Marble Mountains are a cluster of five limestone and marble hills within Hoa Hai District, about 9km south of Da Nang. Named after natural elements, the peaks are individually known as Thuy Son (water), Moc Son (wood), Hoa Son (fire), Kim Son (metal) and Tho Son (earth). There are also a host of 17th-century Buddhist sanctuaries and pagoda temples dotted across the mountains, where locals pray and get their fortunes told. A must-do for any first-time visitor to Da Nang is climbing the steps to the top of Marble Mountains, where they can enjoy spectacular views across Non Nuoc Beach or My Khe Beach. Alternatively, there’s an elevator service (VND 30,000) available for those with physical disabilities.
Son Tra (Monkey) Mountain
Son Tra (Monkey) Mountain is a breath-taking national park in Da Nang that stands at 693 metres above sea level. Locally known as the Son Tra Peninsula, the winding roads surrounding prove to be a popular spot for motorcycling while hiking enthusiasts can enjoy the verdant jungles and also spot rare species such as the red face monkeys. Linh Ung Pagoda is also set on Son Tra (Monkey) Mountain, which is a prominent attraction in Da Nang for housing the tallest statue of the Goddess of Mercy. Built atop a lotus-shaped platform, there are a total of 21 miniature Buddha sculptures within the beautiful 67 metre-tall white statue.
Dragon Bridge measures 666 metres in length, making it the longest bridge in Vietnam. A popular spot amongst photographers, the six-lane bridge crosses the Han River and is constructed in the shape of a golden dragon, which locals believe symbolises power, nobility and good fortune. While it’s a magnificent sight at any time of the day, Dragon Bridge is particularly cool (and packed with sightseers) during weekends as it is illuminated with colourful LED while it breathes fire and spits out water from 21:00 onwards.
My Khe Beach boasts a 20-mile stretch of white sand that’s approximately 6km east of Da Nang. Named by the American troops who visited during the Vietnam War, it is considered to be one of Vietnam’s most picturesque beaches. Hosting a number of high-end resorts and seafood restaurants, My Khe Beach is also a popular spot for sunbathing, fishing, snorkelling, jet-skiing, and surfing. Visitors can also check out numerous World Heritage Sites such as Hoi An Ancient Town, Hue Imperial City, and Phing Nga Caves, all of which are easily accessible via bus.
Phap Lam Pagoda is set within a two-storey building along Ong Ich Khiem Street, featuring plenty of trees, manicured gardens, and beautiful Buddhist sculptures. Despite its location within the bustling Da Nang city centre, the atmosphere here is very serene with locals praying in the morning and monks going about their daily lives. The courtyard of the pagoda houses a 1.1-metre-high seated Buddha statue and brass statues of the Goddess of Mercy (Avalokitecvara) and Dai The Chi Bodhisattva. Visitors can also enjoy vegetarian cuisine at local restaurants and food carts surrounding Phap Lam Pagoda.
Hai Van Pass stands at 500m above sea level, making it the highest pass in Vietnam. It’s located on the border between Thua Thien-Hue Province and Da Nang City, where you can enjoy panoramic views of verdant mountains and clear blue skies as well as Da Nang City, Tien Sa Port, Son Tra Peninsula, and South China Sea. The pass also hosts a dilapidated French-built fort that was later used as a bunker by South Vietnamese and US armies during the Vietnam War. Due to its sudden curves and blind corners, Hai Van is also notorious for its fair share of accidents – look out for small altars set along the roadside which are dedicated to perished victims.
Cham Museum Da Nang commemorates the culture, lifestyle, and practices of Vietnam’s indigenous Cham tribe, who have roots dating back as far as 192AD. Founded during the colonial French rule in 1915, it is known as the only museum of its kind in the world. Cham Museum Da Nang is divided into ten interior exhibition rooms, where 300 terracotta and stone sculptures from the 7th to the 15th centuries are showcased according to the region in which they were found. The museum also offers daily guided tours for groups of five and above from 8:00 to 10:00 and from 14:00 to 16:30.
Da Nang Cathedral is one of the most unique catholic churches in Vietnam, featuring a pink-painted edifice, stained-glass windows, and an imposing bell tower topped with a rooster weathercock. Built by the French in 1923, it’s also known as Con Ga Church (Rooster Church) and serves the local Catholic community to this very day. The cathedral is located along Tran Phu Street, about a 15-minute walk from the iconic Dragon Bridge. Entrance to Da Nang Cathedral is free of charge and its high tower offers a stunning view of the city, Han River, and verdant mountains.
Non Nuoc Beach
A 20-minute drive from Da Nang City, Non Nuoc Beach boasts international acclaim as one of the most beautiful beaches in the world. Featuring soft white sands, a gentle slope, unpolluted waters and mild waves, visitors can do plenty of leisure activities such as sunbathing, jet-skiing, and surfing whilst enjoying local seafood dishes. Non Nuoc Beach takes up five kilometres of Hoa Hai Ward’s coastline, ending at the foot of Marble Mountains, which hosts ancient pagodas, sacred caves, and handicraft villages.
Fifth Military Division Museum of Da Nang
The Fifth Military Division Museum of Da Nang offers visitors a glimpse of Vietnam’s tumultuous past, featuring displays of war relics, news articles, and photographs taken by soldiers of the Fifth Military Division. The massive museum is divided into four main sections, including outdoor and indoor display areas, a replica of Ho Chi Minh’s residence, and a Ho Chi Minh Museum. Housing authentic aircrafts, military tanks, weapons and weapons used during the French and American wars, must-sees include the A-37 Dragonfly light-attack aircraft, Cessna O-1 Bird Dog observation aircraft, and the M48 Patton gun tank. Foreign visitors are required to pay VND 40,000 for admission to the museum and an additional VND 10,000 for photos.