Quest for the Fire Breathing Dragon: Da Nang, Vietnam

I had been hanging out in Hoi An and An Bang for a while, and although I hadn’t originally intended to spend any time in Da Nang, I decided to set off there for a gander, since it was home to the airport where I’d be taking my onward flight to Phnom Penh, Cambodia.

Da Nang is a relatively compact City, with the airport contained within the City limits. You can pretty much walk its entirety in a couple of hours and from the Centre to the Airport in around 30 minutes. (In fairness you could also not be a stingy B*****d and get a cab pretty cheaply, however I’d spent the previous week lulling around in my hammock in An Bang eating Cornettos and drinking “Bia Hoi” with a group of Aussies, so decided that the extra exercise wouldn’t go a-miss!)
You can also pick up complimentary Street Maps and walking guides of Da Nang from inside the airport.

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It was pretty refreshing to spend some time in Da Nang after the incredibly touristy atmosphere of Hoi An. It felt like I was back in the real Vietnam again – the food was incredible and I could walk a few feet without people trying to scam me or sell me some tat. Hurrah!
In all honesty, there isn’t a huge amount to do within the City itself – I wouldn’t say make a specific visit, but if you have a spare half a day whilst travelling the coast of Vietnam, it’s worth popping by. You may find yourself pleasantly surprised.

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Perhaps one of the most iconic images of Da Nang is its Dragon Bridge – a pretty unique structure in itself, but I was even more fascinated when I passed it again on my return journey after Dinner and found that the bridge was illuminated with an ever-changing array of colours.

Every Saturday and Sunday at 9PM, the bridge is closed, and a show takes place with the Dragon breathing actual Fire and spraying Water over the excited crowd (Shout out to those non-existent South East Asian safety standards!)

Dragon Bridge

A quirky sculpture park parallels the Da Nang Riverside, and a left turn from here brings you to the Da Nang Cathedral. Interesting if only for the fact that it is Bright Pink and looks almost like a cake decoration!

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Okay, I can sense you’re not completely sold on Da Nang just yet so let’s skip to the good bit…

If you head to the beach for a bit of R&R in Hoi An, it can feel like the whole of Vietnam has the same idea. You can consider yourself lucky if there is even a centimetre gap between your beach towel, and the Man Boobs of the obese Bloke next to you.

Da Nang’s beaches are something of a tropical paradise – spanning miles and almost deserted, even though this is the peak of Summer.

My Khe 3

My An

Non Nuoc and My Khe make up Da Nang’s 20 mile stretch “China Beach” which is the place where US soldiers would head to relax during the Vietnam War… Can you blame them?

If you head to the Son Tra Peninsula of Da Nang (Monkey Mountain), you can pay a visit to Lady Buddha. There are a number of tours and hotel excursions that head up here, but you can also organise your own cab at a pretty decent price if there are a few of you. As I mentioned, Da Nang is pretty small, so the trip to Lady Buddha isn’t so far from the Central District.
Standing 70 metres high, Ms. Buddha is the ‘protector of Sailors’ and the largest such Bodhisattva statue in Vietnam. Inside the statue are 17 floors, each worshipping a different figure of Buddha.

Lady Buddha

Lady Buddha2

 My overall impression of Da Nang? None too shabby to say that it is a City that is so commonly by-passed.

Have you been to Da Nang? What were your thoughts?
Do you have any suggestions for what I should check out next time I’m in town?

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