Da Nang is increasingly becoming a travel hotspot in Southeast Asia. Located midway between Hanoi and Saigon, this Vietnamese city is geographically blessed with a river and sea front, with mountains in the backdrop. It wasn’t that long ago that travellers bypassed Da Nang on the way to and from Hoi An. Nowadays Da Nang has become a destination in itself.
As with the rest of my “Where To Stay” series, this post highlights the best areas to stay for first timers to help make the most of your stay. This post deals exclusively with Da Nang, so it doesn’t include Hoi An.
The hardest part about picking where to stay in Da Nang is whether to stay by the river or by the sea. I’ve been to Da Nang several times now, and on longer stays I’ve split my time between the two as I like both areas. If you are pushed for time though, this guide will hopefully help you decide which area to stay in.
If you’re ready to book now then start your search for hotels in Da Nang.
Da Nang Map
The areas referenced in this guide are shown on this map.
City Centre / Downtown Da Nang
The Downtown / City Centre area of Hai Chau District is the area between the Han River and the airport. This is the business and administrative area of the city, and it feels like a normal city compared to the beach. It’s where the best street food and restaurants are, and more variety of clubs and bars.
To make your trip more interesting, stay as close as possible to the river between the Han River Bridge and the Dragon Bridge. Don’t bother staying on the other side of the river if it’s your first time in Da Nang.
The Han Market (Cho Han) is the central point of action along the riverfront. Near the market are travel agents for long distance bus tickets, trains, and tours. The riverfront north of the Han River Bridge is also good if you prefer name-brand luxury hotels.
Search for hotels in Da Nang City Centre.
There isn’t a backpacker street like Pham Ngu Lau in Saigon, but a number of hostels have sprung up around the Han Market to cater for increasing backpacker demand.
The Vietnam Hostel is a modern designer hostel that has heralded a new era of backpacker accommodation in Da Nang.
There’s lots of budget options in the city area to choose from. I stayed at the Evelyn Hotel, which is a basic budget hotel near the river. 2-star hotels like Vanilla Hotel Da Nang and Fulmar Hotel Danang are typical examples of what good value hotels in Vietnam are like.
On the north side of the Han River Bridge is the distinctive Da Nang City People’s Committee, and around there a cluster of new towers are emerging. On the Bach Dang riverfront is the Hilton Da Nang and the Novotel Danang Premier Han River.
Beachside / My Khe Beach
It’s on the beachfront you’ll get a glimpse of where future Da Nang is heading. It’s been on the ascent for years, but you could say it made the big time when it made the New York Times list of 52 Places To Go In 2019, where it was described as the “Miami of Vietnam”. That may seem like an incredulous statement, but when you see the emerging skyline on Vo Nguyen Giap (the beachfront boulevard) the comparison makes sense.
[Beachfront hotels on Vo Nguyen Giap.]
The beach starts at the Son Tra Peninsula and goes all the way down to Hoi An. Eventually this beach will be lined with resorts, which is evident as you drive down the coast with all the construction going on. Who knows, maybe in the future people will refer to Miami as the Da Nang of America.
My Khe Beach stretches from the Son Tra Peninsula to the Marble Mountains, forming the seaside boundary of Son Tra District. It’s a long and wide stretch of soft, sandy beach that is regularly listed on “best beaches in the world” listicles. Once you walk along here it’s easy to see why it’s becoming such a popular tourism destination. Da Nang has now become a major destination for South Koreans and Chinese, which makes sense when you consider that it’s the closest big tropical city with a beach. Increasingly, Australians are discovering Da Nang, and I suspect it will only be a matter of time before the first direct Jetstar flights from Australia will arrive.
During the war the biggest US base was in Da Nang, and the beach was a recreational area for US troops where it was known as China Beach. That was the American name, and there was a TV show in the late eighties that kept the name alive. Given the sensitivity of current land and sea disputes between China and Vietnam, you would do well to not refer to it as China Beach (as I have seen it described by some blogs). The government even threatened to close Vietnamese sites that use the name.
In the 1990’s when when the country was opening up again, the beach was a popular backpacker area with cheap guesthouses by the seafront. When I first visited, half of the beach front was empty lots or had temporary seafood restaurants on land waiting to be developed. Those days have long gone as the beachfront is now more resembling the Gold Coast in Australia.
As for where to stay on the beachside, anywhere along Vo Nguyen Giap has good beaches. The northern section of the beach road is Hoang Sa, and along here is the Man Thai fishing village. It’s still a working fishing area, so it comes with the smells that go with it.
If you want a beachfront hotel then anything on or near Vo Nguyen Giap from Nguyen Huy Chuong down to Phan Tu is good. Like any beach resort destination, the further inland you go the cheaper it gets. You don’t have to go far inland though to get a good deal. I was 5 minutes walk from the beach for this budget hotel.
The thing with the beach area though is that it’s still developing, so it doesn’t have a wide variety of food and entertainment options yet. Most of the food options are seafood emporiums that are catering for large tour groups. I believe it will become a Miami/Gold Coast of Vietnam, with all the food and entertainment options that goes with it. There is even talk of a metro and light rail servicing the area, so it’s going to be a big city by the beach. For now though it still has a way to go.
With the beach area still in development phase the central point/centre-of-gravity of the beach area hasn’t truly formed yet, but a contender will be Times Square Da Nang at the corner of Pham Van Dong and Vo Nguyen Giap. This is opposite the East Sea Park, which is the area where festivals and musical events on the beach are held.
Times Square Da Nang is a two-tower condotel reaching 199 metres, and it will also feature a shopping mall (a facility lacking in this area). This is one of the biggest projects in Da Nang (and there are many).
In this guide I haven’t listed the cheapest hotels in Da Nang, as the prices change depending on special offers by hotels and booking agents. For example, I stayed a couple of streets behind A La Carte at a new hotel for $10 a night! Here is my review of a cheap beach hotel in Da Nang.
For the best neighbourhood vibes, the area Between Nguyen Van Thoai and Phan Tu is good. This is My An Ward, which is becoming a popular expat and digital nomad area with monthly apartment rentals. This area also has some of the best cafes in Da Nang. This post is primarily for short-term visitors, so I will save a where to stay in Da Nang for digital nomads later.
The 4-star Holiday Beach Danang Hotel & Resort is the landmark beachfront hotel in the My An Ward area, and there are a cluster of budget hotels inland around the Avatar Hotel (a 4-star hotel with swimming pool).
Along the top half of My Khe Beach the hotels are on the city side of the road. The Temple Resort Experience Danang is the only hotel on the actual beach, but it will be joined by others soon.
The Resort Coast
The resort coast (as I call it) is the section of the beach where the beach road of Vo Nguyen Giap goes inland and the big resorts get the beachfront instead. This section of the beach is in Ngu Hanh Son District, the southern district of Da Nang. It includes My An Ward at the top and continues down until it reaches Quang Nam Province, which begins the Hoi An section of the beach.
The beach from Son Tra in Da Nang to Cua Dai in Hoi An is about 28km in length. At the current rate of development, the whole coastline down to Hoi An will be a continuous stretch of hotels, and it may be referred to as Greater Da Nang. For the purpose of this guide, I’ll keep everything in Da Nang and do a separate post for Hoi An.
The “resort coast” starts from Premier Village Danang Resort in the north, down to Cocobay Resort at the southern border of Da Nang. Midway down this section is the Marble Mountains. South of the Marble Mountains the beach continues as Non Nuoc Beach.
If you are familiar with these kinds of resorts you will know they are vast properties and not really walkable to local amenities. I would recommend staying along here if you have an allegiance to a hotel brand, or you specifically want a luxury resort holiday and aren’t concerned about having easy access to urban life beyond the resort perimeter.
The best-located resort along here is Premier Village Danang Resort, which is close enough to the action of My An while being a fully-fledged resort.
Pullman Danang Beach Resort is also located close enough to the action to be a walkable resort.
Opposite the Marble Mountains is Vinpearl Luxury Da Nang (a Vietnamese luxury hotel brand), and as previously mentioned, the city limit is at Cocobay Da Nang. You might have seen the shuttle bus around town, or advertising at the airport.
It’s also been in local magazines with Ronaldo being an investor (or paid advertiser). This is a new resort that was still under construction when I visited, and it appears to be appealing to local holiday makers and package holiday visitors from East Asia.
[Garden at Cocobay Da Nang.]
There were plans for a 200-metre twin tower hotel, but there has been some issues with illegal construction at the resort – a problem that seems to go hand-in-hand with big coastal developments around the world.
Son Tra Peninsula
[Da Nang view from Son Tra Peninsula.]
The Son Tra Peninsula is the green headland that marks the northern end of the beach. Its most visible landmark is the Lady Buddha statue, which can be seen halfway down the coast. There were plans to develop the peninsula, but so far it remains as a conservation area. Hopefully it stays that way. If you want to stay here there are two resorts to choose from, and like the resort coast it’s best for those wanting luxurious seclusion rather than experiencing life in Da Nang.
The InterContinental Danang Sun Peninsula Resort is a 5-star luxury resort tucked away on the northern side of the peninsula
The Son Tra Resort is another 5-star resort that has it’s own little beach that overlooks the bay towards the city.
As Da Nang is changing so fast I’ll be updating this post regularly to add any new notable hotels. hotels in Da Nang.