Da Nang is a city in Central Vietnam that will definitely give you a wow-face the moment you step into the city border. Trust me, you never expected to see this kind of developed urban city in Vietnam. The roads are wide to accommodate the bustling traffic, tall and glass buildings everywhere, traffic lights that work properly, and the beach! Here’s a fun fact – Da Nang Beach is voted by Forbes to be 1 of the 6 most beautiful beaches in the world. Enough to persuade you to give Da Nang a go yet? If so, here’s a 3 days Da Nang itinerary which will certainly help you plan your Vietnam backpacking trip.
Before we dive in, I’d like to say that it’s much easier to get around Da Nang city if you rent a motorcycle. Unlike other cities like Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, Da Nang is much safer because of the wide road and more systematic traffic system. If you got a license, I highly recommend you rent a motorcycle.
The easiest way is to rent it from your hostel owner. If not, there are always motorcycle rental shops near your hostel. But always remember, never rent from an unlicensed local on the roadside, because renting a vehicle requires you to hand over your passport as a deposit. It’s how things work in Vietnam. And you don’t want that in an unsafe hand.
One last thing, for this Da Nang itinerary, I assume that you’ll be arriving in this city in the morning. So, if you arrive later in the day, you’ll have to tweak it a bit to suit your schedule best. I also assume that you will rent a motorcycle in Da Nang.
Disclaimer: This blog post contains affiliate links, which may make me some commissions when you make a booking or purchase through the links.
Alright, enough talking. Let’s jump in and see what you can do in 3 days in this Da Nang itinerary!
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- 1 Da Nang Itinerary – Day 1 – Arriving in Da Nang
- 2 Pay a Visit to Linh Ung Pagoda
- 3 Enjoy the Panoramic View in Son Tra Peninsula
- 4 Enjoy Sunbathing in My Khe Beach
- 5 See the Magnificent Bridges – Dragon Bridge, Tran Thi Ly Bridge & Han River Bridge
- 6 Da Nang Itinerary – Day 2 – Day Trip to Ba Na Hills
- 7 Alternative For Ba Na Hills – Snorkeling in Cham Island
- 8 Da Nang Itinerary – Day 3 – Visit The Marble Mountains
- 9 Visit Cham Museum
- 10 Traverse Hai Van Pass
- 11 Shopping in Con Market
- 12 Alternative – Day Trip From Da Nang to Hoi An
- 13 Alternative – Day Trip From Da Nang to My Son Sanctuary
- 14 What to Eat in Da Nang?
- 15 Where to Stay in Da Nang?
Da Nang Itinerary – Day 1 – Arriving in Da Nang
If you came to Da Nang on a flight, you’ll be arriving at Da Nang International Airport. The airport is located quite far away from the beaches, where most of the accommodations is located. So, you have to either take the bus or take Grab, an e-hailing app.
In Vietnam, if you take Grab, it’ll mostly be a motorcycle driving you to your hotel. Taxis are abundant in the airport but make sure you fix a price before hopping on.
For the buses, it’s a little complicated. The public bus system is not as good as those in Hanoi, so I wouldn’t recommend it. The bus fares are not displayed at the bus entrance, and the schedule is not punctual.
Do you know what I ended up doing to get from Da Nang International Airport to my hostel?
I walked 90 minutes with backpacks on, and I crossed the Dragon Bridge on foot! If this sounds like your thing, I’m here to tell you it’s totally doable.
The pedestrian road in Da Nang city is super wide, so wide that motorcyclists starting using it as a shortcut. It’s very safe to walk around in this city.
After you got to your hostel, the next thing you’ll want to do is to rent a motorcycle.
Pay a Visit to Linh Ung Pagoda
Expected time needed: 1 hour
Located in the Son Tra Mountain, Linh Ung Pagoda is one of the most popular things to do in Da Nang city. It’s located near to the city, and the compound is huge enough to accommodate the massive influx of tourists.
From My Khe Beach, you can see the gigantic statue of the Goddess of Mercy (Lady Buddha) standing tall beside the hill. Standing at 67 meters tall, it’s the largest statue of Goddess of Mercy in Vietnam. It only takes around 15 minutes ride from My Khe Beach if you’re staying nearby.
The compound is more than just the statue, there are multiple shrines and temples that are mostly open for public visit. There is also an Arhat statues garden, displaying 18 stone statues carved by artist Nguyen Viet Minh, the head of Non Nuoc craft village.
I also love the fact that there are many parking lots for motorcycles outside of the pagoda. And the entrance to Linh Ung Pagoda is free!
Enjoy the Panoramic View in Son Tra Peninsula
Expected time needed: 3 hours
Son Tra Peninsula is the ultimate motorcycle adventure you can have in Da Nang city. Riding up the steep paved road, you’ll see the surrounding changes from a dusty busy highway to foggy cool road.
To ride up there, simply use Google Maps and navigate your way to Ban Co Peak, where the statue of Confucius is located.
Be reminded that there are many turns in the peninsula. If you’re not so confident with carrying a passenger on your motorcycle, then consider renting one for each person. This will make the ascending parts a lot easier. And there are a lot of steep ascending parts there.
During your descend, there are a few smaller attractions that you should check out if you have the time. For instance, the Helicopter Port, Radar Son Tra, and Boom Boom Rock.
The road in Son Tra Peninsula itself is a loop, so if you ascend from the east (if you visit Linh Ung Pagoda beforehand, you’ll come from the east), then you can descend at the west. This is my recommended route if you’re planning to visit Linh Ung Pagoda too in one shot.
The temperature difference when you got to the highest point is very obvious. At the highest point, you’ll find a statue of Confucius playing chess. From there, you’ll get to enjoy the panoramic view of the sea and Da Nang city.
And again, I recommend you to bring your own lunch here and enjoy the picnic beside the statue. There are no tourists up there so don’t worry about the crowds. Banh Mi is probably the wisest choice.
On the way, pay a visit to the legendary Banyan Tree. This historical Banyan Tree is recognized as one of the heritage trees in Vietnam and played a huge role in the wars as a shelter.
Estimated to be 800 years old, this Banyan Tree is one tree that will leave you amazed. The roots plungings down from the extensive branch network, forming an illusion of a dozen trees, while in fact, it’s just the Banyan Tree.
Editor’s Note: Check out this Cat Ba Island guide if you’re planning a visit too!
Enjoy Sunbathing in My Khe Beach
Expected time needed: 1-2 hours
My Khe Beach is one of the most beautiful and pristine beaches in Vietnam. It kind of surprised me because I honestly never expected a beach right beside a city to be so clean. The white sand is completely unpolluted!
Bravo to the city council, or whatever authorities, who did a great in conserving the environment.
Swimming is allowed as long as you swim in the safe zone. Lifeguards are there to keep a watchful eye. You might notice that there are quite a lot of people surfing in My Khe Beach even though there is a “No Surfing” signboard. I’m not sure whether it’s removed now.
Tall buildings and hotels are rising on the opposite side of the road to the beach because of tourism. So, the number of tourists and visitors to My Khe Beach will definitely increase in the following years. Let’s hope that the beach will stay clean!
See the Magnificent Bridges – Dragon Bridge, Tran Thi Ly Bridge & Han River Bridge
Expected time needed: 1.5 hours
If you are walking from the west to the beaches on the east coast, you might need to cross the bridges. Now, there is something special about this city – the bridges are incredibly magnificent!
Among all the bridges crossing the Han River, there are 3 bridges that I highly recommend you to see – Dragon Bridge, Tran Thi Ly Bridge & Han River Bridge.
Among all the bridges collection in Da Nang, Dragon Bridge is the latest addition to the group, opened in the year 2013.
And if possible, visit them at night. That’s because, at night, the colorful lights brighten up the bridges and turned it into a light show. Find yourself a spot at the river coast deck, grab a Banh Mi (ohh… how I missed it…) and enjoy the colorful bridges.
Each of the bridges is located quite a distance from one another, so again, having a motorcycle will help save time.
Da Nang Itinerary – Day 2 – Day Trip to Ba Na Hills
Before your visit to Vietnam, have you seen the bridge, held by two gigantic stone hands on Instagram?
The bridge is called Golden Bridge, and it’s located in one of the most touristy destinations in Vietnam – Ba Na Hills. In fact, the bridge was just opened in 2018.
Located an hour’s drive from Da Nang city, Ba Na Hills is a perfect getaway for the locals and a perfect day trip for foreign travelers. Every hostel owner in Da Nang will probably ask you if you’ve been to Ba Na Hills. Well, some of them are trying to make some commission by referring you to tours, but most are just friendly.
I highly recommend you to visit Ba Na Hills through the world record-breaking cable cars. This world’s longest single-cable cable car at over 5 km will bring you through a show of the stunning views on the surrounding regions. If you have acrophobia, this ride will surely put you on an adrenaline ride!
Prepare your camera as you enter the French Village. By this time, you should be adapted to the crowds around you already. Pay a visit to the Linh Chua Linh Tu Temple on the hilltop, which offers one of the best views in Ba Na Hills.
Don’t forget to visit the underground amusement park, Fantasy Park and have fun with the rides and games there.
Anyway, there are several ways to get yourself from Da Nang city. First of all, riding a rented motorcycle but you’ve probably known about this already, so let’s move on.
If you hire a private car from Da Nang to Ba Na Hills and back, it will easily cost you around 800,000 VND for a return trip. A private car can be easily arranged by your hotel. But if you prefer booking the private transfer online, then see below!
If you prefer to take a day trip from Da Nang city instead of riding all the way there on a motorcycle, and have everything arranged, check out the tour below!
Alternative For Ba Na Hills – Snorkeling in Cham Island
If you prefer an outdoor experience than cramping with tourists and travelers to see French town in Ba Na Hills, then consider a snorkeling tour in Cham Island, a UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve!
Cham Island is located not so far away from Da Nang, in fact, it’s closer to Hoi An than Da Nang. The island is located quite far from the mainland and most tourists will never go through all the trouble to get there. Especially when Ba Na Hills is the king in the region.
Take the day tour from Da Nang city, which includes pickup on your accommodation and everything you need to enjoy your day in Cham Island. The activities include sea walking which lets you see the wide variety of fishes, feasting on the Vietnamese cuisines in Bai Chong Beach, and of course, the white sandy beach.
Da Nang Itinerary – Day 3 – Visit The Marble Mountains
Expected time needed: 1-2 hours
The famous Marble Mountains, also known as the Five Elements Mountains is located not far away from My Khe Beach, but still, it’s a long way if you plan to walk there. I’d only suggest riding a motorcycle or hailing a Grab.
This attraction is so popular that if you’re taking a bus into the city of Da Nang, the operators will ask if you want to take a short tour there.
That was what I did, but having to abide by the time set by the tour guide and return to the bus at a specific time has some drawbacks. You might not be able to spend as much time as you like on this attraction to take in everything it has to offer.
There’s a legend surrounding this very mountain. It is said the mountains were formed from the eggshell of a dragon, which split into five pieces upon hatching, and hence Five Elements Mountain – metal, wood, water, fire, and earth.
Mining for the precious marbles had been banned in this mountain, but you can still find hundreds of marble sculptures on the street outside of the entrance. Most of the sculptures feature Buddhism-related figures like the Goddess of Mercy and Buddha.
The compound on top of the hill is huge so you’ll have a good time exploring around. And if you’re hyped enough, feel free to climb up and enjoy the panoramic view over Da Nang city! There’s an elevator that can take you up there with a fee of 15,000 VND per person.
The entrance fee to the Marble Mountains is 20,000 VND per person.
Visit Cham Museum
Expected time needed: 1 hour
Located just beside the Dragon Bridge by the Han River, Cham Museum is the most well-known museum in Da Nang city. Having been founded more than a century ago, this museum has the largest collection of Cham artifacts.
Now, what are Cham artifacts? Cham artifacts are the legacies left behind during the ruling of the Kingdom of Champa. The kingdom ruled over parts of the mainland of Southeast Asia from the 2nd to 18th centuries AD.
In this museum, you’ll find more than 300 pieces of Cham brick and sandstone sculptures. Some of these sculptures feature religion-related figures such as the Hindu gods.
The only downside is that most of the sculptures do not have clear information or explanation regarding their origin or stories behind them.
The entrance fee is 40,000 VND per person.
Traverse Hai Van Pass
Expected time needed: 2 hours
Hai Van Pass, also known as the Sea Clouds Pass is the most picturesque highway you can drive through in Vietnam. Offering high altitude view over the steep cliff onto the South China Sea, it’s one of the best things to do in Da Nang city.
However, I find it difficult to fit into this Da Nang itinerary because the Hai Van Pass is located on the northern side of the city. None of the attractions mentioned are located in that direction.
I visited Hai Van Pass when I was taking the bus from Hue to Da Nang, and it was just so awe-inspiring. How I wish I had the choice to stop whenever I want to take photos of the magnificent landscapes.
Be noted that it’s quite technical to ride through the winding roads in Hai Van Pass, and will definitely put your riding skills to test especially when the weather goes wrong. If you’re not confident, you can choose to take the bus from Hue, if the situation fits you, or find yourself a tour.
Shopping in Con Market
Expected time needed: 1-2 hours
Home to nearly 2,000 shops, Con Market has always been the most crowded market in Da Nang city. With that many stalls, you can find literally everything you need here, from clothing, souvenirs, groceries, to travel accessories.
I don’t think I need to mention that there are street food stalls as well in Con Market, so if you’re coming in the afternoon, consider having your lunch here. But if you prefer having a meal in restaurants, read on, I have one particularly good restaurant to recommend.
If you’re looking for a cooking class experience in Da Nang and buy your own raw ingredients in the markets, check out this tour.
Alternative – Day Trip From Da Nang to Hoi An
Now if you got an extra day to spare in your Da Nang itinerary, I highly recommend you to pay a visit to Hoi An town if it’s not in your plan. Hoi An is, in my opinion, the most happening and most beautiful towns in the entire Vietnam. It’s also earned another name – “Ancient Town”.
Hoi An has put a lot of effort into developing tourism in the town after being recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It has witnessed the changes in the country from the Pre-French Colonialism until the current era.
There are many tours to visit Hoi An from Da Nang. However, since this post is about Da Nang itinerary, I wouldn’t talk much about Hoi An, so let’s move on.
Check out this Laos backpacking guide if you’re not sure where to visit after Vietnam!
Alternative – Day Trip From Da Nang to My Son Sanctuary
My Son Sanctuary is one of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Vietnam. The large compound of centuries-old ruins was the remains of the Kingdom of Champa, which rules over large parts of mainland Southeast Asia many centuries ago.
Today, this sanctuary is open for the public visit at a fee of 150,000 VND per person. This fee includes the entrance to the ruins, museum and the electric shuttle to take you all the way to the sanctuary.
Due to its remote location, I find it rather difficult to fit into the Da Nang itinerary above. It takes around 1.5 hours on a motorcycle to get there from My Khe Beach. And there aren’t any attractions along the way.
If you have an extra day in Da Nang, I highly recommend that you take a tour from Da Nang city to My Son Sanctuary. Some tours also offer a visit to both My Son Sanctuary and Hoi An. Check out the tours below to see if any of them fits your taste.
What to Eat in Da Nang?
Since Da Nang is a coastal city, it just makes sense that seafood is king in Da Nang city. In fact, nearly all the restaurants along My Khe Beach serve seafood. To find something that isn’t seafood-based, you have to go deeper into the neighborhood and find it yourself.
I was never a seafood fan, so what I did was looking up for the recommended restaurants in TripAdvisor, and I found a gem that I will share with you later.
Most of the foods in Da Nang are no different from those you find in Hanoi or other parts of Vietnam. To get a better idea, take a look at my blog post on the best foods in Vietnam.
In the city center part of Da Nang, you’ll find a lot of franchise restaurants and higher-end restaurants. But to get there, you’ll have to cross the bridge to the western part of the city if you’re staying in the eastern part near the beaches.
If you prefer cheap eats as I do, there are plenty of food stalls in the neighborhood behind all the tall buildings near the beaches. Most of them are local Vietnamese stalls, so don’t go up and speak difficult-to-understand English. The prices are more budget-friendly, and most of them taste pretty good for my mouth.
I’ve tried a really bad Banh Mi though. So here is my tip, dine in the stalls or restaurants only if there are many customers inside, or that you can see how freshly they cook the meals.
Com Nha Linh Restaurant
What I love about this restaurant is how much attention they put to each and every one of their dishes. Although the meals are certainly not the cheapest, I’ve visited this restaurant two times during my 3-days stay in Da Nang.
On top of that, the restaurant is located at the back of the main street, so you’ll save yourself from the noise of the traffic. The wooden tables also made the restaurant more comfortable to dine in.
This restaurant offers Vietnamese cuisines mostly, and the dishes I’ve tried are great. Portions are ok, not too big, not too little. I recommend visiting Com Nha Linh Restaurant for lunch.
Unfortunately, I never had any seafood meals in Da Nang so I couldn’t tell you which one’s the best.
Where to Stay in Da Nang?
Basically, there are three main areas where visitors in Da Nang stay in – the City Center area, My Khe Beach area, and Non Nuoc Beach area. This Da Nang itinerary is based on staying in My Khe Beach, but it doesn’t really matter since they’re not so far from each other.
Staying Near Da Nang City Center
Personally, I recommend staying near Da Nang city center if you’re traveling with a tour or that you prefer the city lifestyle. Staying in this area gives you better access to the nightlife activities in Da Nang.
Besides, the city center is also closer to Da Nang International Airport. So, if you’re arriving at Da Nang by flight late in the evening or leaving the first thing the next day, staying in the city center might be more convenient.
There are several rooftop bars that offer impressive a Da Nang night view. Admiring the light show on the iconic bridges while enjoying your meals or drinks is a great way to end the day.
Di Lusso Boutique Hotel
Located by the Han River, Di Lusso Boutique Hotel is one of the bestsellers in Booking.com due to its excellent location, comfy rooms, and good customer service.
Some of the rooms offer the river view, and I highly recommend these rooms because of the amazing night view of the bridges. The nearest bridge is the Song Han Bridge.
Book your stay in Di Lusso Boutique Hotel here.
Staying Near My Khe Beach in Da Nang
My Khe Beach is the most popular beach in Da Nang. There are plenty of hostels near the area so you don’t have to worry about hostels running out.
Staying in this area also gives you better access to more variety of food. Hostels are usually located in the neighborhood so you can find plenty of food stalls a few steps from your hostel. Seafood restaurants occupy most of the coastline properties so if that’s your thing, I’d say My Khe Beach is the wiser choice for you.
Also, go for My Khe Beach is you’re all in for surfing!
Papa Mike Hostel
Papa Mike Hostel is one of the best budget backpacker hostels I’ve ever lived in. The staff was extremely helpful, and they do have a complimentary awesome Vietnamese breakfast.
The bunk beds all have curtain to give you some privacy, and all the rooms are air-conditioned. There is also a lounge for people to interact. Although it’s not located near to My Khe Beach as Minh Boutique Hotel does, it’s definitely one of the best budget hostels you can ever ask for in Da Nang.
Minh Boutique Hotel
Well, Minh Boutique Hotel does not offer the sea view as those luxurious hotels do, but it does have one of the best reviews you’ve ever come across.
This hotel boasts an outdoor swimming pool, an in-house restaurant, an indoor garden and free bikes for their guests. Staying in this hotel allows easy access to My Khe Beach without paying a fortune for it.
Book your stay with Minh Boutique Hotel here!
Staying Near Non Nuoc Beach in Da Nang
Non Nuoc is just like My Khe Beach but without the crowd. There aren’t as many accommodations as the My Khe Beach area here, which explains the lack of tourist crowds.
Comparatively, the accommodations near the Non Nuoc Beach area are of higher-end hotels and resorts. Some of the resorts here even have their own golf courses, in-house restaurants, and spa treatments. Just a few minutes’ walks will bring you to the entrance of the Marble Mountains.
Hyatt Regency Danang Resort and Spa
Hyatt Regency Danang Resort and Spa is a resort that amazes. Boasting a review score of 8.5 on more than 1,500 reviews, it’s almost certain that you’ll enjoy yourself to the max in this resort.
With a stunning view over the sea and easy access to Non Nuoc Beach, the resort also features an outdoor swimming pool and a day spa. There are also three in-house dining options for you to choose from – two of them serving Vietnamese cuisines and one serves European cuisines.
If you’re on a honeymoon trip, and money is no object, then definitely give this resort a go.
Book your stay with Hyatt Regency Danang Resort and Spa here!
What do you think of this Da Nang itinerary?
Here you have it, I hope that this 3 days Da Nang itinerary will help you plan your trip to Da Nang. This city definitely deserves at least a 3 days visit to fully explore what it has to offer. If you’re visiting Da Nang from other cities, then find the best bus tickets at 12Go! Feel free to comment below if you have any questions or Vietnam travel tips, and lastly, enjoy traveling in Vietnam!
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