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Top Da Nang Attractions

1. The Cham Museum
Even if you only have an hour, check out this tiny museum, where the well-preserved display of terracotta and sandstone figures offers a glimpse into the culture that controlled most of southern Vietnam for a thousand years. French archeologists started collecting these figures from Cham ruins in the area in the late nineteenth century, opening the museum in 1916. Recurring motifs include lions, elephants and Hindu deities.

2. Danang Cathedral
Known to locals as Con Ga Church (Rooster Church) because of the bird atop the steeple, the candy-pink cathedral was built for the city’s French residents in 1923. Today it serves a Catholic community of 4000. If you arrive late for Mass, you’ll have to stand.

3. The Han River Bridge
During the day, this bridge transports tourists to the beach. But at night, traffic is stopped and the bridge is lit up. Stroll along the riverside promenade, the center of Danang culture and nightlife, and admire the first swinging bridge to be built in Vietnam.

4. Son Tra Peninsula
You can see Son Tra Mountain from anywhere in the city, but it’s worth making the short 10km trip to the peninsula, a protected forest and natural preservation area famous for its wide variety of plants and wildlife. Legend has it that fairies used to come here to sing, dance and play chess, so Son Tra is also called Tien Sa (“Fairies’ Landing Place”). From the top of the mountain, you can see the city and the Marble Mountains.

5. Nui Son Tra (Monkey Mountain)
Overlooking Danang to the south and the Hai Van Pass to the north, this mountain was a key communications base during the American War. Today it’s still largely undeveloped except for the port on the eastern tip. Jutting out into the sea like a giant pair of Mickey Mouse ears, the mountain was nicknamed Monkey by American soldiers. The view from the summit on a clear day is breathtaking.

6. Non Nuoc Beach
Promoted locally as “new China Beach”, this broad stretch of sand is far enough from Danang that it offers an escape from the tourist hordes. Relax at the four-star Sandy Beach Resort or at the more budget-friendly Hoa’s Place, a laid back guesthouse where many guests stay for months.

7. Marble Mountains
With pagodas at their top, these marble crags present a magnificent sight. Each mountain is named for a natural element: Thuy Son (Water), Moc Son (Wood), Hoa Son (Fire), Kim Son (Metal or Gold) and Tho Son (Earth). The villages at the base of the mountains specialise in marble sculpture, though they now use marble from China rather than exploiting the mountains themselves. Thuy Son is the largest and most famous of the five mountains, with several natural caves that contain Hindu and Buddhist sanctuaries.

8. Ba Na Hill Station
High in the mountains, Ba Na Hill Station was first built up by the French in the 1920s as a cool summer escape. Within two decades, the resort was abandoned. Today, much of the area is covered in dense forest growth. Some of the old French villas have been converted into guesthouses and restaurants and a cable car brings locals up to admire the lights of the city below.

9. Lang Co Beach
The bridge spanning the lagoon was the Viet Minh bomb squads’ first target in 1947, but there’s more to this area than ruined piles. Tucked away among coconut palms lies Lang Co village, a popular lunch stop on the road between Danang and Hué, though a quick swim may be marred by heaps of trash.

10. My Khe Beach
In the early morning and evening, the beach fills up with locals doing t’ai chi, while tourists come to suntan during the afternoon and young couples take over the chairs after dark. American servicemen knew this area of China Beach well, and some parts remain a bit sleazy.

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