Monday, December 29, 2014

Trip to Danang, the Third Largest City in Vietnam

Danang is a big city. Although it has been established long time ago, Danang had never been an important town, until the rule of Minh Mang Emperor, which Danang took over Hoi An as the major port town in 1836. French made the port town a foothold to spread their influence into Vietnam as well.

In our previous trip, Danang served as a jumping point for us to visit Hai Van Pass and Lang Co Beach, Hue, Hoi An, and My Son. Although the city has a population of one million, we couldn't really feel the "busy" of the streets, like what we experienced in Hanoi.

Accommodation
We would advise to stay somewhere near to Tran Phu Street and Bach Dang Street. This is where most of the attractions and shopping area located. Many hotels are available along these two streets. We could get a taxi or rental car easily at this location as well. Anyway, if you are a beach lover, then you might opt to stay somewhere near the beach. 

We stayed for two nights in Happy Hotel at 160 Bach Dang Street. It is a hotel with great location- 10 minutes by foot to Danang Museum of Cham Sculpture and Dragon Bridge to the south, while 7 minutes to Han Market, 10 minutes to Indochina Riverside Tower, and 25 minutes to the new Danang Administration Center. The Han River esplanade is just at the other side of the road. The hotel was built high up beside Han River, thus we could enjoy great river view on the top floor of the hotel. The rate- USD 23 per night.

The hotel room  was small (standard room), but the amenities were enough for a comfortable stay- air conditioner, mini bar, LCD flat screen tv, free high speed wifi connection, hot water, and timely room service. Drinking water (hot and cold) can be refilled at the lobby and complementary breakfast was served at the top floor of the hotel, with nice view. The down side, the staff could only communicate with very simple English, and there was no special non-smoking area assigned for the customer. We could smell the burning of cigarette in the restaurant, or at the lobby area (luckily not in the guest room area). The closest convenient shop was around 100 meters away. Recommend it? Definitely yes.

Happy Day Hotel is conveniently located at Bach Dang Street, side by side with a few other hotels (upper left). The lobby of the hotel is shown at upper right. The room was a bit small, but still could accommodate both of us.

Bach Dang Street from the top floor of the hotel.

Nice scenery of Danang Dragon Bridge and the Han River from the hotel.

Attractions
The only must visit site in Danang is Da Nang Museum of Cham Sculpture (DNCS), while strolling on the Dragon Bridge (Cau Rong Bridge by locals) can be a great experience too.

Da Nang Museum of Cham Sculpture was opened to public as early as 1919. The collection was brought from My Son and other nearby area by French archaeologists. It is located at 2 2 Thang 9. The museum is in fact just at the southern end of Tran Phu Street, next to the big-yellow Dragon Bridge of Danang. The entrance fee was just VND 40k per person, cheaper than the National Museum of Cambodia with the treasures from Angkor and Bagan Archaeological Museum in Myanmar. More information about the museum is available at the official website of the museum. Guided tour is not necessary if you have already visited My Son temples beforehand.

The museum is a must visit place in Danang, especially after you have visited My Son temples and the ancient town of Hoi An. We couldn't see much of the sculptures and the artworks of My Son on site, but by looking at the exhibits in this museum, we could imagine bit and pieces of the beauty of the temples temples in the past. We spent around 1 hour in this museum.

The ticket counter of the museum (upper left) at the front of the museum (upper right). Some of the sculptures were exposed to the elements outside of the museum (lower right) We didn't really know why they brought these heavy stones miles away to the museum, to be consumed by rain and sunlight. A few sculptures are big.

Very fine artworks collected from My Son and several other sites in Vietnam (left column). Polo was invented by Cham? (upper right). The Apsara from Vietnam and Cambodia were really different from each others (lower right).

Danang Dragon Bridge was officially opened for traffic in 2013. The bridge was named after the big yellow dragon shaped backbone. From afar, it looks like a dragon swimming across the Han River. Well, a bridge with a steel dragon might not look attractive enough, but the scenery across the river is the selling point of the whole thing. We crossed the river at around 10:30 am, from the tail to the head. We spent around 40 minutes on the bridge, enjoying the strong wind and beautiful scenery of Han River. Of course, the hot sun was not welcomed, but it provided blue clear sky for nice photo. 

Looking at it for afar is really different from walking on it. A leisure stroll on the bridge is highly recommended. Umbrella is necessary if you are about to walk around under the sun.

 The head of the dragon is facing east. We walked 666 meters from the west to see it.

The tail of the dragon.

Very nice scenery from the bridge. All the best of Danang City by the Han River can be seen from the bridge.

Danang Cathedral was built in 1923, currently serves a congregation of 4000. It is not very attractive, but it does no harm to walk around the area for a while. This cathedral is located in the middle of the busy Tran Phu Street.

Food
Danang offers various types of food, both local delicacies and international cuisine. We tried several stalls around Tran Phu Street and Bach Dang Street. All the foods we tried were nice (at least acceptable). Let us show the food around with our photos.

Quan Pho Bac Hai is located at the junction of Tran Quoc Toan Street and Tran Phu Street, this small and decent shop receive many local customers. The address of the shop is 185 Tran Phu Street. We took our first lunch at this shop. Fried rice, noodle with beef, and noodle with chicken, all of the dishes were nice. The price for the noodle was VND 40,000 per portion, while the rice was VND 50,000 per portion. Cheap and delicious. Of course, like many other small stalls around, you might need to put away the concern about the cleanliness.

By the way, no one from the shop could understand English. What we did is, we pointed at the menu and show the number of order that we wished to have. It was successful for the food, but for drinks, we could only order Coca-Cola, which the name was universal.

The food court in Indochina Riverside Tower is located at the top floor of the shopping mall (upper left). The food court was clean, organized, and air conditioned (upper right). The food court served Vietnam food, Thai food, Western food, Japanese food and many more. We took the duck rice, pork rice, and fried vermicelli with an average of VND 75,000 per dish. The location of Indochina Riverside Tower is at 74 Bach Dang Street. 

The Rachel is a cafe bar located 30 meters from our hotel. The food served was special, but with a higher price. We stopped by the cafe for our early lunch before we went to Danang International Airport. We tried several dishes including crispy spring rows, grilled clams, grilled pork ribs with rice, and rice with stir fried beef. The Vietnamese food for one person was between VND 65k - 200k, while other Asian main courses were served with VND 145k onwards per person. If you wish to have a meal with good atmosphere beside Han River, the Rachel is a good choice for you.

Recommended by Lonely Planet, we visited Mr Duc's at 11 Tran Quoc Toan on our second day in Danang. Exhausted from a day trip to Hoi An and My Son, we didn't take any photo of the restaurant. The restaurant is located 5 minutes away from our hotel. We took dishes with beef, fish, and vegetable, together with steamed rice and fried noodle for that night. The food was very nice. The price was approximately VND 65,000 per person including drinks. By the way, the restaurant was clean and the staff were polite and able to communicate in simple English.

Central Market and the Street
Located between Tran Phu Street and Bach Dang Street, Han Market is easy to find. Groceries, jewellery, souvenirs, food, clothes are some of the things that we can get from the market. Well, like Dong Ba Market in Hue, we could see very few tourists in the market. Although the ventilation was much better than Dong Ba Market, it didn't attract us much as for us, it was just another version of Dong Ba Market. We strolled around for 15 minutes and left the market without buying anything. By the way, the goods available in Han Market were more or less similar to Dong Ba as well.

Han Market from Tran Phu Street. The market is just around 50 meters away from Indochina Riverside Tower.

This market looks more organized and cleaner than Dong Ba Market in Hue. The groceries, jewellery, and food are available at the ground floor, while clothes are sold on the upper floor.

Indochina Riverside Tower is a tall building that can be seen far away. It has a shopping mall with a nice food court at the top floor of the mall.

Jade Mountain is near to Danang. Thus we could see many sculptures along the esplanade (upper left). Danang is a blend of modern and old, which can be seen from the buildings along at Bach Dang Street (upper right). Tran Phu is another busy street with many hotels and tourists (lower row).

 Overall, the streets in Danang was much more less busy than the streets in Hanoi. The area around Tran Phu and Bach Dang streets were safe. We could see people jogging, strolling, or reading newspaper around the Han River esplanade. However, we could see a few tourists around the area. Most of the area were filled with the locals, except for the Museum of Cham Sculpture. 

Danang has the potential to be a vacation paradise, but more effort is required, such as more convenient shops are needed and more English speaking tourism related workers are required to provide a more friendly environment for the visitors.



Our sharing about other places in Vietnam:


15 comments:

  1. We are planning to Danang. Thank you for your information. Now we know where should stay.

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    Replies
    1. Great. Wishing you a wonderful trip ahead.

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  2. Useful information! Planning to visit Da Nang, Hoi An and Hue very soon!

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    Replies
    1. Thank you my friend. Wishing you have a wonderful trip ahead.

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  3. Thank you for this wonderful post. Vietnamese cuisine is always something very special to us. I love Vietnamese food and always want to learn to cook some new basic Vietnamese dishes whenever I'm in Vietnam. However, the fact is that there are not many cooking classes in Da Nang. Luckily, last trip, I found Da Nang Home Cooking Class which I had chance to discover local life as well beside a wonderful cooking class. I had a market tour, farming experience, home cooking experience and then great food to eat after that. Highly recommend this one for everybody with family or friends.

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    Replies
    1. Dear friend, thanks for sharing. Our reader David had just shared a link about Danang cooking class.

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  4. We had a wonderful trip in Danang last month. It's so hot but very fun! I love beaches and Monkey mountain so far. My friends living in Danang has just share best 24 things to do in Danang, it looks fun http://danangcooking.com/best-24-things-to-do-in-da-nang/

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