We visit Da Nang a few times over the course of our final week in Vietnam. Firstly as an evening out and a day trip while we are staying in Hoi An, and we then stay two nights in Da Nang before our flight home. I like Da Nang. It is equal parts fishing village, beachside tourist resort town and commercial city.
Every weekend at 9pm the dragon bridge breaths fire. We’re staying in Hoi An on a Sunday night so make the 70km return motorbike ride to see the spectacle. And what a spectacle it is. The brightly lit dragon spans the entire river, reflecting brightly on the still black waters. There are scooters and people everywhere, everyone scouting out the best vantage point. It’s shoulder to shoulder people but festive and good natured. And then, at the scheduled time the dragon breaths blasts of fire. Great balls of flame and smoke hurtle through the air to a chorus of oohs and aahs.
Da Nang Beach
Towering high rise resorts line the Da Nang Beach road. Most of the tourists here appear to be from Korea and Japan, rather than the West. Heads bob in the clear blue water from dawn to dusk. White sandy beaches with palm frond umbrellas shading deck chairs complete the holiday atmosphere. We aren’t beach people but if we were, it’d be a great place to take a dip.
In contrast to the luxurious beach resorts, Da Nang Bay and the northern corner of Da Nang Beach have a more traditional feel. Blue wooden fishing boats are anchored and moored in every available patch of water. In the mornings fishermen can be seen taking their catches ashore in round basket boats for the market ladies to sell, either right there on the side of the road or in Da Nang’s many markets.
We watch two movies in Da Nang: one at each CGV cinema. The first is Baby Driver. We’ve ridden up for the day to escsape Hoi An. The second is Spiderman, which we watch one night while staying in Da Nang. Both movies are excellent and the cinemas of the excellent quality we have come to expect in South East Asia. A quality far superior than our cinemas at home.
On our final day in Vietnam we have a few hours free before our flight. The heads at the northern end of Da Nang Beach have been calling me since we first arrived here a week ago. We join the other joy riders out on this beautiful road. There are many places to glimpse the sea through the jungle that is growing quickly on the seaward side. One lady is selling cold drinks at a shaded stall. We sit at her table and chairs for a while enjoying our final view of Vietnam.