From Ninh Binh I left on a sleeper bus for Da Nang, a city pretty much in the middle of the country. It was a journey for the whole night, but I had an entire bed for myself on that bus, so the journey was quite comfortable.
Da Nang isn’t a typical touristy town in Vietnam, but I wouldn’t recommend skipping it. It has its own flair and it’s definitely worth a visit for at least 1 or 2 nights. It is the fifth-largest city in Vietnam by population and one of Vietnam's most important port cities on the coast of the South China Sea. It is the commercial and educational centre of Central Vietnam and the largest city in the region.
The beach there is huge. It goes all the way from north to south along the whole city. I walked along the coast quite a bit there and it was very relaxing and refreshing. And there was so much going on despite this being off season.
I stayed in a quite popular hostel chain there with a nice roof top which was not used at that time, but which was open to access, so I hanged out there a few times to enjoy the city view. The hostel was only a walking distance away from the Dragon Bridge, the main landmark that the city is famous for. It’s a long bridge in form of a golden dragon which can spit fire at certain hours on weekends and which is beautifully illuminated at night. Actually the whole city is quite well-lit. Separated by the river the skyline looks monumental and widespread.
I was lucky enough to meet a local there who drove me around on his motorbike. He took me to a place where locals wrap their own food, a typical Vietnamese speciality. Then we visited a nice, old fashioned tea shop for some really good tea. And finally we cruised through the city and over the northern bridge from where I had a view over the entire city. And the night view was dazzling. I’ll never forget that.
Another place I can recommend for entertainment is the On The Radio bar. It’s the only electronic music bar I went to and it was definitely great fun.
BA NA HILLS
If you visit Da Nang, you shouldn’t miss Ba Na Hills. It’s a hill station and resort located in the mountains very close to Da Nang. It was built as a French leisure destination and it’s supposed to simulate a typical french town with its architecture and church. You can get there via a cable car and the view during the dry season must be amazing.
For us, unfortunately, the whole mountain region was covered in clouds, so all we saw was a wall of mist. You could see maybe within a 50-metre distance. Anything further than that became really foggy. Still, it was great to visit this place.
The Golden Bridge, its latest tourist attraction, became quite popular with tourists. It’s a 150-metre-long pedestrian bridge hold by two giant hands to support the structure. It looks quite stunning and the clear view must be mind-blowing.