Why go to Danang
Though the overwhelming majority of tourists who pass through Danang are actually heading to Hoi An, step by step Danang is becoming a destination of its own. Vietnam’s third most important city after Hanoi and Saigon, Danang is getting more and more gentrified. Coasts lined with resorts and hotels and exciting international dining scene attract quite a few Asian tourists and Westerners are starting to include Danang into their travel itinerary, too. There is a lot of colonial architecture to be seen in Danang if you venture further inland from the seaside, and foodies will definitely appreciate thriving street food scene. Many visitors say that people in Danang are among the most hospitable people in the whole country, and it looks like it is the right time to explore this destination by yourself before it is flooded with package tourists from around the world.
From Nha Trang to Danang
The road distance from Nha Trang to Danang is about 520 km. Travelling overland either by bus or train will take you around 10 hours. You have more choices with trains but tourist buses are usually cheaper with their departure and arrival points located closer to the most tourist areas.
From Nha Trang to Danang by train
Currently there is a choice of at least five trains for travelling from Nha Trang to Danang. All of them are passing through trains on their route from Saigon to Hanoi. During peak tourist periods additional seasonal trains ply the same route. These are marked from SE21 to SE24. Schedule-wise they are often the most convenient ones for travelling from Nha Trang to Danang: e.g. check SE22, leaving Nha Trang at 7.55pm and arriving to Danang at 6.15am the next morning. They may also have private cars attached. SE22, for instance, features a Livitrans Express car which is a much more comfortable and hasslefree way to travel, though a costlier one – a berth in a VIP sleeper for four passengers will cost you about USD40, compared to USD30 for a first class sleeper and USD25 for a second class sleeper in an ordinary car.
Arguably the best option is the night train TN2 at 9.30pm from Nha Trang reaching Danang at 8.35am. Note that it has no first class sleeping cars; only seats and second class sleepers (USD16 and USD22 respectively).
From Nha Trang to Danang by bus
It is possible to get from Nha Trang to Hoi An and further to Danang by tourist bus. Several companies including The Sinh Tourist offer this service. Note that not all the companies providing direct buses from Nha Trang to Danang enjoy great reputation. It may prove a better idea to use a reliable operator to get from Nha Trang to Hoi An (VND300.000/USD14; 11 hours) first and then change to a local bus or take a train [from Hoi An to Danang](/en/travel/ hoi-an-sinh/danang) (VND/USD4; one hour). Local buses connect Nha Trang with Danang, too, and cost about 20% less than tourist buses.
Note Possibly the most convenient thing about taking a tourist bus from Nha Trang to Hoi An or Danang is that normally these buses pick up their passengers in the most popular tourist areas. That means you do not need to get to the ordinary bus station or railway station first. It is especially convenient if you have heavy luggage.
Tip: For those who wish to travel from Hoi An to Danang with greater comfort, DTW Charter offers taxi service priced between USD20 and USD30 depending on the type of the vehicle (Toyota Innova for three pax or Ford Transit for 7 pax) any time of the day.
From Nha Trang to Danang by plane
Airplane can whisk you from Nha Trang to Danang in sheer 1½ hour, which is definitely good news. Unfortunately, the leading local low cost airline, VietJet Air, does not serve the route, and this is bad news. If you are lucky enough, though, you can catch a deal with the national flag carrier, Vietnam Airlines, for about USD50 one-way. Currently there are two morning flights from Nha Trang to Danang, at 6.05am and 10.55am.
In Nha Trang, the airport is located 30 km south of the city. You can get there by taxi (from VND250.000 to 350.000/~USD15; book with your accommodation) or by airport minibus which departs from Cam Ranh airport bus station in the southern end of Than Phu (USD3). Leave at least one hour to get to the airport from there.
In Danang, the airport is right in the centre of the city. From there it is only about three km to Bach Dang and Than Phu area, which form the epicentre of tourist life in the city.
Getting around in Danang
Danang is a big city; and if you are not going to limit yourself with Bach Dang and Tran Phu area, you will need wheels. Motorbikes are rented out by many hotels and rental shops in Danang. Expect to pay about USD5-USD6 (VDN120.000) per day. Motorbike is definitely the most convenient way to get around in Danang, but strictly speaking it is illegal to ride one without a valid Vietnam driving licence, though this is widely ignored unless you are involved into an accident. Compared to Hanoi or Saigon, traffic in Danang is moderate, so riding a motorbike is relatively comfortable.
There are metered taxis in Danang, and motorbike taxis are also available if you do not want to rent a vehicle. Both are wonderfully affordable.
Where to stay in Danang
For those who want stay close to restaurants and nightlife, the best areas to look for accommodation are Bach Dang, which faces the river, and Tran Phu, which runs parallel to the riverfront and is slightly cheaper. There is a good choice of reasonably priced mid-ranged hotels (about USD25) there. If you are looking for cheaper deals, check the eastern bank of the River where Tran Hung Dao Street hosts a collection of smaller hotels selling their rooms at about USD15. Neither western nor eastern bank digs are close to the beach, but both boast great river views.
If beach is your thing, choose one of the three beach areas. The most popular beach in Danang is My Khe Beach, also known as China Beach. To reach it, cross the river over the Dragon bridge (Cau Rong), which is rather spectacular – especially at night. To the north of My Khe lies Pham Van Dong, and to the south – Holiday Beach (or Ngu Hahn Son area) popular with surfers thanks to all season high waves; it arguably has the best beach and the vibe of the whole area. The accommodation close to the beach is predictably pricier or – if you need to stay on a budget – be ready to get a cramped windowless room a couple of blocks from the seaside: these are usually filled up by locals during weekends.
Things to do in Danang
Danang is not home to many high profile sights but if you find yourself in the region, there are a couple of things definitely not to be missed. The first one is the Cham Museum which was established under the patronage of the l'École française d'Extrême-Orient. The rooms of the museum host over 400 pieces attributed to Champa Kingdom, which dates back to as early as the 2nd century AC. It is the largest collection of the kind in the world, and even those who prefer to hunt for ancient artifacts not in museum showcases but ‘in the wild’ will be impressed.
The second one is the Marble Mountains in Ngu Hanh Son District. The five mountains bear the names of the five elements and are cut through by a number of tunnels opening to cave sanctuaries, grottoes and chambers some of which contain stone images of Hindu and Buddhist deities. Climb the mount Thuy Son for a panoramic view of the area.
Your onward travel from Danang
From Danang to Hoi An
A historic town of Hoi An, which attracts a lion’s share of tourists passing through Danang, has no train station of its own. To get to Hoi An from Danang, take a taxi, a local bus or a minivan. The distance between Danang and Hoi An is about 30 km, and your trip is going to last from 45 minutes to one hour. Taxis are very affordable – a ride from Danang to Hoi An should not cost more than USD15 for a small vehicle and under USD30 for a bigger one, accommodating up to nine passengers. Local buses are dirt-cheap and cost less than USD1. Tourist buses cost more (USD6; The Sinh Tourist), but may be convenient as they pick up passengers in Bach Dang area in Danang and call to the centrally located Sinh Cafe in Hai Ba Trung Road in Hoi An.
From Danang to Lang Co
Lang Co is an easy day trip from Danang. It offers a beautiful stretch of sand fringed with palm trees bordered by a lagoon on one side and the sea on the other one. You can take a train from Danang to Lang Co – the trip will last 1½ hour. For a day in Lang Co, consider one of the morning trains, e.g. SE22 or SE2, leaving Danang at 6.30am and 8.35am respectively. Seats cost USD4 (VND90.000). A more expensive but very picturesque way to get from Danang to Lang Co is to get a taxi. Ask your driver to go via Hai Van Pass and enjoy the scenery. It is the old highway, which was used prior to the new tunnel. If you have not visited Bach Ma National Park yet, you can do it from Lang Co.
From Danang to Hue and further north
There is a good choice of trains from Danang to Hue and further north throughout the day. Travel time to Hue by train is 3½ hours with seats in a second class AC car sold from VND125.00 (USD6); berths in sleeping cars go a bit higher (USD8), but it makes more sense to opt for a seat as the journey is not long.
Sleeping cars tickets [to Hanoi}(/en/travel/da-nang/hanoi) start from VND730.000/USD33 (second class sleeper) and up to VND970.000/USD50 (first class sleeper) – always check that you are buying a sleeper, not a seats-only ticket as it takes from 16 to 18 hours to get to Hanoi from Danang – a bit too long to spend the whole journey on your lower back! Private companies (Violette Express or Livitrans Express) charge more – a berth in a VIP sleeper sets you USD90 back. Both companies have their cars attached to SE2 train, which calls to Danang at 12.45pm and reaches the capital early the next morning at 4.50am.