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8 Best Day Trips from Da Nang (From an Expat)

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Da Nang is easily one of the best places to visit in Central Vietnam, or if you ask me, one of the best places in the world to live abroad.

Whether you're moving to Vietnam like I did or will just be visiting Da Nang for a few days, you'll be pleasantly surprised by all the great things to do in the city. From watching the fire-breathing dragon bridge at night to going under ground at the Marble Mountains during the day. Not to mention the sheer amount of time you'll want to spend on the beautiful beaches that surround the city.

That being said, there are so many other great places to visit in Vietnam, it'd be a shame to miss out (if you have the time to spare).

These are my favorite day trips from Da Nang after living in the city for 2 years.

Short on time? Here's the cheat sheet:

🌍Day trips from Da Nang means immersing yourself into nature, history, and Vietnamese culture. 

🏥Accidents happen so come prepared with nomad insurance, just in case!

💰In general, Da Nang and its day trips will be affordable but why not sweeten the deal? Earn travel rewards on all expenses with a Capital One Venture Card.

🛵If you’re comfortable driving, the best way to get around is by motorbike. Otherwise use Grab (like Uber) to get a taxi.

 🎭Rather go with a guide? GetYourGuide, Viator, and Klook offer a wide variety of tours and activities to suit your schedule, budget, and interests. 

⌛Have minimal time? My #1 day trip recommendation is to Hoi An, with a stop for a drink at An Bang Beach either on the way there or back.

1. Hoi An

The streets of Hoi An are magic
  • Travel Time From Da Nang: 40 minutes
  • Why Visit: To visit the UNESCO World Heritage Site
  • What to Do: Stroll the yellow alleyways, get custom clothes made, enjoy the lantern-lit streets at night
  • Who It's Best For: Photographers, shoppers, and those interested by culture

Hoi An is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one I'm sure you've seen grace your IG feed more than once. This yellow-walled town is seriously something special and is well worth the short drive from Da Nang.

Hoi An can get really crowded, especially during peak season and in the evenings but I still think it's worth visiting. If you're willing to wake up early, this is the best time to wander the streets without too many others.

One of the best things to do in Hoi An is to get custom clothes made. Do some research and reach out on expat Facebook pages before you visit to get recommendations of which shops to visit. Years and plenty of washes later, I still wear clothes that I got on my 1st trip to Hoi An before even moving to Da Nang.

Plus, most people only think Hoi An is the few small alleyways right in the center of Old Town but really there's so much more to it than that. The outskirts of town, where the rice fields become your only view, is one of the best places to live in Vietnam for expats and digital nomads that want a calm livelihood.

Where to Stay in Hoi An

Turn your day trip into an overnight one to enjoy extended time in Hoi An. By staying here, you can easily combine this with visits to the Cham Islands, Tam Thanh, or An Bang Beach.

📍I recommend these hotels, based on your budget:

  • Budget Option: Square Villa Hoi An: If you want to enjoy early quiet mornings in Hoi An, this location will allow you to quickly get to Old Town on foot to beat the crowds. 
  • Mid-Tier Option: Little Gem: Stay a little farther from Old Town to soak up more of the quiet side of Hoi An at this eco-friendly boutique hotel and spa. 
  • Luxury Option: La Charm Hoi An Hotel & Spa: Enjoy a pool, spa, and breakfast buffet when you book your stay at this luxury hotel right in the heart of Hoi An.
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2. An Bang Beach

Beach bars await in An Bang
  • Travel Time From Da Nang: 30 minutes
  • Why Visit: To enjoy more beachfront bars and restaurants
  • What to Do: Swim, sunbathe, eat, and drink
  • Who It's Best For: Those that enjoy beachfront meals and variety in beaches

An Bang Beach is the last beach town you'll get to before turning inland towards Hoi An. If you only have time for 1 day trip from Da Nang, you can combine a stop here with your trip to Hoi An. If you have time for more outings, you could easily spend a day at each.

An Bang is a fantastic beach that has loads of beach clubs, bars, and restaurants right on the sand. The main entrance to the beach is where most of the beach restaurants are but turning off that main street, you'll find plenty of other coffee shops and places to eat.

When living in Da Nang, I loved bringing my computer to work from An Bang Beach. The Sound of Silence coffee shop was one of my favorite places there with their indoor and outdoor options for working.

While you might be thinking, why would I travel to a beach when I have plenty of sandy options right in Da Nang? Really though, they're completely different places with Da Nang as a city and An Bang as a sleepy beach town.

Where to Stay in An Bang Beach

📍Turn your day trip into an overnight one to enjoy extended time in An Bang Beach. I recommend these hotels, based on your budget:

  • Budget Option: Hai An Villa: Enjoy a quick walk to the beach, a shared swimming pool, and a deluxe private room that won't break the bank.
  • Mid-Tier Option: KA Villa: Get even closer to the sandy shores at this hotel that also offers a swimming pool in a scenic center courtyard.
  • Luxury Option: CHiEM HoiAn: Want a bigger room and luxury amenities? Go for the sea view room that also includes a tasty breakfast.

3. Ba Na Hills

Rain does scare away the crowds on the Golden Hands Bridge
  • Travel Time From Da Nang: 1 hr 20 min
  • Why Visit: For the Golden Hands Bridge
  • What to Do: Pose for pictures, enjoy the European Village, and ride on some park rides
  • Who It's Best For: Families and those motivated by photography

Another that I'm sure you've seen on social media but might not have realized it is Ba Na Hills. This theme park is home to the Golden Hands Bridge.

You might think this famous golden bridge is all that there is to see or do here, you'd be wrong.

Ba Na Hills is actually a theme park that has a European village, a huge arcade, a handful of bars and restaurants, and some amusement park rides to choose from. There are a handful of guided tours to Ba Na Hills or you can just buy your ticket in advance to avoid the line.

To get to the park, you'll need to take a super long cable car but lucky for you, you'll get to soak up stunning landscapes along the way.

I've heard from others that Ba Na Hills can get just as crowded as Hoi An. I, by chance, went on a day that started raining. While it meant that the rides closed down, we practically had the park to ourselves. We were wet but had a really fun time.

If you get a taxi or Grab to Ba Na Hills, be sure to ask the driver to wait on you to drive you back to Da Nang. Most will agree (but ask in advance just to be sure) and that way you don't have to search for a ride from there which can be really hard to find.

Where to Stay in Ba Na Hills

📍Turn your day trip into an overnight one to enjoy extended time around Ba Na Hills. This is ideal if you're a golfer as they have one of the few courses in the area. I recommend these hotels, based on your budget:

  • Budget Option: Family Home Villa: Enjoy your own private tiny home surrounded by nature at this pet-friendly property just minutes away from Ba Na Hills.
  • Mid-Tier Option: Ebisu Onsen Resort: This resort is the perfect option for couples looking to really relax. If you've never been to an onsen, you'll love this spa experience.
  • Luxury Option: Mercure Danang French Village: Why just spend a day at Ba Na Hills if you can spend the night? Stay at the European Village and enjoy great views, a swimming pool, and stunning rooms.

4. Cham Island

Quiet Cham Island is great for a traquil getaway
  • Travel Time From Da Nang: Around 1hr
  • Why Visit: Picturesque scenery and quiet beaches
  • What to Do: Sunbathe, swim, snorkel, explore the island
  • Who It's Best For: Low-key travelers that prefer off-the-beaten-path destinations

Cham Island is located just off the coast of Hoi An. To get there, you'd first need to get to Hoi An and then a boat to the islands. You can take the public ferry, like we did, or book the fast boat or a tour operator.

If you're going to turn this day trip into an overnight one, you'll be just fine on the public ferry. If you're just going for a day trip, you might prefer a tour to get there quicker and with a guide to take you to snorkel or scuba dive.

For me, the beauty of the Cham Islands was staying on them. We rented a motorbike and spent our weekend hopping around along the beaches, some even with monkeys, and reading our books with spectacular views of the ocean from the balcony of our homestay.

Just know that although the island is small, it's a bit too far to walk to too many of the beaches and you'll prefer to have a motorbike if you really want to explore.

Where to Stay on Cham Island

📍Turn your day trip into an overnight one to enjoy extended time in the Cham Islands. I recommend these hotels, based on your budget:

5. Son Tra Peninsula

The view and private beach at the Intercontinental
  • Travel Time From Da Nang: 20 minutes to Lady Buddha, adding time from there depending on your route around the peninsula
  • Why Visit: Wildlife spotting and fantastic nature
  • What to Do: Visit Linh Ung Pagoda, explore via motorbike, lounge at small beaches, enjoy panoramic views
  • Who It's Best For: Nature enthusiasts, hikers, photographers, and adventure enthusiasts

A trip to Son Tra Peninsula, or Monkey Mountain, can be as short or as time consuming as you want it to be. You could easily go up to the Lady Buddha Statue, officially the Linh Ung Pagoda, for an hour or two and come back to the city or you could take your time, complete the motorbike loop, stopping at beaches and lookout points along the way.

Whatever adventure you're after, you can find it on the Son Tra Peninsula.

Just know that to drive the full loop, you'll need to have a semi-automatic or manual bike. Some of the hills are super steep and require you to have more power than an automatic. I also suggest that you're a confident driver as the turns can be sharp, the hills can be steep, and monkeys might pop out from nowhere.

Do your best to keep your eyes out for the endangered Red Shanked Doucs who call Son Tra home. There are tours that will take you on nature walks to look for them but each time I went to Son Tra on my own, I was able to spot a few. If you're not confident to drive yourself, you can book a monkey spotting tour with a local guide.

Where to Stay on Son Tra Peninsula

There are a few places to stay near the Linh Ung Pagoda but for a truly unforgettable experience, I recommend booking a stay at the stunning InterContinental Hotel. This hotel will immerse you into nature, provide you with a private beach, and even offers transportation if you don't want to drive yourself.

6. Hai Van Pass

The views along the Hai Van Pass don't disappoint
  • Travel Time From Da Nang: 50 minutes to highest point
  • Why Visit: Scenic views and fun roads to drive on
  • What to Do: Learn more about the American War, take plenty of pictures, and enjoy a scenic drive
  • Who It's Best For: Adventure seekers, photographers, road trip enthusiasts

The Hai Van Pass is one of the most beautiful roads in the world, if you ask me. This is part of the road that stretches from Da Nang to Hue but the pass is specifically the area that crosses the peninsula between the north of Da Nang and Lang Co.

There are plenty of tour operators that'll take you on a motorbike ride but if you can drive, I recommend driving yourself. The roads are windy and a lot of fun. There are plenty of coffee shops to stop along the way to take your time and soak up the view.

The main viewpoint is at the highest point, at the Hai Van Quan ruins, but the drive down either side is spectacular with jungle and sea views all around. If you're not comfortable driving yourself, hire a driver so all you need to do is sit back and relax. 

There's also a train that goes from Da Nang to Hue so if you prefer, you can take the train all the way to the Imperial City instead.

To Lang Co

Sleepy but scenic Lang Co

Travel Time for Hai Van Pass: 20 minutes

Once you reach the highest lookout point, many turn around and head back to Da Nang. You can certainly choose to do that but if you have an extra hour or so to spare, I would continue down to Lang Co.

This is another sleepy beach town that has fantastic seafood restaurants. Plus, the drive down to Lang Co and the view from the beach there is really stunning. Just be sure to leave with enough time to drive back to Da Nang in daylight unless you plan to stay the night in Lang Co.

Where to Stay in Lang Co

📍There aren't too many places to stay in Lang Co but that doesn't mean it isn't worth the night, especially to give yourself more time to enjoy the Hai Van Pass. I recommend booking your stay at B&H Villa. The small garden rooms offer privacy and serenity.

To Hue

The Imperial Palace of Hue in full bloom is a stunner

Travel Time for Hai Van Pass: 1hr 30 mins

From Lang Co you can keep going even farther and get all the way to Hue, the Imperial City of Vietnam. As the ancient capital of Vietnam, Hue has a lot of history to soak up. Luckily much of it is still intact and what didn't survive the war, they've worked hard to rebuild.

There are plenty of moments, ancient burial sites of the emperors of Vietnam, but if you're short on time, head directly to the Imperial City itself. The grounds there are impressive. If you opt to go on a guided tour to Hue, they’ll take you to a few of the most important sights. 

Hue is known as one of the culinary capitals of Vietnam so be sure to try loads of different Vietnamese dishes while there and wash it all down with a salt coffee. Trust me, it's better than it sounds!

Where to Stay in Hue

📍Turn your day trip into an overnight one to enjoy extended time in Hue. I recommend these hotels, based on your budget:

  • Budget Option: Purple Hue Central Hub: When my husband and I visited Hue, this is the hotel we stayed in. It was fantastic for the price point. 
  • Mid-Tier Option: The Scarlett Boutique Hotel: Enjoy a great area of town and a friendly staff that’ll help you plan your trip and give you plenty of local tips. 
  • Luxury Option: Melia Vinpearl Hue: If you stay here, do it for the view. Some of the rooms offer sweeping views of the city, making your stay in Hue even more memorable. 

7. My Son Sanctuary

My Son can be surprisingly quiet
  • Travel Time From Da Nang: 1hr
  • Why Visit: To see the ancient ruins from the Cham People
  • What to Do: Walk around the complex and learn about the Champa Kingdom
  • Who It's Best For: History buffs, culture enthusiasts, architecture aficionados.

My Son Sanctuary is a UNESCO World Heritage Site left by the Cham People who used to rule Central Vietnam. You can think of this area as a small Angkor Wat.

Some of the temples were destroyed in the war but they've left the bomb craters so their far off and recent history can live on together.

There are tours that you can take to My Son Sanctuary but we decided to go on our own. We read a lot on the area and enjoyed roaming the jungle and spotting the ruins on our own. For bigger history buffs, you might prefer the guide but for us, doing it on our own was enough.

Where to Stay Around My Son

📍There aren't too many places to stay near My Son but if you'd like to stay nearby and soak up the mountain views for more time, I recommend booking your stay at My Son Heritage Resort and Spa. This resort has so many amenities, you'll be tempted to spend all of your time here instead of out and about exploring.

8. Tam Thanh

Picture courtesy of unsplash.com/Giang Hoàng
  • Travel Time From Da Nang: 1hr 15 minutes
  • Why Visit: To enjoy the mural village and the beaches
  • What to Do: Pose for pictures at the murals, sunbathe, go swimming
  • Who It's Best For: Art lovers and those that prefer off-the-beaten-path destinations

Tam Thanh is a much lesser known day trip from Da Nang but a great place for those that prefer to get off the beaten path.

This small beach town is just south of Hoi An, outside of the bigger city, Tam Ky. Besides the beaches, what makes Tam Thanh somewhere worth visiting is their murals, giving Tam Thanh the nickname, Mural Village.

If you love street art, you'll love roaming the town of Tam Thanh and posing in front of each of the brightly colored murals.

Where to Stay in Tam Thanh

📍Turn your day trip into an overnight one to enjoy extended time in Tam Thanh. I recommend these hotels, based on your budget:

  • Budget Option: Golden Lantern Homestay: This beachfront homestay is no frills but ideal for a quiet, cultural experience.
  • Mid-Tier Option: You Retreat: Get more space and have your own apartment beachfront at this pet-friendly 1-bedroom with a kitchen.
  • Luxury Option: TUI BLUE Nam: Stretching across a wide area, this beachfront resort offers everything you could want in a luxurious stay, just north of the center of Tam Thanh.

Things to Know Before You Go

Be sure to stop by Ba Mu Temple in Hoi An

Before we dive into the good stuff, there are a few things to know that'll help you plan your trips from Da Nang with ease.

I know just how easy it is to look towards the big hike, bucket list city, or beach of my dreams and forget about all of the little things in between that’ll make your trip run as smoothly as possible. Be sure to take into consideration these few things before you go to make sure you get all the good bits of your trip without the stress. 

  • The best times of the year to visit are anytime other than September, October, and November. This is typhoon season so the rain can get pretty hectic in these months, forcing you to cancel any plans you might have. It's hot year round in Da Nang, with the peak tourist season around July and August. December, January, and February are much cooler months, perfect for exploring but not the best for swimming.
  • Make sure you have travel insurance. A good travel insurance, like SafetyWing, will ensure you’re covered in case of emergencies. While you will have to pay upfront for your doctor or hospital costs, unless it’s for a pre-existing condition, you can file a claim and should be reimbursed. For any Americans reading this, fear not, healthcare in pretty much every other country is far more affordable than ours, even if you’re paying out of pocket. 
  • Do your best to learn a few local phrases in Vietnam. No, I’m not expecting you to be able to have a fluid conversation with locals at the bus stop if you’re just visiting their country for a week but knowing your numbers (for prices), how to order something (“I would like…”), and basic greetings really will take you a long way. Mondly is a great app for phrases and vocabulary. 
  • Book any popular tours you want to do in advance. I’m really not a great planner and I’ve made this mistake more times than I can count. I plan a trip to a destination knowing that I want to do a sailboat trip or food tour and wait until the day before to book only to realize it’s not available the day I’m in town. GetYourGuide, Viator, and Klook offer a wide variety of tours and activities to suit your schedule, budget, and interests. 
  • Getting from Point A to Point B. I wouldn't recommend renting a car or a motorbike unless you're a confident driver and familiar with Vietnamese traffic. If you are, a motorbike is by far the best way to get to these day trips. If you aren't, consider hiring a taxi, a tour, or the local bus.
  • Before you start booking your flights, hotels, and tours, consider opening up a travel credit card. Thanks to our Capital One Venture card, my husband and I have gotten countless free flights just by gaining points on everyday expenses. This tip certainly isn’t mandatory but it is helpful.

Where to Stay in Da Nang

Although not necessarily a day trip, Marble Mountain is a fun visit in Da Nang

Before you can get too excited about all the day trips from Da Nang you'll embark on, make sure you book a nice, centrally located place to stay. While there are loads of great Da Nang neighborhoods to choose from, if you're just in town for a few days, staying in the center will be easiest.

I'd recommend staying in the heart of the action at one of these hotels:

  • Budget Option: Sofiana My Khe Hotel & Spa: Like any good hotel in Da Nang, you’ll get a rooftop view and a trendy room just 2 blocks from My Khe Beach.
  • Mid-Range Option: Stella Maris Beach Danang: Located a bit more north but still on the beach, Stella still offers the view and the pool but in a more modern environment outside of the heart of the tourist area. 
  • Luxury Option: Sala Danang Beach Hotel: Situated near Stella Maris, this hotel also offers a swimming pool and stunning views but the standards continue to rise here. 

Which Day Trip from Da Nang Will You Go On?

If you’re in Hue and have extra time, visit the abandoned waterpark

With so many great day trips from Da Nang to choose from, it can be hard to pick just one. If you have very limited time, my favorite day trips are Hoi An, An Bang Beach, Son Tra Peninsula, and the Hai Van Pass.

See? Impossible to pick just one!

You might just fall in love with this area so much that you'll decide to try living in Da Nang just like I did. With so many things to do and must-visit spots, you'll quickly see why so many people decide to stay in Da Nang for longer than just a few days.

But, even if that's all the time you have, make use of it and enjoy as many Da Nang day trips as you can!

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