Photo: Evening in Hoi An's old town.

Da Nang is Vietnam’s fastest growing city, a sprawling metropolis of modern high rise mixed with a sprinkling of French colonial architecture lounging between the Bach Dang river and My Ke, one of the longest stretches of beach in Vietnam. It’s very much a Vietnamese city — as bewildering and as it is beguiling, and not for the faint-hearted. If you are one of those travellers who likes to explore, then Da Nang really is worthy of at least a day trip from Hoi An. Here are your options for how to get there.

Misty mornings. The view of Da Nang from the top of Heavens cave on Marble Mountain.

View of Da Nang from the Marble Mountain.

If you are really confident on a motorbike then it’s a good option, and a good way of getting from A to B in the city’s manic streets. It’s a 30 kilometre drive along the coastal road, giving you the option of a stop at the majestic but rather kitch Marble Mountain. It’s certainly worth a stop even if it’s just so you can get your bearings of the city from one of the highest viewpoints on the coast. Once you hit coastal Da Nang, take a left by the Furama Resort and go straight across the roundabout and over the bridge to the heart of the action.

If you are comfortable zipping around Ho Chi Minh then you should just about be alright. Be warned that you are not ambling around country roads here; it’s fast paced and can be dangerous if you are not sure where you are going. There are also a lot of police checks so dress correctly and always wear your helmet.

The 18,000vnd local bus.

The 18,000 VND local bus.

Another option is to get the local bus and at 18,000 VND each way it’s almost the cheapest one. Buses leave from the station just off Le Hong Phong – a 15-minute walk from town — every half hour or so, and drop you off at the main bus station on the outskirts of Da Nang about 45 minutes later. Return buses run until 18:00 so bear that in mind if you want to get back in a day. A few drivers are known for charging a little more for foreigners, so a good tip is to have the exact money ready, hand it over and take your seat. If you have any problems the price is advertised just inside the door so point that out and you’ll be fine.

Easier to track down than the free Big C bus.

Easier to track down than the free Big C bus.

Free buses leave from various points on the outskirts of town. Ask at your hotel for the nearest one to you. They drop you off right outside Da Nang’s Big C, which is well located in the centre of town. These leave around 08:30 and return once the bus is full, so take advantage of it for a one-way if you plan on ambling around the city for the day. Look out for the big green bus with Big C on the side.

To hire an air-conditioned car and driver for a day will set you back about 500-700,000 VND. If you can get enough people together and have some kind of itinerary then this is your best option as Da Nang is a big city that is hard to negotiate. Your driver will happily wait as long as you need, but do remember to give him enough time at some point to grab himself a bowl of noodles along the way.

If you need to get to Da Nang for onward travel by either plane or train, the local bus is doable but you will need to make separate arrangements from the city bus station, which adds on both time and money. One way by car will cost you 200 to 250,000 VND or you could get Go Travel’s shuttle bus service, which leaves from town several times a day and costs just 80,000 VND, dropping off at both the train station and airport.

There is a free map that you can pick up at the airport or in town from Go Travel called Tic — do get one as you will use it!

Local bus station, Hoi An
Le Hong Thuong St

Local bus station, Da Nang
Truong Chin St

Go Travel Mini Bus
61A Phan Chau Trinh St, Hoi An
T: (84) 0510 3929 115


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