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Vietnam
Sunday, June 7, 2020

Da Nang

With broad beaches, fantastic street food, the fabled Hai Van Pass, and a growing collection of cafes, restaurants, and bars, it’s no wonder the residents of Da Nang sport some of the broadest smiles in the country. Da Nang is a true beach city. The warm sands of My Khe Beach sweep south from the mountainous Son Tra Peninsula. Da Nang hosts some of Vietnam's top luxury resorts, but much of the beach still belongs to the people who make it their playground, gym, and source of livelihood.

Quan Com Hue Ngon

Quan Com Hue Ngon is a prominent local haunt in Da Nang City Centre, serving an array of authentic Vietnamese BBQ dishes at affordable prices. This fuss-free restaurant is fitted with minimal décor, and low wooden furnishings as well as a small stove set next every table, where you can grill your choice of marinated meat or seafood according to your preference. Portions served are also relatively small for western standards, allowing diners to enjoy a variety of dishes. The staff may not be fluent in English, but service is very quick and friendly with English-written menus provided for foreign tourists.
Pool House at Hyatt Regency Danang Resort and Spa is a daytime dining venue that serves authentic Vietnamese and Thai snacks, western comfort food and local desserts as well as seafood buffets on Fridays. It is set adjacent to the resort’s main swimming pool, with indoor and outdoor dining sections that are fitted with cushioned seats, lit candles, patio umbrellas, and floor-to-ceiling glass panels overlooking the tranquil Nun Nuoc Beach. Non-hotel guests are welcome to enjoy the quiet sophistication and impeccable service too. Highly recommended regional dishes at Pool House Da Nang include fresh rice spring rolls (VND 145,000), mi quang (VND 265,000), cao lau (VND 195,000), and Hoi An chicken rice (VND 185,000). Western favourites are priced at VND 195,000 onwards, featuring club sandwiches, Wagyu hamburger, and fish burger, each of which comes with a side of French Fries. The kitchen closes at 18:00 every day except Friday.
La Maison 1888 offers exquisite French fine-dining within the luxurious InterContinental Danang Sun Peninsula Resort. It’s also hailed as the first restaurant in Vietnam that hosts a Michelin-starred chef, with renowned Chef Pierre Gagnaire creating the menu and personally visiting several times a year to produce an extensive menu of French fusion cuisine in his inimitable style. Its white-and-black interior design is inspired by a colonial French mansion, featuring high stucco ceilings, glittering chandeliers, and numerous vases of fresh flowers. There are also several themed private rooms within the restaurant while an expansive terrace offers expansive views of the beach resort, Bai Bac Beach, and East Sea.
With their roots dating back as far as 192 AD, Vietnam's indigenous Cham people lived an Indian way of life in both culture and language. The Cham Museum in Danang is dedicated to this period and the Champa existence which began predominantly in the coastal areas of Vietnam. Housing the largest exhibition of Cham sculpture in the world, the museum displays almost 300 terracotta and stone works of art ranging from the 7th to the 15th centuries. Many of the exhibits are considered masterpieces of their field showcased according to the region in which they were found with a total of ten separate interior exhibition rooms. All of the sculptures on display fall into one of the following sections – icon, pedestal, pediment, or fragment, with the area in which they were found determining where they are exhibited. When you've finished browsing the internal creations, step outside to appreciate the building itself carefully crafted with objects of worship including idols and holy animals surrounded by flowers, leaves and turrets all symbols of Hinduism.
Son Tra (Monkey) Mountain is a breath-taking national park in Da Nang that stands 693 metres above sea level. It’s a 35-minute drive from Da Nang, making it a popular retreat amongst locals and travellers looking to escape the heat and busy traffic of the city. Locally known as the Son Tra Peninsula, the verdant mountain is also surrounded by pristine beaches such as Bai Bac, Bai Nam, Bai But, and Tien Sa Beach. Monkey Mountain was a prominent observation base during the American-Vietnam War, housing two radar domes that are now taken over by the Vietnamese military as well as a helicopter pad, which makes for a cool lookout point.

Phap Lam Pagoda

Phap Lam Pagoda is a two-storey temple in Da Nang City Centre, featuring towering trees, manicured gardens, and intricate Buddhist sculptures. Formerly known as Tinh Hoi Pagoda (until renamed as Phap Lam Pagoda), it was built in 1934 along Ong Ich Khiem Street, where Con Market is just a five-minute stroll away.   Despite its location within the bustling Da Nang city centre, the atmosphere here is very serene and peaceful. You can see locals praying in the morning or getting their fortunes told while the resident monks go about their daily lives. As with any Buddhist temple in Vietnam, Phap Lam Pagoda gets packed with devotees during annual festivities such as Tet and Lunar New Year.

Non Nuoc Beach

Non Nuoc Beach in Da Nang takes up five kilometres of Hoa Hai Ward’s coastline, featuring soft white sands, a gentle slope, unpolluted waters and mild waves all year long. Widely regarded as one of the most beautiful beaches in the world, visitors can do plenty of sightseeing and leisure activities whilst enjoying local seafood dishes at its many beachfront restaurants. If you’re looking to surf during your holiday in Da Nang, the best time to visit Non Nuoc Beach is between the months of April and September, when the wave angles are optimum and average water temperatures of 25°C and 28°C. There are also surf and stand-up paddling lessons available for inexperienced visitors.
Considered to be Vietnam's most picturesque beach, the white sandy 20-mile stretch of My Khe Beach was named by the American troops who visited during the Vietnam War for R&R. It offers excellent surfing from September just off the shores of Danang. There are also a number of high-end resorts within the vicinity should you be in need of pampering with most offering a rich choice of treatments at their spas and a range of dining options. Sunbathing and surfing aside, there are a host of historical sites situated close by including the port of Hoi An which is only 10 minutes away by bus and offers wonderfully preserved merchant houses and small alleyways to explore. Hoi An is also a superb place to get anything you desire tailor made usually within 12 hours, and while you wait it’s definitely recommended that you try some local delights including very fresh shrimp pancakes.
The Marble Mountains are a cluster of five hills made from limestone and marble in Da Nang. It's also a well-known pilgrimage site with peaks, caves, tunnels and temples all just waiting to be discovered. Named after the elements metal, wood, water, fire and earth, Marble Mountains exist in a coastal area that is renowned for stone-cutting and sculpture about 9km south of Da Nang. The caves within the mountains hold many secrets including bullet holes from when troops used to spy on the US soldiers relaxing on My Khe Beach below and buildings standing within the caves and grottoes. There are also Buddhist sanctuaries and places of worship dotted across the mountains which are a much-visited spiritual site. You can even see a special circular cave here. It leads to the summit, where you can enjoy spectacular panoramic views.

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