12 things to do in Vietnam's Da Nang other than visit the Golden Bridge

Seek out cool experiences and off-the-beaten-track attractions in Central Vietnam’s largest city.

Da Nang skyline
  • Delle Chan
  • December 2019

For many travellers, Da Nang is synonymous with the Golden Bridge — which is hardly a surprise, given the structure’s highly unusual appearance. After all, where else in the world can you find a pedestrian bridge seemingly supported by two enormous stone hands?

Golden Bridge in Da Nang
The 150m-long bridge’s stone hands are actually made of fibreglass and wire mesh.

However, there’s so much more to see and do in Central Vietnam’s largest city — from hiking in the Marble Mountains to relaxing on the pristine sands of Non Nuoc Beach. Here are 12 things to do in Da Nang other than visit the Golden Bridge.

1. Hike the Marble Mountains

Marble Mountains of Da Nang
The five hills are named after the five elements according to Eastern philosophy: Kim Son (Mt. Metal), Moc Son (Mt. Plant), Thuy Son (Mt. Water), Hoa Son (Mt. Fire) and Tho Son (Mt. Soil).

Located south of Da Nang, the dramatic Marble Mountains are a cluster of five limestone hills, each of which is named after a natural element. You can summit one of them, Thuy Son (Mt. Water), via a relatively easy hike, which will take you past intricate cave temples and shrines. At the top, you’ll be rewarded with spectacular views of the city.

Address: 52 Huyen Tran Cong Chua, Hoa Hai, Ngu Hanh Son opens in new window

2. Relax on Non Nuoc Beach

Non Nuoc Beach
If you plan to surf during your holiday in Da Nang, the best time to visit Non Nuoc Beach is between April and September.

With its powdery white sands and clear waters, Non Nouc Beach at the foot of the Marble Mountains is one of the most beautiful beaches in Vietnam — and possibly the world. Sample fresh seafood at the various beachfront restaurants, enjoy a spa treatment at one of the nearby resorts, or simply just stretch out by the water’s edge.

Address: Hoa Hai, Ngu Hanh Son opens in new window

3. Go surfing at My Khe Beach

My Khe Beach
My Khe Beach is right beside Non Nuoc Beach, so there’s no reason why you shouldn’t check out both of them when you’re there.

Christened by the American troops during the Vietnam War, My Khe Beach is a top spot for surfing — especially from September to March — thanks to its fairly consistent breaks. Thrill-seekers can also try their hand at other water sports, from wakeboarding to kayaking and even paragliding.

Address: Phuoc My opens in new window

4. Explore Monkey Mountain

Goddess of Mercy statue at Monkey Mountain in Da Nang
The national park is home to many Buddhist statues that were built in the 18th century.

Once a US military base, Monkey Mountain is today a lush national park criss-crossed by jungle trails, along which you might glimpse wildlife such as the rhesus macaque and the pygmy slow loris. You’ll also find the Linh Ung Pagoda, a lofty 67m statue of the Goddess of Mercy — purportedly the tallest in Southeast Asia.

Address: Tho Quang, Son Tra opens in new window

5. Admire the lights of Dragon Bridge

Dragon Bridge in Da Nang
The six-lane bridge serves as a direct route between My Khe Beach and Non Nuoc Beach.

As its name suggests, this 666m bridge over the River Han is shaped like a dragon, which symbolises prosperity. It’s certainly a sight to behold — especially at night, when it’s illuminated by dazzling lights. The “dragon” even spouts water and breathes fire from its mouth during regular pyrotechnic shows on weekend evenings.

Address: Phuoc Ninh, Hai Chau opens in new window

6. Visit the Museum of Cham Sculpture

Museum of Cham Sculpture interior
Before the museum was established in the early 1900s, the site was known as the “garden of sculptures” as many Champ sculptures were brought there.

This compact museum is dedicated to the ancient Champa empire, which controlled much of the South China Sea during the 6th to 15th centuries. Here, you’ll find over 300 terracotta and stone sculptures, from creatures like the Garuda (a legendary bird) to deities like Lord Shiva. Audio guides are available.

Address: 2 Thang 9 St, Binh Hien, Hai Chau opens in new window
Tel: +84 236 3572 935

7. Snorkel in the Cham Islands

Cham Islands beach
The Cham Islands are inaccessible during the monsoon period from October to February due to the strong winds and choppy water. For perfect weather and great water conditions, head over between June and August.

Explore the life aquatic on a day trip to these eight granite islands opens in new window, which are part of a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. The waters here teem with marine wonders, including over 100 species of hard and soft coral. Ferries depart from Cua Dai Beach opens in new window, a 45-minute drive from Da Nang.

8. Attend mass at Danang Cathedral

Danang Cathedral Exterior
The 70m-tall building is also known as Con Ga Church (Rooster Church), due to the copper weathercock sitting at the top.

Built by French priest Louis Vallet in 1923, this Catholic church stands out with its pale pink, Gothic-style façade. It’s beloved among the 4,000-strong local Catholic community, with services taking place daily. English sermons are conducted every Sunday at 9am.

Address: 156 Duong Tran Phu, Hai Chau opens in new window

9. Discover a new religion at Cao Dai Temple

Cao Dai Temple Interior
In keeping with Caodaism’s syncretic nature, the temple combines Neo-Gothic, Baroque and Oriental architectural elements.

Another notable sacred site is Cao Dai Temple, which is dedicated to Caodaism — a religious movement that merges aspects of Buddhism, Taoism, Confucianism, Islam and Catholicism. Inside, you’ll find a picture of Mohammed, Lao Tse, Jesus, Buddha and Confucius, as well as an enormous image of the Divine Eye, which features the yin-yang symbol at its centre.

Address: 63 Hai Phong, Thach Thang, Hai Chau opens in new window

10. Get an adrenaline rush at Asia Park

Da Nang Asia Park
Asia Park’s centrepiece is a 115m-high Ferris wheel (you can make it out behind the building above).

Kids and adults alike will adore this theme park opens in new window, which features roller coasters, arcades and an enormous Ferris wheel. But it’s not all thrills and spills; there’s also a cultural park on site, which spotlights 10 Asian countries like Japan and Singapore — each of which is represented by landscaped gardens, replica landmarks and more.

Address: 1 Phan Dang Luu, Hoa Cuong Bac, Hai Chau opens in new window
Tel: +84 236 3681 666

11. Go on a food tour

Da Nang Food
The food tour will take you to five different food spots across the city.

Eat like the locals do on a culinary tour designed by Summer Le opens in new window, an established food blogger and chef. The Da Nang native (or a member of her team) will take you to the best foodie spots across the city, where you’ll get to sample local specialties such as banh xeo (savoury fried pancake) and mi quang (rice noodles). Be sure to turn up hungry!

summerle.com/foodtour opens in new window

12. Travel on the Hai Van Pass

Hai Van Pass
“Hai van” means “ocean cloud”, which refers to the mists that rise from the sea.

This 21km mountain pass opens in new window, which is part of National Route 1A connecting Da Nang and Hue, is widely considered to be one of the world’s best coastal drives. Rent a motorbike and traverse its full length, hairpin bends and all, to enjoy some seriously stunning vistas: think mist-shrouded mountains and white-sand beaches.