top of page
  • jlentz24

Itinerary from Da Nang to Hoi An Vietnam

When I visited Vietnam in 2013, I only explored the north and south (HCMC and Hanoi), but this time, I knew I wanted to see some of the culture and sights in the middle. I decided to spend almost 2 weeks in Hoi An and Da Nang. There are so many things to do from Da Nang to Hoi An, including beaches, cultural spots new and old and of course, some of the best food! I don’t think you need as much time as I took, but I’d encourage you to spend at least 5 days between the two towns. You can easily grab a shuttle from one to the other and flying in and out of Da Nang for other domestic spots is simple. Check out this itinerary from Da Nang to Hoi An for your next adventure!

bright title with picture of Jordan in front of Golden Bridge and another picture of the lit lanterns on the river in Hoi An

Fly into Da Nang

Unless you fly directly into Da Nang from your international locale, you will likely need to take a connecting flight from Hanoi or HCMC. You can usually book roundtrip domestic flights to and from Da Nang for cheaper than the train. This nice, cheap shuttle from Hoi An to Da Nang airport that you can use at the end of this itinerary to return to the Da Nang airport from your Hoi An accommodation.


Da Nang

I would plan to spend 2 nights in Da Nang to get a good feel for this beach town. I stayed in My An (check out my favorite hostel) which is just minutes to China Beach (My Kye Beach), popular for swimming with a long promenade in front of upscale hotels.


Day 1

Visit Marble Mountain

Marble Mountain (Ngu Hanh Son) is a group of five limestone and marble hills, which you can seem looming in the distance from the airport. There are massive carvings of lions, Buddha and even some (slightly traumatic) statues of devilish creatures. You will need to purchase 2 separate tickets – one for “hell” and one for “heaven.” The lower entrance (“hell”) is filled with caves and shrines warning children and adults alike to refrain from evil behavior. The upper entrance (“heaven”) takes you through several pagodas and Buddha temples, along with some water features. You can pay an extra 15,000 dong for the elevator ride up (would recommend) to see the temples at the top. It’s easiest to get a Grab (Vietnam’s version of Uber) to the site (about 15 minutes out of town). If you want more tips, check out my post on the things to know before visiting Vietnam.


Visit Lady Buddha

The tallest Buddha statue in Vietnam, Lady Buddha is located on the northern peninsula of Son Tra. It’s a great spot for the sunset or to take in the sweeping views. The adjacent temple complex has a curated garden and there are playful monkeys everywhere. Protect your food, because the monkeys will come after it. The various pagodas around the top of the sight are nice to stroll around or relax in the shade of the Lady Buddha.


Day 2

Enjoy the Beach

My Kye (China) Beach is a beauty strip of sand with soft waves, making it the ideal place to swim and relax. You can stroll along the promenade or enjoy a drink at one of the beachside cafes. You can rent chairs, or simply bring your own towel.


Catch the Dragon Bridge

dragon bridge

What an amazing way to turn a normal bridge into a tourist attraction? If you visit Friday, Saturday or Sunday evenings you can catch the water and fire spewing from the dragon’s mouth (9 pm but on holidays, sometimes also at 8 pm). You can watch the 5-minute show directly on the bridge, but I suggest staying on Tran Hung Dao Street or Bach Dang Street for the best views. There are plenty of sidewalk bars for a bite to eat or you can visit the street market for some local cuisine.


Day 3

Visit Ba Ha Hills

Have you heard of the Giant Hand Bridge? This newly build luxurious resort and amusement park includes the Golden Bridge. Follow my travels and negotiate with a driver to take you from Da Nang to Ba Ha Hills for the day and then drop you off in Hoi An that evening. We hired a Grab for the journey and during our ride we negotiated his return and wait for us. Entrance to Ba Ha Hills is $36 USD and includes the cable cars, visit of the pedestrian Golden Bridge (giant hands) and general wandering around the entire complex. It’s like Harry Potter World in a French village that had a beer hall baby. There are rollercoasters for additional fees (be forewarned the lines can be LONG), various restaurants and places to stay. We did an immersive theater ride and explored the various buildings. The numerous cable cars are worth the trip alone. For more information, check out the official website. 


Hoi An

Enjoy the next three nights in Old Town, with the best views near the river (check out my favorite hostel). Wander through the narrow alleys and along the Bach Dang Street on the riverfront in the evenings! Take a boat ride under the An Hoi Bridge and make a wish as you release your own paper lantern. This colorful city will capture your heart! No wonder Hoi An is one of the most visited spots in Vietnam.


Day 4

Take a Cooking Class

One of my favorite meals was my local cooking class in Hoi An. If you are looking for a great, low-cost option that included a basket boat, local market shopping and some traditional net fishing, I would strongly suggest this tour. If you are looking to enjoy something a bit more personal, I'd suggest joining Mr. Hoang's family for a different look at Vietnamese culture. During the tour, you will walk the family farm, ride bikes and buffalos, try your hand at rice-paper making and a cooking class and row a bamboo boat.


Make Your Own Lantern

Looking for the perfect gift from this beautiful city? Join a class to make your own lantern. Locals believe lanterns bring happiness, luck and wealth. You will learn to craft a bamboo frame and select your own colored silks while sipping traditional tea. The lantern is foldable, making it easy for travel!

Commission an Outfit

Vietnam is world renowned for their seamstresses and tailors. You can visit a local shop to create a custom suit, dress, jackets or even leather shoes. They are great at imitation too, with hundreds of lookbooks and patterns readily available. Even more impressive is their speed. Most tailors can return the finished product in less than 48 hours, so even if you aren’t in Hoi An that long, don’t let it stop you from having something made. What a unique souvenir!


Day 5

Morning Trip to My Son Sanctuary

Leave early morning to avoid the heat at My Son Sanctuary. About an hour west of Hoi An are the famous ruins of the Champa Kingdom from the 4th to 13th centuries. This archaeological site has spiritual origins in Hinduism and Buddhism. I kept comparing it to a smaller version of Angkor Wat (Cambodia). There is a fairly flat loop trail around the various ruins and a complimentary mid-morning show with dancing, live music and traditional customs of the Champa Kingdom (just time your visit accordingly). Show times are listed at the entrance.  You can wander the ruins on your own with a shuttle bus or take a guided tour.


Relax on An Bang Beach

Spend your last afternoon on An Bang Beach. You can get a Grab to drop you near the beach. I enjoyed lunch at Tree Coconut, which offered free beach chairs with food/drink purchase.


Shop at the Hoi An Night Market

Beginning on the river near the Cau An Hoi Bridge all the way to the end of Nguyen Hoang Street, you can find every souvenir under the sun, as well as little food stalls.


I hope this 5-day itinerary from Da Nang to Hoi An was helpful! I hope the activities above give you a taste of Vietnam’s rich culture. If you are traveling to Hanoi as well, be sure to check out my post on “How many days in Hanoi? Enjoy!


Some content may contain affiliate or referral links. When you click on and/or make a purchase through an affiliate link placed on Lifetime Tidbits, I may receive a small commission or other form of compensation at no additional cost to you. Please see my Disclaimers Page for more information. Thank you for reading!


Recent Posts

See All

1 Comment

Rated 0 out of 5 stars.
No ratings yet

Add a rating
May 14
Rated 5 out of 5 stars.

So many places!!

bottom of page