Five Free Things to do in Da Nang

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Whether your passing through or staying for a while, there is always something going on in this epic city. We’re here to tell you about five free things to do in Da Nang.

No great introduction to any new destination has to start with a hefty price tag and Da Nang is no exception. In fact, Da Nang has the unique advantage of offering both beach and city activities.  That alone, makes it the perfect all-round vacation destination.

Five free things to do in Da Nang

Free Thing #1 – DA NANG FREE WALKING TOUR

Free walking tours are the best way to get a genuine introduction to this amazing city.

The guides are local university students who are are passionate about their city.  It’s also a chance for them to meet new people from all over and to practice their English.

For visitors, this is a chance to meet someone who can tell you more about the local food, entertainment and living side of Da Nang.

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Exploring Da Nang with an amazing free walking tour

The tour lasts about 2 hours and includes five planned stops. Between those, you get a ton of information on where to explore further on your own. It’s super easy to book too, just head to their Da Nang Free Walking Tour website.

Now, we listed this as a free thing to do in Da Nang as you don’t have to pay for the tour. There is an opportunity to give you guide a tip at the end IF you want to. More on that in the link below.

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Come with us as we explore our first Vietnam destination, Da Nang with an amazing free walking tour

Travel Tip!: Test your haggling skills at Han Market while you have an interpreter there with you. That way you can communicate with the seller and you can come back with a bit more confidence later to buy more.

Free Thing #2 – DA NANG BRIDGES

It’s true! Da Nang, is also known as the city of bridges and for good reason. It has 7 bridges and three of them are super stars with their own history. They are Han Bridge, Dragon Bridge and Than Thie Ly Bridge.

The most recognizable of the three is the famous Dragon Bridge. This one comes alive every Saturday and Sunday night at 9PM. Make sure to check it out as not only is watching the bridge fun, but watching the crowd is fascinating too.

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A real dragon that spits real fire! For real!!

Travel Tip!: Not fond of crowds? Then head down Tran Hung Dao street towards the Than Thie Ly bridge where you’ll find the street side vendors. They’ll prepare you a fresh coconut or sugar juice of your choice on request. All you have to do is grab a seat at one of their adorable tiny chairs and tables with the perfect view of the action. A fresh coconut should set you back about VND35,000 (~USD1.50 / ~AUD2.10) and the seat if free.

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Free Thing # 3 – DA NANG FRESCO VILLAGE

This was one of the neatest things we found in Da Nang and believe is part of a worldwide movement.

Local residents were looking for a way to get tourists and locals to interact more with each other. The idea of a fresco village came about and they set out inviting local artists to be part of the initiative.

Their aim was to transform their labyrinth of narrow alleys and high walls into an outdoor gallery where artists could show their talents and visitors could enjoy the artwork for free.  You just have to find the narrow entrance to let the magic begin.

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When street meets art gallery and you can experience it for free!

You can explore this spot in your own time, admiring the artworks and take as many pictures as you like. Each painting tells its own story and there are so many, you wouldn’t know what to look at first.

The Da Nang Fresco Village isn’t far from the city side of Dragon Bridge and absolutely worth the visit.

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Experience a personalized tour of the Da Nang Fresco Village

Travel Tip!: There is a small ‘outdoor food courtyard’ where you can buy a traditional Vietnamese herbal drink. There are other refreshments and light street food available too. It’s not expensive and the money goes back into the project for maintenance and expansion.

Free Thing #4 – MY KHE BEACH

One of Da Nang’s stand out features is without a doubt its spectacular beach called My Khe, (pronounced Mi KE beach).

One of the best things to do on it is to simply walk along it, no matter the time of day. From dawn till dusk it’s everyone from tourists to locals’ favorite playground. It’s a great place to meet locals to, especially in the mornings.

Along Vo Nguyen Giap road is plenty to do, eat and drink too but it will cost you. Not much, just not free.

Travel Tip!: Find a cheap beach cabana for the day. If you want to experience the most epic chill beach day of your life, then hire a lounger under a beach hut/cabana. It will cost you around VND40,000 (~USD1.70 / ~AUD2.40) but shop around, there are a few options. This way you get a comfy spot for the day and you don’t have to worry about getting fried. Also, where there’s a cabana, there’s usually refreshments too and loads of street food vendors that wander along the beach. Perfect, huh?

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Free Thing #5 – LINH UNG PAGODA (Son Tra)

If you’re sitting on your beach lounger chilling on My Khe beach then you will notice a gigantic white figure standing at the base of the Son Tra Peninsula. What is it you ask?

She is the famous Lady Buddha and she is an epic 72 meters tall. The Lady of Mercy isn’t the only amazing thing about this spot either. It’s perfect spot for sunrises and sunsets, not to mention great photos.

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Say hello to the magnificent 70 meter high guardian of My Khe beach

The complex sits on 20 hectares so there is a lot of room. It is super popular with tourist crowds ! If you want the place almost to yourself, then you need to get in and out, well before 8AM or after 5PM-ish.

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Come meet the mysterious tall lady of Son Tra in Da Nang

There is a small catch with this one. The complex is free to enter but you will need to get there which will either be by GRAB, taxi or a rental bike.

Neither of these options are expensive as it is a short ride out there and well worth a visit! If you do rent a bike/scooter than Son Tra Peninsula is another awesome free thing to go and check out!

Five free things to do in Da Nang, Things to do in Vietnam, things to do in da nang, dragon bridge, walking tour, linh ung pagoda, my khe beach, vietnam history, fresco village, temple, vietnam tourist attraction, Vietnam travel, vietnam tourist spots, vietnam destinations, where to go in vietnam, best places to visit in vietnam

If this is your first visit to our site, then welcome!  Head on over to our Things to do in Vietnam Page where we tell you about more things you should add to your Vietnam itinerary.

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Thanks for reading guys and we’ll see you in the next post…

Linh Ung Pagoda – Son Tra Peninsula

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Visiting the most famous Lady in Da Nang at the Linh Ung Pagoda in Son Tra

Is it worth trekking out to the Linh Ung Pagoda when you’re in Da Nang? Lets find out.

Where the Linh Ung Pagoda?

Situated on the Son Tra peninsula north of My Khe beach, the tall white figure looking down the beach is  kind of hard to miss. Furthermore, this religious icon is one of Da Nang’s largest and best known landmarks. Who or what is it? She is the impressive 67-meter tall Lady Buddha (also known as the Goddess of Mercy).

The pagoda encompasses approximately 20 hectares and took six years to construct. Surrounded by lush green vegetation and panoramic ocean and city views, it’s a feast on the eyes. You have that feeling of being in a remote location without being too far from civilization.

Linh Ung Pagoda Entry Fee

This particular pagoda sports nine temples in total and endless gardens to explore. If you love taking photos, you could be here for hours. I loved it, and I would definitely go back again for more (but at an early hour this time). Best part is, it’s free!

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Looking for a place with an electric vibe that is perfect for any traveler at any time? Come find out why you should add Da Nang to you must see list for Vietnam!

Update: I wrote this a while ago and since then we’ve been back. This time we got there at 6:30AM and it was bliss. It was hot, even that early (during April) and there were a couple of other smart people out there with us but not many. For two hours we explored in relative peace and got better photos and footage, much to our delight. Highly recommend going out there early morning, especially in summer as it gets hot fast in the mornings.

This pagoda is unique too in that you can visit it during the evening, unlike others in Vietnam. I’m keen to do this at another time as I’m sure the view back to the city at night is pretty spectacular.

We weren’t sure what to expect from this visit either as neither of us has been to a pagoda and thought it a temple initially.  Turns out, a pagoda is an area with several temples and shires in or on it but isn’t one itself.  Never too old to learn aye? Ha-ha

Why is there a place of worship in a random, semi remote spot?

Legend has it a buddha statue mysteriously washed ashore on the peninsula one day. Locals believing it to be an auspicious sign, named the spot “Bai But” (Buddha’s sanctuary on earth), and erected a shrine.

From there on in, the Goddess or Mercy became their watchful deity. Offering protection and strength from the wrath of storms, and bringing peace to everyday life.

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We can only find a couple of accounts of this story online, but we can confirm it is still the original site of worship. Today it offers a place to pray as well as a unique visiting experience. If you’re lucky enough to speak to one the monks, they might tell you a tale or two about the ancient history of the temples. We hear that is rare though.

How to get to Linh Ung Pagoda

A short ten-minute drive from Da Nang city will get you to the entrance of the park. You could walk there from the city, but it’s a long way and all uphill. Be prepared with good shoes and plenty of water if you do decide to go that way.

Arriving at the entrance you’re greeted by an impressive stone staircase.

At the top of the staircase is the three-entrance gate, hence the name Linh Ung (three gates) Pagoda (an area where there are multiple temples and shires, which this site has many of.)

Once you cross the threshold, you’re surrounded by a serene scene of beautiful manicured gardens, dotted with statues. If that doesn’t impress you, the view back over the ocean certainly will.

What is there to see?

The Goddess of Mercy

The garden won’t hold your attention long though. You instinctively want to gravitate towards Lady Buddha and her calming effect. Even with the selfie-stick wielding crush robbing you of the experience.

(I’ll be honest and say I could only handle the crowd for a short period of time. By 10AM the place was already crawling with busloads of tourists and that’s on us. We did get there later than anticipated and read about the madness. They were running around snapping pictures as fast as they could, then scurrying off to the next spot with little regard for anybody around them.) The best times to go seems to be early morning or evenings. Something to keep in mind if you’re only in town for a short time.

Getting away from the selfie stick brigade

Not quite the peaceful experience you were expecting? Me either but fear not, there are plenty of quiet spots to retreat to.

The Goddess of Mercy is impressive and you can’t help but feel safe in her gentle gaze. She has another treat hidden at the base of her feet though. Nestled inside the 30-meter diameter lotus flower pedestal is a small temple.

Close your eyes and spend a minute here to absorb the cool and tranquil calm, it’s heavenly on the senses. It can be hard to tune out those few that treat it like an amusement park, but well worth the visit.

Finding peace from the crowds

I did take a few minutes outside a couple of the other temples too. Walking past the main temple to the right, we found two buildings joined by an alfresco-ish type roof. It recognizable by the two rows of large wooden statues.

That spot was by far my favorite. It almost looked like an invisible force field surrounded the building. The crowd just seemed to unconsciously flow around and away from it. It was fascinating to watch

I sat there, absorbing the tranquil surroundings. Watching the crowd mill around as the ocean played backdrop to the whole scene.

I’m not sure if it was sheer luck or what? For those twenty minutes I only saw five people enter the space. I was grateful for the opportunity to spend the time with my thoughts. It’s a memory I will always cherish.

Also, on this trip I learnt never to turn your back on a Buddha statue. You should back away while still facing the statue before you turn around and walk away. (Please feel free to leave a comment if you can add to this.) While I’m not a religious person myself, I can respect others beliefs and be mindful of them.

The Bonsai trees and Arhats at Linh Ung Pagoda

The area in front of the main temple hosts an impressive collection of bonsai trees. Flanked by 18 arhats (those who have attained nirvana, but not full Buddhahood) frames this garden beautifully. Each one depicting a different human emotion. I would’ve loved to learn more about these guys but that might need an experienced tour guide.

I’ll keep you posted if I do learn more about them.

Travel Tip!: If you do go into any of the actual temples please be mindful that these are active places of worship. Be quiet and respectful to those inside the temple praying. Take off your shoes (always!), there are signs everywhere to tell you when to take them off. If you’re wearing shorts and singlets, please cover your shoulders and legs. Ladies make sure you carry a sarong or scarf with you, it will come in handy.

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On our walk to the last temple at the back of the park, we found another Buddha statue. Sitting peacefully under the canopy of a rubber tree, accompanied by four others. This spot seemed to go unnoticed by the crowds too. It’s the perfect place to sit for a minute and take in the view.

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A half day visit to the Linh Ung Pagoda in Da Nang

To the side and back of the pagoda is the Tap Sa Loi tower.  I wish I could give you more info but I’m finding it hard to source English info and translating Vietnamese doesn’t help much.

The last find on our Linh Ung Pagoda visit

What we can say is that has a distinct nautical feel to it and give me the impression this is where the maritime worshippers come to give thanks for protection from the elements and abundance from the ocean.

It also has a giant sleeping Buddha below it with another beautiful garden and view. This spot seemed less chaotic and worth a look.

See if you can spot the surprises in the bonsai trees (wink-wink), they are all over the pagoda.

Travel Tip!: Take plenty of water with you. We burnt through a liter in two hours (it was pretty hot). I didn’t see anywhere to buy more (not that I braved the crowded spots). Plus, if you bring your own, you’re not adding to the rubbish that is ever present. My trusty 1lt drink bottle goes everywhere with me and it was invaluable here!

There is a lot to enjoy at the Linh Ung Pagoda and it’s a pleasure to explore.  Volunteers do an amazing job of looking after the place and a dedicated team ensure the beautiful gardens look their best (we salute your efforts). And butterflies! The only other place I’ve seen this many butterflies, was the east coast of Australia. Plenty of birds to keep a keen eye out for too. I can go on and on lol, but it worth seeing if you come to Da Nang.

Wondering what else there is to do in Da Nang?

If this is your first visit to our site, then don’t forget to go to our Things to do in Vietnam Page for more ideas on what to see and do!

 We also have a pretty good library of all our Vietnam adventures on our  Leon and Tash YouTubel channel, perfect for those times where you just want to watch instead of read. Hope you enjoy it!

Thanks for reading and see in in the next post…