Da Nang and Hoi An Travel Guide

Da Nang Hoi An Travel Guide

Da Nang and Hoi An are two tourist centers in the middle of Vietnam. This twin attracts millions of visitors yearly, thanks to its numerous stunning things to see and do. For instance, the finest sandy coastline in the country or Unesco world cultural heritage sites. Beside that, friendly people with a smile on their face, hospitality and unique speaking accents are one of what travelers love most here. Owning a more sophisticated cuisine than any regions else, its restaurants, eateries and vendors serve up abundant dishes with tasty flavours. After the strong heat is over, locals drive their motorcycles to the streets and the scene in town is bustling. This article is all about Da Nang and Hoi An, with a focus on travelers, to help them to have the best overview about the couple of cities. We recommend reading travel guide to Hue – the former capital of Vietnam that often is the next destination.

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Table of content

A Quick Introduction for Da Nang and Hoi An

Da Nang and Hoi An are two famous tourist cities by the coast of Central Vietnam. It’s close to each other, with a distance of 30km and both are at the end of a large river. Da Nang is bigger than Hoi An, and plays the most important role in many fields of the region. It has an international airport, cruise port, train station and bus station. About the history, Hoi An is older and ever served as an trade port for over 400 years before the role was replaced by Da Nang. It’s a heritage city, capital of tailors and lanterns.


Da Nang (municipality)

Hoi An (provincial city)

Area (km2)



Population (people)

1,13 million

150 thousand


Han River Bridge, Marble Mountains

Japanese Covered Bridge


City of bridges

City of lanterns


Vietnamese, Hoa, Katu

Vietnamese, Hoa

Number of tourists (2019)

8,7 million, 40% of international visitors

5,35 million, 75% of international tourists

Famous river

Han River

Thu Bon River


Weather and Climate in Da Nang and Hoi An

Climate in Da Nang and Hoi An features 2 seasons in the year: the dry and the wet. The hot season begins from around January, February and ends in the beginning of September. It’s characterized by a high temperature all day long, lots of sunny hours and really low rainfall. What travelers need to prepare if traveling to the area are sun cream, sun glasses, comfortable clothes and swimsuit. Other months are in the rainy season, with heavy rains, typhoons and floods (especially from October to December). A rain poncho is a thing that is always with the visitors in this part of the year. Local floods in streets of Da Nang and inundation in the lowlands of Hoi An are problems today. Read our guides as following below to know better:

– Da Nang: Da Nang weather by month, the best time to visit Da Nang

– Hoi An: Hoi An weather by month, the best time to visit Hoi An


Da Nang or Hoi An – Which is Better to Stay Overnight?

Generally, both cities are worth it to stay overnight due to their own interests. So, the best depends on each traveler. Da Nang is vibrant, moderner and represents a new Vietnam emerging, while Hoi An has an ancient root with rich cultural traditions and diverse cuisine. It’s smaller, centered by old quarters inscribed by Unesco and tranquil countryside in the surroundings. On the other side, Da Nang owns lengthy and sunny sandy beaches, majestic mountains with Buddhist temples, featured museums, bridges and the world-famous Golden Bridge. Instagrammers never remove this site on their travel plan. Read our separate article for Da Nang or Hoi An for further comparisons.

Read also: Best Areas to Stay in Da Nang, Best Areas to Stay in Hoi An


How to Get to Da Nang and Hoi An


Travelers from outside of Vietnam can choose to land in Da Nang airport, to start the holiday in two cities. Due to the city center location of the airfield, it’s convenient and quick to get from it to anywhere in Da Nang. Only 40 minutes is needed to transfer by car or taxi from there to Hoi An town. Find the best transport for yourself in our guide to Da Nang airport to Hoi An. 70 km south of Hoi An, Chu Lai airport serves some domestic flights from metropolitans.


Da Nang and Hoi An are 2 leading tourist cities, therefore traveling by bus to this twin is quite convenient and cheap. Da Nang Central Bus Station is a major terminal of the whole region, so from south, north to highlands, it’s possible to book a seat and go. Night sleeper buses are popular if the distance is over 300 kilometers. It’s about 10 mins from the city centre from this terminal. Depending on the departure place, travelers can find a bus straight to Hoi An or not. Tourist ones often provide a direct drive but local ones only stop in Da Nang or Vinh Dien – 10 km away from town’s center.


The only train station is in Da Nang, so no matter where travelers depart, they will land in this city first. If planning to travel to Da Nang and Hoi An by train, it’s needed to come to the nearest provincial capital and buy tickets there (or reserve online in advance). Like the airport, Da Nang central train station is in the downtown, so travelers don’t have difficulties getting anywhere in the city. Private cars, taxis and buses are the 3 most popular choices to transfer to Hoi An from there. Read details in How to Get from Da Nang to Hoi An

Motorcycle and Jeep from Hue

Hue is another famous tourist city, over 100 km to the north of Da Nang and Hoi An. From it, travelers have the chance to transfer down the south with a motorcycle or jeep car. The ride is an adventure in which Vietnam’s best coastal road – the Hai Van Pass is the highlight. No travellers want to miss out on it when visiting the Central region. This winding 20km-long route is packed with scenic sceneries, and has ancient remains on its top at an elevation of nearly 1,500 meters. See details in How to Get from Hue to Da Nang and Hoi An.


Get around Da Nang and Hoi An

Road vehicles from bus, car, taxi, van, motorcycle, bicycle to jeep, are all convenient to get around Da Nang and Hoi An. The most convenient one is a taxi, because it doesn’t require a research and reservation, available every time of the day. Private car is also easy to book but cheaper and proper for day trips with a long distance. Above all, motorcycles still are the best choice for visitors who travel alone or like freedom. A day rental costs only from 100,000 to 250,000 VND, no matter automatics or semi-automatics. It’s easy to look for and book in online pages and shops. The cheapest transport definitely is by bus that moves around Da Nang city from the sunrise to the evening. One of the buses departs from its central bus station and stops in Hoi An. Many people loved to get this.



History of Da Nang and Hoi An

Area of Da Nang and Hoi An was a principality of Champa Kingdom from 2nd to early 14th century, named “Avarmavati”. At that time, Hoi An (Champapura) was a trade port where Persian and European merchants stopped before going to China. Da Nang was a rich agricultural land. The inhabitants were the Chams (particularly the Coconut clan) who followed Hinduism and matriarchy. In 1306, Vietnamese princess Huyen Tran and Champa king Che Man got married. According to a promise from the husband, the area was given to the northern state as a wedding present. The best remains today we can see from this period are 70 temples and ruins in My Son Sanctuary.

Viet people migrated to Da Nang and Hoi An, and were handed over in 15th century. Thanks to being close to international maritime trade routes, Hoi An soon became a major stopover for foreign merchants from different continents again. It kept the role and its prosperity until the early 19th century. The decline in commerce here came from estuary reclamation and policies from the Hue-based government. The kings requested traders moor in Da Nang (harbour) before moving further to Hoi An. From 1858 to 1860, French troops attacked it and Vietnam for the first time. 3 years later, they established Tourane (Da Nang) – the first protectorate in the region and started their own colonial era. Since then, Tourane has replaced Hoi An’s role.


Da Nang Hoi An Tourist Attractions

Unesco World Heritage Sites

The area has 2 world heritage sites that are all cultural and inscribed in the same year, 1999. There are Hoi An Ancient Town – a well preserved Asian trade port from 15th to 19th century and My Son Sanctuary – a Hindu holy land of Champa kingdom from 4th to 13rd centuries. A visit to any of these amazing attractions allows travelers to learn so much about history, culture and outstanding universal values. Compared to My Son’s temples, Hoi An has many things to see and do as well as restaurants and shopping places. Definitely, both provide the best experiences in the trip across the region.

Read also: travel guide to Hoi An Old TownMy Son Sanctuary

Beaches in Da Nang and Hoi An

Da Nang and Hoi An own the best beaches in the country, including internationally-rewarded ones such as My Khe, Ha My or An Bang. The bulk is sandy, palm lined, free from rocks and are fringled by shallow, warm water with gentle waves. That is all swimmers and sunbathers needed to make a perfect visit to the coast. Throughout the sunny months, fun water sports (like surfing) are active and exciting festivals are held on the sands. Da Nang’s best beach – My Khe is backed by hotels, resorts, and seafood restaurants. Cua Dai beach in Hoi An is quite similar, but less crowded. An Bang beach has many loves from locals and tourists due to its breezy seafront restaurant-bars with live music. To the northeast of Da Nang center, Son Tra Peninsula harbours a diversity of beaches and coves hidden away in red-shanked douc langur forests.

Mountains in Da Nang

The best known mountains in Da Nang is the Marble Mountains (Ngu Hanh Son) – a complex of 5 hills topped with Buddhist temples. Lots of amazing caves and grottoes are found in this city’s emblem. Also by the Pacific coast, Son Tra Mountain is home of Vietnam’s tallest Lady Buddha statue that rises above the surroundings up to 67 meters. The largest Buddhist temple – Linh Ung Pagoda stands next to, providing graceful buildings set amid bonsai and Boddhi tree gardens. Riding along its spectacular coastline or up the peaks where red shanked douc langurs live can’t be missed for adventurers.

To the west, Ba Na Hills is known by people globally, because of the Golden Bridge. It’s incredibly fantastic, mythical and well deserved to visit. Cable car to get there holds some world records, giving a mind-blowing landscape from the cabin. Thanks to sitting on the top of Da Nang, the weather here is really cool. To the north, motorcyclists and cyclists definitely have so much fun cruising along the winding road of Hai Van Pass. Panoramic outlooks in this stunner are plenty, to view and photograph.

Cham Islands in Hoi An

After 20 minutes by canoe, travelers will land on Cham Island – a marine park and a Unesco world biosphere reserve. Apart from the bird nest harvesting industry or extremely fresh seafood, this place is famous for its gorgeous underwater world. That’s the reason why all divers in the country want to visit here, and discover. Snorkeling, scuba diving, trekking and fishing tours are available during the sunny months. No surprise, it’s a must see for those who are seeking fun-filled activities. See details in ultimate travel guide to Cham Island.


The Best Things to Do in Da Nang and Hoi An

Visit Hoi An Old Town World Heritage

Hoi An Old Town is the best loved “attraction” in the area. Around its ancient, lantern and flower-filled quarters, visitors will find lots of interests and fun. A half day or even one day is easy to spend here. The most iconic things in this place are historical buildings owned by people from different parts of the world and an amazing full-moon lantern festival. Strolling around and sightseeing sites covered by the entrance ticket are what all visitors do. After the sunset, the town’s atmosphere comes to life, because of street food vendors, paper lantern sellers, sound from cyclos, lantern boats on the canal, and crowds. Read our article for Hoi An Old Town for further details.

My Son Sanctuary

Located in a dramatic valley surrounded by forested ranges, My Son Sanctuary is the best reminder about disappeared Champa kingdom. It comprises 71 brick temples and ruins that dedicated to worship of Shiva – God of destroying and recreation in Hinduism. First buildings were dated back from 4th century. A visit here provides a chance to learn about a new civilization and everything around it. See details in the travel guide to My Son Sanctuary.

The Marble Mountains

Between Da Nang and Hoi An, this cluster of 5 striking hills amaze people by ancient Buddhist temples and magnificent caves. According to the legend, all are pieces of a broken dragon egg. A hike is needed to visit around the largest mountain – Hon Thuy Son. It’s fun, allows sightseers to open their horizons about history, religion, culture, and nature. In 19th century, a king renamed the complex to “Five Elements Mountain”. Read more information in The Marble Mountains

The Golden Bridge

Open the doors from 2018, this pedestrian bridge soon becomes a social media hit in the world. Its images are spreaded in all continents, and mesmerize people due to the perfect beauty. It features 2 giant hands holding the walkway, so lots of tourists call it “the Hand Bridge” or “the Golden Hand Bridge”. See all you need to know about here.

Experience on Ba Na Hills Cable Car

With only 40 mins drive from the city center, travelers have the chance to experience the world-record Ba Na Hills cable car. It holds 4 titles, including the longest cable car of the world – around 5 kilometers and the largest difference of elevation between terminals – nearly 1,500 meters. From the cabin, people will say wow with a breath-taking landscape, from purple mountains, forests, rivers with white waterfalls, outcrops, to clouds. Temperatures also decrease slightly. 50% of tourists who stay overnight in Da Nang like to have this fabulous ride. See more details in Ba Na Hills cable car.

Drive up the Hai Van Pass

Hai Van Pass is special for motorcyclists and cyclists. It boasts of a long and scenic route windingly running along the coast where the Annamite range juts out into the sea. Before seeing the top covered by clouds, travelers will have lots of chances to view and photograph in panoramic outlooks. This place is one of main contents for Top Gear – a world famous motoring programme in its eposide named “Vietnam Special”. See all about it in here.

Scuba Diving in Cham Island

Cham Island is one of the wealthiest marine parks in Vietnam, so there is no surprise that divers all know about it. Most professional and certificated organizers are Hoi An-based, but if staying overnight in Da Nang, travelers just need to transfer. Read the guide to Cham Island diving for more details.


Festivals in Da Nang and Hoi An

Hoi An Lantern Festival

Held monthly during the full moon or the 14th day of each lunar month, this festival is one of the most awaited events in Hoi An. It can’t be missed, due to the brilliant beauty of thousand lanterns varying in color, shape, size and material. Atmosphere at the same time is chaotic and lively. In the waterfront, people light up paper lanterns and drop them down to the river to make wishes. Visitors have so many photo opportunities. See more information in our guide to Hoi An Lantern Festival.

Da Nang International Fireworks Festival

This is the signature festival of Da Nang. It takes place yearly in a summer month, with the participation of the host city and many teams from different countries. The latest event occurs in June for semi-final competitions and the first week of June for the female night. Not only on the stage, the atmosphere in the surroundings is also vibrant, full of life during the matches. Citizens are always excited to watch amazing performances of light and music from a distance. See full information in our article for Da Nang’s festivals.


Where to Eat in Da Nang and Hoi An?

Da Nang’s Seafood Restaurants

Da Nang is a coastal city with numerous villages where fishers set sail and return daily. Thanks to being close to one of Vietnam’s wealthiest fishing grounds, seafood here is fresh and very diverse. It’s absolutely one of the things that one should not miss out when visiting. By the coast or off the coast, travelers have many choices to pick favourite types from aquariums when they’re still alive, and then enjoy authentic tastes from the local chief.

Dining in Hoi An Old Town

Hoi An Old Town is home of so many restaurants to go for a nice dining experience, available in Vietnamese, international and fusion styles. Within an old house, the diners can seek a cozy, friendly atmosphere and a diverse menu to choose favourite dishes. The bulk offers local food specialties, separately or in a combo. The best view is provided in riverfront venues, and on the upper floors. Down the river, it is a romantic, impressive scene of pedestrians, lantern lights and boats. To avoid the crowds, hidden gems are perfect and located in small lanes from one main street to another. 

Da Nang and Hoi An Food Specialties

Da Nang and Hoi An share some specialty dishes that travelers may be easy to find and try no matter which city they stay in. There are mì quảng (noodles), bánh mì (Vietnamese sandwiches), bánh xèo (rice pancakes), cơm gà (chicken rice) . In Hoi An, the cuisine is more unique thanks to the exchange between groups of Asian people and Europeans for many centuries. Cao lầu (noodle) is the signature food of the town, telling us the influence from Chinese and Japanese cultures. Another famous one is Bánh mì – a baguette bread stuffed with pate, raw vegetables and a variety of meats. Bánh bao bánh vạc (white rose dumplings), Phở Hội An (local style noodle soup), Bánh ướt thịt nướng (grilled pork and rice papers) are other must try.

Street Food Markets

For those who seek true travel, trying street foods is what they always love to do. Visiting markets, the traditional or on the streets, is the best way to see the vendors and a variety of dishes. In Da Nang, Han Market, Con Market or night markets are ideal to begin a street food safari. In Hoi An, the afternoon and evening are perfect times. Just roaming around the old quarters or Night market, visitors will not make a lot of effort to meet many sellers and sample what they make. Read our guides to Da Nang street foods and Hoi An street foods for more details.  


Da Nang and Hoi An Itinerary

Main article: Da Nang and Hoi An Itinerary from Hoi An

The itinerary depends on what travelers like to do, duration of the trip, season, and budget. The first timers and repeaters, explorers and leisurers, solo travelers and families have their own plan that is different to others. These are recommendations for day itineraries for those who are going to make a first visit ever in Da Nang and Hoi An:

 – The Marble Mountains + Hoi An Old Town (historic buildings, tailors, coffee shops, markets, lanterns at night, boat ride, street foods)

– My Son Sanctuary + City Center (bridges, museums, beach) + Son Tra Peninsula (Lady Buddha, Linh Ung pagoda)

– The Golden Bridge + Ba Na Hills (cable car, fantasy park, French village)

– Hai Van Pass + Lang Co (beach, lagoon, cool streams)

– Cham Island (sightseeing, beach, snorkeling or diving)


Da Nang and Hoi An Tour

See recommended tours in Hoi An and Da Nang Tour

Tours in Da Nang and Hoi An are diverse enough to please all kinds of travelers. The best sightseeing tours have a focus on the best attractions such as Hoi An Old Town, My Son Sanctuary, Marble Mountains, the Golden Bridge and Ba Na Hills. To the north of Da Nang, the Hai Van Pass is always a wonderful place for arranging motorcycle and jeep tours. It provides winding roads with panoramic outlooks and breath-taking scenery. Rides up and down there are unforgettable memories for those who experience it.

In Hoi An, community-based and eco-friendly tours are more popular, including cycling across the countryside in Cam Kim island or Tra Que village. Basket boat tours in Cam Thanh are unique, allowing travelers to see a strange watercraft and explore the only palm forests of the whole region. Off the coast, underwater activities in Cham Island are on the bucket list of explorers, especially divers all the time. Within the town, travelers can join a handicraft making class to create souvenirs by their own hands to bring home.


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