Da Nang – The Best Places To Visit On A Motorbike

Kix

Da Nang – The Best Places To Visit On A Motorbike

   

    Whatever your motorcycle route is around Vietnam, at some point you are likely going to pass through Da Nang. Or if you weren’t planning to then, you should definitely add it to your list. Da Nang and the surrounding area of central Vietnam has so much to offer that you could easily spend a couple of busy days there or a week of exploring the countryside and relaxing on the nearby beaches. To keep you busy we’ve compiled some of the best things to do around Da Nang on a motorbike.

(zoom in to see the top spots)

Fire-breathing dragon-bridges. The impressive line-up of bridges in Danang

    Da Nang has its share of top attractions that even if you are only going for one day, you should see a few of them. First off, the Dragon Bridge. The Dragon Bridge in Da Nang is a piece of 4D artwork that also doubles as a practical bridge. If you plan your visit around a weekend, you’ll be lucky enough to watch the bridge come to life in a display of fire, water, and lights. This is one of the amazing things to do in Vietnam that’s free. Every Saturday and Sunday night at 9 pm the dragon launches into interactive action. The rest of the week when the sun goes down it changes colors, and during the day it looks like any other regular dragon bridge.

    The bridge also serves a tactical purpose, and if Da Nang is your first point of entry and you have arrived by plane, it is the connecting link from the international airport to the main city. The bridge holds up six-lanes of traffic, is 666-meters long, took 4-years to build, and cost of USD 88-million USD. It’s no wonder that the local government wants people to stop and take a look at it.

    If you can’t get enough bridge action, you can tour around to some of the other interesting bridges that are worth a stop, but these ones don’t come with flames and spitting water. The Han River bridge does come with flashing lights and an exciting achievement of human construction. If you roll up on your bike close to 1am, you’ll see the bridge workers stop traffic while men in flip-flops and hard hats unbolt the bridge at both ends to allow it to spin horizontally. The purpose of this disassembling is to allow ships to pass at night that would otherwise not be able to pass under the bridge. If you can get over the sappy piano music and watch from about the 25-second to the 1-minute mark, here’s a video on how the bridge works.

    Another notable bridge that’s worth the Instagram photo is the Ba Na Hills Golden Bridge. When baby bridges are asked what they want to be when they grow up, baby bridges say they want to be just like the Golden Bridge in Da Nang! This footbridge design is that of two jettisoning hands breaking free of the mountainside to hold up an arched golden bridge that hangs overlooking mountain peaks. Tint the lighting and bring in Gandolf, and you’d feel like you’re walking through the city of Osgiliath in Lord Of The Rings. The bridge is part of the Ba Na Hills experience and Guinness record-holding cable car ride that will get into more details about shortly.

Bridge Tips for Da Nang

  • Dragon Bridge. Saturday and Sunday night at 9 pm the bridge comes alive with fire, water, and lights. Located right in Da Nang. Free
  • Han River Bridge. After a late dinner head over to the Han River Bridge to watch the nightly unbuckling and horizontal swing bridge in action. Typically around 1 am. Free
  • Golden Bridge. Part of the Ba Na Hill amusement park. Go early for the best photos. Price is included with Ba Na Hills gondola fee (700,000vnd)

 

Golden Bridge Ba Na Hills

Golden Bridge Ba Na Hills

Photo: @traveling_the_world101

Ba Na Cable Car – 30kms from Da Nang by motorbike

     Ba Na cable car is a great way to get a view of the surrounding area of Da Nang and a couple of interesting stops at the other end of the cable ride. The cable car was built in 2013 as a way to get to the theme-park-style resort at the top of a mountain. At just 30kms from Da Nang, it’s a great full or half day trip on your motorcycle. Once you arrive at the main station, you’ll have a choice of three cable lines. The two important lines are the Dream Spring Station / Mo Stream Line or the Toc Tien–L’Indochine Line. The Dream Spring Line will take you up to visit the likes of the giant Buddha along with the beautiful Linh Ung Pagoda. After you snap some photos here, you can then make your way to either the amusement park and resort for a little fun. Or you can make your way over to Le Jardin D’Amour to enjoy the garden or walk across the previously mentioned “hand-held” Golden Bridge.

     Option two is to take the Toc Tien–L’Indochine Line that is more about the impressive views and astonishing facts then it is about Buddha’s and love-gardens. The Toc Tien–L’Indochine Line is the scenic route, focused more on the cable car ride, the views, and the landscape photos. This car ride takes about twenty minutes and lets you become part of its list of Guinness book of records stats. The cable car holds the record for the longest single-wire cable car, the heaviest roll of cable in the world, and the longest unpatched wire used for cable cars. During the ride, you’ll also get an impressive view over the Toc Tien waterfalls.

     To get to the Golden Bridge you’ll initially need to drive the 30kms out of town to the Ba Na Hills station. Then take the Dream Spring / Mo Stream Line to the top of the resort and make your way to Thien Thai Garden. The bridge is the connecting point from the station to the Le Jardin D’Amour gardens and the French village. You’ll be able to get a map at Ba Na Hills so you’ll know where to find the bridge and other attractions.

   Expect this stop to feel a little Disney-influenced compared to some of your other trips in Vietnam. Return tickets for either line cost around 700,000vnd, and include entrance to the resort and Fantasy amusement park.

Top Ba Na Tips

  • Great as part of a half or full day adventure
  • Dream Spring / Mo Stream Line will give you the option of the giant Buddha, Le Jardin D’Amour, amusement park and resort
  • The Toc Tien–L’Indochine Line will take you over the Guinness record-holding cable line and across the Toc Tien waterfalls. About 20-minutes for the ride
  • Pack warm clothes as the temperatures at the top are 10-15 degrees cooler than the bottom
  • Go on a clear day or the views won’t be worth the price of admission

 

Da Nang Beach at night

Da Nang Beach

Danang Beaches

    If you’re really on a motorcycle vacation, that vacation is probably meant to include some beach time and fun in the sun. Around Da Nang is a host of beaches that can allow you to get in on the busy beach action, or you can ride your motorcycle a little further to escape all the crowds.

    My Khe Beach is where you head if you’re looking to be part of some of the days bustling action. This beach is usually busy with locals and tourists alike and sits right at the base of some major hotels and eateries. Here you can expect music, people watching, and strong currents in the water. The beach garnered most of its original foreign attention by American soldiers who used to come here to relax during the war. My Khe has also gotten its share of glamour’s reviews and was once listed in Forbes magazine as one of the “Worlds Most Luxurious Beaches.” The attention usually comes with a lot of expectations, and if you’ve been backpacking other parts of the planet before backpacking Vietnam, you might show up and say that it’s not as good as this beach you hung out at in Bali, or the waves aren’t as good as North Shore Hawaii. Come with the expectation of a great beach with seasonal surfing options and the promise of a self-induced good-time, and you’ll enjoy yourself. Timing the weather for catching waves to both surf and bodyboard are best done between April and September.

    Non Nuoc Beach is located about 10-minutes south of My Khe on the Hoa Hai Ward’s coastline, close to the marble mountains. The waters clean, the waves are nice, and the drinking and dining options are plentiful. It’s marginally toned down version of My Khe where you can still hire surfboards, stand up paddle boards or take a boat tour. If you’re looking to rub some salt in the wound of your friends at work, this is where you’ll want to take some selfies drinking cocktails with the pristine ocean kissing the soft, sandy beach behind you.

    Red Beach is located on the opposing side of the peninsula to the North and has an entirely different feel to it. Unlike My Khe beach that got attention from soldiers relaxing, Red Beach as it’s become known got its name from the Marines arrival on it during the Vietnam war. Here on March 8th, 1965, the US Marines landed as part of their involvement in the war. Here you’ll find a mostly deserted stretch of sandy beach with calmer waters and excellent landscape views. Don’t expect towel-side drink service, abundant food options or much people watching. Instead, you might want to pack a picnic, a book, and enjoy some swimming. You can drive your motorcycle from one beach to the other in about 20-minutes, so if you’re feeling like some hustle and bustle one day and like some more casual time the next, why not check out both sides of the peninsula. Enjoy the beaches while you can, Da Nang is a lot different than Hanoi and the North.

Beach Tips Around Danang

  • The beaches around Da Nang can easily be reached in under a 20-minute drive on your motorbike from central Da Nang
  • Non Nuoc Beach. Clean, beautiful and a great place to spend the day. You can hire all the usual beach fun here like surf and stand up paddle boards
  • My Khe Beach. The place to go for people watching, seasonal surfing and all the action
  • Red Beach. The place to go to relax and escape the crowds. Pack a picnic, a book and enjoy the swimming. Aim for the “Nature Villas & Resort” and you’ll be in the right area

 

My Son Temples

My Son Temples

Photo:@worldeyephoto

 

My Son Temples

    Around the city of Da Nang are plenty of options to enjoy a pagoda or two, but for a day full of exploration you should grab your day pack and your motorbike, then head out to the 50kms or so to the My Son Temples. Here, at the My Son Temples, you’ll find a mix of rediscovered history, ancient ruins, and Vietnam bombing aftermath. Much like the area around Halong Bay, the My Son Temples are also a UNESCO world heritage site. The temples were originally built by the Champa Kingdom centuries ago. Eventually, the temples were lost in time and hidden in jungle scrub, but after the discovery in the late 1800s, they were coddled back to life and later became home to the Viet Cong during the Vietnam war. Eventually, the Americans got wise to the Viet Cong and started a bombing spree that would flush out the Cong and destroy part of the temples.

    Visit My Son Temple either early in the morning or in the afternoon (after 2 pm).  You’ll be happy you chose a motorbike rental over a taxi for trips like this. The temples are a busy attraction, and most tour groups are gone by 2 pm. You can ride your motorbike right to the temples and entrance is around 100,000vnd. Once your inside, find the free electric shuttle that will get you to the ruins and avoid any unnecessary walking.

 

Things to Know About My Son Temple

  • A mix of ancient and new history. Brush up on your historical facts before you go or hire a guide once you’re there
  • Go for sunrise or after 2 pm to avoid the crowds
  • Take the free electric shuttle once you’re inside, to save some walking energy
  • About 50kms each way from Da Nang, so plan for a full day

 


Marble Mountains Da Nang sunlight

Marble Mountians Da Nang. Cave Exploration.

 

Marble Mountain Caves

    A good attraction just a 10km motorcycle ride from central Da Nang, the Marble Mountains are abundant with caves, climbs, hikes and history. One of the caves was once utilized as a hospital by the Viet Cong during the war and now several of the caves house temples. The mountains should definitely be added to your Vietnam road trip itinerary. All in, there are six significant caves and a couple less important ones to explore, along with the various tunnels and temples. The mountains themselves were named for the five elements; Kim (metal), Thuy (water), Moc (wood), Hoa (fire) and Tho (earth).

      A visit here will likely take up about half your day and shouldn’t’ be attempted if you can’t handle a lot of walking after a long night on the town. If you do turn up hungover, you’ll be happy to know you can take a lift to the top of the mountains. Or if you’re feeling energetic after a caffeine-injected Vietnamese coffee with condensed milk, you’re welcome to take the stairs. Once on top, you can explore the caves by foot and take in some stunning ocean-side views above My Khe beach. Tickets to get into the marble mountains are around 40,000vnd, and the price of the lift is an additional 15,000vnd. The 15,000vnd will be money well spent after your seven-figure bill of beers from the night before! Additionally, you can hire a guide for around 50,000vnd  per group to give you a better understanding of the caves.

Things to know about Marble Mountain Caves

  • Close to Da Nang central at just 10kms away. Be vigilant about your parking as trinket sellers are likely to be pushing product when you get back
  • Plan for half a day to enjoy it all
  • 50,000vnd will get you a group guide if you want to understand what it is you are exploring
  • Take the lift for 15,000vnd and save your energy for cave exploration

 

Red-Shanked Douc Monkey

Red-Shanked Douc Monkey. On The Way To The “Monkey Passage”

 

Son Ta Peninsula and The 67-Meter Tall Lady Buddha

    The day trip of day trips around Da Nang is probably a visit to see the 67-meter tall lady Buddha, at the Linh Ung Pagoda. You can see Lady Buddha from virtually anywhere with a view around Da Nang, so you best pay her a visit. The Son Ta peninsula where the Buddha and pagoda are found can be accessed on your motorbike in about 30-minutes from Da Nang if you drive straight there. However, on the way out to the Peninsula, there are some excellent stops like the Man Thai fishing village, the Buddha/pagoda, some breathtaking views, and if you’re lucky, some Red-shanked douc monkey photo ops. Since you’ve got your own motorbike, you might as well stop and see all the sites.

    Coming from Da Nang, you’re first stop will be the village of Man Thai. The village is probably most well-known for its fishing and if you’re keen to see the locals organize a traditional day of fishing, arrive between 6-7am to watch them get started. Otherwise swing back through the village and try the local food in the afternoon like the fresh seafood lunches.

    Next on the road is Lady Buddha and the Linh Ung Pagoda. Like the Dragon bridge and the gondola ride before her, Lady Buddha was built to impress. The statue is a towering 67-meters in height, 35-meters wide at her lotus base, and inside you can explore the 17-floors that each holds 21 various Buddha statues. If you need to get your Buddha fix in size, expression, sex, or grandeur, anywhere in Vietnam, you can do it all here. Take an hour or two to explore the pagoda, it’s the largest in and around Da Nang.

    Once you pull yourself away from Lady Buddha’s lure, keep making your way up the peninsula. From this point on the roads begin to wind, steepen and may be covered in some mountainside shrapnel, so be cautious. On the way stick to the right and watch for a sign pointing you to the giant Banyan Tree. The tree is a woven mix of roots and veins all working together to support this massive tree. The locals have put the Banyan trees age somewhere around 1000-years old, and its lack of visitors will allow for some great photos.   

    After the tree stop head back to where you initially turned and headed down the other road. This road will take you past the Sun Tra Peninsula resort. Don’t expect to be allowed at the beach resort or on the beach around here unless your credit card is begging to be maxed out, best to keep driving. From this point, the road basically goes straight up. If you’re riding with two passages, you’ll need to be on something bigger than a Honda Win. Either go at it solo while the other walks up the hill, or be riding a 200cc+ bike like the Honda CRF 250cc. Once you reach the hilltop, you’ll be in an area known as the Monkey Passage, and if you get lucky, you might see some of the most beautiful monkeys on the planet. The Red-shanked douc monkey is a vibrant mix of reds, yellows, whites, and blacks. As far as primates are concerned, they’re a bit shy, but they sure do look good in photos. If you notice ropes across the road up in the tree-tops, these are so the monkeys can cross without having to mess with cars or motorcycles.

    Eventually, you’ll come to the final stop on this Sun Tra Peninsula road trip, the Ban Co Peak. It’s here you’ll get the endless views over the ocean, and if you’re up for the challenge, you can go head to head with Confucius in a game of chess. There is a bronze tribute statue of him here waiting to challenge anyone to a match!

Top Son Ta Suggestions

  • Stop one. Man Thai fishing village. Go early (6-7am) if you want to see the traditional fisherman start their day. Otherwise come back for lunch
  • Stop two. Lady Buddha and the Linh Ung Pagoda. 67-meters of Buddha beauty and the largest pagoda around Da Nang
  • Stop three. Giant Banyan tree. A small detour will have you staring one thousand years of growth right in the trunk. It’s worth the stop
  • Stop four. Ban Co Peak. Endless views and the chance to challenge Confucius at a game of chess
  • Check your brakes and check your fuel before leaving town, both will be very important for this day trip

 

      The whole area around Da Nang is a mix of fun, history, exploration, and adventure. You could spend weeks just in this area alone and find something to do nearly every day. If you don’t have the time stop and see everything, then it’s best to pick a few highlights. I might recommend the Dragon Bridge as it’s fast, free, and easy. Then check out Marble Mountain as they are close to the city and worth the history and experience. Or if you can spare a full day, the whole Ba Na Hills resort and Golden bridge is something that you aren’t likely to experience anywhere else in the world.  After Da Nang, you might want to dive deeper into the Central Highlands route and some of the lesser traveled to parts of Vietnam.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

(your message will only be visible after moderation)