12 Things to Do in Da Nang, Vietnam, the New Tourist Magnet

12 Fun Things to Do in Da Nang, Vietnam for First-Time Visitors

Have you been to this beautiful and fascinating destination?

Vietnam is one of the best-loved travel destinations in Southeast Asia. One of its coastal cities, Da Nang, has become quite the up-and-coming destination. It’s both an amazing place to visit on a budget, and still not as mainstream as the more popular destinations like Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City. If you are planning to explore it for the first time, follow us through this guide on the best things to do in Da Nang. From thrilling outdoor activities to cultural heritage, we guarantee you a fantastic travel experience!

Also read: 11 Best Beaches in Vietnam You Must Know About

Top things to do in Da Nang on your first visit

1. Take a cable car up to Ba Na Hills

Take one of the world’s longest cable car ride up to the iconic Ba Na Hills. Hailed as one of the most impressive cable car networks worldwide, it comprises five routes, one of which goes from Suoi Mo to Ba Na Hills, a must-go destination while you are here.

Regarded as a “mini Europe” in Vietnam, Ba Na Hills is home to a European-style amusement park that resembles the castles in Disney movies. It also boasts a picturesque flower garden that looks like a storybook setting. Aside from that, the place is filled with ancient architectural sculptures  — including the Golden Bridge.

Also read: Europe in Southeast Asia: 7 Charming Towns for a Europe-Inspired Getaway 

2. Shrink into a mini-you at the Golden Bridge

one of Da Nang attractions: Golden Bridge at Ba Na Hills

Image credit: Andreea Popa

One of the most popular Da Nang attractions is undoubtedly the Golden Bridge. Here, you can shrink into a mini-you and feel what it’s like to be in the Lilliput (aka the fictional island nation with very tiny people). One of the ancient architectural sculptures, among the other smaller Buddhist sculptures, is a pair of massive stone hand sculptures holding onto the bridge, making the visitors look extremely small.

This 150-metre-long landmark is a pedestrian bridge connecting the aforementioned cable car station and the flower gardens, allowing tourists to relish the panoramic view of the city and have a breath of cool fresh air. 

3. Go back in time in Hoi An’s Ancient Town

Image credit (L-R): Tam Nguyen; Le Porcs 

Around an hour and 30 minutes away from Da Nang International Airport is Hoi An’s Ancient Town: an impressively preserved trading port tracing back to the 15th century. Hoi An itself is enough for tourists to explore for an entire day, and there are bus trips available every day from Da Nang to the Ancient Town. Here is a true melting pot of cultures, where you can see traditional wooden Chinese shophouses, French colonial buildings, Vietnamese tube houses, and the recognisable Japanese Covered Bridge – Cau Temple, all together in the same area. 

Visitors can take a boat ride along the river to enjoy the beauty of the town. At night, the entire place is filled with colourful lights and lanterns, along with the reflection of the river, assembling a wonderful sight to behold.  

Also read: 10 Best Heritage Towns in Asia That You Should Not Miss

4. Walk around the Marble Mountains

things to do in Da Nang: hike up or take the lift to Marble Mountains

Image credit (L-R): Rowan Heuvel; Norbert Braun

On the south of Da Nang lies the Marble Mountains, a cluster of five limestone and marble hills. This is where you can catch a glimpse of huge Buddhist statues like the Guan Yin, ancient sanctuaries, and a pagoda temple. It normally takes around one to two hours of hiking up and walking around, but you can also choose to take the lift. The serene atmosphere and scenic view provide visitors with peace of mind that makes this one of the most relaxing places to visit in Da Nang.

5. Get beach therapy at My Khe Beach

one of the places to visit in Da Nang: My Khe Beach

Image credit (L-R): Jpatokal; Hoi Pham

My Khe Beach is one of the most therapeutic places to visit in Da Nang. Feel the sand under your toes while listening to the sound of waves. Other than the clear blue sea, smooth white sands, and coconut trees perfect for picture-taking and sightseeing, the beach is also surrounded by numerous high-end resorts, hotels, and seafood restaurants. Not to mention, there are thrilling outdoor activities available such as surfing, swimming, as well as kayaking.

6. Immerse in the night view of Dragon Bridge

Image credit: Andrea De Santis

Dragon Bridge is perhaps Da Nang’s most symbolic attraction. Spanning spans 666 metres long, it connects the two banks of the iconic Han River, and provides the fastest lanes to Da Nang’s international airport and attractions like My Khe Beach. Officially opened in 2013, this golden, fire-breathing dragon is both a tourist spot as well as a boon for the country’s economic growth. 

In Vietnamese culture, the dragon symbolizes the emperor, prosperity and the nation’s power. Every weekend, tourists can enjoy the dragon’s fire-breathing (yes, with real fire) show at 9pm, accompanied by the stunning night view of the bridge and the Han River.

7. Visit Da Nang Cathedral

Speaking of things to do in Da Nang, why not pay a visit to this gorgeous pink Catholic church? Da Nang Cathedral was constructed by a French priest almost a hundred years ago, hence the French Colonial style. The cathedral is located in the city centre, encircled by trees and white religious statues. 

Due to its dreamy rosy hue and Gothic architecture, it makes a perfect Instagrammable spot. Remember to also comply with the dress code if you’re entering the church: long pants or knee-length skirts; high-collared tops or simple-coloured shirts; shoes or sandals with back straps; and avoid wearing revealing clothes.

8. Hop on a theme park ride at Asia Park

Make going to Asia Park one of your top things to do in Da Nang. Like the name itself, Asia Park stands out as an amusement park with a unique Asian flair. There’s a giant Ferris wheel and a series of rides and fun attractions that are based on Asian countries and their cultures. 

This massive amusement park is home to replicas of cultural landmarks and historical sites, such as Singapore’s Merlion, China’s ancient buildings, Japan’s Dragon Lake inspired by the famous Dragon Ball manga, and more. Aside from these, the outdoor roller coaster and swing facilities are perfect for adrenaline junkies. For something on the chiller side, there is also a beautiful sight of the Ferris wheel and night lights that you can take your time admiring. 

9. Enjoy the architecture of APEC Park

On the west bank of Han River sits the APEC Sculpture Park, a new spot for art and architecture lovers that’s one of the must-visit Da Nang attractions. It serves as an extension of APEC Park, and now comprises various free art exhibitions, a green area, a souvenir-selling space, and a water fountain. Not to mention, the giant arch-like exterior that looks majestic both day and night. The city aims to make the park a go-to rendezvous for art performances and displays for tourists and residents, especially on weekends.

10. Go whitewater rafting at the Hoa Phu Thanh Tourist Area

For another fun outdoor activity, try out whitewater rafting and waterfall sliding in the Hoa Phu Thanh Tourist Area. Overcome your aquaphobia and get an adrenaline rush as you float by dozens of large and small rapids, or take an exciting slide down the waterfall. This is actually the only place where you can experience whitewater rafting in the country! But if you’re looking for a calmer, less adventurous activity, try sightseeing around the area or get a relaxing fish massage. 

11. Eat and shop your way through Helio Night Market

While you’re in Da Nang, check out the city’s largest night market in Helio Center. The bustling Helio Night Market features tons of Asian and local street food, from banh xeo (Vietnamese pancakes) and bun mam (noodles with anchovy sauce) to Korean tteokbokki and Hong Kong dim sum, making it a true foodie paradise. Besides the dazzling gastronomic choices, visitors can enjoy live music and performances indoors, along with barbecues and a variety of beers. 

Afterwards, shop around over 70 stalls selling all miscellaneous things including souvenirs, clothes, skincare products, accessories, and more. Don’t forget to take a picture with the vibrant night lights before leaving.

12. Explore more of the local cuisine

Good food makes your travel experience worthwhile. In Da Nang, you need not worry about what to eat because there are food stalls, restaurants, and night markets with more than enough food choices. Nonetheless, since you’re here, why not indulge yourself in the local dishes? 

For starters, mi quang is a noodle dish served with rice crackers and turmeric sauce. There is also banh canh, which is a flavourful soup and glutinous noodle dish paired with fried breadsticks and lime; and bun bo hue, the famous Vietnamese beef noodle soup served with herbs and lime. For a light snack or appetizer, try out the local grilled pork skewers, nem lui.

Also read: 10 Best Vietnamese Food That You Have to Try

There you go, a list of things to do in Da Nang, Vietnam’s latest tourist magnet for your next wonderful voyage. Hopefully, this guide will ignite your enthusiasm for travelling to more places in Southeast Asia again, starting with this coastal city. Trust us, it will delight and surprise you with everything it has to offer! 

About Author

Cecelia Chang
Cecelia Chang

Born in a new village in Selangor, Malaysia, Cecelia loves three things in life: Good food, good views, and good deals. She also enjoys exploring new places and experiencing new things on her travels.