Da Nang or Danang is the largest city in Central Vietnam and fourth-largest in Vietnam. It is one of the major transport ports in the country and a thriving commercial, economic and social hub.
Whenever you see advertisements or travel guides, they always promote tourist attractions outside of the city centre like Ba Na Hills, Golden Bridge, Lady Buddha, Cham Islands National Park, Marble Mountains and Hai Van Pass.
But within the city centre, there are plenty of things to see in Da Nang, including the Dragon Bridge over the Han River, excellent local markets for shopping and food and one of the best beaches in all of Vietnam.
So if you are interested in seeing what the city has to offer then follow my Da Nang itinerary and learn how you can see all the best highlights in Da Nang in one day.
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What you need to know before starting your Da Nang Vietnam Itinerary
Before you start your Danang itinerary, take a look at some of these travel tips first:
- Da Nang is safe for female solo travellers. It is safe to walk around during the day and night. I felt comfortable 100% of the time with the Da Nang city centre and around the beaches.
- Plan your solo trip to Da Nang with the following festivals and events:
- Boat Racing Festival (Lunar New Year) – more than 20 teams compete in their colourful dragon boats at the Han River.
- Cau Ngu Festival (after Tet holiday) – fish worshipping festival is long tradition for fishermen from coastal areas of Vietnam. See rituals, ceremonies and singing, dancing and games.
- Danang International Fireworks Festival (June – July) – most famous festival in Danang and each year is a different theme which teams from different countries compete for the most impressive display.
How to get to Da Nang Vietnam
Many domestic and international flights arrive at Da Nang Airport, which is 5km west of Da Nang city centre. The best way to travel from the airport to Hoi An is by prearranged airport shuttle transfer. Or you can order a Grab car or bike.
Train and Bus
Vietnam Railways and private train companies operate several trains going to Da Nang Train Station daily. From the train station, the city centre is only 3km away. Order a Grab car or bike, or you can walk 20 minutes.
Many sleeper bus companies operate similar routes from different parts of Vietnam to Da Nang. The cost is very affordable, and they make bathroom stops along the way as there are no toilet facilities on the bus.
Bus transfer and private car transfer
Many shared bus transfers and private car transfer options exist if you travel within Central Vietnam. Typically, they travel between Hue and Da Nang or Hoi An to Da Nang. Some of these options include stops at tourist sites like Hai Van Pass, Lang Co Beach and Marble Mountain.
How to get around Da Nang
Walking is the best way to see all the attractions in Da Nang City.
You can hire a Grab bike or car if you want to save time. Both options are very affordable. And when you hire a scooter, your driver will provide a helmet for safety and a raincoat if it rains.
Alternatively, you could rent a scooter and explore the areas outside Da Nang city centre. Make sure to bring your passport and a deposit.
For this itinerary, all you need is a pair of comfortable shoes and the Grab app downloaded and set up on your mobile phone.
Da Nang in One Day: Summary and Map
Below are all the best attractions of Da Nang. Red pins are all the must-see attractions in Da Nang for the 1-day itinerary. I organized these attractions into an efficient itinerary, so all you have to do is follow the numbered pins and read the description for each attraction.
In addition to the 1-day Da Nang Itinerary, I included several blue pins that represent other things to see in Da Nang want to switch up the itinerary. Also, I included several green pins that represent day trip ideas outside of Da Nang if you are staying for a few more days. And my recommended Da Nang accommodations are marked with yellow pins.
Here is the summary of my solo Danang 1-day itinerary:
- Con Market
- Da Nang Cathedral
- Han Market
- APEC Park
- Da Nang Museum of Cham Sculpture
- Da Nang Fresco Village
- My Khe Beach
- Son Tra Night Market
- Dragon Carp Statue
- Dragon Bridge
Da Nang 1-Day Itinerary: Best Things to Do in One Day
1. Con Market
Con Market is a bustling market built in the 1940s and it has over 2,000 stores and stalls within three buildings. Within the large market area, there is a wet market, an area for clothing and textiles and also an outdoor and indoor area for food.
You can find everything you want here. Locals come here exclusively to shop for homeware, household goods and food because it is the cheapest in the city. As a tourist, you can buy cheap souvenirs, handicrafts, clothing items, and dried food. Make sure to negotiate the price.
I met a local on the train and she told me to try food at Con Market. But I wasn’t able to find it. If you have better luck than I did, you can try affordable local food like Banh Trang Cuon Thit Heo, Banh Bot Loc, Mi Quang and Kem Bo.
Address: 290 Hung Vuong, Vinh Trung, Hai Chau, Da Nang | Hours: 7am-7pm | Admission: free
2. Da Nang Cathedral
Built in 1923, the Da Nang Cathedral was built to serve the French Catholics who lived in the city at the time. The 70m tall cathedral is known as the Pink Church because of its pretty pastel pink exterior.
But the locals also refer the church as the “Rooster Church” because of the rooster weathercock on top of the massive bell tower. The rooster is a symbol associated with St Peter’s repentance in the Bible.
Today, Da Nang church still functions as a place of worship and holds daily services. Plus, it is an attractive tourist spot in Da Nang. Go inside and see the statues of holy figures, medieval stained glass windows and other Gothic architectural elements. And before you leave, check out the grotto of the Blessed Virgin Mary behind the church.
Address: 156 Tran Phu, Hai Chau, Hai Chau, Da Nang | Hours: 7am-6pm | Admission: free
3. Han Market
Han Market is the other famous market in Da Nang. It first appeared in the 1940s as a spontaneous market place. Then in 1990, construction began for building a two-story structure. Today, the Han Market is 28,000 sqm big and has 576 stalls and 36 kiosks with vendors selling clothing items, food souvenirs, and “Mam” which is a fermented paste (a Da Nang speciality).
Thanks to the prime location, it is easy to get to the Han Market. And because there is so much foot traffic, Han Market is a bit more touristy and the products tend to be slightly more expensive (but still cheap).
Walk through the narrow aisles and see the busy displays for each vendor. Or if you are hungry, try local food like Banh Bot Loc, Mi Quang or Kem Bo at the food section of the market.
Address: 119 Tran Phu, Hai Chau 1, Hai Chau, Da Nang | Hours: 6am-7pm | Admission: free
4. APEC Park
APEC (Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation) Park was a cultural park when it first opened in 2017. Then in 2020, the park expanded to include more green spaces as part of the city’s effort to achieve the “green and smart city” goal by 2030.
Today, the APEC Park has a public park with existing sculpture garden, a water fountain, a playground, a parking space, and a stage that is ideal for hosting cultural and artistic activities.
But the most impressive part of the APEC Park has to be the two-storey dome at the centre on top of the artificial hill. Professional photographers love taking photos of the lattice-like dome. You can even hire them to take photos and they will print the photos on the spot.
Address: Binh Hien, Hai Chau, Da Nang | Hours: 24 hours | Admission: free
5. Da Nang Museum of Cham Sculpture
The ancient Champa Kingdom was a Southeast Asian civilization that once flourished between 500 and 1700AD in Central and Southern Vietnam. Archeologists collected many sandstone, terracotta and bronze artifacts which now displayed at the Da Nang Museum of Cham Sculpture.
The museum first opened its doors in 1919. Then extensions and renovations continued into the 1920s, 1930s and again in 2002. Today, the museum houses the world’s largest collection of Cham sculptures with over 2000 pieces of artifacts, including the statue of Goddess Tara, a masterpiece of ancient art of Cham.
Walk around the museum on your own and download the free audio guide so you can learn more about the Champa culture and their significants to Central Vietnam.
Address: No.02 2/9 Street, Binh Hien, Hai Chau, Da Nang | Hours: 7:30am-5pm | Admission: 60,000 VND
6. Da Nang Fresco Village
Not from the Museum of Cham Sculpture is the Da Nang Fresco Village. This is the first mural road in Da Nang and its part of the city’s effort to revitalize the area and create more attractions in Da Nang.
As you walk through a maze of small streets in the quiet residential neighbourhood, you can see many colourful art murals on the exterior walls of many homes. The theme of the murals depict traditional cultural themes, nature, and the village life of the Da Nang people.
I saw at least 8 wall murals but apparently there are more than 30 fresco wall art in the area. Keep walking through the small laneways and see what you can find.
Address: 75 Nguyen Van Linh, Phuoc Ninh, Hai Chau, Da Nang | Hours: 24 hours | Admission: free
7. My Khe Beach
Da Nang has a 30km long coastline and one of the most beautiful beaches between Son Tra Peninsula and the Marble Mountains is My Khe Beach.
The beach was once known as China Beach during the Vietnam War and it was a place for American troops to go for some R&R. Today, it is one of the most beautiful beaches in Vietnam because of its fine white sand, crystal blue water and mild climate all year round.
Besides swimming and sunbathing at My Khe Beach, you can see fisherman catching fish using traditional fishing nets and try local seafood at one of the beachfront restaurants or have a few drinks by the food stalls next to the coconut trees.
Address: Vo Nguyen Giap, Hoa Hai, Ngu Hanh Son, Da Nang | Hours: 24 hours | Admission: free
8. Son Tra Night Market
Son Tra Night Market is the probably the most popular night market in Da Nang. Hundreds of stalls make up two areas of the market: the food area and the market area.
The food area of the Son Tra Night Market is quite big. The majority of the food stalls offer grilled seafood. This is some of the best seafood selection I’ve seen in all of Vietnam. The lobster, clams and squid all look so fresh. And they are very affordable.
Besides seafood, there are other night market food items like banh mi, skewers, Vietnamese pizza, banana pancake and many more.
This is also where you can do a bit of shopping. Many vendors sell cheap souvenirs, trinkets, cultural products, handicrafts, clothing item, etc. Make sure to bargain, though.
And if you are at Son Tra Night Market on the weekend, it can get pretty busy. The night market is near the Dragon Bridge and every weekend there is a Fire and Water performance. More on that later.
Address: Mai Hac De, An Hai Trung, Son Tra, Da Nang | Hours: 6pm-12am | Admission: free
9. Dragon Carp Statue
The Dragon Carp Statue is a 200 ton marble statue on the east bank of the Han River between the Love Lock Bridge and the Dragon Bridge. The inspiration of the statue was built on an Eastern folklore story where dragons compete and only one carp passed and turned into a dragon. It represents the carp overcoming difficulties and it eventually succeeded.
The statue itself reminds me of the Merlion statue in Singapore, which symbolizes the city’s origin as a fishing village and is a half fish and half lion statue. Do you see it too?
Address: Tran Hung Dao Street, An Hai, Son Tra, Da Nang | Hours: 24 hours | Admission: free
10. Dragon Bridge
And finally, the Danang itinerary ends at the city’s most famous attraction, the Dragon Bridge. It is one of the six bridges that crosses over the Han River and is 666m long, 37.5m wide and has six lanes for traffic. It opened in 2013 and it is the world’s largest dragon-shaped steel bridge.
The design of the bridge truly represents the Vietnamese culture. Dragon is a symbol of prosperity while the tail, resembling a blooming lotus flower, is Vietnam’s national flower.
But the most impressive feature of this modern bridge is the ability for the dragon to breath fire and water. The free Fire and Water show is at 9pm every Saturday, Sunday and major holidays. So if you are going during the weekend, you’re in for a cool show!
Go 10 minutes before the show to grab a good spot. The show is about 15 minutes. First, is the burst of fire then water sprays the entire area so you will get wet if you are standing very close. I suggest watching the show from the pedestrian promenade near the Dragon Carp Statue or grab one of the seats vendors set up at Son Tra Night Market.
Address: 29 Cau Rong, An Hai Trung, Son Tra, Da Nang | Hours: 24 hours | Admission: free
Other things to do for your Da Nang itinerary
Besides the attractions mentioned in the Danang itinerary above, there are other things to do if you have more time in the city or want to switch up the itinerary. Here are a few more attractions (see blue pins on the map):
- Da Nang Museum (8am-5pm; 20,000 VND) – learn about the history of Da Nang through three floors of memorabilia, pictures, and artefacts
- Da Nang Fine Arts Museum (8am-5pm; 20,000 VND) – see more than 1000 pieces of modern and folk artwork in Da Nang’s first fine arts museum
- Bac My An Market (6am-7pm) – a bargain hunting spot for all sorts of stuff. Also, try kem bo at Co Van (it was recommended to me by a local).
- Helio Night Market (5-10pm) – eat, drink and listen to live music at this night market near Asia Park, a theme park with Ferris wheel.
Day Trips from Da Nang
Whenever you see travel info or ads about Da Nang, they always advertise all the tourist spots outside of the city centre. And these highlights are truly worth seeing especially if you are staying more than one day in Da Nang.
If you are extending your stay in Da Nang, you can see these tourist attractions on your own or through a tour:
- Lady Buddha Da Nang – see the 220 foot statue at Linh Ung Pagoda at Son Tra Peninsula. It is the tallest Buddha statue in Vietnam and is located 14km from Da Nang city centre. Go on your own or join a tour which includes sightseeing around Linh Ung Pagoda and continues to Marble Mountains and Hoi An Ancient Town.
- Ba Na Hills – take Asia’s longest cable car to Ba Na Hills Sun World and see the Golden Bridge. The famous bridge is 20km southwest of Da Nang and the best way to see it is through an organized tour.
- Marble Mountains & Hoi An – take a full-day tour and see the caves at Marble Mountains and the preserved shophouses and lanterns in Hoi An Ancient Town. However, I highly recommend spending a few days in Hoi An – there’s so much to see and do there.
- Cham Island – take a speedboat to the Cham Island and swim or snorkel in the blue sea.
Where to stay in Danang for solo travellers
If you are only staying overnight or a short time in Danang, it is best to stay within Danang city centre so you are in walking distance to most attractions. And if you are following my Da Nang itinerary, definitely stay in the city centre. But if you are staying longer, I also included a beach hotel option.
- Bare Han – Bare Boutique Stays – the boutique apartment is in a small alley across from the Da Nang Cathedral. The unit is a studio apartment with a queen bed, sitting area, kitchenette, desk area, large closet and an ensuite bathroom. It is in walking distance to many places in Da Nang and lots of eateries too. I love this place! This is the ideal apartment for this itinerary.
- Estrella Boutique Hotel – if you are staying in Da Nang for few more days and want to be closer to the beach, this is the best hotel for solo travellers. It is affordable, brand new, and is only a 10-minute walk to My Khe Beach.
What and Where to eat in Danang
Even though you are only spending a day in Danang, there are a ton of good food in the city and some unique dishes that you should try. Below, I listed some local Da Nang food and where you can find these specialities.
Best food in Da Nang
- Banh Trang Cuon Thit Heo – rice paper roll with pork slices
- Banh Bot Loc – chewy tapioca dumplings with shrimp and pork belly
- Bun Mam Da Nang – Danang-style rice vermicelli noodles with pork and anchovy fish sauce
- Bun Cha Ca – vermicelli noodle soup noodles topped with Vietnamese fish cake
- Mi Quang – a bowl of yellow rice noodles with pork, shrimp, hard-boiled quail egg and a big piece of rice cracker
- Kem Bo – avocado ice cream
Best places to eat in Da Nang
- Bún Mắm Ngọc – I tried the mixed (thap cam) Bun Mam Da Nang which includes crispy roast pork, boiled pork, Vietnamese sausage, and fermented pork roll. English menu available.
- Món Quảng – they have many local Da Nang food on the menu including Banh Trang Cuon Thit Heo.
- An Thoi Restaurant – the restaurant is a bit touristy but they have a good selection of Da Nang specialties including Mi Quang
- Cho Con Market – many local Da Nang food at the food section of the market
- Han Market – also has cheap local food at the food area
Is Da Nang worth visiting?
I didn’t including Danang in my itinerary during my last two trips to Hoi An because I didn’t know what there is to see in the city. I wasn’t really interested in seeing all the places outside of Danang which are the attractions that are mostly advertised.
But after this trip, I can highly recommend Danang for anyone who has never been to the city. There are things to see in the centre of city and the beaches are some of the best in Central Vietnam. Accommodations are much cheaper compared to Hoi An which is great for solo travellers. And the food in Danang is unique and some of the best food I’ve had in Vietnam.
So make sure to add Danang in your itinerary the next time you are going to Vietnam. Don’t skip this destination!
Thank you for reading my Da Nang itinerary
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