Recent travel trends are heavily influenced by images people see online, particularly on Instagram, an image-heavy social media channel. Even tours around certain cities are popping up that take you around to the most popular spots where you can take a pretty snapshot to spice up your feed. If you find yourself traveling to the beautiful coastal city of Da Nang in Vietnam, check out these five spots where you can go crazy with your angles and composition.
From the airport to the city center
Before you get Instagrammin’, you’ll need to make your way from the Da Nang International Airport to the city center. To do this, you have a few options. You can book an airport taxi which is convenient, however you will end up paying a premium. Calling a Grab car is often a preferred option by the locals, but for it could be a little problematic for foreigners as language barrier might pose an issue. Your best bet would be to pre-arrange your airport transfer. This way, you won’t have to worry about haggling your price down or getting lost on the way to your hotel. You will find a knowledgeable driver waiting for you at the arrivals gate and it will be smooth sailing from there!
My Son Sanctuary
The My Son Sanctuary (pronounced mee-sern) is a cluster of abandoned Hindu temples from a time wen the Champa Kingdom reigned over a large chunk of Vietnam. It is often referred to as the Angkor Wat of Vietnam, despite having been constructed before Angkor Wat in Siem Reap, Cambodia. My Son was constructed between the 4th and 14th century AD, and served as the political, economical, and cultural capital of the country for a period of time. Despite having stood intact until excavations in 1898, many of the towers were destroyed during the fiercest period of the Vietnam War. Efforts to restore the structures carry on till this day and these majestic ruins are now recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage site.
The ruins are both enchanting and photogenic, as they are overgrown with weeds and surrounded by mountains. You will see craters of explosions and the empty foundations of many once ever-lasting towers, and even scattered bombshells decorating the grounds. The pictures you take here will take your followers on a story through time. When visiting, try not to veer off the enclosed region in your exploration as there are still a lot of un-exploded ordnance that you may accidentally uncover.
Ba Na Hills
Ba Na Hills is picturesque French hill station resort located on Nui Chua mountain 35 kilometers south east of Da Nang. It was built in 1919 and intended as a leisure destination for French tourists. Up here you will find structures that resemble castles, lofty churches, gorgeous courtyards, traditional cottages, and underground wine cellars connected by beautiful cobblestone streets. Asia’s longest cable car ride takes you up there, rewarding you with sweeping views of what surrounds the mountains.
While the whole complex is picturesque, it is imperative that you get your picture taken in the new Golden Bridge – a 150 meter long bridge wrapped around a mountain and lifted up by moss-covered hands. Get lost in the Jardin D’Amour, a collection of 9 different gardens, where you can play hide-and-seek in a large maze of shrubs. Debay wine cellar dug through the mountain is also extremely beautiful, and to finally top it off, head over to Linh Ung Pagoda, where a giant 27 meter tall Buddha statue looks out into the city.
The Marble Mountains are a cluster of five unique conical-shape limestone mountains located in the center of Non Nuoc Jewel village. These five mountains, Mt. Water, Mt Plant, Mt. Fire, Mt. Metal and Mt. Soil, are home to a labyrinth of tunnels, pagodas, and caves. There are plenty of awesome viewpoints that offers beautiful panoramic views of the Da Nang coast for you to snap photos of, so take your time to explore the mountains and climb up each hidden staircase – you never know where you’ll end up.
Pro tip: To get to the main entrance, you will pass through a 400-year old traditional craft village that specializes in marble. There are different color tones – pink for Mt. Water, white for Mt. Plant, red for Mt. Fire, light blue for Mt. Metal and brown for Mt. Soil. Pick up a souvenir to take home or gift your loved ones – it’s extremely special.
The Dragon Bridge is the longest bridge in Vietnam, measuring at 2,185 feet (666 meters) in length. It is constructed like a, well, dragon. No surprise there. According to local beliefs that date back to the Ly Dynasty, the dragon signifies power, nobility and fortune, which is why to the residents of Da Nang, this bridge is very special.
Every weekend come sundown, the bridge offers a spectacular display of lights, fire, and water to curious and excited onlookers. The bridge is not only popular amongst travel photographers, but even residents of the city that have already visited the spot 100s of times. Get some ice cream from one of the vendors on the sidewalk and get ready to get wet! Make sure to keep your camera protected from the spray of water.
Just south of the Da Nang coast lies the magical little yellow town of Hoi An, on the mouth of the Thu Bon river. Once an active and very important Southeast Asian trading port bustling with foreign traders, the city is now a place where time stood still.
The town’s decaying yellow walls, colorful lantern-lit alleyways, charming storefronts, teahouses, and ancient structures are making their way into everyone’s Instagram grids. This town is charming, and the yellow hues makes it seem as if the town is permanently bathed in sunlight. Everything about it blends so perfectly well together that it somewhat resembles an outdoor art gallery that is extremely photogenic and effortlessly alluring.
There are many unique structures you can visit such as the Japanese Covered Bridge, Phung Hung Old House, Duc An Old House, Museum of Sa Huynh Culture, and Quang Thang Ancient House. Take the time to head over to Tra Que Vegetable Garden as well. You’ll have enough material to post frequently over a year.