If you’re looking for the perfect Da Nang itinerary, this guest post by Adam and Gabby will help to show you how to spend an awesome 3 days in Da Nang, Vietnam’s 3rd largest city and gateway to the infamous Golden Bridge. Da Nang is an under-rated city in Vietnam, often skipped by many visitors. But there are so many things to do in Da Nang that you should try and incorporate at least a few days in Da Nang into your wider Vietnam itinerary.
I’ll hand you over to them now to tell you all about their 3 day Da Nang itinerary…
Da Nang, Vietnam, is one of the fastest-growing and dramatically changing cities in Southeast Asia. We’ve spent more than 6 months living in Da Nang, and it’s hard to believe a place could grow so quickly. Every week new shops, cafes, and restaurants open up, and the constant thrumming of construction sets the backdrop for this developing metropolis.
This 3 day Da Nang itinerary will take you through some of Da Nang’s must-see spots, have you tasting local specialities, and searching for elusive monkeys by motorbike…
Thankfully, most tourists skip right over Da Nang and head straight to Hoi An. We’ll never understand, but that means there will be fewer of them clogging up your photos. And speaking of photos, you better take a bunch now, because when you come back to Da Nang, everything will be different!
By spending 3 days in Da Nang, you’ll begin to understand the ordered chaos of central Vietnam. You might even be able to safely cross the street by the time you leave here!
What you can expect from this article…
- 1 An Overview of this 3 day Da Nang itinerary
- 2 Things to know about visiting Da Nang
- 2.1 Reasons you should visit Da Nang
- 2.2 When is the best time of year to visit Da Nang?
- 2.3 How to get to Da Nang
- 2.4 How to get around Da Nang
- 2.5 Where to base yourself for 3 days in Da Nang
- 3 3 Days in Da Nang itinerary
- 3.1 Day 1 in Da Nang
- 3.2 Day 2 in Da Nang
- 3.3 Day 3 in Da Nang
- 3.4 Bonus Day – if you have longer than 3 days in Da Nang – Day trip to Ba Na Hills
- 3.5 Local Nomads
- 3.6 Get planning your trip…
An Overview of this 3 day Da Nang itinerary
Day 1: Get to know the An Thuong area, enjoy high tea at Avatar, walk the beach, seafood dinner.
Day 2: Sunrise at the beach, Mi Quong breakfast, Marble Mountain, Lunch Tam’s Pub, Cong Cafe, walk the riverfront, Banh Xeo dinner, drinks at 7 bridges
Day 3: Bo Ne Breakfast, Son Tra Peninsula, lady Buddha, Pagoda, Lighthouse, Macrobiotic restaurant, An Thuong Nightlife
Bonus Day: Bana Hills
Things to know about visiting Da Nang
Reasons you should visit Da Nang
1/ Da Nang is actually one of the most laid back cities in Vietnam.
However, if this is your first stop in Vietnam you’d never know it. The streets in Da Nang are much wider and less trafficked than those in Hanoi or Saigon, and the pace is much more relaxed.
2/ It’s changing…fast
This point can not be reiterated enough. Many Da Nang expats love to complain about how the city they came here for is long gone now. To that point, I say, “leave.” Why stay somewhere you don’t like? For the rest of us, who can embrace change, we’ll go on appreciating all the new things to love about the Da Nang of today.
3/ Da Nang has one of the most famous beaches in Asia
My Khe beach in Da Nang was a popular destination for American GIs on R&R during the Vietnam war. Perhaps you remember the famous surfing scene in Apocalypse Now? Well that was based on My Khe beach, known to some as China beach back in the day.
Today, thousands of tourists visit My Khe beach every day to enjoy the waves, soak up some sun, and take selfies in their bikinis. If you get up early enough you’ll see hundreds of locals exercising on the beach during sunrise.
4/ You can Walk the Golden Bridge
Da Nang broke the internet in 2018 with the opening of the “Golden Hands Bridge” at its mountaintop amusement park, Ba Na Hills. You’re going to score some serious jealousy from your friends back home when these pics hit your IG feed.
When is the best time of year to visit Da Nang?
The best time to visit Da Nang is from February to May when temperatures are coolest. It’s best to avoid the rainy season from September-January.
How to get to Da Nang
Da Nang has its own international airport, so you can book flights directly from most major cities in Asia. If you’re coming in from outside of Asia you’ll likely have to connect through HCMC or Hanoi first. If you’re connecting through HCMC or Hanoi, you’ll have to pass through customs before you can get on your connecting flight. Be sure to leave a long enough layover time for visa processing.
How to get around Da Nang
Da Nang certainly isn’t the most walkable city we’ve ever lived in. The sidewalks are not for walking, rather for parking motorbikes, and walking in the street doesn’t often elicit feelings of calmness and security. Also, taxi drivers will constantly honk at you, hoping you’re dumb enough to get in with them.
Here in Da Nang, your best bet for getting around effectively, and without getting ripped off is GRAB. Grab is Asia’s version of Uber with one nifty twist, motorbikes. That’s right, here in Da Nang you can order a motorbike taxi on your phone one minute, and be whizzing across the Dragon Bridge shooting selfies from the back of your personal crotch rocket the next.
Or perhaps you’ll find yourself clutching the driver for your life…don’t say we didn’t warn you. For couples…or less adventurous travellers, grab does also offer a regular car service like UBER, with air conditioning! Most grab rides cost less than $3, so go for it!
Where to base yourself for 3 days in Da Nang
There are lots of great neighbourhoods in Da Nang. When we first moved here, the An Thuong area was just starting to become popular with a few cafes and restaurants gaining momentum. Today, An Thuong is a multicultural wonderland with lots of cafes, amazing Vietnamese food, international cuisine, and cool beach town vibes.
If you’re looking for a social hostel run by cool locals go meet our friends at Light House Hostel
Find accmmodation in Da Nang here
For something a little more unique, check out Airbnb, you’re sure to find something interesting on there.
Get an Airbnb discount code here
3 Days in Da Nang itinerary
Day 1 in Da Nang
Have Breakfast on day 1 at…
Let’s face it, you’re not getting up for sunrise at the beach today, we’ll save that for tomorrow morning. Today it’s all about getting acclimated. By the time you roll out of bed, the locals will have been up for hours already.
If you’re like me, then your first conscious thought of the day will have something to do with which food item will be first to pass your lips. The traditional Da Nang breakfast is noodles, most often the local speciality Mi Quang. There’s a good chance all of the noodle shops will have already stopped serving breakfast by this hour, but fear not…remember that sunrise we’re planning for tomorrow?
If Western-style breakfast with pancakes and eggs is more of what you’re craving then we recommend Urban Square.
In the morning, get out and familiarize yourself with the neighbourhood.
The An Thouongs are some of the most walkable blocks in Da Nang. Start one block in from the Holiday Beach hotel and zig-zag your way in. Back and forth past the shops, hotels, seafood restaurants, cafes, fruit stands, nail salons, massage parlours… Pick any cafe that catches your eye and sit down for a cup of Vietnamese coffee.
Vietnamese coffee is an addiction waiting to happen. If you’ve never experienced this before, proceed with caution. We fell hard and fast for this bittersweet brew. And you will too.
Lunch on day 1…
Finding a place to eat lunch won’t be as difficult as choosing which place to eat at. So many great foods, such little time. We’re planning something exciting for afternoon tea though, so don’t stuff yourself too much at lunchtime.
It’s time for Banh Mi, Baby! Banh Mi is the traditional sandwich of Vietnam. Just the mention of it has me drooling on my keyboard over here. You can fill them up with a variety of toppings, our favourites are thit nuong which is barbecued pork, or Heo Quay, which is crispy roasted pork. For us, no Banh Mi is complete without the egg (trung) on top. They’ll probably also add a schmear of pate, some chilli jam, and a bit of flossy pork for good measure.
In the afternoon on day 1 enjoy high tea with a view before hitting the beach
It’s hot, and I know you’re dying to get to the beach, but trust me…you don’t want to get there too early. The best time to hit the beach is in the later afternoon once the shadows of the hotels and palm trees begin to creep out.
In the meantime, we recommend checking out the high tea on the 18th floor of the Avatar Hotel. For about $4 you can enjoy all you can eat cakes and tea while taking in the spectacular views of the entire city. How many bridges can you spot from here? This perspective will help you to get a much clearer understanding of the layout of this big city. That’s why we’re up here on day 1 of this D a Nang itinerary. Tea is served from 3 pm to 6 pm, be sure to bring your camera.
Have a Seafood Dinner on day 1
A trip to Da Nang would be wasted without experiencing one of Da Nang’s beach-side seafood restaurants. It doesn’t get any fresher than this! Walk in and browse the many tanks housing different varieties of live fish, eels, crabs, prawns, and who knows what else. Once you’re ready to make a decision, flag down one of the attendants and begin to order.
You’ll need to tell them what kind of seafood you want, how much of it (in grams or kilograms), and how you’d like it cooked. Grilled, fried, steamed, etc. This meal may push you out of your comfort zone a bit, but don’t worry, it’s all part of the adventure.
In the evening on day 1…
Walking the beach at night is a classic Da Nang activity for locals and tourists alike. Watch for romantic couples hanging out on motorbikes, take in the colourful light shows from the hotels, and breathe in the fresh sea air as the ocean breeze rearranges your perfect hair into an elegant rat’s nest. Take note of the illuminated Lady Buddha who watches over all from her perch on the peninsula. We’ll be going out there on Day 3!
Get to bed early tonight.
We’re getting our asses up for sunrise tomorrow!
Day 2 in Da Nang
In the morning on day 2 – Sunrise Baby!
Don’t bother trying to remember when the last time you saw sunrise was, it’s too painful. Just get yourself some coffee, and get yourself down to the beach. If you really want, you can catch a few zzz’s on the sand once you get there.
Sunrise is the best time of day to experience the beach in Da Nang. Locals come out in full force for meditation, exercise, and general merriment. You’ll be inspired to do more with your mornings after seeing this. Expect that feeling to last a few hours before you’re back to never getting up for sunrise again.
Breakfast on day 2
Look at that, you got your butt up for sunrise and now all the early morning noodle spots are open, just like I promised. Don’t be afraid to branch out of the An Thuongs to find the more authentic local noodle stands. If you’re paying more than 30,000 dongs for a bowl of Mi Quang, you’re in the wrong spot.
Mi Quang is the local noodle speciality in central Vietnam. Mi Quang noodles are broader and firmer than their cousin, the Pho noodle. Unlike pho, Mi Quang is more about the noodle than the broth. Popular ways to order Mi Quang is with beef, pork, or the famous combination tom, thit and trung which comes with meat, shrimp, and quail eggs.
In the morning, head to Marble Mountains
Get a GRAB out to Marble Mountains, it should cost you less than $4 to get there. Marble Mountains is one of the most popular sites in the area, and for good reason. You can get amazing 360-degree views of Da Nang and the coastline all the way down to Hoi An. You can spend hours here walking the trails, exploring the various caves and temples, admiring the beautiful sculptures, or you can just pop in for an hour, ride the elevator to the top, get your photos and get out of there. Whatever your style.
We thought this was going to be just another over-hyped tourist spot. We were wrong.
Have Lunch on day 2 at Tam’s Pub
Tam’s Pub is a Da Nang institution. Come in for a burger, stay for the stories. The first thing you’ll notice is all of the photos and military memorabilia lining the walls. If you’re lucky enough, Tam herself will point herself out to you in some of the photos.
All of the food here is prepared with special care. Tam sees that the meat is sourced from quality and she even raises her own pigs. That being said, the thing that we always end up coming back for is the magical veggie burger. You really just have to try it. There is no equal to it.
By now you’re probably feeling like a nap. We won’t blame you for that. You were up for sunrise and we’re still proud of you.
After your nap, head across the dragon bridge for a cup of coffee before the rest of the night happens.
In the afternoon, try Coconut Coffee / Cong Ca Phe
This will certainly be an interesting contrast from your time at Tam’s pub.
Cong Ca Phe is a North Vietnamese themed coffee shop with a great view of the river, so try to get a seat upstairs by the window. Their menu has a lot of interesting choices, we fell in love with their “coconut caphe” and watched as it quickly popped up in cafe menus everywhere.
Walk along the riverfront
With caffeine in your veins, you’ll be ready to take on the city. Start with the waterfront, take notice of the boats on the water. They’ll look different by night time. Once you feel comfortable, start exploring the area. Take a few random lefts and rights, see where you end up. This is where the best experiences hide.
Have dinner on day 2 at Banh Xeo – Banh Xeo Ba Duong
For dinner tonight, we’re having an experience. Banh Xeo are “Vietnamese pancakes” though they look nothing like any pancakes I’ve ever seen. Search for “Ban Xeo Ba Duong.” This place is the real deal. The restaurant is at the far end of a long corridor that brings you past many little shops. This place is famous among locals and is always packed. For more info, check out this article on the best Banh Xeo in Danang
Enjoy After Dinner Drinks at 7 Bridges Brewery
Da Nang really comes to life in the evening. The city illuminates with millions of LEDs. The 5th-floor rooftop at 7 Bridges Brewery is the perfect place to suck down a few craft beers (the best in town,) and take in the colourful light show that is Da Nang. If you’re lucky enough to be here on a weekend night, you’ll be able to watch the fire breathing dragon bridge at 9 pm.
You’ve had a busy day. Head back to the hotel and get some much-needed rest.
Day 3 in Da Nang
If you’re feeling it, sleep late today. You deserve it. But not too late…we’re going on an adventure!
For breakfast on day 3 try Bo Ne
You’re going to need a good breakfast before we take off on today’s adventure.
We’ve been saving something special for today. There’s a lady not far from the An Thuong area who makes the best Bo Ne, Vietnamese steak and eggs. Search for Bo Ne Phuong Anh. The sister dish, Bo Ko, is like a thin beef stew, also with egg. Both dishes are served with a baguette on the side and the method of getting it all into your mouth is up to you. I usually end up crafting some kind of sandwich, while my partner rips up the bread and dunks it bite by bite. There’s no wrong way.
Bo Ne and Bo Ko are both amazing dishes, and this was the most difficult decision I had to make on a lot of days living here. This is the kind of place where you’ll be sitting on metal stools at a metal table under an umbrella. Lavish it. This is the real Vietnam life.
In the morning on day 3, visit Son Tra Peninsula
Our adventure today will take us out onto the magnificent Son Tra peninsula, home of the Lady Buddha, and Monkey Mountain. We always prefer to rent a motorbike and take off with the wind in our hair.
But if motorbikes aren’t your thing, you can always hire a car to take you out onto Son Tra. Whichever mode of transportation you choose, be sure to make frequent stops for photos. You may find yourself wanting to come back out here at night to see the illuminated Da Nang skyline.
If you’re planning on spending a while exploring on your own, be sure to bring some snacks and water. There are no places to buy ANYTHING on the peninsula.
Admire the Lady Buddha | Linh Ung Pagoda
You really can’t appreciate the size of the Lady Buddha from the beach. You have to come to see her up close to really appreciate her magnitude. There are beautiful temples here to walk through, and the gardens are some of the most beautiful we’ve seen anywhere. This is a wonderful, peaceful place to relax, walk around, meditate, and get away from the chaos of the city. Don’t be afraid to spend a little time soaking up the moment.
Take in the views
The backside of the Peninsula hides mind-blowing views of Da Nang’s coastal cliffs. Pull off and park on the side of the road for a closer look. Find a big rock to sit on and spend as much time as you want just staring into the sea. Feel the power of the massive waves as they crash against the rocks below you.
Visit Monkey Mountain
If you’re fortunate enough, you may have the opportunity to see the residents who give Monkey Mountain its name. They are very elusive but pay close attention and you may see one (or many) swinging through the trees, or simply resting on a signpost on the side of the road. If you do see one, don’t approach them. They can be aggressive if threatened.
Exploring Monkey Mountain by motorbike is really your only option. A car will take you part of the way, but there are many roads that can only be accessed by bike. Try to make it all the way to the top for an amazing view of the area! Be sure to bring a phone with google maps in case you get lost.
Have a Super Food Lunch on day 3
I’m sure all of that adventuring has left you with an appetite. Conveniently, one of our favourite restaurants is on the way back from Son Tra.
Bao An Macrobiotic restaurant is the perfect place to eat amazing fresh food, and chill out with relaxing vibes. What keeps us coming back is the way their menu changes every day, and how healthy we feel after we eat there. If vegetarian miracle food isn’t your thing there are hundreds of other restaurants to choose from along the way. Find something that looks interesting, and see what happens!
In the evening, sample An Thuong Nightlife
The An Thuong area is great for a night out with dinner and drinks. There are so many great local restaurants to choose from offering regional Vietnamese food and plenty of international cravings as well.
After dinner, we recommend browsing the local bars to see if anything suits your fancy. We often enjoy a couple of mojitos and live music at Crazy Cat’s Bar, or maybe share a nice bottle of Spanish wine at Oasis Tapas Bar… You really can’t go wrong either way. If you’re looking for the club scene, you’ll probably have to take a car across the bridge.
Bonus Day – if you have longer than 3 days in Da Nang – Day trip to Ba Na Hills
You’ve probably already seen pictures of the Golden Bridge at Ba Na Hills in your Instagram feed. Last year’s unveiling made quite a splash on social media, and millions have already come to get their iconic selfies on the bridge. Now you can too.
The Golden Bridge is part of Ba Na Hills, so in order to access it, you’ll first need to buy tickets to the park. Once inside you’ll have access to the golden bridge, the gardens, arcades, rides, and so much more. We spent an entire day here and had a wonderful experience, although we were a bit tired at the end of the day from taking so many selfies…
Tips for visiting Ba Na Hills
- Bring extra memory cards and batteries for your camera.
- Get there early to beat the crowds
- Check the weather online before you go, the weather on top of the mountain may be very different from Da Nang weather
- Bring an extra layer for warmth, it can get a little chilly if the clouds come
- Wear comfortable shoes, you’ll be doing a lot of walking around the park.
This completes your Da Nang itinerary. Hopefully, by now, you have a much better idea about how to get the most out of 3 days in Da Nang.
Let’s learn a little more about the authors of this 3 day Day Nang Itinerary…
Guest authors Adam and Gabby
Local Nomads is a travel blog dedicated to slow travel with a focus on local culture. Their in-depth guides help digital nomads travel confidently, and to quickly acclimatise to new cities. Since leaving New York in 2012, Adam and Gabby have lived in 6 different US states and 20 different countries. You can follow them on Instagram & Facebook.
Get planning your trip…
Over the past 15 years, I’ve refined my list of travel resources. Below are the resources I use personally to get the best bargains from companies I trust to provide a great service!
- For booking hotels, I use booking.com and love the in-depth search options. If I’m looking for self-catered accommodation, I use Airbnb. Get a lovely discount HERE.
- For flights, I love Skyscanner. I always find the best deals there and the ‘search everywhere’ option is great for inspiration.
- For day trips, my preference is to use Get Your Guide. If you’re looking for longer trips or group tours then my absolute fave company is G Adventures. Other companies I recommend are Intrepid Travel, Dragoman and Tour Radar.
- For renting cars, I use Europcar – hassle-free!
- And for insurance – please don’t travel without it – try Nomads!
Other articles you may like…
- 10 day Vietnam itinerary – all the highlights!
- A Vietnam and Cambodia tour review – G Adventures
- A Southeast Asia Packing List
- A 10 day Thailand Itinerary
- Backpacking Laos Guide
- A 4 day Bangkok itinerary
Have you been to Da Nang? What was your favourite thing to do? Any tips? If so, share them with us in the comments box below! In the meantime, here is a pin for your Pinterest boards…