Danang today is an ideal base for sightseeing in Central Vietnam away from the tourist throngs, which even in the off-peak season pack nearby towns such as Hoi An and Hue.
From Danang, it is possible to visit these busy old towns then retreat to a more serene place at the end of each day.
The best time to visit Danang is in February and March when the temperatures are lower and there is little rain. November is the coolest month, and April and May are the hottest and most humid.
Danang is a great place to relax on the beach or beside a beautiful swimming pool, but there is much more to do and see.
Danang Buddha, Son Tra Peninsula
Part Statue of Liberty, part Rio’s Christ the Redeemer, Danang’s 67m-high stark-white standing Buddha can be seen from many places around the city.
The statue has 17 floors, each devoted to a different form of Buddha and the 17th floor has stairs leading to the statue’s head.
Son Tra (Monkey) Mountain
This is the place to see local wildlife such as langurs, macaques, squirrels and 118 bird species in their natural habitat.
Whether you reach Marble Mountain by lift or a series of steep stairs, it’s worth spending a few hours here. There are eight limestone caves and several pagodas to explore, sculptures, lovely gardens and great views of Danang from the top. It’s better early in the morning before the crowds arrive.
Museum of Cham Sculpture
Combine a visit to Marble Mountain with a stop here. The museum has more than 300 treasures dating from the fifth to 15th centuries. 1 Trung Nu Vuong, Danang
As you crisscross Danang, it is hard to miss its interesting bridges, including Vietnam’s longest suspension bridge, the 1.85km-long, 80m-high Thuan Phuoc; the Han River swing bridge which is brightly lit at night and opens to allow shipping to pass; and the Dragon Bridge, which is in the shape of a dragon that breathes fire at 9pm on Saturday and Sunday nights.
A short run down the coast from Danang is the UNESCO Heritage-protected old port town of Hoi An. The old town’s streets lined with colonial shop houses are where to find good tailors, Vietnamese pottery, leather goods, jewellery and souvenirs.
Two hours north of Danang, Hue was once the capital of Vietnam and home of the emperors of the Nguyen Dynasty. The 13th and final emperor abdicated in 1945 to make way for Ho Chi Minh’s revolution. Don’t miss Hue’s lovely garden houses some of which have been converted to cafes and are open to the public.
Other attractions are a large, 19th-century citadel surrounded by a moat, the royal city, a park filled with unusual sculptures, the royal tombs and the Perfume River.
The city is also known for its farmers’ markets and good street food.