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11 Best Things to Do in Da Nang (From an Expat)

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I absolutely loved living in Da Nang. My husband and I were lucky enough to call Da Nang home for 2 years after moving there from Ho Chi Minh City. While we loved life in Saigon, the tranquil beach setting that Da Nang offered was much more our vibe.

Da Nang is a hotspot for expats, digital nomads, and some travelers. Most travelers actually tend to skip over it and use it only for the international airport before moving on to the more popular sites of Hoi An or Hue but I urge you to reconsider if that's your plan.

Da Nang is a city with over 1,000,000 residents but it feels so much smaller. It's a really great city to either call home or just spend a few days and offers a lot of great things to do.

Whether you're here because you're moving to Da Nang and curious if the city will offer enough to keep you entertained or you're just passing through for a few days and want to keep your itinerary packed, this list is for you.

After 2 years of living here, these are my 11 favorite things to do in Da Nang.

Short on time? Here’s the cheat sheet:

🏖️Want a beach vacation but within a city for plenty to do, restaurants, attractions, and amenities? Look no further than Da Nang. 

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

⌛Have minimal time? My #1 recommendation is to hire a driver to take you along the Hai Van Pass. You’ll enjoy stunning views, pristine nature, and a thrilling adventure.

🎭Staying Longer? GetYourGuide, Viator, and Klook offer a wide variety of tours and activities to suit your schedule, budget, and interests. 

🛏️For quick access to the beach and plenty of bars and restaurants, stay around An Thuong. Book your stay to Sofiana My Khe Hotel & Spa for a bright, clean, and affordable hotel. 

💎Take your vacation up a notch and plan a stay in jungle luxury at the InterContinental Hotel instead.

📅3 days should be enough to explore the city but if you fall in love like I did, you might decide to extend and give living in Da Nang a shot.

1. Spend Your Day at the Beach

A view of the sand and thatched umbrellas with the sea and mountains in the background

The number 1 thing on your list needs to be a beach day. Da Nang offers an incredibly long and beautiful coastline that is enjoyable any time of the year. Just know though that the storms can change the water and the beach quite a lot and the sea level might rise so much you won't even see sand in some areas!

Typically though, the sandy beaches in Da Nang are pristine and pretty calm.

You'll enjoy gorgeous beaches with incredible views of the South China Sea. If you're standing in the sand facing the water, look left and spot Lady Buddha in the hills watching over the city. Look right and the coastline seemingly goes on and on towards Hoi An and An Bang Beach.


Most locals go to the beach at sunrise and sunset, not during the day. While this time is by far the most chaotic on the beach, it's a lot of fun to witness all the activities going on. Plus, the sunrise here is truly spectacular.

Unless you're there in the prime tourist season in the summer, the beach can be pretty quiet, especially if you move south from the main area of My Khe Beach.

Just know the further south you move, the more remote it gets other than a few resorts so you'll need to bring your own towel to sit on and any drinks or snacks you want to enjoy.

If you want to enjoy a fresh coconut, lounge chairs with umbrellas, and some entertainment around, the area at My Khe Beach will be perfect for you.


Now before I sell you on surfing in Da Nang, I need to preface it by saying that this is a great place for beginners, not experienced riders. The waves are really calm and will most likely be disappointing to actual surfers.

For beginners though, Da Nang is a fantastic place to learn how to surf. My friends and I took some lessons here and had a lot of fun.

Do note though that the time of the year plays a difference in the waves. In the heart of the summer (June-August) the ocean looks more like a lake and in the heart of the winter (November-January), it can get really rough from the typhoons so the best time to surf is in the shoulder seasons.


Vietnam is a little bit weird when it comes to swimming. Some days the lifeguards will be out on the prowl and extremely strict about where you can swim and where you can't, whereas other days you're left to do as you please.

In general, if you're in the area around My Khe Beach (especially on a busy beach day), you'll most likely only be allowed to swim in the sectioned off area. That area usually only goes to chest-deep water.

If you move away from the crowded areas, you're free to swim as you please. Surfers are always exempt from these rules though.

For a not so confident swimmer, you'll probably love this but for someone like me who grew up swimming in oceans around the world, it can be a bit annoying.

2. Cross the Han River to the City Center

A woman sitting on a motorbike parked on a busy street in the cityside of Da Nang

Da Nang is really broken up into 2: the beach side and the city side.

In general, the beach side is where most travelers, expats, and digital nomads hang out and the city side is more like any city in Vietnam, just more green. If you're not planning to add any of the other best places to visit in Vietnam to your trip, getting to the city center will help you better experience Vietnamese culture.

To really see Da Nang, you need to see both sides of the city. Luckily, there's no shortage of bridges so no matter where on the beach side you are, getting to the city center is quick and easy. 

Having 2 cities in 1 is one of the big reasons Da Nang is one of the best places to live in Vietnam

I recommend trading in your beach time one day for a stroll along the Han River (on both sides of it). Otherwise, one of my favorite streets in the cityside is Lê Hồng Phong in Hải Châu district. This is a great street with plenty of excellent food and café options.

There's plenty more to the city center than just that street but it does serve as a great starting off point.

3. Try Some Delicious Vietnamese Food

An overhead table view of a full meal at a Vietnamese restuarant with a lot of small plates to share

One of my favorite things about Vietnam is the food. I absolutely love Vietnamese food but it did take me a little while to get accustomed to it.

I highly urge you to go into your time in Vietnam with an open mind towards your meals and get ready to indulge in some street food.

One of my favorite meals in the world hails from Central Vietnam, and that's Mì Quảng (Mi Quang). This thick noodle, soup is far tastiest than phở in my opinion and deserves the spot as the champion of Vietnamese cuisine. Lucky for you, in Da Nang mi quang can be found on nearly every corner. Try a few street food stalls to find your favorite!

A few other things you need to eat while in Da Nang are:

  • Xôi Gà: How I feel about mi quang is how my husband feels about this sticky rice topped with chicken
  • Bánh Canh: Another popular soup, this one with a super thick broth and doughy noodles
  • Bánh Xèo: Typically translated to Vietnamese pancakes but really more like a savory crepe
  • Bánh Mì ốp La: Do yourself a favorite and eat this egg sandwich with a coffee or fresh-squeeze orange juice for breakfast
  • Com Sườn Nướng: This was a late favorite of mine. It's a basic plate with pork, rice, and veggies but usually the pork is grilled with lemongrass and is extremely flavorful
  • Plenty of Seafood: Since Da Nang is a coastal city, there's no surprise that it's home to plenty of great seafood. My favorites are the grilled clams and scallops.

4. Adventure on Son Tra Peninsula

Bright blue sea surrounded by a white sand beach and jungle

Son Tra Peninsula, adorably referred to as Monkey Mountain, is the northernmost part of Da Nang, where Lady Buddha stands tall. This is easily one of my favorite parts of Da Nang and one I urge you to explore, even if you just have a few days here.

If you want to, you could spend an entire day out here and turn it into a great day trip.

Although it's just a short drive out of the city, you'll feel much farther away when you soon immerse yourself in nothing but jungle and endless sea views.

A good starting point is paying a visit to the Lady Buddha statue. Tourists flock to that spot but if you continue on past Lady Buddha, that's where the real fun starts.

The best way to explore the Son Tra Peninsula is on a motorbike. Note that in order to drive there, the bike must be manual or semi-automatic and they'll turn you away if you attempt to cruise around the peninsula on an automatic. Some of the hills out here are incredibly steep so it's not only recommended you bring the right bike but that you're a confident driver.

If you're up for the challenge, take the entire loop that wraps around the peninsula. That's the best way to really see your surroundings and your best chance to spot the endangered Red Shanked Doucs who call Son Tra home. Every time I went to Son Tra, we spotted a few of them so hopefully you'll have the same luck.

If you're not confident to drive yourself, you can book a monkey spotting tour with a local guide or book a night or two at the stunning InterContinental Hotel (the only one on the peninsula) and they'll arrange a driver to pick you up.

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5. Pose for Pictures at Ba Na Hills

A smiling woman spinning in a circle on the famous Golden Hands Bridge in Da Nang, Vietnam

You've most likely seen pictures of the Golden Hands Bridge grace your Instagram or TikTok feed. Ba Na Hills is home to that bridge and plenty more.

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

When we went, we ended up getting super unlucky with the weather. The rain meant the amusement park rides closed for the day but it did mean we had the bridge, the arcade, and most of the park to ourselves.

I've heard the cable car that gets you into the park offers amazing views on a clear day.

I recommend going to Ba Na Hills by taxi. I'd grab one in the city center and ask them to wait for you to drive you back home. Most drivers will offer this anyway and only add on a small fee for the wait. It otherwise can be really hard to get a ride back home.

6. Go Waterfall Chasing

The lush jungle landscape approaching golden hour in the hills of Da Nang

Da Nang is surrounded by stunning nature and Son Tra Peninsula is just the tip of the iceberg. In the hills around Da Nang are loads of scenic drives that lead you to waterfalls far off the beaten path.

The waterfalls are tucked into the landscape and provide a fantastic respite from the city. Plus, in all the waterfalls I visited the water was always ice cold, which is the perfect relief to the sometimes scorching hot days.

The biggest issue is actually finding one of the waterfalls. They're not typically promoted and to get there you'll need to follow someone in the know. You'll also need your own bike or be able to ride with someone else because they tend to be super remote.

Head out to An Thuong area one night for a drink and see if you can befriend a guide or two.

7. Drink Plenty of Coffee

A woman drinking a typical Vietnamese coffee at a beach front bar in An Bang.

If you've spent any time in Vietnam you know that the country runs on coffee - super strong, sweet coffee.

For non coffee drinkers, sip slowly. I'm a coffee girlie and still, the Vietnamese coffee hits harder than normal.

Southern Vietnam is known for its obsession with cà phê sữa đá, ice coffee with condensed milk and Northern Vietnam is famous for cà phê trứng, egg coffee. And that leaves Central Vietnam as the reigning champion of cà phê dừa, coconut coffee.

Fear not, you can get all 3 of these coffees and way more in Da Nang but the areas do have their favorites.

Since you'll be in Central Vietnam, you need to try a coconut coffee. This is really like an espresso served over coconut ice cream and is a serious treat, especially on a hot day.

8. Watch the Fire Breathing Dragon

A close-up of the golden Dragon Bridge's face in Da Nang

Da Nang is really obsessed with their bridges. There are 7 of them that stretch across the Han River and all but 1 is opulent. While they all try and compete for your attention, there is a clear winner: The Dragon Bridge.

During the day, you'll hardly be able to rip your eyes from the curving body and bright gold color but the real show happens after dark. Only on Fridays and Saturdays (check the time when you arrive because seasons do change this), the bridge puts on a fire-breathing show.

Seriously, the bridge breathes fire.

It's a lot of fun and something I recommend you see at least once. After the show, head across the street to the Son Tra Night Market for really great street food.

9. Go Inside the Caves at Marble Mountains

A white, blue, and green temple in at Marble Mountains in Da Nang tucked into jungle

The Marble Mountains are a small mountain group right between Da Nang and Hoi An. Honestly, from the outside the mountains don't look too impressive. They sprout from nowhere which is cool but you'll drive by them with the blink of your eye.

If you're already heading to Hoi An or one of the nearby beach clubs for the day, take a moment to stop because what you can't see from the outside might surprise you.

Once you go inside the area, you'll realize that caves, tunnels, and beautiful pagodas await. The caves are actually huge and host shrines, high ceilings, and picturesque shafts of light. Outside of the caves, the entire area is well-maintained and super relaxing.

You don't need too much time here but I do think it's worth the visit.

10. Grab a Beer & Make Some Friends on a Night Out

2 friends sitting on the grass drinking beers at a music festival

I mentioned this at the start of the article but Da Nang is home to a large hub of expats, nomads, and travelers, which means nights out there are lively and entertaining.

It's easy to make friends in Da Nang and enjoy a fun night out with strangers who quickly become pals.

There are a lot of bars in the city but if you're staying on the beachside of town and are looking to meet more foreigners, I recommend going out in An Thuong. An Thuong is a small neighborhood directly off of My Khe Beach. Here you can walk from bar to bar, listen to live music, and enjoy a variety of different cuisines.

But, if you're looking to mix more with locals than foreigners, you have two options. The first option would be to head to the cityside and go to bars over there. Those are typically more popular with locals. Tê Bar is easily my favorite option.

The second option is to head to one of the huge local food restaurants that line nearly every street in Da Nang. They're often seafood restaurants but you can find a variety. These restaurants are always covered but otherwise outdoors and have super bright overhead lights with typically metallic tables. Groups of friends tend to go there to eat and drink super cheap beer and homemade rice wine, singing karaoke and laughing long after their meal is finished.

11. Take a Day Trip

As you can see Da Nang is home to plenty of great things to do, especially outdoor activities but if you have the time, I recommend you add in a day trip or two to see more of the best parts of Central Vietnam.

These are my top day trips from Da Nang:

Hoi An

A woman standing in front of a red and yellow temple in Hoi An smiling at the camera

Distance from Da Nang: 40 minute by car/motorbike, 1h by bus

Hoi An is far more well-known than Da Nang and most likely you already have it on your list. This picturesque town is famous for its bright yellow alleyways and colorful lanterns. Hoi An is seriously something special.

Do note that it is far from being a hidden gem. Hoi An can get incredibly crowded, especially during the summer. During the rainy season, it's not uncommon for it to heavily flood.

If you want some more beach time during your day trip to Hoi An, stop by An Bang Beach. Da Nang doesn't have too many beach bars but An Bang has plenty. This area is a little bit more expensive but a really great spot to spend a day. Between An Bang and Hoi An, you'll get to drive through scenic rice fields.

📍Turn your day trip into an overnight one to enjoy extended time in Hoi An. 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 to this luxury hotel right in the heart of Hoi An.


A bright yellow temple in Hue with pink and purple flower fields in front

Distance from Da Nang: 2hr by car, 3hr by public transportation

Hue is the ancient capital of Vietnam and one that's certainly worth the visit if you can squeeze it in. The main thing to do in Hue is to visit the Imperial City. They've done a fantastic job keeping this place intact and the gardening stunning.

There are plenty of other monuments and ancient burial sites you can see, too. If you opt to go on a guided tour to Hue, they’ll take you to a few of the most important sights. 

It's also home to the abandoned water park that you might have seen on social media. Know that since this water park is officially closed you'll either need to sneak in or bribe the guard to let you pass.

Hue is also known as one of the culinary capitals of Vietnam so come hungry and don't be shy when trying a bunch of unique dishes.

📍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. 

Hai Van Pass

A woman standing on a rock with her arms raised in the air in front a sea and mountain view

Distance from Da Nang: 1hr by car/motorbike

The Hai Van Pass is one of the most famous drives in Vietnam. This road has historically been a divider between kingdoms and most recently during the Vietnam War. The highest point along this road is still home to a number of bunkers.

Beyond the war history, the Hai Van Pass is incredibly scenic. The roads are curvy and best taken on by a confident driver but if you're up for it, it'll become one of the best parts of your time in Vietnam. Both going up the peak from Da Nang and down towards Hue offer stunning sea and jungle views.

It's possible to just drive to the top point of the Hai Van Pass or down to Lăng Cô Beach and back to Da Nang or you can continue on towards Hue from this road.

If you don’t feel comfortable driving yourself, I’d still recommend cruising the Hai Van Pass by motorbike to be able to fully soak up the views. Hire a driver so all you need to do is sit back and relax. 

My Son Sanctuary

A woman walking around the ancient ruins at My Son Sanctuary, one of the best things to do in Da Nang

Distance from Da Nang: 1 hr by car/motorbike

I know there are also tours that will take you to My Son but in our case, we drove ourselves to explore the area.

You can think of My Son as Vietnam's version of Angkor Wat, just much, much smaller. In this area are a cluster of ancient temples built by the Cham people who ruled this region in the 4th-14th century.

If you're looking for another day spent outside with a dose of history, you'll love visiting My Son. If neither of those aspects interests you, then you'll most likely want to skip the historical sites and opt for a different day trip idea.

After our day in My Son, we spent the night in Hoi An before heading home to Da Nang. This route would be a nice way to see more places in Central Vietnam and soak up more of the landscape than just the coastline.

Cham Islands

A girl smiling on a quiet beach surrounded by lush jungle

To get to the Cham Islands, you'll need to take a boat from Hoi An. The boat can take anywhere from 20-minutes to 1-hour based on the type of boat you book. We went for the slower one and really enjoyed the ride.

The islands here are popular day trips for snorkeling and scuba diving. The town itself on the island is incredibly small and sleepy but so, so relaxing. On the island, I recommend renting a motorbike and driving around it, stopping at small beaches (that you might have to share with monkeys) along the way.

While most people only pop over here for watersports, the 2 nights we stayed on Cham were two of our favorites from our 3 years in Vietnam. It was the quiet getaway neither of us realized we needed.

If you're looking for islands with plenty of beach bars, restaurants, and things going on, Cham Islands are not for you.

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

  • Budget Option: Cham Island Smiles Homestay: Situated farther down the island that the town, Smiles gives you the chance to live, eat, and connect with a local family.
  • Mid-Tier Option: Chàm’s Corner Lookout Homestay & Restaurant: For those that prefer an elevated experience right in town, this homestay is cute, cozy, and highly recommended.
  • Luxury Option: Crest House Beachside: Traveling with a larger group? This 3-bedroom private house is just a quick walk from the beach.

A Few Things to Know Before You Go

A very bright temple with a fat happy Buddha statue in the middle

Have some questions before you visit Da Nang? I've got you covered.

Is It Worth Visiting Da Nang?

Yes! I'm pretty sure I made that clear already but just in case you still have your doubts, yes, Da Nang is very much worth visiting.

Here you can enjoy a chill beach town combined with a lively city surrounded by really impressive nature and an array of day trips. All that is hard to beat in my book!

Is Da Nang a Good Place to Live?

Another yes from me! I absolutely loved living in Da Nang for 2 years. While we're now settled in Europe for the time being, we have plenty of friends that we met when living in Da Nang that moved on to different parts of the world, only to be attracted right back to the City of 7 Bridges.

Moving to Vietnam in general is a good idea, even if you do pick a different city to base yourself. 

Do I Need to Bring Anything Special?

Know that like most of Vietnam, Da Nang is usually hot. You'll want to wear bright breathable clothing. Keep in mind though that the sun is super strong in Vietnam so if you plan to get around on a motorbike, you're going to want to cover up to avoid getting burned.

The fall is typically typhoon season. I wouldn't pack anything special but I would buy a rain poncho at the market. They sell super long and durable ones that I still consider the best rain jackets on the market.

The winter does bring cooler temperatures, especially at night. You certainly won't need winter gear but a light sweater and jeans will be enough.

Regardless of the time of year you visit, always have travel insurance. Safety Wing is my go-to health insurance and what I've been using for nearly 5 years now. It's the most affordable comprehensive service on the market and will cover you in case of emergencies.

Is Da Nang Safe?

In general, Da Nang is safe. Like any city though, I'd recommend avoiding walking around alone at night and to keep an eye on your belongings.

While I never heard of it getting past this point, it's not totally uncommon for solo women to get followed by men on motorbikes. Go out with a friend or stay in a lively neighborhood to avoid long solo walks home.

Where Should I Stay in Da Nang?

📍If you're visiting Da Nang for a few days, 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. 

How Many Days in Da Nang Is Enough?

Well, you know I'm suggesting that you move to Da Nang and stay for a few months or even a few years. If you're just visiting, 3 days in the city should be enough to see and do everything. If you want to take a few day trips though, you'll want to give yourself around a week to see all the best spots in Central Vietnam and still enjoy some downtime on the beach.

Do I Need to Speak Vietnamese to Visit Da Nang?

It's not necessary but knowing some basic words and phrases will be helpful.

Many locals speak some basic English and are happy to mime what's needed but knowing numbers for prices and basic phrases like, "Can I have..." or "How much is..." will make locals day. Mondly is a great app for this.

Just know that Vietnamese people are lighthearted and tend to poke fun at each other so most likely your Vietnamese will get plenty of giggles.

When Is the Best Time to Visit Da Nang?

Da Nang has roughly 3 seasons: super hot, rainy, and cool. The best time to visit is going to be based on what you want to do while here.

At a quick glance:

  • March-August is super hot so if you're eager to enjoy plenty of beach time, this will be your ideal time to visit. Know that June, July, and August are peak tourist season though.
  • September-November is typhoon season so you can expect heavy rains. Unlike in Ho Chi Minh City where the rain falls just a few hours a day, the rain here can be unrelenting for days at a time.
  • December-February is the cooler season. You might get some cool days during the rainy season but these few months typically bring sunny skies and nice days. These were my favorite months in Da Nang. You'll want to pack a pair of jeans and a light sweater.

Enjoy All the Best Things to Do in Da Nang

a street with 2 motorbikes and palm trees lined with restaurants

Da Nang is home to some of the best beaches in Vietnam and is truly a fantastic city to visit. With so many things to do, day trips to go on, foods to try, and outdoor adventures awaiting, it's easy to fall in love with this city.

Just be warned, you might enjoy it so much that you want to move here!

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