Guidebook A city that’s finding its place in the world


A city that’s finding its place in the world

Da Nang is growing rapidly as it redefines itself “from transit hub to destination,” says Madeline Burch at Departful. With the imperial city of Hue a two hour drive north, and the “cultural gem” of Hoi An 40 minutes south, Da Nang -- “though boasting a few temples and government buildings, some modern bridges and the beautiful Marble Mountains nearby” -- is “left somewhere in an awkward middle ground.”

“Vietnam’s third largest metropolis has a charm all of its own,” writes David Challenger at Escape. “It’s a cosmopolitan city that offers great restaurants and cafes, a unique museum, brilliant nearby beaches, and a CBD that partly straddles the mighty Han River … not to mention those magnificent neon-lit bridges that dazzle at night.” And for those who know what to do in Da Nang, says Nomadasaurus, “this hip and thriving Vietnamese city proves to have a lot going for it,” and “definitely deserves catching some of your time.”

Da Nang became “the largest commercial port in the region,” explains Nomadasaurus. From the 16th century it grew “in size and importance from being a small trading port to becoming a large shipbuilding site in the 19th century.” It was where the French “first landed to conquer the country,” and was the “first place that Europeans arrived in Vietnam, when the Portuguese explorer António de Faria anchored off the coast in 1535.” Then came the American War -- “in 1965 the US military arrived and began building air and army bases around the area.”

“The ghosts of a conflict that killed an estimated 58,000 Americans and 3 million Vietnamese have not entirely vanished,” observes Mike Ives in The New York Times. “Museums in Da Nang display leftover bombs and tanks, and some residents suffer from leukemia and other illnesses that the Vietnamese Communist Party says are linked to dioxin from Agent Orange.” But, he writes, the city is “looking to the future,” with bridge construction, a refurbished airport and “flights to major destinations in the region.” The city streets are “lined with international quality dining and drinking options and it’s not just the foreign presence that can be felt, but a more modern, exciting local scene has emerged comfortably alongside as well,” notes Travelfish.

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