Traveling Vietnam -The Central Coast

Da Nang

As we trained into Da Nang, one of the most eye-catching sights from my window seat was the view of “Lady Buddha Da Nang.” She is huge. At 67 metres high, she is the tallest Buddha statue in Vietnam. Built between 2004 and 2010 from the whitest of white marble sourced from Da Nang’s own Marble Mountain, she stands out like a spiritual beacon overlooking Da Nang from the Son Tra Peninsula.

My view of the statue from the train was fleeting but profound. From Da Nang City itself, she stands luminescent, 14 kilometres away on the distant peninsula overlooking the sea. I couldn’t take my eyes off her. The lustrous white statue of “Lady Buddha,” shining golden at night, had touched my heart. I would gaze at her in the distance from the hotel room and on our walks. She was there to see everywhere.

Excerpt from Lady Buddha meaning:

Lady Buddha is the Goddess of Mercy who is believed to see, hear and sympathize cries of people in the world. Her right hand holds a water vase, containing nectar of life and a willow branch in her left hand, used to sprinkle the nectar on the prayers. For fishers, she also is a patron saint who follows, gives fortune and saves them on the sea. That’s why they come to pray before setting sail. Standing on a blooming lotus, this perfect depiction faces the city, aiming to shelter its citizens from disasters. Locals have been believing that since her presence, typhoons don’t hit their hometown. In a wider view, as a part of the third Linh Ung Pagoda, itself and two other temples in Ba Na Hills and Marble Mountains, create a triangle. Once again, that “fences” bad things to locals.

Apart from the beautiful “Lady Buddha”, Da Nang is a coastal city known for its beaches and seafood. We love both, so there was plenty to enjoy in this central settlement of Vietnam. We were also interested to find out more about the Americans occupation of Da Nang at the beginning of the Vietnam War.

It has been nearly fifty years since the Americans took this city and its surrounding areas. Every morning, while we walked along the soft white sands of Thanh Binh Beach, I would think of their invasion of Danang back in 1965.

3,500 US Marines landed at My Khe Beach (5kms north of Da Nang city). They were the first American ground troops to arrive in Vietnam. Fast forward to the 1970s, when GIs used My Khe beach (nicknamed China Beach) for their RnR, having populated the area with their presence for over five years.

So much reminiscent history lives amongst Da Nang’s landscape. Brought to life for many of us via, for example; the 1988 TV series China Beach, based on real life stories of the US GIs and nurses stationed there during the Vietnam War. And adding to these stories, the accompanying soundtrack, with evocative songs such as the 1967 Diana Ross and The Supremes “Reflections” .

Now Danang belongs, once again, to the Vietnamese.

Euphemistically known as “The City of Bridges”. Danang boasts ten startlingly beautiful and distinctive structures spanning the Han River. This has allowed trade and tourists to access this very special city much more conveniently, and therefore the bridges have played a major part in the city’s growth and popularity. The Top 4 were all built between 1997-2013.

In the 21st century, Danang has become a superb stopover. It is a coastal breather with modern hotels, fresh seafood restaurants, seaside bars, gorgeous beaches, and lovely people. Everything is within walking distance, so you don’t have to go far to find what you are looking for.

Maia Beach Bar was a favorite stopping point on our daily barefooted beach walk. Tastefully kitted out in a beachy but innovative theme with plenty of comfy seats, tables, and wooden platforms to while away a few hours. Cold beer (or cocktail) in hand, watching the waves, beach activities, and people-watching. There was plenty to absorb.

We also enjoyed a delicious seafood meal at Lang Ca restaurant. Fringed by an enormous fresh seafood aquarium, we spent at least an hour gazing wondrously at the array of live choices on offer. Any seafood lover would be hard-pressed not to find something they wanted to try for dinner.

We opted for various small tastes, including local lobster, prawns, oysters, and abalone. Shown to our table and waited on like royalty, we looked forward to feasting on our chosen fare. We weren’t disappointed. Each dish was brought out separately with matched sauces and our chosen salad. (Must have our greens)! All this discreetly accompanied by the attentive Jack.

He couldn’t do enough for us, keeping an eye on us while busy with many other customers. Thank you, Jack. We couldn’t have cracked those scrummy lobster legs without you.

Our evening of fun, charm, and delight, was concluded with a stylish cognac for me and a wee dram for him.

Cheers to Dan Nang, our next stay will be longer for sure.

A distant shot of the famous Dragon Bridge built in 2013 across The Han River – Da Nang.

If you would like to find out more about Da Nang and the central coast of Vietnam, please contact

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