Photo by Leonid Serebrennikov/age fotostock
The country’s third-largest city, and the largest in central Vietnam, Da Nang has become one of the country’s key ports thanks to its location on both the coast and the Han River estuary. The city itself is a typical bustling Vietnamese metropolis with relentless scooter traffic, but a number of attractions make visiting worthwhile. The town's Dragon Bridge opened in 2013, but what makes it special is that every weekend evening the steel-arch dragon that forms a part of the structure spits out real fire from its head (the bridge is closed to traffic at the time, allowing crowds to see the spectacle up close). The Marble Mountains—five hills that seem to have just sprouted up in the south of the city—are an arresting sight. The Son Tra peninsula, with a marquee attraction known as Monkey Mountain, offers some good hiking and excellent sea and city views; you’ll also find the 220-feet-tall, gleaming-white Goddess of Mercy statue here. The sandy stretch east of the city center (given the nickname China Beach by American soldiers during the war) is crowded with restaurants, bars, and some seaside hotels.
By Sanjay Surana, AFAR Contributor
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