When it comes to travel, each destination is ultimately known best for one thing. Whether it’s Pisa’s Leaning Tower, Sydney’s Opera House, or the spring cherry blossoms of Japan, there seems to be one iconic visual or experience to associate with each city and region. Although there are places to travel in Da Nang, but here we are only talking about its most fascinating (to us, of course): Beaches.
A Beach Lover Paradise
Ultimately, if you consider yourself a beach lover, or are looking to take a high class break from flashpacking around Vietnam, this just might be your perfect weekend getaway. The beaches all get top marks for cleanliness, though the strong surf and resulting rip current of the South China Sea may make swimming in some areas a risky exercise. Whether you opt for the public stretches of beach or the private resort areas, plenty of lounge chair options abound. Not to mention the ability to enjoy a cold drink or two by the seaside. While scuba diving around nearby Chàm Islands is an option, it’s not the best Southeast Asia has to offer. There are a few options for jet ski rentals and the like, but broadly speaking, Da Nang is beaches, and beaches alone.
Where To Stay
There is, without a doubt, already an oversupply of accommodation options in Da Nang. Many small hotels open with introductory deals and after being busy for three to six months face severe financial pressure due to vacancy. As mentioned, the number of large resorts borders on gluttonous. While not great for long term economic prospects of the city, it does mean that deals are abundant for travellers. Simply checking Booking.com, Agoda.com or calling the larger resorts directly will yield some of the most affordable beach accommodation in Vietnam. We recommend staying as close to the beach as possible, as the city is quite large and staying in the downtown core will require constant taxi rides.
It’s cheap in Vietnam. Clean two and three star hotels set a couple of blocks off the beach can be had for $15-18 USD per night. Stepping up to $50-100 per night yields four star accommodation, some on the beach, with impressive pools and amenities. Five star beachfront properties start at $200. They can go up to $1,000 USD per night if you really want to make a splash in the private pool of your multi-bedroom beachfront villa.
How To Get Around
Da Nang is one of the few relatively pedestrian friendly Vietnamese cities, built with wide sidewalks and a great boardwalk along the ocean. However, it’s quite spread out so travel on foot isn’t realistic. Traditional taxis (we suggest VinaSun and Mai Linh as most trustworthy) cover the large distances within the city. Though the streets are wide, and traffic not doubt calmer than the likes of Saigon, it’s still not quite the place to “learn” how to ride a scooter. For a basic motorbike like Wave Alpha, it should be $7-10 at most for a day. If you are confident or want to try (who doesn’t?), rentals are cheap and a best option for getting around.
What To Eat
The food scene of Da Nang isn’t one for the record books, but it still has several gems if you know where to look. That’s where Da Nang Food Touror Funtastic Da Nang Food Tour come in. Da Nang Food Tour in particular gets high marks for keeping group sizes small – they target a max of four to six people – and a flexible restaurant list that changes depending on the mood and preferences of both the guide and guests.
Day Trips From Da Nang
If you’re looking for a day trip to the Marble Mountains, or need a break from the beach for any other reason, Looking Glass Jeep Tours is your go to. Run by an American veteran, Jeremy, and Vietnamese local, Tam, the highly customizable tours are well worth the (higher) price tag. Bring sunblock and as the jeeps are topless.
A visit to UNESCO World Heritage site Mỹ Sơn is a relatively easy one hour drive from Da Nang. The site, though much smaller than the famous ruins of Angkor Wat in Cambodia, is actually older.
Only 40 minutes away, Hoi An is certainly an MUST-GO. In fairness, it merits several days of exploration on its own, and has plenty of charming riverside accommodations, which eliminate the need to commute daily from Da Nang. Some tour companies such as Vespa Adventures or Grasshopper Adventures will arrange pick up for travellers staying in Da Nang who go on various trips around Hội An and central Vietnam with them.
When to Go
A visit during March yielded possibly perfect weather. Daytime highs reaching 26-29 degrees Celsius with strong ocean breezes and comfortable nightly temperatures dipping down to 18-21 degrees. Finally an excuse to wear a light sweater in Southeast Asia.
Given its central Vietnam location, Da Nang experiences a tropical monsoon climate. Summer months June to August have slightly higher temperatures, with decidedly lower temperatures hovering around 20 degrees December to February. Dry season kicks in January to August. Ultimately, February to April provide the ideal mix of warmer temperatures and are the driest. This travel window also ensures you miss the peak domestic travel months of May to August, which brings significant crowds.
Which Beach is Best?
Mother nature graces Da Nang with several beaches of varying popularity. While all generally face East (meaning sunrise rather than sunset views), nearby accommodation, crowds and general beach vibes do vary considerably. The Da Nang Experience has the best comprehensive beach guide to the region here. For what it’s worth, I find the private resorts of Non Nuoc Beach (China Beach) offer the ideal quiet paradise. That is, as long as you’re savvy at managing your food and drink expenses with a strong happy hour game.
Source: departful and flickr