Thursday, October 31, 2019

3 Days 2 Nights In Danang: What To Do?

It's been quite a few years since I've last visited Vietnam. This time, having the opportunity to go back, I didn't just want to see Saigon, I really wanted to see the Golden Bridge in Danang. So naturally, Danang is a huge part of my recent trip to Vietnam. I spent two nights there, following a Danang tour from since I personally have no knowledge on the language and it's my first time there, it's best to just get a guide to make things easier.
The good part about my travel agent is that they were able to tweak my schedules to follow my flight arrival time as I was taking Vietjet for the entire trip, thus the timing is a little different. Plus, I had a full last day off so I could rest, sleep in, and enjoy my hotel facilities. Exactly just how I like my trips, a break from all the touring.
For both nights, I stayed at the Grand Cititel Danang Hotel. It was definitely a great place to stay as it was not only a newer hotel which has a pretty decent international and local food, and clean rooms, it's also located at an ultra convenient location for people who wants to but supermarket stuffs back to their home. Lotte Mart is only 5 minutes walk away from the hotel, you could easily spend a morning or an afternoon shopping and chilling around there with a cup of Vietnamese coffee from Phuc Long of Highlands Coffee. For a more in-depth review of the hotel, check out my review here.
For my sight-seeing tour, here a rundown of it.
First Day
Bana Hills! Yes! The first place that I will be seeing is the freaking Golden Bridge. To get there, we have to take a cable car up. According to my guide, there are three gondolas at the moment with the 4th one coming soon. Two out of three cable cars take about 20 minutes to get up to the first stop to see the Golden Bridge. Going up, I had a taste of the newest gondola. It was clean and comfortable.

I completely did not expect it to be so cooling in the morning up there, the weather was so nice. If you are going with children or anyone who can't stand cold, better to pack a cardigan or a jacket just in case.

If you don't know, Golden Bridge is the bridge that went viral last year when it opened in June 2018. It's truly, well, a gorgeous golden bridge that's being held by enormous stone looking hands. It was so surreal seeing the place in person but I have to warn you that the place is filled with tourist. There were so many people, that you can't even have a proper picture with having anyone around you. Should you still visit the place? Yes for sure!
After checking out the Golden Bridge, you should take the cable car up to enjoy yet another beautiful place called the French Village. It's definitely another location you shouldn't miss when visiting Danang. Located at the top of Bana Hills, French Village is obviously a heavily French inspired place with castle looking buildings, a ton of food choices, an awesome beer corner, and hotels too if you'd like to stay there a night or two. Other than just taking pictures, enjoying the weather and the view, you could also check out the play area called the Fantasy Park. It's known as the 3rd biggest indoor game zone in Vietnam.
I highly suggest taking a whole day off just to hang out around there. For us, we had to leave in the afternoon. We had a short stop at the tourist shopping place nearby Marble Mountain, where they sell huge marble sculptures, jewellery, silks, and food items. The food part about this place is that they are not pushy at all, only when you are interested, they'll assist you.
Marble Mountain was the next tour destination, a location that's a little underrated if you are a cultural buff and loves to walk around learning about local religion stories and believes. This area has plenty of pagodas, statues to admire, and greeneries. There are five marble mountains, each named after a basic element, water, earth, air, fire, and metal. It's an outdoor walking area, thus be sure to check the weather before visiting.
Most people only visit the biggest and most famous mountain Thuy Son, the Water Mountain. There's an entrance fee and it's extra charge if you take the elevator instead of the stairs. Mind you, the trails are not super challenging but if you are with elderly or very young children, be sure to watch their steps as they can be a little unpredictable and slippery, especially in the cave area. As you exit through the entrance, there were ton of people selling marble looking items such as face rollers, necklaces, bracelets, decors and more.
At night, we travelled to Monkey Mountain, also known as Son Tra Peninsula to visit Linh Ung Pagoda, specifically the 67 metre tall Lady Buddha or as we know it as Guan Yin. We were told that Lady Buddha stands tall facing the waters to protect Danang city from winds and storms. Visiting at night was great as Lady Buddha statue was well lit by flood lights, so a picture with any camera will still look great. Also, we had a great view during the night, city lights were gorgeous and the weather was perfect.
Day Two
For our second full tour day, we spent them at Hoi An. The first destination was My Son Sanctuary and it's a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This place offers an introduction to the ancient Champa civilisation where you'll see impressive Hindu-themed ruins and stone sculptures within a refreshing tropical jungle surroundings. This sanctuary now solely serves as a tourist spot, thus you won't see any religious activities happening there. Also, this is an open visiting spot, thus check the weather beforehand.
Silk Village was the next stop where you'll get to see the production of local silk and even amazing sewing skills. I would considered it as another tourist shopping spot as they do sell slightly over priced items but similarly, they were not pushy and you can assure the quality should you buy from them.
The final part of my Danang tour is a guided walking tour around Hoi An's ancient town which includes two main attractions of the Japanese Covered Bridge and the Ancient House. The Japanese Covered Bridge is a still functioning beautiful historical piece of Japanese architecture where it was previously used by the Japanese to reach the Chinese quarter across the waters.
The Ancient House we've visited is the House of Phung Hung, one of the most visited ancient houses as its super close by to the Japanese Covered Bridge. Phung Hung means prosper and this ancient house demonstrates the perfect fusion of Vietnamese, Chinese, and Japanese architectures. This house holds the title of 'National Historical and Cultural Site' since 1993 as it houses many documents about the architecture, culture, art, and lifestyle of the Hoi An's business circle from the old days.
Then, we were free to roam around the Ancient Town ourselves as well as checking out the night market after dinner. Shopping in Ancient Town is quite hectic, they have wet and dry market area, clothes, tailored clothes, and souvenirs stores. So, if shopping is your thing, you'll love this place. Otherwise, you could be like us, taking cover (as it was raining heavily) at one of the cafes trying out their unique egg coffee.

Overall, I think Danang is an amazing place to visit. So much culture, so much history, and so much nice places to see. I always recommend people to go with a travel agent especially if it's your first time in a location that you don't know the language, especially in area such as Danang, that's still developing, the locals might not be as familiar when it comes to international languages, thus having a local guide will definitely help a lot. Additionally, people from Rubicon Tours and were really friendly, helpful, and easy to custom plan your trips with. Making the trip an enjoyable for us.


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