Central Vietnam,  Travel Guides,  Vietnam

The two sides of Da Nang – Where to go

Da Nang is the biggest city in Central Vietnam and one of the most modern cities in the country, with a high human development index and has been voted Vietnams most livable city. Since it mixes traditional food and architecture with modern technology and education I was excited to visit. When I got there I experienced it as two sides of Da Nang, one east and one west of the river Han.

There’s a saying among honest travel bloggers and it is “Only write about what you know/have experienced” so this is purely a traveller’s view on things. I stayed in Da Nang several times now, in the Hải Châu District and in My An. These two districts of the city, divided by the Hàn River couldn’t be more different.

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Overview of the two sides of Da Nang and where to go

Where to eat and drink in Da Nang

I linked all of the mentioned foods in the map at the end of the blogpost.

To try the most delicious central Vietnamese dish, Banh Xeo – a crispy, savoury rice flour pancake go to Bánh Xèo Bà Dưỡng and try Banh Xeo with delectable peanut sauce.

To try several different Central Vietnamese dishes, go to Hanh & Ken. They have a larger menu of traditional dishes, I had Banh Khot – mini savoury pancakes and Bo La Lot – beef wrapped in betel leaves. During my stay in My An, I also met Ken, partner of Hanh and one of the owners. We talked about “expat culture” and how a lot of Westerners don’t see themselves as “immigrants” when they move to a different country.

For the best Banh Mi in Da Nang- a crispy mini baguette with different fillings – go to Bánh mì Cô Tiên. It’s not street food anymore, since she made enough to afford a tiny restaurant instead of the food cart she had before, but it is still as delicious as ever.

Next to Banh Xeo there are more notable central Vietnamese dishes like Bánh Nâm, Bánh Bèo, Banh bôt loc and Bánh ram it and you can try all of them at Quán Tâm, a hole-in-the-wall restaurant which is mostly frequented by locals.

You are a cafe-holic? Then you will feel right at home at Cafeholic. At their two locations in Da Nang, you can drink Vietnamese coffee specialities and eat pastries like Pastel de Nata (a Portuguese vanilla custard pastry) and croissants in aesthetic surroundings.

In the central Hai Chau district, right next to the tail end of the Dragon Bridge, you can have affordable delicious drinks, coffee, lemonade and more at Cá Nóc Café.

Goc Nha Tui Minh Teahouse in Da Nang is a lovely space to escape both the heat and hustle and bustle of the city. You choose a teacup and get free refills of hot water or choose a teapot. I had a red tea with cinnamon, orange and honey. Like in most places, they have free wifi and in my case, they kept pointing more and more fans at me 😅. I highly recommend this place for a longer break between seeing sights and exploring the city.

Of course, there are Cộng Cà Phê locations in Da Nang as well where you can cool down with Coconut Coffee and in some places enjoy awesome views of the city while you sip on your drink.

What to see and do in Da Nang

Dragon Bridge

The yellow metal structure is impressive, both from afar and on the bridge itself. It catches the eye from every spot of the embankment walkway on. The dragon head of the bridge breathes fire every Saturday and Sunday night at 9 PM for approximately 15 minutes.

Would you believe that I was in Da Nang three times in two years and always missed it?!


Da Nang Fresco Village

The Da Nang Fresco Village is located in several alleys not far from the famous Dragon Bridge. It is considered an open-air art gallery and the entree is free. On the walls of those streets, you can find over 30 murals, with more being added. Some are designed to take selfies with them, others show nature or scenes from everyday life in central Vietnam. In the streets adjacent to the Fresco Village you can find cute cafes and small shops.

Museums in Da Nang and my rating of them

Đà Nẵng Museum 3/5
While the City Museum of Da Nang also has interesting exhibits and is a huge museum, spanning several floors the audio guide was not working so I understood maybe half of the stuff and there is no air conditioning inside, which makes the air unbearable the higher you go.
📍 24 Đ. Trần Phú, Thạch Thang, Hải Châu

Da Nang Museum of Cham Sculpture 2/5
Sadly most lights were broken (or just turned off during a normal day?). There were lots of empty display cases and the employees were busy watching football on their phone or TV. I think it could be very interesting if well taken care of.
📍 Số 02 Đ. 2 Tháng 9, Bình Hiên, Hải Châu

Ho Chi Minh Museum 3/5
This museum is in need of repairs. None of the interactive displays were in working condition, but here the employees were very eager to help, turning on lights and fans and making sure I had wifi so I could at least translate the exhibits that were only available in Vietnamese. While this was in some parts very similar to the one in Hanoi, it is interesting to see the difference between the HCM museums in the north, the south and central Vietnam.
📍 26X9+F2G, Duy Tân, Hoà Cường Bắc, Hải Châu

Danang Fine Arts Museum 5/5
There are interesting exhibits, not just pictures, but also handcrafted items, exclusive pieces by local artists you won’t find anywhere else, good translations into English and a quiet escape from the city.
📍 78 Đ. Lê Duẩn, Thạch Thang, Hải Châu

TIP: If you only have time for one museum, pick the Museum of Fine Arts 🎭

Marble Mountains

South of My An, in Hoa Hai you can find the Marble Mountains, one of the main attractions of Da Nang you shouldn’t miss.

The largest of the Marble Mountains is Thuy Son, which also has the most things to see. From a modern elevator, you can take up the mountain to centuries-old caves where you can see the sunlight enter through the ceiling, this place was one of the most interesting I visited.

On the same mountain you can also visit Xa Loi Tower, directly after the elevator, then Linh Ung Pagoda and the white marble Buddha Statue, I loved the colours and hidden details of both. Tam Ton Pagoda is still lived in so you cannot enter it, but you can enter Tam Thai Pagoda, as long as you respect the cultural and religious norms (no shoes, no camera).

At the highest peak of Thuy Son you have a 360° view over southern Da Nang.

Some people offer tours and you can probably learn a lot more about the place with a guide you can definitely see all of this for free. Just bring enough water, because the drinks that are sold on the mountain are trice as much as in the supermarket.

Two sides of Da Nang – where to stay

I enjoyed staying in Hai Chau more, but it depends on what kind of trip you are planning. For food, culture and meeting locals, stay in Hai Chau, for morning beach yoga, surfing and luxury accommodation stay in My An. Yes, I am aware that there are more districts to Da Nang than just these two, but I can only speak of my experience in these two.

Hải Châu – West side of Da Nang

The Hải Châu District* is what I would call “the main city” of Da Nang*. It is on the west side of the Hàn River. Within this district, you can find Hàn Market, the oldest and historically the most important market of Da Nang and Da Nang Cathedral (Pink Church). Some parts of this district are very old and the modern buildings in between the low-rise houses look out of place.

In this district you can find most museums of the city, great traditional Vietnamese food, both in restaurants and as street food and great cafes as well as small shops and markets.

My An – East side of Da Nang

The east side of the Hàn River in general and My An in particular are more upscale than the west side of Da Nang* and Hải Châu.

My Khe Beach is one of the beaches that shows up when you google „best beaches in the world“. So even though I’m not a beach holiday person, I went and burned my feet on the sand – there’s a reason nobody is in the pictures… My Khe beach spans the entirety of the coast of My An, then goes further down several kilometres. It is lined with beach bars and day beds for rent, across the street you’ll find fancy hotels and resorts, one next to the other.


Further towards the city, you will find newly built neighbourhoods with lots of expats living there. You will also find karaoke bars, more upscale cafes and international restaurants serving burgers, tapas and more in this area.

I enjoyed staying in Hai Chau more, but I guess it depends on what kind of trip you are planning. For food, culture and meeting locals, stay in Hai Chau, for morning beach yoga, surfing and luxury accommodation stay in My An. Yes, I am aware that there are more districts to Da Nang than just these two, but I can only speak of my experience in these two.

Map for your trip to Da Nang

How to read the map: The orange and red ones are the restaurants and street food and the blue and green spots are places to go and see. You can open the menu on the top left and choose the layers of the map.

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