By Nguyễn Việt Dũng
Đà Nẵng City’s upcoming annual summer festival at the end of July is a great reminder to tourists everywhere that the city is filled with fun activities and places to visit.
The Wow Đà Nẵng summer festival to be held from July 28 to August 1 will feature musical performances, a Việt Nam-International Food Festival, flashmobs, a street carnival, and many other activities and programmes to entice tourists.
All of this points to the fact that while Đà Nẵng City in Central Việt Nam is well-known for its popular religious tourism destinations like Linh Ứng Pagoda, the now iconic Golden Bridge with its unique and memorable design, and the city’s close proximity to Hội An Ancient Town, there is no shortage of fun things to do for tourists.
Đà Nẵng is blessed with great weather and beautiful beaches, including Mỹ Khê, which has been voted as one of the world’s most beautiful beaches by many international media outlets. During the ongoing summer holiday, many families and groups of friends are having a blast swimming and playing at the beach.
Visitors can also partake in fun watersports such as canoe parasailing, banana boats, jetski riding and surfing.
|Partaking in extreme watersports is among the many summer activities that visitors can do at Đà Nẵng City’s beaches. - VNS Photo Việt Dũng|
Trần Thanh Thiên, operation director of Danabeach Beach Entertainment and Sport Service Area, tells Việt Nam News that these activities typically attract the curiosity of many visitors, who end up greatly enjoying them. Around 70 per cent of visitors who partake in the sports are foreign tourists.
“I have been running this business in Đà Nẵng for many years, and from my point of view, beach tourism is the city’s key tourism sector. The local authority also pays a great deal of attention to cleaning and ensuring safety for beach tourism, as well as to the development of beach services,” Thiên says.
With the investment from the city and local businesses, beach tourism will continuously grow, lending Đà Nẵng a competitive edge when it comes to tourism.
Dallas Howes, an expat from England who moved to the city last year, often hangs out at Đà Nẵng’s beaches for their nice view and relaxing feeling, as well as how clean they are.
At Danabeach, there are also a nightclub, bar and restaurant services, ensuring fun activities for both day and night. In fact, sitting on bean bags on the sand with a cold cocktail in hand, all while listening to lively club music from the stage behind, definitely makes for a great and relaxing way to end a day.
Riding a bike on Võ Nguyên Giáp Street - which is close to the beach - and taking in the scenery of lively beach decorations and vendors is also a healthy way to while away the hours. Tech-savvy visitors with accounts on the Vietnamese bike-renting app TNGO can easily rent a public bike at several bike rental spots near the beach.
Nighttime spots to hang out at
After spending their day at the beach or visiting tourist destinations such as museums and religious sites, many people enjoy hanging out at nighttime attractions, including Sơn Trà Night Market in Sơn Trà District, east of the city’s iconic Dragon Bridge.
|Many tourists like buying souvenirs and small trinkets at the bustling Sơn Trà Night Market in Sơn Trà District. - VNS Photo Việt Dũng|
A first visit to the market on a Tuesday evening in July quickly revealed just how popular and bustling it can get, with huge crowds of local and foreign visitors scouring the market’s nearly 200 booths for tasty food items, drinks, handicraft products, souvenirs and local specialties - a great scene of chaotic beauty that you could only get at a street night market.
Sơn Trà Night Market, which was opened in 2019, opens from 6pm to 12am every day. According to its management board, it has around 8,000 daily visitors, and the board has been working with vendors to make their products’ prices and quality public, in preparation for the summer holiday.
Another noteworthy place to spend the evening is the Helio Night Market, which is part of Hải Châu District’s Helio Centre – Đà Nẵng’s largest entertainment complex.
Visitors with a big appetite will have around 200 dishes to choose from across the numerous vendors there, including tasty grilled dishes, Đà Nẵng specialties, trendy snacks, and drinks.
|Helio Night Market in Hải Châu District is another great place to grab some snacks and drinks with friends and families. - VNS Photo Việt Dũng|
These dishes would definitely appeal to youngsters, such as 27-year-old tourist from HCM City Nguyễn Vũ Anh, who says that he had a great time munching on burgers, fried chicken, grilled skewers and sugarcane juice, before killing an hour or two playing arcade games with his younger brother inside Helio Centre.
Live music performances are held every night, and the market also organises special events by frequently researching market interests, such as summer activities for kids and fun contests. There are also staff who clean rubbish quickly to maintain a clean environment.
Lê Thị Tú Nhi, head of marketing of Helio Centre, tells Việt Nam News that currently, around 1,000 people visit its night market during the weekdays and 2,000 during the weekends. Of this amount, around 30 to 40 per cent are foreign visitors.
Lastly, there is the An Thượng neighbourhood in Ngũ Hành Sơn District, often referred to as “Expat Town” due to its abundance of expats and expat-owned businesses.
Đà Nẵng and the district have been refurbishing the area's roads and infrastructure to turn it into an attractive tourism product. Many of the streets in this neighbourhood have been repaved to look more visually appealing to walk on.
Indeed, many foreign tourists enjoy having a pleasant stroll in this area at night, where they quickly find many restaurants specialising in cuisine from across the world, lively bars filled with expats hanging out with friends, live musical performances, as well as professional spa and massage parlours.
|Visitors enjoy listening to a live music band at an Irish pub in An Thượng neighbourhood in Ngũ Hành Sơn District. A stroll at this area is a great way to spend an evening. - VNS Photo Việt Dũng|
Dan Ashley, an expat from England who runs Bikini Bottom (a restaurant which sells Western breakfasts, smash burgers and other meals) with his wife, tells Việt Nam News that “the neighbourhood is safe and calm, with plenty of nightlife and restaurants, bars, and it feels like home in a way.”
There are plenty of hotels and hostels here in this neighbourhood as well, which itself is close to the beach.
Vedika and Shreyas Lakhani, two Indian tourists who visit Việt Nam for the first time, feel that this neighbourhood is lively and has a lot of things always happening, and is a great place for youngsters to hang out.
Revival of tourism
Tourism is a key industry of Đà Nẵng, and the city has been featured in several international tourism publications as a great destination in Asia.
Since the start of the year, Đà Nẵng has organised several activities that garnered the attention of many tourists, such as the first ever Đà Nẵng Asian Film Festival, the annual Quán Thế Âm (Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva) Festival, and the Đà Nẵng International Fireworks Festival.
According to Ngô Thị Kim Yến, deputy chairwoman of Đà Nẵng People’s Committee, the city’s tourism has been recovering and developing strongly after COVID-19.
In the first half of the year, the city welcomed around 3.5 million tourists (including 930,000 foreign visitors), 4.4 per cent higher compared to the same period in 2019, before COVID.
The city has already reached 89 per cent of its 2023 goal, partially thanks to its greatly successful fireworks festival.
Revenue from tourism and accommodation services reached over VNĐ6.2 trillion (US$260 million), a 99 per cent rise year-on-year.
|Foreign tourists at the Đà Nẵng Museum of Chàm Sculpture. The city's tourism has been recovering after COVID-19. - VNS Photo Việt Dũng|
Nguyễn Xuân Bình, deputy director of the city’s Department of Tourism, says that after the direct airline route Đà Nẵng – Narita (Japan) was resumed in March, the city saw a great increase of Japanese tourists, whom Đà Nẵng’s tourism industry has identified as a key target demographic.
However, according to several local businesses, the post-COVID recovery has not been as booming as they had hoped; some are only beginning to bounce back from the pandemic, while others are being hindered by the recent global economic challenges, causing many families to cut down on their spending.
Đà Nẵng is focusing on investing and developing its key industry, turning the city into Việt Nam’s tourism hub, as well as improving its tourism service quality to become one of Asia’s leading travel destinations.
The upcoming summer festival is expected to help promote the city’s tourism products, attract more visitors into the city via exciting activities, and “wow” everyone with all the summer time fun that Đà Nẵng can offer. VNS