Da Nang should be in your plan when you visit Vietnam, maybe even on the top of your list depending on the season. It is a beautiful coastal city where you can go for a swim in one of the most attractive beaches in the planet (according to Forbes). Not only that but there are so many other things to see – the historical My Son temples (Angkor Wat of Vietnam), the Marble Mountains, Ba Na Hills, and not to mention tons of trekking activities to do in addition to the chilled-out beach city life.
Hue is slightly north of Da Nang and Hoi An is slightly south. The Hoi An Ancient Town can be reached within 30 minutes and there are tons of things and activities to explore in Hoi An itself – An Bang Beach, Tra Que vegetable village, etc. You can also ride the Hai Van pass to Hue – a beautiful serpentine road with many viewpoints with breathtaking natural scenery. Hue itself has the old citadel, the burial place of the Nguyen lords. So with so much to see and do, when should you visit to experience Da Nang to its fullest? This article will cover that question and so much more – including a one-day itinerary of what to do while you are there, plus tips and tricks. Read on to find out the best time to visit Da Nang.
The geography and weather in Da Nang
Da Nang is the largest city in central Vietnam. The topography of the city consists of beautiful mountains towering the central city from the north and northwest, with beautiful white sandy beaches on the south and southeast sides. Da Nang experiences the monsoon climate, and thus has two distinctive periods: wet and dry season.
Dry season in Da Nang
The dry season in Da Nang occurs from January to September, and these months are hot and humid. The highest average temperature is around 33 to 35 degrees Celsius (91 to 95 degrees Fahrenheit) and the lowest is around 26 degrees Celsius (~79 degrees Fahrenheit). The hottest months of the year fall between June and August.
From January to March is when the weather is perfect. There isn’t much rain and the temperature fluctuates between 19.5 degrees to 27 degrees Celsius (~67 degrees – 80 degrees Fahrenheit). Hence, it is neither too hot and humid nor too cold and wet, which is fantastic. You can spend time doing all sorts of activities – from beaching to trekking, without feeling any extreme temperature. You will be joined by other tourists – foreign and locals alike that are keen to enjoy Da Nang during this time. The temperature continues to rise during April and May, and reaches the peak temperature during “summer” (from June to the end of August). The humidity also adds more discomfort to the situation.
What to wear during the dry season
Shorts and tank tops work well. Vietnam is not too conservative, but when you are going to temples, please be respectful and wear long sleeves. Sweaters are unnecessary but if you do plan on taking those long night buses, you may want one because they are literally moving refrigerators.
Wet season in Da Nang
From October to March is when heavy rainfall occurs. At this time of the year, the rain will come frequently which makes the city much cooler. The average temperature is around 25.5 degrees Celsius (~78 degrees Fahrenheit) and the coolest months are November to January. Unfortunately, this time of the year is the typhoon season. There will be thunderstorms which could cause bad floods so you should check the weather forecast beforehand.
What to wear during the wet season
You don’t need winter coats, but jackets are very useful. A raincoat will also be great but you can buy disposable ones for less than 20,000 VND (almost 1 USD). The weather can still be stuffy during the day so bring a mix of short sleeves and long sleeves and you’re all set!
The best time to travel to Da Nang
If you are able to handle the heat and humidity of tropical weather, dry season is the ideal time for you to visit the coastal city. Because this is when the weather is usually nice with sun and clear sky, and it’s good for outdoor activities. In case the weather is too hot, you can go up to the French Village and Ba Na Hills to “run away” from the heat, refresh yourself with some wind, while enjoying the beautiful scenery. Ba Na Hills is an old French resort modeled to look like a typical French city. It is located on the top of a mountain AND the world’s longest cable car leads you up to it.
Ba Na Hills, an old French colonial resort, is located on the top of a mountain AND the world’s longest cable car leads you up to it.
There is also the My Son Temples – also known as Vietnam’s Angkor Wat. They are a cluster of UNESCO Heritage protected sites leftover from the Champa kingdom that ruled the region centuries ago. The My Son Temples make for a great day escape.
Peak tourist seasons falls at the end of April and at the start of May (during the time Da Nang International Fireworks Festival occurs). This is also “summer time” although let’s be honest, it’s summer all the time. But this is when we recommend that you visit Da Nang. The following section outlines some activities you can do while visiting Da Nang in the dry season.
What to do in Da Nang in dry season
Hiking Ngu Hanh Son Mountains (Marble Mountains)
If you are a morning person, it is a great idea to climb up to Thuong Thai peak (the highest peak of Ngu Hanh Son Mountains – also known as the Marble Mountains) to catch the sunrise and enjoy the magnificent view of Da Nang from up above. There are also many attractions to stop by like the Linh Ung Pagoda, Hoa Nghiem Cave, Huyen Khong Cave and so on. You can catch beautiful views over Da Nang bay from many different viewpoints, so make sure you explore around for a while.
Swimming on My Khe beach
Forbes magazine once rated My Khe as “One of the 6 most attractive beaches on the planet” so spending valuable vacation time on this beach is definitely a MUST! Not only can you swim on the crystal blue beach but you can also order yourself a cocktail from many of the beachside bars, find a chair to lie on and sunbathe for hours or read a book. Get that perfect summer tan! Some water sports are available like kitesurfing and wakeboarding and there are some sports a little further like snorkeling and diving – whatever you do is completely up to you.
Conquering the Hai Van Pass
A day trip to Hue from Da Nang is a great idea. Take the stunning Hai Van pass – I guarantee you views you’ve never seen before in your life. And make sure to do it on a bike! You can book tours or even consider renting your own motorbike.
We recommend you hit up the Onetrip guys and do their Hai Van pass tour as they make multiple stops along the way, so you can make the most out of it. They also know the best viewpoints to stop at and maybe even some hidden ones to avoid tourists. You will feel like a Formula One racer when taking the many hairpin curves, which leads you to the crest of the pass. Along the way, you will see the town and the ocean appear, beautiful as a piece of art. It will surely be an unforgettable memory of your Vietnam trip.
If you want to look into more day trips around Da Nang, check out this Da Nang travel guide.
Wandering around the city
When the weather is not too warm, it is a wonderful time to wander around this lovely city. Especially in the evening, when Da Nang puts on its colorful show of lights. You can go to Han River, enjoy the good scenery and drink some coconut juice. Or alcohol, we don’t judge. After all, it’s the evening. Weekly, on Saturday and Sunday at 9 PM, you can catch the fire and water performance of the Dragon Bridge. The dragon will come to life before you. Try not to get soaked in the water spray!
Even though heavy rain and sudden downpours might cause a down day during your trip and put a dent in your plans, you shouldn’t miss a chance to stop by Da Nang during the wet season. Unless there is a typhoon, the rain won’t last longer than a couple hours and it is likely to happen in the afternoon or evening. Notably, this is the low tourist season so the cost of travel is reduced – for example when it comes to accommodation and food. Isn’t this a highlight point for the budget travelers? Either way, the dry season and wet season both have their advantages. I love sitting alone in a café during the wet season and watching the rain as I sip on a hot cup of coffee and read a book. That is my ideal evening. What is yours? More info on traveling during wet season to follow!
Travel tips for visiting Da Nang during the dry season
Here are some things you should remember when traveling to Da Nang during dry season:
- Stay hydrated: Don’t forget to buy a big bottle of water and carry it with you, especially if you are visiting Da Nang during the dry season. The heat and humidity will make you sweat a lot so you need to prevent dehydration. Make sure to eat well too, to make up for the lost vitamins.
- Apply sunscreen: Even if you want tan skin, you still need to put on sunscreen to protect your skin from the damaging effects of the sun. It can get pretty hot out there and we don’t want you to get sunburnt!
- Wear protective clothes: If you don’t want to get sunburned after five minutes of being outside, you really need long-sleeve shirts/jackets. Oh, and don’t forget a cap or hat for your hair. Sunglasses are a plus too!
- Bring a jacket: the weather during January to March is pretty cool. Sometimes the temperature can drop lower than 20 degrees Celsius (~68 degrees Fahrenheit), so you will need a jacket to keep you warm. It doesn’t have to be a thick winter coat but a suitable windbreaker or jumper will do.
- Book accommodation in advance: in peak season in Da Nang, it will be tricky to find a place to stay (especially during Da Nang International Fireworks Festival). I suggest you visit booking.com, Airbnb or Christina’s Da Nang to reserve a room in advance.
What to do in Da Nang during the wet season
Keep yourself dry in a museum, why not? For those of you who are interested in the past wars of Vietnam, Zone 5 Military Museum is a hub where you can find historical memorabilia collected in the Central Highlands of Vietnam. You can expect to see aircrafts, tanks, and weapons from the French War and American War. If history and wars are something you don’t like, you can also stop at Da Nang Museum for exhibitions about Da Nang’s history and culture or the Cham Museum to admire the world biggest collection of Cham artifacts.
Zone 5 Military Museum x Ho Chi Minh museum
Address: 03 Duy Tan, Hoa Thuan Dong Ward, Hai Chau District, Da Nang City
Opening hours: 8 AM – 5 PM
Ticket price: Free for Vietnamese tourists. 20,000 VND/person, 1 USD for international tourists
Da Nang Museum
Address: 24 Tran Phu, Thach Thang Ward, Hai Chau District, Da Nang City
Opening hours: 8 AM – 5 PM
Entrance ticket: 20,000 VND/person (1 USD)
Address: 2, 2 thang 9 street, Hai Chau District, Da Nang City
Opening hours: 7 AM – 5.30 PM
Entrance ticket: 40,000 VND/person (2 USD)
Take part in a cooking class
If the rain makes your day gray, don’t hesitate to fire it up by enrolling in a cooking class. Because cooking is fun, it is always a good solution for rescuing a boring rainy day. You will also have the opportunity to learn how to cook local food and learn about the cuisine of Vietnam. Then when you go back home, you can throw a reunion party with Vietnamese food to impress your family and friends or make something for yourself when you’re feeling nostalgic. Some cooking classes I recommend are Da Nang Cooking and Da Nang Home Cooking Class.
If you can take a 30-minute ride out of Da Nang and into Tra Que vegetable village in Hoi An – do so! Tra Que is the first organic vegetable village in Vietnam and it is where all the herbs and veggies found in dishes throughout central Vietnam are grown. You can learn to be a farmer there and partake in farming activities and also fishing activities using traditional net traps. And with the ingredients you catch, you can cook food! I suggest trying the Hoi An Village Tour by Onetrip if this sounds exciting to you.
Watching the rain fall from the safety of a coffee shop
If you are looking for some romantic moments to spice up your trip then watching rain fall from coffee shops is a flawless option. There are plenty of coffee shops which have pretty decorations in Da Nang. On a lazy rainy afternoon, why don’t you make it a “do nothing day” by going to a cozy coffee shop, ordering a hot “ca phe sua” and staring at the raindrops out the window or reading the book which you haven’t had a chance to finish. You deserve proper “me time”. Or if you are with your partner, go have a coffee date and talk about your love of Vietnam.
Check out this article for cafe suggestions: Best cafes in Da Nang
Travel tips for visiting Da Nang during the wet season
So, what should you know before traveling to Da Nang in the wet season?
- Carry a raincoat or travel-size umbrella: This is surely your bestie when traveling during rainy season. I bet you don’t want your cute outfit getting wet when a sudden downpour happens.
- Check the weather forecast: You should really check the weather forecast to plan your day (and your stay). The weather forecast apps on your iPhone are pretty accurate. If you are not a fan of Apple, you can still check the weather on weather.com or accuweather.com
- Have a plan B: Just in case it rains heavily for days or floods you should have a plan B in case your original plan doesn’t work out.
Long story short, Da Nang is a good place to stop by during any time of the year. Whether it is in dry or wet season, you won’t be disappointed when traveling to the “most livable city of Vietnam”. I’m looking forward to hearing your stories in Da Nang in the comments below.
Have fun and travel safe!
Enjoyed this article and would like more fun information on what to do, see and eat while in Vietnam? Visit us at the Christina’s blog!