Vietnam is full of wonders. Rarely is a country so blessed that visitors are spoilt for choice. From the hills of Sapa and the cruises of Halong Bay to the 14th-century ruins of My Son and the atmospheric town of Hoi An, there are so many facets to this vibrant destination that it becomes difficult to pick one. Doesn’t it make perfect sense then, to find a convenient base that helps you explore various parts of this fascinating country? With Da Nang, you have this and more.
Located in central Vietnam, Da Nang is the perfect base to explore the many attractions around. Book a comfortable suite or villa at the Da Nang Marriott Resort and Spa and look forward to getting acquainted with central Vietnam a little better. Here are four-day trips that you must take from Da Nang.
Marble Mountains (5 minutes, 5 km)
A cluster of five hills, mere minutes from Da Nang city, and virtually across the road from Marriott Resort and Spa Da Nang, the Marble Mountains are both a tourist attraction and a Buddhist religious site. Named after the five elements, Kim (metal), Thủy (water), Mộc (wood), Hỏa (fire) and Thổ (earth), each mountain has caves, tunnels, and Buddhist sanctuaries. While two of them have pagodas to discover, one built for a princess who decided to spend her lifetime on the mountain, others have sculptures of gods, animals, and even a pair of chess players stuck mid-game.
The mountains are all reached via stone steps that have been cut into the mountains. Locals climb these steps twice a day as a pilgrimage, though tourists can choose to use the easier way of an elevator that takes you straight to the top. These caves were also used as guerilla hideouts and places to nurse wounded soldiers during the Vietnam War.
Wear comfortable shoes while visiting the mountains as there is a lot of climbing to do, even if you take the elevator up. Remember to remove your shoes and hat when entering a pagoda. Hats and water are essential if visiting during the daytime, as Vietnam’s sun can be relentless. However, the caves in the mountains are cool, often cold, warranting a wrap to keep you warm. Visit early morning, from 7 am - 9 am, to enjoy this experience best.
Hoi An (40 minutes, 41 km)
A popular trading port between the 15th and the 19th centuries, Hoi An is both leisurely and hectic, depending on how you want to experience it. The old town is atmospheric, with lantern-lined lanes meandering along the riverside, and a wide promenade dotted with stalls selling souvenirs and food.
Walk around the ancient town, a breathtaking mix of wooden shophouses, ornate Chinese temples, French cafes and old houses, a Japanese-designed bridge, and a cross-section of canals. The lanes are narrow, allowing shade during hot afternoons when you can just pop into one of the cafes lining the streets for a Vietnamese iced coffee and people-watching. Though the street-side chairs reminiscent of Paris, albeit a Liliput version, are popular, I would recommend climbing up a few flights of stairs to one of the rooftop cafes from where you can get a bird’s eye view of the old town.
A visit to Hoi An in the evening must include a riverside stroll, though some people prefer hiring a boat for a river cruise too. Come sunset and the river is lit up with paper lanterns released into the water by tourists, a mesmerising sight to behold.
Before you head back, make sure you pick up a souvenir or two, Hoi An is a great place to shop. If you have some time before your flight, many shops will also agree to custom-stitch clothes for you using local silk, or even shoes designed specifically for your feet, and deliver them to your hotel in Da Nang.
My Son (1 hour, 45 km)
Developed over ten centuries, from the 4th to the 13th century, My Son is a cluster of Hindu temples scattered over a symbolic site that was the capital of the Champa Kingdom while they ruled.
Surrounded by a ring of mountains, the site was also easily defensible. A great picture-spot, the temples provide the perfect backdrop for insta-worthy photography, especially if you visit minus the crowds. The site sits open to the elements, so avoid visiting during sunny afternoons, and allocate at least two hours to be able to wander around the 71 temples and discover their many carvings and sculptures depicting Hindu mythology and fables.
Hue (2 hours, 91 km)
Another capital, albeit a more recent one, Huế was the seat of power for the Nguyen Dynasty and the national capital from 1802 to 1945. Easily accessible from Da Nang, Hue is a wonderful day trip for lovers of architecture as well as those looking to understand the interwoven tapestry of Vietnam’s past.
Visit Hue between January and March, when you will get clear skies and comfortable weather. Spread on both sides of the beautifully named Perfume Rive, Hue’s main attraction is the Citadel and the Imperial Palace that sits within it. With 10-kilometre-long walls keeping the Imperial Citadel secure, the vast gardens offer plenty of recreation opportunities.
The Imperial Palace sits within the old city, surrounded by 2.5-kilometre walls and a moat. Ornate and beautiful, the palace is a reminder of the charm of central Vietnam, ravaged by years of war and strife.
Da Nang Marriott Resort & Spa
Check into Da Nang Marriott Resort & Spa and explore these exotic sites at leisure. Conveniently located close to the airport, the hotel offers rooms, suites as well as self-sufficient pool villas to accommodate your group.
Direct flights from Singapore, Seoul and many other Asian countries make Da Nang easily accessible and a convenient base for your next holiday to this land of wonder. Golf courses at your doorstep, history knocking at your door and delicious dining in-house - Da Nang Resort and Spa is the ideal place to stay when you wish to explore the secrets hidden between the folds of central Vietnam.
About the writer
Harnoor Channi-Tiwary is a well-published Travel Editor & Food Writer based in Singapore. With more than 13 years of editorial experience, she writes for some of the world’s top publications such as JW Marriott Magazine, Conde Nast Traveler, Wine & Dine, The CEO Magazine, Korean Air, and Turkish Airlines and sits on the tasting panel of various food awards. Harnoor is also the Global Editor of Asia's premier luxury villa company, Elite Havens, and is currently working on a book based on her food trails across Southeast Asia, having already published an Expat Guide for India.
Recently graduated from the highly specialised 'Advanced Studies in Gastronomy' course at Le Cordon Bleu Paris, Harnoor brings with her a deeper understanding of cuisines, authentic flavours, and their evolution. The world of food and travel are the very axis of her life and her in-depth knowledge. writing expertise, and quick wit and humour make her one of the region's top food and travel writers.
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