How To Get The most Out of One Day In Da Nang, Vietnam
Da Nang is only place I’ve been to that I can say, I went because of Instagram. When I was trying to figure out which cities to visit in Vietnam, pictures from Da Nang kept showing up on the ‘gram, and I took the bait.
Da Nang was the second half of my second trip to Vietnam. Ho Chi Minh City was the first trip, and Hanoi was the first place I visited on this trip. I wanted this trip to be amazing, and even though I was sidelined by a cold for most of it, I have to admit that Da Nang was a beautiful city that I really enjoyed.
Getting To Da Nang:
I flew from Hanoi to Da Nang. I checked out my options on Rome2 Rio, and besides flying most of the other options took 15-20 hours and I didn’t have that kind of time.
Where I stayed:
I stayed st the Aria hotel, which is two blocks from the beach. I found the hotel through Booking.com and it was a great place to stay for a few days. It’s not a luxury hotel, but it’s nice for what the area has to offer. It has a rooftop pool, a clean and well stocked gym, breakfast is included in your stay and the staff was really nice and helpful.
My plan for Da Nang was to spend some time on the beach, check out neighboring Hoi An, eat a ton of seafood, and visit the Golden Bridge - the image that kept showing up in those Instagram pictures I mentioned.
Plan Derailed: I came down with a monster cold. A beast of a thing that didn’t allow me out of bed for days at a time. Instead of having four days to check out the sights, I only had one - and I probably should have stayed in bed for that one, because I felt awful.
What to do with one day in Da Nang:
I eliminated Hoi An, and decided to only do things in and around Da Nang.
First Stop, the Golden Bridge.
Y’ALL - I’ve already written about how little research I do before I go places, and how I just show up and wing it. If I wasn’t spending that day with someone who had already done her research (and didn’t mind my nasally whining) I would have been extra confused.
You see, I thought the Golden Bridge was the project of some government body and was put somewhere in the region to increase tourism and add some pretty shit.
WRONG! The Golden Bridge is in the middle of an amusement part named, Sunworld, in Ba Na Hills. An amusement park that is at the top of a mountain range, above the clouds. You pay around $35 USD to ride a cable car to the top and then take other cable cars to other mountain peaks to see more of the Disney-esque experience. I say “Disney-esque” because I was told it was like Disneyland, but it was more like Hong Kong Disneyland, but planned by people who had no experience with amusement parks. The park’s biggest draw, the Golden Bridge wasn’t on any park maps, and asking employees how to get there had us walking in circles. And there are NO signs in English (except in restaurants and stores - anywhere you can spend money), and few directional signs in any language. So a lot of time was spent figuring things out on our own.
Once we got to the bridge it was a bit of a zoo, but not as bad as we expected (reminder, we are Black in Asia, so we had people ask us at least 10 times to take pictures with them, and other people just sneaking picture of us - in fact at one point my friends was taking a picture of me, and someone stepped in front of her to take his own pic of me. This happens occasionally over here, the the frequency at Ba Na Hills was insane. If you’ve never experienced this before, it might sound glamorous or fun, but being interrupted every few minutes when you’re lost and just trying to figure out what to do, and having some people be very rude to you when you politely deny their request gets old pretty quickly.
Anyway, we got some pics on the bridge, which was the entire instagram goal (I don’t normally do things for the gram, so this whole post is pretty embarrassing to me).
After the Golden Bridge we check out the rest of Ba Na Hills. There are gardens, and a slide down the mountain, and sculptures sprinkled around the mountain top.
Did I mention being hella whiny up there, I hope I did. Because I was sick the cable car ride was a painful experience, the already existing sinus pressure plus the air pressure of the slowly increasing elevation was too much. Ba Na Hills has the world record for longest non-stop single track cable car at 5,801 meters (19,032 ft) in length, and as expected it’s quite a long ride. Going up took at least 30 minutes, maybe longer, but the views are spectacular.
Time Spent in Ba Na Hills; 2.5 hours. This could have been shorter if we had the directions/map we needed, so if you plan ahead you can definitely whittle that time down.
Visit to Chùa Linh Úng:
After Ba Na Hills, we went to see the Lady Buddha and pagodas at Chùa Linh Úng.
Each day when I was sick, I took a walk along the beach as I hunted for food and made my way back to shelter. And Each day, I saw the Lady Buddha looking at me from the other side of the water. She was beautiful and beckoning, but I was weak, too weak to go see her.
Finally, on this, my last full day in Vietnam, I went to see her after our time at Ba Na Hills. And she was lovely. So very lovely. There was no cost to visit and take pictures, it was the perfect way to cap off the day.
If I was feeling particularly ambitious I could have added another activity or two into this day, but that cold wouldn’t let me be ambitious. If I had my way, I would have definitely gone to Hoi An. I hear it’s a great place to get clothes and shoes made and it is a very cute historic town. Sounds like a great afternoon right? Check it out for me and let me know what you think.