A Good Night in Da Nang
We were only in Da Nang for less than 24 hours but it is a place I’d like to go back to, it’s not really on the tourist map but it’s recently been declared the best place to live in Vietnam. Until recently, even though it’s one of the largest cities in the country, Da Nang has been regarded as something of a provincial backwater but that’s changing now and the city was recently voted as the best place to live in Vietnam.
Although there are not too many tourist attractions, we did want to view the longest bridge in the country, the Dragon Bridge. We were not disappointed with the amazing sight of a 666-metre long gold dragon spanning across the River Hang with hundreds of motorbikes, scooters and cars traversing along the six lanes on its 37.5 metre back. It’s even more spectacular at the weekend when at 9 pm on Saturdays and Sundays it breathes fire and water.
We enjoyed an evening stroll along the Han riverfront towards the Tran Thi Ly Bridge, which also features a distinctive shape: a sail ballooning in the wind. The bridge has a single inclined pylon, at the top of which is a viewing platform accessible to the public. Both the Rong (Dragon) Bridge and the Tran Thi Ly Bridge opened to traffic on 29 March 2013, to commemorate the 38th anniversary of the liberation of Da Nang. Piped classical music played in the background as we admired the many sculptures which line the pedestrian path along the river overlooked by the modern hotels, offices and apartment blocks which have recently sprung up changing the face of the city.
Across the road lively bars and restaurants attracted locals. Of course, we joined them, it would have been rude not too. We sat under the stars choosing our food and drink and observed the local customers leaving their motorbikes with staff who then rode them to a nearby parking area.
Prices in Da Nang are cheap for most westerners, they were even cheaper at the restaurant that we sat down at, the staff informed us that if we pay for one pizza for 149,000 Dong, we get another one for 49,000 Dong. If this wasn’t good enough we were then informed that as we had bought two beers, we would get another one free.
After dinner and drinks we continued our evening stroll and ventured into a traditional Vietnamese music bar but it was quite early and very quiet so we didn’t stay too long before making our way through the back streets back to our hotel, whilst others worked through the night.
We didn’t get the chance to visit the local beach but not to worry as our next trip is down to Hoi an, which has one of the best beaches in Asia.
Oh and don’t forget all this economic growth and rapid development is taking place in one of only a handful of countries still officially designated as a Communist Country. In 1986 the Communist Party of Vietnamese introduced a series of economic and political reforms best known as “Doi Moi” (Renovation) which shifted the planned centralised economy to a “socialist-oriented market economy” – a multi-sectoral market economy based on state-owned industry. Private enterprise, decontrol and foreign investment are now encouraged.