DANANG CITY-The Gateway to 3 WORLD HERITAGE SITES
In 1888, Danang became "a concession" of France and was called Tourance. The French considered Tourance one of Indochina's five major cities.
Nowadays Danang is the main gateway city of Central Vietnam and is flourishing port city literally halfway between Hanoi and Saigon and one hour's flight from each. To its north and south lie endless stretches of golden sandy beach washed by the blue waters of the Eastern Sea. Twenty five kilometres south is the remarkably well preserved 17th century silk route seaport of Hoi An. Further inland, the ruined temples of the ancient Cham civilization which once ruled Central Vietnam nestle undisturbed in a secluded tropical valley. To the north of Danang is the ancient imperial capital HUE which lies on the banks of the Parfume river. All three sites have been recognized World Heritage Sites by UNESCO and all are within two hours driving distance of Danang.
With a population of 1 million, it's Vietnam's fourth largest city, but it feels less of a city than a large town. The buildings and streetside restaurants that line the roads are interspersed with rice paddies and lily ponds.
There is no shortage of things to do around Danang. On China Beach there's plenty of space for swimming. Large waves (between September and December), make it a good destination for surfers. Diving offshore from Danang is ideal - the water is warm and dives are mostly at 15m, with a couple of sites at 30m. It's easy and relatively cheap to hire a car, motorbike or mountain bike to explore Danang and other sights, such as the Buddhist caves at Marble Mountains. When mountainbiking, remember to bring along enough water to cope with the extreme heat of this region: Danang is far enough south to enjoy warm weather all year round and in summer temperatures can reach a scorching 40C.
This area was the centre of the Cham civilization for many centuries. Ancient cities like Singhapura - the administrative capital of the Champa civilization, the Buddhist inspired Indrapura, My Son valley - the spiritual center of the Champa civilization, and Hoi An - the ancient trading port are located in this region.
"HAI VAN PASS"
The Hai Van Pass is the highest and longest pass in Vietnam with the north - south national highway zigzagging over it for almost 20km. The literal meaning of Hai Van is Sea and Cloud. Reaching to a height of 496m above sea level, the pass seems to be lost in the clouds almost all of the time.