We arrived into Da Nang after a short but slightly unnerving early morning flight from Hanoi. The flight took off in a huge thunderstorm making for a rather turbulent start to the journey, although thankfully the second half of the flight was much calmer and we arrived in one piece.
The third largest city in Vietnam, Da Nang is known for its long stretches of sandy beaches. Given this, we decided to head straight to the beach after quickly checking into our hotel. We took a taxi to My Khe Beach which stretches for 20 miles along the eastern side of the city. After arriving at the beach, we wandered across the soft white sand before hiring some sun loungers from Viet Sin.
By this point it was time for some lunch, and we decided to order some food. We enjoyed a delicious meal of shrimp fried rice, washed down with fresh coconuts, and all the while looking out at the ocean.
It was the first day we had spent on the beach together since Malaysia, and it was an enjoyable change of pace after a busy start to our time in Vietnam. The clear water was the perfect temperature for a relaxing swim, and we spent the rest of the afternoon swapping between our sun loungers and the water.
Although the beach was almost empty when we arrived, it gradually became busier and was crowded by the time we left in late afternoon. The beach is clearly a popular spot with locals looking to relax and cool down after a long day at work.
Our evening started with a walk around the busy city, visiting several landmarks including the unique gothic-style pink cathedral. We then continued to the large indoor Han Market for some more bargain hunting, with a huge range of clothing, shoes and other goods on offer.
This was followed by an interesting dinner of Banh Xeo (sizzling pancakes) at Ba Doung, which we found hidden away down a narrow alleyway. The surprisingly large restaurant was packed almost entirely with locals and was the definition of organised chaos. We found ourselves on a table with two Koreans girls who couldn’t speak any English, and despite there being no menu and none of us speaking Vietnamese we still managed to enjoy a delicious meal.
Unfortunately our plan to explore more of the city that evening was cut short by a huge storm, and we returned to our hotel earlier than expected. The weather the following morning was much improved, and we decided to start the day with a walk across the iconic Dragon Bridge. The bridge which was completed in 2009, is the longest in Vietnam and is now one of the cities most popular attractions.
Unfortunately our visit did not coincide with the spectacular fire and light displays that illuminate the bridge every weekend, however it was still an impressive sight, with the giant dragon stretching across the bridge.
The walk across gave us great views over the wide Han river with the large and fast growing city stretching far into the distance.
The dragon is an important part of Chinese and other East Asian cultures, and symbolises power, strength and good luck. This makes the bridge especially popular with tourists and visitors from these countries, and as we continued our walk along the riverbank there were huge crowds of people taking photos.
This took us the the popular Love Locks Bridge, which in the now common practice, is filled with padlocks left by couples declaring their love. We were far more interested in the views from the wharf, with the city’s impressive skyline to one side, and the imposing Dragon Bridge to the other.
We ended our walk with a western-style breakfast from the nearby Happy Heart Cafe, who’s incredibly friendly staff are all hearing-impaired. After checking out of our hotel, it was just a short taxi journey to our next destination, the historic city of Hoi An.