Da Nang – Day 1

Monday 7th October 2019

Da Nang

On leaving North Vietnam it got me thinking about the connections we have made so far with people we have bumped into on our travels.

There was the American couple in their late fifties/early sixties who we met in Ha Long Bay. I was inspired by their story! Several years ago they decided to sell up almost everything they owned and go off travelling. They’ve been doing it for years now and have experienced the most amazing places, their stories were spectacular.

Or the Liverpudlan we bumped into in the hectic streets of Hanoi. Just when we thought we couldn’t stomach another bit of rice, noodles, or weird concoctions of food we turned a corner to be met with an American Pizza Place. We went inside, ordered the pizza and chatted excitedly about…..pizza!!!!

On hearing our delicate tones this guy approached us and asked where we were from.

His story…he took the gamble, left everything behind, moved here with very little money, met a Vietnamese girl, married her within a year, went on honeymoon to New York. Here they came across a small store selling pizza slices and they were the most delicious pizzas they had ever tasted. When the couple returned to Hanoi they wished they could eat that pizza again but it seemed impossible. They eventually returned to New York learned how to make the pizza and voila they opened up this shop in Hanoi!! And the pizza was amazing!

Or the Irish couple we bumped into in Ninh Binh and spent our evening together having dinner. They travelled through Hong Kong then crossed over to Vietnam. They usually only holiday for 1-2 weeks at a time and were hitting week 3. They were drained, done in, had enough so were heading home a week early! What!!!!

And then the guides…sharing their stories, hearing about their lives and how Vietnam is for them. Different boys but both spoke about similar stories of finding love. One was only 26, the other 31 but both were being pressured by their family to find ‘the one’, marry and have children. Both however showing signs of a new generation – no hurry for marriage or children.

That’s the beauty of travel and why I love it so much.

We have arrived in Da Nang.

From the air we can already see a massive difference in buildings and the general look of the area. Buildings appear smaller and more spread out.

On stepping out of the airport and on taking a short taxi ride to our hotel there is a huge difference in street traffic, although busy it’s so much less hectic than Hanoi.

Our general opinion straight away is that it feels like there is more money here and a better quality of life. The air is fresher, the streets cleaner and less chaotic.

I remember Ivan our guide from Ninh Binh telling us about his grandfather and during the war his grandfather chose to side with North Vietnam. He told us it probably was the wrong side to chose because his grandfather lost all the land he owned and was left with nothing. Ivan said “my family are not rich with money but we are rich with family”.

So Da Nang is often referred to as ‘The City of Bridges’ and what a charming destination of Central Vietnam.

It is an up and coming metropolitan city with skyscrapers, modern bridges, mountain scenery and beautiful beaches. Its unexpectedly awesome.

We arrive at our hotel but too early for check in so we leave the bags and head out to explore.

Literally a stone’s throw away is My Khe Beach, which runs for 900 metres. It boasts white sand and blue sea water running along the city’s road/promenade. It is spotless and it is empty!

We take of our shoes and walk for miles along the water’s edge exploring the coastline. The water is so warm it’s inviting but we resist, too much to see and do.

A wide range of restaurants and hotels sit along the coastline offering plenty of options. We choose one to sit down and relax for a bit before check in time.

From here we then decided to check out the Ho Chi Minh and the Fifth Military Zone Museum.

The museum felt slightly strange. Maybe it was because we were the only ones there and it was deserted.

Outside it had one of the most amazing displays of military vehicles from the Vietnam war!

They also had a museum devoted to Ho Chi Minh, with a replica of Uncle Ho’s House.

It was pretty insightful to wander through and get the un-Hollywood version of the Vietnam War.

Hi Chi Minh’s jacket, glasses, sandals, tooth brush etc

Da Nang is most famous for its collection of bridges and we were keen to check them out to see if they lived up to expectation.

They are supposedly creative and iconic to the point that every time the city builds a new bridge, it becomes trendy.

After their Dragon Bridge and Love Bridge, the newest sensation that has gone worldwide recently is Golden Bridge, which we will visit tomorrow boasting mind blowing architecture.

Welcome to the romantic side of Da Nang. We visit Love Bridge.

This bridge is dedicated to all couples. Built in 2015 on Tran Hung Dao Street it’s the perfect location to watch Dragon Bridge, sunset and fireworks!

The bridge is 70m long and was inspired by many other love bridges across the world where lovers share their moments together.

Right at the beginning of the bridge is a statue of ‘Carp Turns into A Dragon’ which represents virtues like patience, dedication and determination in Asian culture.

Love heart style lamp-posts decorate the area…it’s very pretty.

We then go and view the iconic Dragon Bridge which was opened to traffic in 2013 and it became the 7th and longest bridge (666m) in Da Nang over Han River.

The bridge became a trend right away for its dragon-like appearance and it’s special feature of spitting water and breathing fire out through its mouth!

At night this bridge is lit up across Han River and it’s pretty special as is the whole riverside area.

The atmosphere of Da Nang already feels more relaxing….I like it alot!

6 Comments Add yours

  1. Helena Brogan says:

    Hi Mary looks like you’ve moved into quite a different world on leaving Hanoi. Interesting to read about your meeting with other travellers. Some people (including you and Andy) very adventurous in their travels. Went to a talk yesterday about how Russian travellers loved to explore Europe (well the wealthy ones anyway) in the 18th century…so humans have always naturally wanted to explore the world (some further than others). By the way,
    I read an interesting article on CNN news this morning saying that authorities in Hanoi are clamping down on the train street cafes!! Seemed to suggest it was becoming too dangerous and attracting too many tourists!! Don’t know if you can read it on cnn.com/travel. Looking forward to next blog. Tambiet for now Xx ps hope I’m getting these translations right and not saying something rude!!😂😂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi there….Da Nang seems like a different world altogether…calmer and quieter….we have never yet bumped into another Westerner here which is a good thing….it’s good to see different parts of the country though as it enables you to make comparisons. Interesting re the Russians and their travel, never heard a Russian accent here yet. So Train Street – we have just read this morning an article on that 🙈 and supposedly the government has given the street vendors until Saturday to close it down as they’re saying it’s too dangerous and their cafes illegal 😲….I can see their point as it is seriously dangerous but at the same time it was a massive attraction…and something I probably will never witness again – you wonder how it was allowed in the first place!? And your translation above was perfect not rude but that would have been funny – goodbye to you also 😘


    2. Also, I managed to read that CNN article, thanks 😁


  2. Alice Reid says:

    Hello Mary & Andy
    Sorry I Haven’t Been in touch but the house has been full of workmen this week. At last things are moving on ,just hope 2020 will be a better year for me. I have been reading your blogs and enjoying then. This latest town seems much more modern than the others and I do love all the bridges especially the Dragon Bridge.
    Couldn’t quite believe you had to pay to climb that mountain. If Scotland goes independent that would be a good ploy to use if the Government wanted some more money. Scots would go free of course!!
    Obviously a very popular spot with the Chinese. I should check out the history of North & South Vietnam as I’m a bit vague as to which side was Communist.
    Loved the pictures of Train Street. Aunty Lena sent me the CNN article re closing the cafes. Wonder how successful that will be.? At least you can say that you saw it when the café culture was in full swing.
    Sad about the couple who were fed up after travelling for only 3 weeks. I used to hate coming home and loved thee freedom of travel. We went travelling for 3 months after uncle Charlie retired and I loved it. Perhaps Andy is right when he says the Brogans come from gypsies!! Can think of lots more to ask you buy it’s getting late.
    Martin likes to read your blogs when he comes down and I have kept then all so I an go travelling whenever the mood takes me.
    Looking forward to your next blog.
    Love & God Bless.
    Aunty Alice xx
    P.S I did send another comment last week but it seemed to disappear into the wide blue yonder. Perhaps you did receive it.
    Take care xx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi there….glad to hear things are getting finalised in your house and hopefully all is sorted, you must be demented! Yes Da Nang was like walking into a different world from where we had came from we were certainly surprised…you read up on things but I never fully trust them until I see for myself! We never met another Westerner in all the time we spent in Da Dang which is pretty surprising as it’s a lovely city. Yes I loved Dragon Bridge also but wait till you see Golden Bridge it’s a beauty too! Yes I’m still annoyed at that whole mountain thing, they make up their own rules I think! Lol….I may suggest your idea to Nicola!!! So North Vietnam was communist – Ho Chi Minh….there’s so much history here as the Vietnamese have been involved in a lot but it certainly is a beautiful country. Yes can you believe Train Street is no longer!!! Wow! I saw an article where they have put guards up at either side of the street so they’re not allowing you to pass through…maybe you can give them a bribe too though😠 and you’d get access?!?!
      Can you believe that couple leaving early!! We were trying to encourage them and give them ideas as in where to head but no they went home!! Like you I’m always dreading it ending…would love to live out my rucksack if I could….your 3 months of travel sounds like a dream to me ♥️….yip we certainly have travellers blood in there somewhere for sure! Tell Martin I’ll be in touch and hope the boys are doing good x


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