– Short answer; 100% yes.
Where is Da Nang, Vietnam?
Da Nang, Vietnam is in the centre of the country and its’ their third largest city. It’s a modern city with gorgeous beaches, mountain views, limestone cliffs, many outdoor water activity, fantastic food and much more.
Previously, Da Nang was mostly known for being the gateway (because of its’ International airport) to access popular tourist areas such as Hoi An, and Hue (both known for their historical value).
Now, the metropolis is no longer being overlooked as a travel destination. Travelers are taking notice of Da Nang and together, the tourist industry, government and developers are responding.
Da Nang is on the Rise for Tourism. Why?
As a whole, the tourism market continues to increase, year over year. As the increase rises, traveler’s interest are shifting.
Travelers are becoming more confident to venture to lesser known areas. We are also displaying our self expression and actualization through traveling. It’s this, that’s being marked of high value on discovery and one’s self growth and development.
According to Mastercard’s Inbound Tourism Fuels Future-Ready Cities Across Southeast Asia, “….travelers to specific Southeast Asian destinations are purpose-driven…. Vietnam sees increased spend in fine dining..”
From the Asia Pacific Regional Tourism trends market report by Horwath HTL. “South-East Asia exceeded the region’s average arrivals growth in 2017, driven by strong results in Vietnam (+29 percent) and Indonesia (+22 percent). The subregion offers competitive prices and takes advantage of its natural resources to attract tourists.”
And according to the World Tourism Organization. The top 10 countries that saw the most growth year over year (from 2017 to 2018) are:
1) Egypt: 53.6.1%
2) Israel: 24.6%
3) Turkey: 24.1%
4) Tunisia: 23.2%
5) Algeria: 20.2%
6) Vietnam: 19.9%
7) South Korea: 15.1%
8) Ivory Coast: 13.7%
9) India: 12.1%
10) Zimbabwe: 11.8%
My personal observation / opinion, is a combination of things.
- Globally, there’s an increase of middle class with more disposable income, vacation time and they are getting passports.
- The ease of readily information from social media and the interwebs, are raising awareness of areas to visit and how to visit (ahem, travel blogging). Combined with the rise of reviews of such areas, hotels and tour companies, accentuated by “travel influencers”. In turn, has government and developers taking action to receive the influx of tourism in their countries.
- More specific to South East Asia, it’s inexpensive (compared to Western & European prices; food, tours, drink and hotel). Not to be confused with cheap, it’s not a decrease in quality. There’s plenty of Michelin star restaurants and a good amount of bars that have placed in the Top 50 Best Bars in the World.
- Seasoned travelers are becoming less interested in visiting heavily touristy areas. They don’t want to be with the masses and paying tourist prices. For Vietnam specifically, some travelers are only day tripping into Hoi An, Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh. And choosing to stay in close proximity to these popular cities or towns. Enter…. Da Nang.
Is Da Nang worth visiting?
There’s a lot to experience. Whether you stay solely in Da Nang and experience Hoi An, Hue, Chan May, or My Son Sanctuary via day trips. Da Nang is a fantastic place to set up ‘home base’ for a few days or a week or two.
Ever see the Golden Bridge image on Instagram?
This image has driven domestic and international travelers to get their Instagram worthy photo op.
Like most Instagram photos, there’s the reality vs Instagram component.
What seems to be a majestic bridge of mossy hands coming out of a side of mountain in an ancient area. It’s actually….. spoiler alert……the newest attraction in an amusement park. Sorry.
While the Golden Bridge yields impressive views and provides a non hiker, a summit view type experience. It’s the newest footpath that has been added to Ba Na Hills and part of the Sun World Amusement Park.
Since the amusement park has a French medieval castle setting with modern accommodations. Many newly weds choose to have their photos here because of the castle backdrop.
Most noteworthy, the world’s longest, non stop cable car ride through mountain of Ba Na Hills is located here. It takes 15 minutes from start to finish.
Bridges always call attention for travel inspiration pictures, but what about a fire breathing dragon bridge? Every weekend the Dragon bridge lights up and spits out fire.
My Khe is the most popular of all the beaches.
There are a lot of beaches in Da Nang, so if relaxing on beautiful beaches is your thing, this is your area. You have a long and beautiful coastline to lay out, watch the surfers and get a lot of vitamin sea.
Son Tra Peninsula is a crowd favorite.
My travel partner and I hiked down the peninsula. Yup, it was a 8 1/2 hr excursion. My priority was to seek out the red shanked douc langur monkey. It was important to me, because I wanted to see this critically endangered and most colorful monkey in person, in its’ natural habitat. There are about 500-700 red shanked douc langur monkey left on the planet.
Back story / Nature nerd alert: Hiking down the peninsula is not a very popular nor common hike (to local standards). Which was evident when our taxi driver was very confused on why we wanted to be left at the top. He gave us several warnings and told us it was dangerous. When I asked, ‘what’s the danger?’ (expecting something really perilous), his response was, “you can fall.” He even came back 5 minutes after leaving us at the summit and driving away. He was very kind.
When we finally discovered a family of red shanked douc langur monkeys. My legs were shaking from 7 hours of hiking. As I crouched down to peer through the brush of foliage, to get the above photo. My ankles were getting full on attacked by bitey ants. I was also drenched from hiking in rain for about 2 hours. Yet, it all worth it. I would do it again, in a heartbeat. I love nature!
I even shed a tear and let out a cheer of elation while we walked away. It was truly a spectacular moment for me and my travel buddy, as we celebrated in complete joy!
See, I told you, nerd nature alert 🙂
Instead of hiking the peninsula, you can rent a motorbike to take in the views and visit the Lady Buddha and Pagoda along the bottom.
It’s a fantastic area to take in the views.
Marble Mountain is another beautiful area to explore. It’s a cluster of limestone mountains with a temple in a cave and beautiful sections to walk around.
Stay in fantastic hotels and eat lovely food at budget prices.
My travel partner and I decided to stay along My Khe Beach. Most of the hotels along the beach, start around US$45 a night. AND most provide rooftop, epic infinity pools looking over the ocean with Son Tra Peninsula in the background.
A block away from My Khe Beach are a ton of restaurants, cafes, and spas that occupy about 7 blocks inland. It’s an area that I can only expect will continue to grow.
A few fantastic restaurants are:
Viet A restaurant; Vietnamese restaurant located 23 An Thượng 2, Bắc Mỹ Phú, Ngũ Hành Sơn.
It’s a great, local Vietnamese restaurant with spectacular service. Here you can spend about US$7 on soup, spring rolls and a drink.
A few doors down is, Veda’s Kitchen. It was really yummy Indian food with fantastic service. Butter Chicken with naan and 2 beers, cost US $9.
A bit on the expensive side (as Vietnam goes) and in the other direction from the above restaurants is Veteran restaurant. An amazing Korean BBQ restaurant that cost us, $33 per person. The dinner was 2 beers (each), a selection of 5 meat dishes and all the extra veggies that accompanied our dishes. If you decide here, make a reservation.
Top Tips to know about Da Nang.
Learn The Top 20 International Travel Tips that will save you money, time and added stress. These tips were all learned by traveling mistakes.
You don’t necessary need to book tours. If you download the Grab App (car driving service; same as Uber or Lyft). You can easily summon a car ride. BUT, if you wish to have a tour guide, by all means, book a tour. Our average Grab costs were US$2-6 for 10-15 min. drives. And we toured ourselves around the touristy areas.
If you are brave and confident in your driving abilities. Rent a motorbike. It’s a great way to explore on your own time and to the exact places you want to visit. Always, ask a local or your hotel on a reputable motorbike rental company.
We didn’t have any issues with a language barrier (speaking English). At cafes, hotel, Grab drivers and restaurants. They all pretty much spoke English. There was one conversation when we used Google Translate when having a fantastic conversation with a driver. Having a digital translator was a lot of fun and nothing was lost in translation 🙂
If you are out and about, bring some mosquito spray or wipes. Yes, even in the city.
I’m super excited to visit Da Nang again, as I’m never one to visit a country just once. There’s so many areas of Vietnam that are vastly different to its neighboring town and city.
Take a read on How to Spend Day Trips from Ho Chi Minh.
During my next visit, I look forward to snorkeling around Cham Island, taking surfing lessons on My Khe Beach and driving around Hải Vân Pass (famous for its’ natural scenery and being highlighted on the car show, Top Gear. And of course, getting more 3 hour spa treatments for US$50.
Cheers Da Nang! I look forward to my next visit.