The City of Da Nang is a fairly new city, becoming a prominent port town during the 18th century, as a replacement for Hoi An, which had become inaccessible from the sea due to the silting off the Hoi An River. Da Nang was originally named Tourane, which was during the early 20th century was redeveloped and renamed Da Nang. Although Da Nang is a fairly new city, it is not without its historic attractions. However, it can be quite difficult to locate these as individual sites, and possibly the best way to explore modern Da Nang is to take a pre-planned and guided tour.
A typical tour itinerary which takes in all of the major attractions in the City of Da Nang would be:
Early pick up from your hotel, with your choice of tour operator briefing you on the plans for the day. Most tour operators make the Han River Bridge the first stop on their tour. From here you can take photographs of the impressive vista of the Han River both upstream and downstream. Next on the list of sites to visit are the Cham Museum and the Dien Hai Ramparts. The Cham Museum contains dozens of exhibits which have been reclaimed from the surrounding area, and also from the My Son Sanctuary. Most usually, the next stop on the tour will be a practical demonstration of the baking of Cam Le Sesame Cakes, a produce the area is famous for. Finally, a short jaunt to the Marble Mountains is usually offered (although not a full trek to the top) and a visit to China Beach.
Taking an organized tour of Da Nang city is a good way to learn about the recent history of this affluent Vietnamese port town. Tour guides speak English and are on hand to answer any questions you may have.
Ba Na Mountain is a major site of natural beauty, overlooking the modern City of Da Nang. Although it is possible to trek to the summit of this impressive mountain range alone, a less strenuous option is to book a day tour.
The Ba Na mountain range is often not visible from Da Nang, as it is usually hidden behind a cloud bank. If you wish to view this dramatic site, then you need to actually visit it and climb above the cloud cover. Once you reach the summit, you may consider the fact that although it is raining down on the City of Da Nang, you remain dry as you are above the clouds.
In the early part of the 1900s, whilst Vietnam was under French occupancy, the entire region of Ba Na began to be developed into a resort area. Unfortunately, war stopped this project from being completed. In current times the entire mountain range is a protected natural environment.
A typical itinerary for a day trip to the Ba Na Mountains would be:
Early morning pick up at your hotel by your driver and guide for the day, followed by a short 40 kilometer drive to the Ba Na range. First stop on the tour is the Suoi Mo Station to catch the cable car up the mountain to De Bay Station. Here you will proceed on foot to take in a selection of the old French villas which can still be found tucked away in secluded glens. Additionally, a visit to the famous De Bay Wine Cellar and the statue of Sakyamuni Buddha. Next, catch the cable car once again and head up to Morin Station, followed by a short walk up to the actual mountain summit. Whilst at the top of the mountain lunch will be served and you will have plenty of opportunity to take photographs of the dramatic panoramic view below.
There are a range of interesting day trips and extended tours which people who are visiting the City of Da Nang may take advantage of. Possibly the most dramatic of these from an historical viewpoint is a tour of the Ancient Town of Hoi An.
Hoi An was the original trading port for this area of Vietnam. However, over time the accumulation of silt resulted in the Thu Bon River becoming unnavigable for sailing vessels. The port facilities were moved up river to the city of Tourane, which is now the site of modern day Da Nang. In its heyday, Hoi An was a busy international trading port. Much evidence of this history still exists in Hoi An, including the local museum and plenty of historically important examples of Vietnamese architecture. The center of Hoi An has changed little over the past 200 years, featuring traditional wood fronted houses, a Japanese bridge and plenty of old temples to explore. A walking tour of Hoi An allows the visitor to experience all of these, as well as shop for local Vietnamese handicrafts including silk and paintings.
A typical itinerary would be as follows:
Picked up early in the morning from your hotel by mini bus, and driven the short 35 km journey to Hoi An. Take a guided walking tour around Hoi An which takes in the former merchant center, the local museum and the four century old example of a covered Japanese bridge. Take a break for lunch and then spend some time shopping in the local markets. In the afternoon board a boat for a two hour trip along the Hoi An River, stopping at craft villages along the way. This is a very relaxing tour, easily tackled by even the most unfit person. A walking tour of Hoi An is a great way to get a taste of the more recent history of this area of Vietnam.