Marketing professional Komal Agarwal relives her recent tour to Vietnam — and particularly, the city of Danang.
When I was browsing for places to visit in Vietnam, I found the beautiful city of Danang which boasts of a dream combination of mountains, sea and city life all together. To tell you more about it, Danang is a coastal city in central Vietnam and is best known for its sandy beaches. It is approximately 800 kms away from Ho Chi Minh and the best mode of transport for this would be by flight.
For my stay, I chose a place close to the sea. The view from the balcony was beautiful; from one side, you get to see the never-ending sea and on the other side, you get to see the vibrant city life. Now, let me tell you about my expeditions in the city. On the first day, I decided to visit the mountains!
My first stop was the Marble Mountains — a cluster of small mountains. I heard that the place has a spiritual significance to the Vietnamese and is very busy on weekends and during Buddhist festivals. There are two ways to reach the top — you either take an elevator and reach there within seconds, or walk inside the mountain and take your time exploring the beauty within — I obviously chose the latter option. The inside of the mountain is a splendid sight as it has stunning marble carvings and statues of Buddha, lions and other animals. It took me around 20 to 30 minutes to reach the top and the view was breathtaking!
Next was Son Tra mountain, which is popularly known as the Monkey Mountains. The road to this spot is usually deserted, and the view is fantastic. This mountain is a natural reserve for more than 100 species of fauna. It is a 13.5 kms long mountain pass and stands 639 meters above sea level. It is also called the Chess Board Peak. Legend has it that Son Tra Peninsula is a place where two gods played chess, in which one of them got distracted by nymphs and was defeated by his rival! He got mad, kicked the chessboard into the sea and flew back to heaven!
Apart from the mountains, one of the major attraction spots in this city is Dragon Bridge — this literally serves as a bridge to connect the beach and the city. The view in the evening when the dragon is all lit up is just divine. Apart from these places, the beaches are also really, really beautiful.
After Danang, I was also impressed with Ha Long Bay, which is a four-hour drive from the city of Hanoi. It is home to thousands of islands and is considered the eighth wonder of the World! The best way to explore is via cruise/boat. Ha Long Park, Fishermen’s House and cable cars that lead to the Sun Wheel are must-visit places there.
I also got a chance to explore the local cuisine and I must tell you that Vietnamese food is distinct and relies heavily on salty, sour flavours. I tried the Goi Cuon (spring rolls), Banh Mi (sandwich), Nom Hua Chuoi (banana flower salad) — the vibrant flavors were delicious. I can vouch that Vietnam would provide you with a comfortable travel experience as people here are simple, they love to smile and are genuinely very good with foreign visitors. South Vietnam is usually warm during October, November and central Vietnam gets cooler November to February. So you can plan your trip keeping this in mind.
One piece of advice I would like to give is that since it’s really warm during summer in Vietnam — stay hydrated. And since rain is uncertain, be prepared for showers too!