Da Nang is a nice city near Hue in central Vietnam.
Thanks to tourism-oriented political decisions, beautiful beaches and a relatively clean environment, Da Nang is developing into a world-class city while retaining it's cultural charme. While in the center of Vietnam's fifth largest city highrise buildings and an abundance of casino palaces grow like mushrooms, traditional markets are still present.
While Da Nang is home to some of the most developed branches of industry in Vietnam, the surrounding areas are full of natural wonders and ancient sites. The French imperialists started their Vietnam campaign right here and Da Nang also worked as a major sea port and airplane hub during the American War.
The city itself has been founded during the reign of the Champa kingdom in the 2nd century. While Champa is history, the Cham Museum funded by the Cham community is an amazing window to the past of the area. The museum has over 300 artifacts on exhibit, covering the main period of Champa supremacy in the 5th century until the demise of the empire in the 15th century. The building itself is an interesting fusion of French colonial style with traditional Cham elements.
Bana Hill, a former French hill station in Da Nang has been converted into a tourism paradise with hotels, restaurants, sightseeing opporunities and a fantasy park for the kids. The beautiful beaches of the area offer long stretches of light-coloured sand and opportunities to swim or watch the colourful fishing fleet.
My Khe Beach, also referred to as China Beach is the best strip of sand in the city, and while luxury resorts partially block you from just waltzing directly onto the beach, cheaper hotels in the 2nd row are often worth the detour. Generally with its beachfront hotels and seafood restaurants China Beach is a great place to hang out.
The rapid and sustainable development of tourism in this area lets hotels, resorts and restaurants spring up along the seaside and Da Nang may soon rival Nha Trang and other prime holiday destinations in Vietnam.
From My Khe Beach about eight kilometres to the South, you find Vietnam's hub of marble sculpting and artistry. The five mountains, Ngu Hanh Son or Marble Mountains in English have two main sources of income: Stone carving and tourism. The mountains are named after the traditional five elements:
The mountains are accessible via stairs or an elevator. Between the caves and temples you may find ancient places of worship, Buddha statues and even relics of Hindu gods from ancient Champa. From one of the peaks on Thuy Son, accessible either by climbing through a cave or walking up some stairs, the Viet Minh, hidden in the cave systems had an excellent view on the airport of Da Nang, providing their officers with exact information of arrivals and departures during the war.
North of Da Nang, the Hai Van or Cloud Pass provides a route to the imperial city of Hue. If you are careful and watch out for mad truckers, a mountainbike tour over the Hai Van Pass is a scenic option for adventure travelers.
Another landmark that should not be missed are the Cham Islands. Plastic bags are banned from there and food is wrapped in banana leaves, bamboo or old newspapers. A decision I would wish for entire of Vietnam to get a foothold.
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