent lazing across the Hàn River but at night its a multi-coloured, fire breathing daemon, looming over the traffic. Ok, so it only breathes fire twice a week… but that’s still more than any other bridge we know! The fire show happens every Saturday and Sunday at 9 pm. Crowds gather from around 8.30 pm and the entire bridge is closed (for traffic) from 8.55 pm. The “show” kicks off at exactly 9 pm and lasts for eight glorious minutes. Both fire and water are sprayed from the mythical creature’s mouth. If you want to get “the full” experience A.K.A soaked, stand on the left-hand side, facing the dragon. Bring a poncho or umbrella! But guys, why a dragon? The dragon is a significant symbol of power, nobility and good fortune. In Vietnam, the five-clawed Dragon is used to represent the emperor.
You can take the local bus #11, #1 or #R16 to the entrance of Marble Mountain for only 5000 VND (€0.19). The #1 Bus is the Da Nang to Hoi An bus so it’s easy to find a bus stop. Entry to Marble Mountain is 40,000 VND (€1.50) per person. It’s open from 7 am to 5 pm, you should allow yourself about four hours there. Note: If like us, you choose to rent a bike for the day and drive out, lots of locals will flag you down to park and try charge you up to 20,000 VND (€0.75), do not pay more than 5000 VND (€0.19). If you suggest 5000 VND and attempt to drive off, they will drop their price immediately. One of the most popular highlights is climbing up the Marble Mountains and enjoying spectacular views across Non Nuoc, also known as My Khe Beach. Your entry ticket entitles you to visit numerous Mountains and Caves on the site but not Am Phu Cave, which costs an extra 20,000 VND (€0.75), or the elevator which was 15,000 (€0.60) each way. It does however include;
Huyen Khong Cave:
One of the most beautiful, when the sun is high over the cave it shines a natural light across the Buddhist statues.
Linh Nham Cave:
An extremely small cave, with a small shrine at the entrance.
Van Thong Cave:
A medium size cave with a Buddha image. You can walk into the back end of the cave and climb upwards. There’s nothing major to see back there but it’s a fun little climb all the same. Be careful as all steps are obviously marble (marble = slippy and hard).
Tang Chong Cave:
Another beautiful cave with a number of alcoves including one with a large marble carved Buddha. Explore every inch and corner of the cave to find the large statue
Am Phu Cave:
The only “add-on” cave in the Marble Mountain circuit, Am Phu is split into many levels to represent hell, earth and heaven.
Crazy strange statues and bizarre hold-style music make this an interesting visit but maybe not worth the extra 20,000 VND (€0.75) if you’re already all caved out.
Overall Marble Mountain can be a little too touristy, no matter the time of day. It does feel busier in the Hell Cave near both gates. It is a beautiful space with a lot of interesting carvings and places of worship.
Essentially it’s a day of pagoda, cave and temple hopping with spectacular views high above Da Nang city.
Spend time on the pagodas and temples as they really are such beautiful structures. Just remember to be respectful, and take off your shoes before entering any building or stepping onto a shrine’s.
Considering this was one of the reasons we came to Da Nang, we were so disappointed to discover the Golden Bridge was part of a resort which had a whopping 700,000 VND (€27) entry fee.
The golden bridge is a sky bridge that has been constructed to look like it is suspended in a pair of giant concrete hands, and while it looks TOTALLY amazing, it was just a tad out of our budget.
Now, the entry fee does include a cable car up the mountain, some cultural dance shows, some other attractions such as a play area and a theme park. But for us, it was way out of our budget especially considering you need to pay for transport out there. One particular couple said they spend $120 just to visit for a day, *vomits everywhere.
If you are interested, the Golden Bridge can be found in the Ba Na Hills Resort. Note that you have to buy your tickets in advance so visit their website to book. (here)
Sun World Asia Park:
A sucker for a theme park (Katie), we noticed Da Nang’s brightly lit big wheel (again Katie) and went searching for a price to take a sky-high spin (all Katie).
Due to the scorching heat, the park only opens from 3 pm – 10 pm (September 2018) and cost us 50,000 VND (€1.90) per person.
The best part is this price includes unlimited use of all the rides and the arcade. Once you pay in, everything is free. That’s right kids, €1.90 for all you can take rollercoaster action.
The quirky layout offers replicas of all the ASEAN countries. From Cambodia’s Angkor Wat to Thailand’s temples and Singapore’s Monorail.
Local buses #8 #11 and #R6A all pass the park for only 5000 VND (€0.75) per person. They do however stop running at 9 pm. Check DanaBus for schedules and routes.
A Visa Sun metered taxi from the park to Dragon Bridge should only cost about 50,000 VND (€1.90). The large Lotte Shopp Centre near the park has free Wifi so you could head there and hail a Grab but we were looking at around 80,000 VND (€3).
If you’re on your own you could take a Grab bike, but if you’re at a theme park on your own you’ve got bigger problems than how to get back to town…
Hai Van Pass (via motorbike):
We had the pleasure of checking out the Hai Van Pass when we took the train from Hue to Da Nang. It is supposed to be an absolutely amazing drive if you’re a motorbike person (with a small pack). We obviously didn’t get to do it this way but have yet to meet someone who did and regretted it.
Food in Da Nang:
As always in Vietnam eating is on the “to do” list, we found some top notch grub while we were in DaNang;
Delicious vegetation food with plenty of mock meat options, the fish soup is to die for. Its close to the Dragon Bridge. It opens late, until 10 pm. Dishes start from 20,000 (€0.80)
A local buffet-style eatery where you pay 10,000 VND (€0.40) for a plate and he piles it with a little bit of everything including rice, lots of vegetables, different types of tofu and a side of soup. Open until 8 pm. De-licious!
Quany Chay Khai Tam:
Within walking distance of the dragon bridge, this restaurant was by far our favourite. Delicious dishes with decent portions, loads of options, including mock meats, topped off with wonderful presentation and the nicest staff ever. Dishes cost no more than 25,000 VND (€0.95), 20,000 VND (€0.80) for a small portion. They open until 10 pm, on the evening of the dragon show we grabbed a takeaway and dined al fresco on the bridge.
So there you go. We hope you got what you needed or at the very least were mildly entertained by our blog. If you fancy watching the funny bits of our Da Nang adventure you can catch the Insta highlights here. As always feel free to comment, critique or chastise, but do get in touch, we love to hear from you. Happy Travels TUG x