in the central part of Vietnam. Da Nang (Danang) was the landing point
of both the French and the Americans during their stints in Vietnam.
When the French established a garrison in Da Nang (then called Tourane
), more soldiers died from disease than the associated fighting in
establishing the garrison.
There is now a small cemetery dedicated to them. During the Vietnam War,
Da Nang was the home to one fifth of all US servicemen based in Vietnam
. This made Da Nang on of the heaviest defended cities in South Vietnam
, yet it eventually fell to the North Vietnamese in 1975 with hardly a
Da Nang marks the halfway point between Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City
and was the first place to organize its own local communist party
committee. The city is fairly featureless, and if you are coming
from the tranquil setting of Lang Co, Hue , or anywhere for that
matter, Da Nang is an extreme disappointment. It is a busy, dusty,
colorless city, the fourth largest in Vietnam , and one of the
largest business centers. Unless you are in Da Nang for business,
chances are you will pass straight through. Da Nang does have a
fascinating Cham Museum that contains an excellent collection of
Cham art. However, the main reason for staying in Danang is in the
surrounding region. Sandy Beach, the Marble Mountains, Hoi An and My
Son are all within striking distance of Da mange, though it is more
pleasant to stay in Hoi An and visit these sights.
My Khe Beach
far from Da Nang lies My Khe - better known as the famed Sandy
Beach. US and Australian servicemen were helicoptered in here for
R&R during the Vietnam war. A great expanse of white sand stretches
out before a rough ocean just 7kms from Danang's centre. Taking in
My Khe Beach from the heights of Marble Mountain is a must before
heading down for a dip. The beach itself remains largely undeveloped
- there's just a small kiosk and of course a few stalls selling
t-shirts and other souvenirs.A swim at My Khe Beach , or even just a
walk through its clean, grainy sand is a must!
Hai Van Pass
by road between Lang Co and Da Nang , you will have to get over the
Hai Van Pass. This pass is created by a spur from the Truong Son
Mountain Range that extends to the coast. This extremely mountainous
road, with its sensational views, is the cause of many local
vehicles breaking down. So if you are on one, allow yourself plenty
of time. The view from the top of the pass is extraordinarily
beautiful and well worth a stop to take it all in.