Da Nang is more romantic than Hoi An.
There. I said it.
Sure, you can take your new cute girl or loveable boy to Hoi An. You can stroll around the streets bumping into three thousand other tourists and their selfie sticks. You can treat them to a meal at any restaurant in the Ancient Town. Pay the entrance fee and you can choose from many identical menus! As the light begins to fall, maybe you’ll give in to the persistent hawkers offering a boat ride.
But take your date to Da Nang.
Did you hear there’s absolutely nothing of interest in Da Nang? All there is are bridges and restaurants? The Hanoi architecture, bustle and charm is sapped away. The Ho Chi Minh nightlife, buzz and chaos is not there. To all intents and purposes, it’s just a city.
All the same, take your date to Da Nang.
Da Nang serves its place happily as the city where Hoi An’s tourists go to take their onward travel. It doesn’t pretend to be anything it’s not. It lets its tourists come and take their flights in silence, with a few attractions should they need them.
Da Nang is like the friend who never tidies their flat before you come over. It’s the friend that offers you snacks, then says “You know where the kitchen is”. Occasionally it’ll chuck the dirty laundry off the sofa so you can sit down, but mostly it’s as “take me as you find me” as it gets.
What you should love about Da Nang is you can eat three cuisines in one day and not feel like you’re eating cheap imitations. We went for sushi and ate at the Da Nang branch of the famous Luna D’Autonno group, Luna Pub. Japanese, Thai, French and Italian are the four biggest international cuisines here.
Luna Pub is well worth a visit. It’s tucked away unpretentiously just off the popular riverside street Bach Dang, but the attention to detail is remarkable.
Italian mains are good quality, but not the best Western food we ate, nor even the best Italian (that gong goes to Secret Pizza) but definitely an eat worth heading too.
Desserts were definitely stand out. Knock out. Incomparable.
And the drinks list is impressive.
From Luna, take a walk down Bach Dang. This is where fifteen year old locals come to cuddle and whisper sweet forevers. There’s soft jazz playing from speakers on the lamp posts, so it feels a bit like Pokémon – especially if you see one of the life size Pikachus.
Stroll along the river and decipher the abstract sculptures, and marvel at the bridges.
The glorious lights of the Tran Thi Ly Bridge
And the weekend displays of the Dragon Bridge.
On the opposite side of the bridges, the beach is just a twenty five minute walk. Unlike the commercial, hawker-tainted beaches near Hoi An, Da Nang’s beaches are a nice for relaxing, swimming in the surf or taking a drink with a view.
Da Nang has two markets worth a mooch, so if you wish to propose to your date, here’s the place to pick up a nice fake gold ring that will turn her fingers green before she even has a chance to accept.
And this is not to mention the fact it’s a hub for day trips to Lang Co beach, Marble Mountains and the Hai Van pass. Your planes and trains from Hoi An will depart from here – but once again I agree with Travelfish. It’s worth a visit on its own merits. Take your date to Da Nang!