What to Do in Da Nang for 3 Days

Da Nang is a lovely coastal city in the middle of 3 Unesco world heritages Hue, Hoi An and My Son Sanctuary. This most worth-living municipality owns a poetic river running through its heart, uniquely-designed bridges, white sandy beaches and well-protected mountains (nature reserves). It’s also the base of the largest (busiest) airport, train station, bus station and harbour of the whole region. Thanks to these awesome landscapes and traffic convenience, it is no surprise that millions of tourists choose to spend their holiday here. Other reasons are Da Nang’s diverse cuisine, lots of hotels and hospitality of people. In recent decades, it’s transformed rapidly into “the little Singapore”, and by that, travelers will see clean, well-planned streets, spacious boulevards, breezy promenades along the river, plenty of trees and parks and more relaxing traffic culture.

3 days are enough to explore the finest of Da Nang and its sister city Hoi An (for a day). The trip may include the most-visited attractions, such as the Marble Mountains or the Golden Bridge, and Hoi An Old Town. This article provides an itinerary in which none of the highlights is missed, coupled with some other ideas to switch for fitting different travel styles. However, we recommend planning a week in this couple of famed tourist destinations. With a longer duration, you have time to fully discover the place you go to, taste all of the best local dishes and relax. A day trip to Unesco-listed buildings in Hue (former capital) is easy to arrange no matter where you stay overnight, Da Nang or Hoi An.

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A Quick Guide to Da Nang in Vietnam

– Location: Central Vietnam, 100 km southeast of Hue and 30 km north of Hoi An

– Area: 1,255 km2

– Population: 1,134 people (2019) living in 6 urban districts (Hai Chau, Thanh Khe, Son Tra, Ngu Hanh Son, Lien Chieu, Cam Le), 1 rural district (Hoa Vang) and 1 archipelago (the Paracel, only soldiers).

– Names: Tourane by French colonists in 19th and 20th centuries, Xiangang or “the Clam Harbour” by Chinese merchants, Han or Kean by European geographers. Nicknames are “Little Singapore” or “the best liveable city in Vietnam”.

– Emblems: the Han River Bridge and the Marble Mountains

– Weather: The dry season is from January to July, and the wet season is the rest of the year. Average temperature of the whole year is 25,6oC, hottest in June and coldest in February. From October to December, typhoons hit the area, causing local floods in some places.

– How to get to: From Hoi An and Hue, all road vehicles are convenient. If getting a flight, travel time is about 1,5 hrs from Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City. Train ride from Hue to Da Nang is amongst the most impressive ones.

– Religions: Buddhism, Christianity, Protestantism, Caodaism, Confucianism, Taoism, folk religions

– Festivals: Quan The Am Festival, the International Fireworks, Beach Festival


Why are 3 Days Perfect to Visit Da Nang?

A 3-day itinerary is the perfect way to explore Da Nang for the first time. If just spend one or two days, travelers may visit with a rush (not fully enjoyable). The city has many attractions that are large and comprise numerous points of interest, so requiring at least a half of day. Precious travel time quickly runs out, and just seeing major sights or excluding some attractions from the itinerary are common solutions. If you are a repeat traveler, 3 days may be enough for relaxing and discovering famous sights missed in the last time. How about a longer duration? It’s great to participate in all things to do and know all things to see. Many people choose to stay overnight in Hoi An, besides Da Nang, to have more convenience to get around.

A week is ideal for relaxation and explorations in Da Nang and Hoi An, even including two arrival and return flights 


Get around Da Nang in 3 Days

– Walking: Distance between attractions in Da Nang’s historic district is walkable, so travelers absolutely feel it is easy to design a walking tour there. Just next to, the poetic Han River promenades are other favourites of pedestrians.

– Taxi and private car: Taxi is very convenient to get around Da Nang. There are many firms to choose from, with different costs and policies, but generally the price is about 15,000 VND per kilometer. In famous tourist sights, seeking a cabbie to go somewhere else is without difficulty. Private car rental is suitable for a day trip with many places in the itinerary.

– Motorcycle: This is the king vehicle in Vietnam, and a day rental is so easy to seek, with a price from 100,000 to 200,000 VND. Except for rush hours (early morning and late afternoon), streets are free from congestion and crowds of bikes.

– Bicycle: Rides around the city core are easy, thanks to really nice planning with boulevards. Riverside and seaside roads are the favourite of cyclists. Son Tra peninsula is nearby, owning winding routes along the coast and through dense jungles in higher elevations (up to 700 meters).

– Bus: Public bus network is wide and on all major roads in the downtown, visitors can catch a bus to move around (according to its fixed reschedule). Browse danangbus.vn to see routes, pick-up and drop-off points, and cost. Hop on hop off bus is another choice. Its itineraries are designed exclusively for tourists and tourist experience when cruises along the most beautiful roads, and stops in famous places. 

Exploring the Bests of Da Nang – Day 1

The Marble Mountains

Not far from the city downtown, this cluster of 5 spectacular marble hills impresses visitors by its sudden emergence from the surrounding delta, Da Nang’s oldest Buddhist temples and amazing caves. Morning is the perfect time to sightsee and climb hundreds of steps on its slopes. Near the foothill, craft in carving stone sculptures continues from 16th century. 2,2 millions tourists visit here in the peak year.

Travel guide: the Marble Mountains

67m Lady Buddha in Son Tra Peninsula

In the north of the coast, Linh Ung Pagoda is home of the tallest Lady Buddha in Vietnam. It rises up to 67 meters, constructed from 2004 to 2010. People believe that the Buddha faces the city to shelter citizens from natural disasters. In the surroundings, there are grand worshipping shrines, bonsai gardens, scenic outlooks and bodhi trees.  

Travel guide: the Lady Buddha, Linh Ung Pagoda

Da Nang’s Beaches: My Khe Beach

My Khe is on the way from the Lady Buddha to the city center. This lengthy strip of fine sand was in the top of 6 world’s sexiest beaches by Forbes. Travelers can stop here for a couple of minutes to enjoy its beauty and stroll along the water edge by bare feet. If traveling by yourself, bring your own swimsuit.  

Travel guide: My Khe Beach

Lunch: Da Nang Local Food

Da Nang’s local foods should be a priority for the first lunch. There are so much choices to sample, such as Mi quang (noodles), Bun cha ca (fish cake noodles), Banh xeo (rice pancakes), Banh mi que (breadsticks) or Banh trang cuon thit heo (boiling porks rolled with rice paper and raw vegetables). Travelers can come to the nearest restaurant of a chain like Mi Quang Ba Mua or Dac San Tran, to see different dishes on the menu. Read further information in our guide to Da Nang’s food specialties.

Museum of Cham Sculpture

Near the Dragon Bridge, this is the only museum in Vietnam that exhibits sophisticated sandstone sculptures and artworks made by the Chams. The people had their own kingdom from 2nd to 19th centuries along the Central coast. During the visit, travelers will see 400 of 2,000 artifacts brought from everywhere in the kingdom, including My Son Sanctuary world heritage.  

Travel guide: Da Nang Museum of Cham Sculpture

Sunset in the Golden Hand Bridge

40 minutes drive to the west, travelers will start an incredible experience on the world-record Ba Na Hills cable car, before landing near the Golden Bridge. Launched in 2018, the bridge soon became a social media hit because of its extremely glorious, surreal beauty. Two huge hands hold it gently, representing hands of the God of Mountain pulling a golden silk out from the hills. A visit here in the late afternoon assists to avoid the crowds and high temperatures.   

Travel guide: The Golden Bridge

Dinner: Da Nang Seafood Restaurants

Seafoods in Da Nang are really fresh, reasonably priced and prepared with delicious recipes. Travelers can choose a restaurant filled by locals, or a classy venue to dine out by the beach. In most places, there are many aquariums to allow picking living fishes and shellfishes, and requesting favourite ways of cooking. Citizens often drink local beer Larue with ice in the meal. See the top list in our article for Da Nang’s seafood restaurants and detailed information about each.  

Da Nang’s Han River Cruise

One of the best experiences in Da Nang after it’s dark, is seeing majestic waterfronts and neon-lit colorful bridges of the Han River from a cruise. It moves daily between Tran Thi Ly Bridge and Han River Bridge, the most sparkling body of water. During competitions of the International Fireworks Festival, seatings in every cruise are fully booked. The passengers aim to witness amazing performances of lights carried out by representatives from different countries. Read our guide about Da Nang boat trip for further details.

Dragon Bridge Fireshow – Weekend Only

On Saturday and Sunday, the Dragon Bridge spanning the Han River breathes fire and water. The showtime is from 9 to 9:30 p.m. Viewers can choose to stand on the bridge to see closer, on the riverside park below, on the balcony of a coffee shop or restaurant, or on a cruise.

Travel guide: The Dragon Bridge

Nightlife: Best Bars in Da Nang

Near Da Nang’s bridges, pubs and bars are diverse enough to please different types of travelers. Rooftop venues in Bach Dang St provide the best view of Han River, while in inner streets, it’s possible to see more social atmospheres.

Travel guide: Da Nang’s Best Bars




Hoi An Old Town World Heritage – Day 2  

How to Get from Da Nang to Hoi An

45 minutes drive to the south, Hoi An Old Town is a must see in the region. Therefore, no travelers miss it in the travel plan. It’s easy to get by all road vehicles, and three most popular transports are private cars, motorcycles, and buses. The bus is the cheapest, costing 20,000 VND and the car rental is the most expensive, charging from 200,000 VND one way. See details in our guide here.

Get around Hoi An Old Town

Walking and riding a bicycle are most popular because motorcycles and cars are banned to move in the town for many hours of the day. If don’t have a bicycle, a rental is easy to make with just 20,000 VND. Parking is free in all places to sightsee and other tourist venues. For a more special experience, xich lo (or sit lo) is the choice thanks to its leisure cruise and chance to see the world from a three-wheels vehicle. Making sense of price before getting on, to avoid an overpriced pay.

Sightseeing in Hoi An Old Town

Within the Unesco world heritage boundaries, there are many historical places to sightsee, including old bridges, houses, temples, pagodas, assembly halls, family chapels, more. The entry to 5 of which is covered by a ticket, costing 120,000 VND. See where to buy and list of all places here. At the counters, should take a visit map to use while roaming around. Free attractions like temple gate, galleries, private museums, market, and more are also rich to allow visitors to keep fun throughout the morning. Due to lack of information, a local guide is needed to deepen the understanding about the history and culture of Southeast-Asian best-preserved trading towns.

Visitors often visit a coffee shop to have a break in the walking tour. Most shops serve both Vietnamese and western coffees, and some of which use high-quality beans and specialties. See the top list in our guide here.

Activities in Hoi An Old Town

Besides sightseeing and taking pictures around, visitors have other activities to do. There are cooking classes, handicraft workshops, watching traditional or art performances, food sampling tours, river cruise and more. All classes and workshops are hands-on, in which visitors will learn and make things from scratch by themselves with instruction from the artist. One of the cultural shows is included in the Hoi An Old Town ticket, available several times of the day, at the Traditional Art Performance House. A local food safari can be made by yourself, or with a guide who knows all secrets behind every dish. Approaching the waterfront, there are various boats and sampans there to pay and begin a ride across Thu Bon River. The best time is in the sunset. Should go to carpentry and pottery villages (and return), if liking to know more about local industry.

Fact: Lantern making class is most booked activity, giving a fun experience in creating a signature souvenir in Hoi An.

Highly recommended to read: Hoi An’s cooking classes, Craft workshops in Hoi An, Hoi An cultural shows, Hoi An’s food tours, Hoi An (Thu Bon) river cruise

Restaurants in Hoi An Old Town

Restaurants in and around Hoi An Old Town are so many and have a variety of style, wide range of prices. Due to cheap cost and many choices, locals often eat at the Central Market. If seeking a famous local specialty, visitors can come to Banh Mi Phuong to try its yummy sandwiches, which were loved by Anthony Bourdain. For a flavourful vegetarian dish, locally-run Quan Chay Dam is most visited. Besides Vietnamese foods, it’s possible to see South-east Asian, Indian, Northeast Asian, European and American cuisines. Bach Dang waterfront’s venues provide the best view down the canal.

Note: Street foods are diverse in Hoi An Old Town, especially in the late afternoon and evening. Therefore, many visitors choose to taste them instead of a meal in a classic restaurant. To understand deeply, book a guided food tour.

Highly recommended to read: Hoi An Old Town Restaurants, Hoi An’s Street Foods

Hoi An Old Town at Night

Lantern-lit streets of Hoi An Old Town is iconic and fairy beauty at night that is widely known around the world. Especially, in the Full-moon festival, visitors can expect thousands of colorful lights, folk games and signings to participate. There are so many photo opportunities. In addition to wandering around, getting a lantern boat ride in the canal is another way to enjoy, and see the town from a different point. Locals often light up a candle lantern, and drop it to the water (to pray). Walking across the bridge, the Night Market deserves a stroll, due to its diversity of products to buy, foods to try and chaotic ambience. Opened after it’s dark, lantern shops there are great backgrounds for instagram pictures. In the surroundings, visitors can take a cocktail in happy hours to unwind before going back to Da Nang (not recommended if riding a motorcycle).

Travel guides: Hoi An Lantern Festival, Hoi An Night Market, Hoi An Old Town Boats

An Bang Beach (if need more beach)

Only 3 km away from the Japanese Covered Bridge, An Bang is a stretch of fine sand edged by clear, rock-free waters. Sun beds to relax, and spaces to sunbathe are so many. A small fee is charged if using a bed but free if taking something from the menu. Visitors can have a sunset cocktail with breezy air and dinner with seafood platters here prior to going back to the town, to see lanterns and stroll along the night markets. On some selected nights, live music is held, giving such awesome dining experience. The best known venues are all by the coast.

Travel guide: An Bang Beach



Day Trips from Da Nang – Day 3

Ba Na Hills, My Son Sanctuary or Cham Island?

Because of the world-record cable car, breath-taking landscapes, mild weather, Golden Bridge, and lots of entertainment, half of the tourists in Da Nang choose Ba Na Hills to visit. It’s 40 km west of the city center. 5 more kilometers to the southwest, My Son Sanctuary comprises 70 Hindu temples and ruins dated back from 4th century. It became a Unesco world heritage in 1999. With the same distance, visitors can go to Cua Dai harbour to reach Cham Island (marine park). A day tour there often includes snorkeling, beach, seafood lunch and walking tour to historic sites.

So which is the best for the 3rd day? The answer is up to your style and budget, and the weather. In the typhoon seasons (October to December), Cham island tours are not available. On a rainy day, outdoor activities and sceneries in Ba Na Hills are limited, because of dense fog. Crowds and long queues are common in the hills in peak seasons. My Son holy land is a religious, archaeological site that your little ones may feel bored about. So, we highly recommend reading complete travel guides about Ba Na Hills, My Son Sanctuary, Cham Islands prior to making up your mind.

Dinner: Da Nang Vietnamese Restaurants

A Vietnamese restaurant is our choice for dinner in 3rd day, because we know that we come to Da Nang to try local flavours. A bowl of Mi quang ech (frog variant of mi quang noodles) is only found in the city. That may be a special experience. If would like to know how a local family has dinner, some good places are close to the Dragon Bridge. Travelers will see different foods served at the same time, and arranged around the table. Besides a small bowl and chopsticks, it’s not difficult to ask for folks and plates. Heading over to a barbecue restaurant or a pavement stall definitely gives something interesting, or memorable about the city. Find out Da Nang’s best Vietnamese restaurants near you in our article here.

A Night Market

A stroll around the night market is a fun thing to do after dinner. Da Nang center has several markets like the Son Tra by the Dragon Bridge (largest), the Helio by the Asia Park. Both provide the chance to see, try, and shop from a variety of choices, with a reasonable price. Live music is performed every weekend. On Saturday or Sunday, people often come to Son Tra Night Market because of the fireshow in the Dragon Bridge.

Travel guide: Da Nang’s Night Markets        

Nightlife: My Khe Beach Bar

Before calling it a night, travelers can get a cocktail on the top floor of a high-rise building or a bar by the sands in My Khe Beach. While the venues with a view are chilly and breezy, the seaside ones provide a vibrant, social ambience. If you are seeking a late night party, go there and have fun. To meet more international friends, there are some awesome bars around An Thuong area to take a drink from bartenders and start conservation. See the best bars in My Khe Beach here




Hue Day Trip from Da Nang – Day 3

Why Should I Visit Hue?

2 hours drive from Da Nang, Hue is the former capital of Vietnam, a seat of power for Nguyen emperors from 1802 to 1945. If visiting this city, travelers have the chance to marvel at the best (last) imperial citadel and mausoleum in the country. In addition to lots of history knowledge, there are plenty of photo opportunities in these Unesco-inscribed sites, such as the red corridors in the Forbidden Purple City or solemn statues at Khai Dinh tomb. Hue is also known for its hundreds of Buddhist temples, and the grandest (oldest) Thien Mu Pagoda is always in the guided itineraries. What travelers can expect next are dragon boat cruises along the beautiful Perfume River, a source of inspiration for artists and yummy local dishes from a very sophisticated cuisine. Between Hue and Da Nang, fantastic ride in Hai Van Pass and breath-taking scenery in Lang Co Lagoon definitely make the trip to Hue so worth it, good value for money.

Hue Day Trip from Da Nang by Yourself

Travelers can arrange a Hue day trip from Da Nang by themselves. If visiting with a local guide, everything is easier, from transport, do to don’t throughout the day. He/she is the key, because thanks to his/her explanations, travelers will understand deeper about places. Compared to organized tours, the largest advantage may be the cost that is cheaper than booking the same experience in travel agencies. See details here before making your decision to make a self-guided trip to Hue.

Guided Hue Day Trip from Da Nang

Booking a guided day trip from Da Nang to Hue is most popular. It often includes a ride up and down in Hai Van Pass and a stop to sightsee in Lang Co Lagoon before entering Hue city. There, travelers will learn about local history and culture in 3 of the Complex of Hue Monuments world heritage: the Citadel, a Buddhist temple and an emperor tomb. The dragon boat ride along the Perfume River and lunch with local foods are other highlights. See further details in Hue Day Trip from Da Nang.

Read travel guides also: Hue Imperial City, Perfume River Cruise, Tomb of Khai Dinh Tomb




What to Do in Da Nang for 3 Days with Kids?

There are many places that are suitable for all members of the family in 3 days. See our recommendations as following below:

– Museums: 3D Museum Art in Paradise, Upside Down World Danang

– My Khe Beach:

– Da Nang Childen Culture Center

– Amusement parks: the Asia Park, Mikazuki Water Park, Nui Than Tai Hot Spring Park and the Wheel,

– Ba Na Hills cable car, gardens, French village and theme park


Da Nang Private Tour Guide

A local guide is needed in Da Nang (and Hoi An nearby) because it has historical places, museums and a large entertainment complex. Definitely with him/her, the 3-days trip will be arranged properly just for yourself. Not only learning lots of knowledge about the city and its attractions, travelers also save time (because don’t research) and use that to fully enjoy and relax. If the guide is a man, he may be a good buddy to chat, drink and have fun in nightlife spots. Ladies show how sweet they’re on the trip, on the other hand. English-speaking guides are easiest to find, and then to Asian languages such as Chinese, Japanese, Korean. Read our guide to know the best way to book a private tour guide in Da Nang here.

To be quicker, you can contact us and leave a message with your own requirements. Our whatsapp number is +84968009827 or email (centralvietnamguide@gmail.com).

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