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Vietnam is an incredible country that has a way of getting under travelers’ skin. While similar to its southeast Asian neighbors in certain regards, the flavors, landscape, and culture is unlike anywhere I’ve experienced elsewhere.
After traveling throughout the country for a month, my husband and I, both long-time nomads, decided to move to this hot and welcoming country. What we thought would last for a year quickly turned to three.
We spent the first year living in Ho Chi Minh City but really settled into a fantastic lifestyle once we moved to the coastal city of Da Nang.
Da Nang is easily one of my favorite places in the world. The mix of urban amenities with incredible nature gives it the perfect balance that you don’t usually see in cities with over 1 million residents.
So, while I’ll certainly try and convince you to give living in Da Nang a go, if you only have time for a 3-day visit, you’re still in for a treat.
Here are the best things to do in Da Nang in 3 days.
Day 1 in Da Nang
Arriving in Da Nang is super easy.
The international airport is located right in the city so getting to your accommodation once you arrive shouldn’t take you more than 10 minutes, leaving you plenty of time to start exploring the city from the moment you arrive. You can book a private transfer here.
Rent a Motorbike and Take Yourself for a Drive
If you’re comfortable driving a motorbike or scooter, you’ll love traversing the roads in Da Nang.
While still hectic at times, it’s not nearly as chaotic as Ho Chi Minh or Hanoi. If you’re not comfortable driving, or if this is the first time you’d try it, I wouldn’t recommend you go for it on Day 1.
Instead, download the app Grab and get a motorbike taxi. You can pick multiple points to get dropped off and just order another bike when you’re ready to move to the next stop.
The best way to see Da Nang is to drive aimlessly. The alleyways are endless and you’ll have a lot of fun simply seeing what you stumble across.
For the best self-guided tour, check out both the cityside and the beachside of Da Nang. Da Nang is intersected by the Han River and the iconic Dragon Bridge is only 1 of 7 you can use to cross it.
While you’re wandering around, be sure to stop and grab a coffee. Nowhere does coffee quite like Vietnam does.
For a local favorite, order a ca phe sua da, or iced coffee with condensed milk or for something really special, go for a ca phua dua, or coconut coffee. Both are fantastic and deserve a taste while you’re visiting Da Nang.
Enjoy a Big Bowl of Mi Quang
What I wouldn’t give to have my very first bowl of mi quang all over again. Vietnam is known for a lot of great dishes but mi quang is simply my favorite.
This is a type of soup with a rich broth and thick, chewy rice noodles. You can order it with chicken, beef, pork, fish, or even vegetarian. Personally, I recommend fish (mì quảng cá).
This is the most traditional street food in the Quang Nam province so you can easily find it on every street corner so I wouldn’t stress over where to get it from.
Just look for that name on any of the carts and go for one that has a good amount of locals munching away. IT’s easily one of the most delicous things to do in Da Nang!
Go to the Beach
Now that you’ve explored Da Nang and gotten a sense of the city and have tried its staple dish, it’s time to head to the beach. The entire coastline of Da Nang comes with a huge sandy beach, so wherever you choose to go, you’ll have plenty of space to spread out.
Keep in mind though that the beaches with amenities, like umbrellas, coconuts to drink, and chairs, are found in the middle around My Khe Beach.
The further north you go towards Son Tra Peninsula, the more the beach becomes a fishing village, and the further south you go towards Hoi An, the beach gets quieter, with only a few luxury resorts dotting the shore.
Grab a Drink in An Thuong
After you’ve had your fill of the sun and are ready to wind down your day or start your night, walk to nearby An Thuong for a drink. An Thuong is a small neighborhood right off the beach that is well-known as the expat hub.
While I don’t typically recommend expat neighborhoods to tourists, especially if you only have limited time to see a place, grabbing a drink here will introduce you to locals who speak English and foreigners who have made their home here. That means it’s a great place to get insider tips on what’s new and fun in the season you’re visiting.
Plus, it’s one of the best areas to get a cheap yet delicious cocktail while you listen to live music.
Just be sure not to stay out too late, day 2 in Da Nang will be a big one!
TOUR IDEA: Night Tour with Drink at Rooftop Bar and Dinner
Discover Da Nang at night when it is illuminated by lights. See the different styles of bridges, enjoy a Vietnamese dinner, and visit a rooftop bar overlooking the city. Reserve a spot here.
Day 2 in Da Nang
Today is the day for outdoor adventures. Da Nang has plenty to choose from, with a plethora of waterfalls, a great beach, a river, and nearby mountains, you won’t lack incredible views in the fresh, albeit humid, air.
Look for the Monkeys on Son Tra Peninsula
Son Tra Peninsula, otherwise known as Monkey Mountain, is one of my favorite places in Da Nang. It’s absolutely stunning and while it’s so near the city center, you’ll feel hours away once you’re deep into its natural surroundings.
The best way to explore Son Tra Peninsula is by driving yourself on a motorbike. Keep in mind that the motorbike must be manual or semi-automatic because some of the hills you’ll encounter are quite steep. I recommend each person drive themselves unless you have a really powerful bike and a confident driver.
There is a loop that’ll take you around the peninsula and it’s simply spectacular. At times the road will be pretty narrow but you most likely won’t encounter anyone else out there, maybe just a few of the local monkeys!
The endangered and incredibly beautiful Red Shanked Doucs call Son Tra home. Each time I’ve been to the peninsula, I’ve seen a handful of them so just be patient and you should catch a glimpse.
If you’re not comfortable or able to drive yourself, there are tour companies that offer a trip to see the monkeys and explore the peninsula.
TOUR IDEA: Marble Mountains & Son Tra Peninsula Tour
Visit the Marble Mountains to see the pagoda and hidden caves and grottoes. Enjoy views of Vietnam’s coast and visit the Son Tra Peninsula as well. Click here to learn more.
Stop for a Drink at the InterContinental
One of the only places on Son Tra Peninsula is the luxury InterContinental Resort. When we were living in Da Nang, people not staying at the hotel were invited to come and dine or grab a drink at the bar and enjoy the panoramic views of the South China Sea.
Be sure to call ahead and double check that their policy still allows outside visitors, just in case this has changed.
Enjoy the Views at Lady Buddha
Towards the end of your Son Tra Peninsula loop, you’ll want to stop and visit Lady Buddha, a popular Da Nang attraction. The entire Linh Ung Pagoda offers great views and beautiful architecture but the shining jewel is definitely the Lady Buddha statue.
You most likely noticed Lady Buddha on your first day in Da Nang while at the beach but now you can see her up close and personal. You don’t need too much time here unless the view is just that good. For added charm, plan to stop around 6 P.M. for sunset.
Eat Delicious Seafood at a Local Haunt
Now that you’ve had a big day in the sun, you’ve most likely built up an appetite. And what better way to appease it than by indulging in freshly caught seafood?
If you drive along the coast from Son Tra, you’ll pass countless seafood joints. Most of them offer a very similar menu so your best bet is to follow the crowds.
If you’re a fan of oysters and scallops, you have to try them while in Vietnam. Here, they grill them over a fire and sprinkle them with peanuts, green onions, and fish sauce. Don’t knock it until you try it! I’m a huge fan of raw oysters but I really think the Vietnamese have optimized how to prepare shellfish.
Day 3 in Da Nang
Unfortunately, this is your last day in Vietnamese paradise, so we need to make the most of it! Although there is a lot more to see and do within the confines of the city, most travelers come to Da Nang with hopes of seeing the Golden Hands Bridge, so let’s head that way.
Grab a Banh Mi Breakfast
Before you head to Ba Na Hills, grab the ultimate breakfast sandwich: a banh mi op la. A banh mi is a Vietnamese sandwich and “op la” means fried egg. You’ll easily be able to find a banh mi cart at nearly every corner of Da Nang so go with the one closest to your hotel.
Always served in a baguette, the best bánh mì ốp las have pate, pickled veggies, greens, chill paste, and soy sauce. I’m hungry just thinking about it!
Spend the Day at Ba Na Hills
Ba Na Hills is the theme park that is home to the Instagram-famous Golden Hands Bridge. A visit here is one of the best things to do in Vietnam. While that certainly brings people in, it’s not the only thing the park offers.
You’ll get to enjoy a European Village, an arcade, plenty of restaurants and bars, and a few amusement park rides if the weather is clear.
Located about 30 minutes outside of Da Nang city center, the best way to get to Ba Na Hills is by taxi. You’ll want to get your taxi driver to stay and wait for you while you’re at the park because otherwise, it can be really tough to get a ride back home.
Trust me, the few extra dong (Vietnamese currency) it costs will be well worth the hassle of trying to find another ride.
Get to Know the Cityside
After you’ve had your fill of Ba Na Hills, ask your taxi driver to drop you off in the cityside, ideally around Le Hong Phong street. That entire area is a lot of fun.
You’ll have plenty of street food options, restaurants, bars, shops, and interesting things to see and do, like a visit to Da Nang’s baby pink church.
Give yourself some time to stroll aimlessly- it really is the best way to get to know Vietnam!
Sneak into Da Nang’s Speakeasy
Once your feet are fully worn out from a day of walking, treat yourself to a drink at Da Nang’s coolest bar, Te Bar.
Located upstairs from a coffee shop, you’ll need to go inside the cafe and up a few flights of stairs, including one that’ll make you feel as though you’re trespassing. Trust me, it’s the right way up.
The door to the bar is typically hidden in a dark room behind a black curtain so it can be hard to find. The moment you open the door though, you’ll be greeted by a swanky speakeasy, usually playing soft jazz.
Sit at the bar to watch the bartenders work their creative magic or grab a candlelit table for a romantic night.
You’re Ready to Enjoy the Best of Da Nang
You’ve now spent an incredible 3 days in Da Nang, the 3rd largest (and my personal favorite) city in Vietnam. Luckily though, your adventures in Vietnam are hopefully just beginning.
Just south of Da Nang lies one of the best places to visit in Vietnam: the charming yellow town of Hoi An.
And north of the city via the scenic Hai Van Pass is the imperial capital of Vietnam and the culinary hub of the country: Hue.
Whether you choose to go north or south from here, you’re in for a great time. Vietnam is a warm and welcoming country so be open-minded and ready to try whatever comes your way while visiting this incredible Southeast Asian gem.
Book Da Nang Accommodation
What a difficult decision you have choosing your Da Nang accommodation. There are so many resorts that look beautiful and have many great amenities.
Here are a few we hand selected for you. See all Da Nang properties here.
- TIA Wellness Resort – Spa Inclusive: This beachfront resort features 5-star villa accommodations, spa services, and an outdoor pool with a waterfall. See availability, prices and reviews here.
- Sheraton Grand Danang Resort: With private beach access and kids pool, this resort is great for families. See availability, prices and reviews here
- Sandy Beach Non Nuoc Resort: This beachfront property has stylish rooms, 2 outdoor swimming pools, the resort features 2 on-site dining options. See availability, prices and reviews here
You may like these Southeast Asian travel ideas:
- 10 Things to Know Before Visiting Cambodia
- 7 Reasons to Visit Raja Ampat, Indonesia (one of Asia’s most beautiful regions)
- Exciting Things to do in Boracay Island with kids
- 19 Helpful Tips for Traveling to Thailand with Kids
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