Are you cruising to Vietnam? Will your cruise ship be docking at port of call: Tien Sa, Da Nang and you do not know how to find and book a private & unique excursion for you and your family? We are here to write this blog to give you, hopefully, some know before you go useful insight about port of call: Tien Sa, Da Nang. From how to head for an exit to what shore excursions are available; the 10 must-visit attractions in Da Nang; the best restaurant for lunch;… This is all you need to take note!
Four decades ago, Da Nang was America’s major strategic base in Vietnam. The 1968 Tet Offensive saw bitter fighting for control of the old imperial capital of Hue – the turning point of the war. But that was 40 years ago. Today Danang is your gateway to the scenic and cultural riches of Vietnam. A World Heritage Site, Hue is the most visited spot in the entire country. Travelers will long remember their visit to its Imperial Citadel, modeled on Beijing’s Forbidden City. China Beach, where Marines landed in 1965, is an internationally acclaimed resort. And against an exotic backdrop of forested hills and Cham ruins, farmers toil in paddy fields still worked with water buffalo.
Once a fishing village on the Han River, Da Nang is a city of over 400,000 people. Hue is a two-hour drive from Da Nang.
Da Nang is an anchorage port. Passengers transfer to shore via ship’s tender.
Good to Know
Da Nang, Hue and Hoi An are comparatively safe, but like almost every crowded tourist area, there are pickpockets and scammers. There have been some incidents of men on motorbikes snatching purses from tourists in the crowded Central Market (a public market with lots of tables) in Hoi An. There also have been reports of pickpocketing by groups of young boys begging for money the markets in Hue. Remember to keep handbags, shopping bags and backpacks close at hand at all times. Keep currency and other valuable in cross-body bags that are difficult to grab or cut. While this isn’t exclusive to Vietnam, ask first before you take a photo of a colorful local. The person might expect a small fee. It’s best to set the price in advance than argue about its cost after the fact.
Food and Drink
The Vietnamese love seafood, but chicken, beef, pork, vegetables and fruit are common in their dishes. Their cuisine is considered very healthy and non-fattening, which might explain why most of the people are thin, despite the fact that they seem to eat all day long. Dishes are often flavored by fish sauce made of fermented anchovies and spiced with lemongrass, ginger, Vietnamese mint, coriander, Saigon cinnamon, bird’s-eye chili, lime and fresh basil leaves. The result is an enticing combination of contrasts — sweet, salty and spicy. Pho is the Vietnamese noodle soup that is a particular favorite for breakfast, while bahn mi, a stuffed local bread resembling a baguette sandwich, is a treat any time of the day. Upscale dining is often a fusion of French and Vietnamese cuisine, a favorite of foodies around the planet. To dine like a native, take rice from the large shared dish and put it in your rice bowl. Use chop sticks to pick meat and seafood from serving dishes and add to the rice. Remember, it is very bad form to stick chop sticks into the rice bowl vertically — it is the Buddhist sign of death.
In Da Nang Many local seafood restaurants are available along My Khe Beach in Da Nang. For fancy restaurants, some suggestions are: Water Front, Bau Troi Do, The Fat Fish, …
In Hue Les Jardins de la Carambole serves delectable French and Vietnamese specialties in an indoor dining room or pretty garden terrace. Its French Colonial villa, located inside the Citadel, just steps away from the Forbidden City, is as impressive as the food. (Dang Tran Con 32; (8454) 3548815; open for breakfast, brunch and dinner)
In Hoi An The best restaurant in town is Brother’s Café, where you enjoy scenic seating outside in the gardens or upscale comfort inside. Try the local specialty, the meat-stuffed dumpling called “white roses.” (27 Pham Boi Chau Street; (84510) 3914150; open daily 10 a.m. to 11 p.m.) Hoi An’s hip spot is the Mango Room. Grab a street-front seat and have a Vietnamese beer. The food is good, too. The owner spent time in the U.S., and the menu has both Vietnamese and California-influenced offerings. (111 Nguyen Thai Hoc; (84510) 3910839; open daily 8 a.m. to midnight)
Culture & History of Da Nang (Tien Sa) Cruise Port
Da Nang’s role in Vietnamese history is primarily as a port city which rose to prominence in the 19th century. Before that, Da Nang was a relatively small village that was colonized by the French in the 17th century. In 1954, the French ceded control of the port city, and Da Nang experienced a period of substantial population growth. Today, Da Nang is beginning to come into its own as a trade center and a place where jobs in web and technology are booming, too. Da Nang’s culinary scene is remarkable yet unpretentious, so don’t expect an overly fussy dining experience. Some of the best eats are found in street markets and back streets.
Da Nang (Tien Sa) Cruise Port Facilities & Location
Both ports are industrial and used primarily for commercial ships. As such, they offer few port amenities other than souvenir stands set up next to the docks.
Transportation in Da Nang (Tien Sa) Cruise Port, Vietnam
Cruise ships from Tien Sa offer shuttle buses to Da Nang, typically dropping you off near the market. There are also a limited number of taxis at the pier (you have to walk about 0.3 miles to the taxi stand). Rates are usually negotiable but should be set before driving off.
Don’t count on finding public transportation at Chan May, although there may be a few unmetered cabs outside the port gate. Rely instead on ship shore excursions for transport or make arrangements in advance with private tour or limo companies.
Once in central Da Nang and Hue, taxis are readily available. Hoi An is compact and pedestrian friendly.
With private shore excursions from Vietnam Shore Excursions, all-inclusive transportation to any excursion comes with your booking.
Shopping Near Da Nang (Tien Sa) Cruise Port
There’s not much at the cruise terminal itself in the way of shopping, but once you head into Da Nang City, bargains await along Le Loi Street. Riverside Market in Hoi An is popular with locals. Some of the best silk in the area is sold here, like at the Hoi An Silk Village, where you can tour a silk manufacturing plant. Open-air markets and a walkable set of storefronts in Hoi An make it an easy, relaxed day of shopping.
Currency & Best Way to Get Money
The main unit of currency is the dong (VND), which comes in notes ranging from 200 to 500,000. For current currency-conversion figures, visit www.xe.com or www.oanda.com. U.S. dollars also are widely accepted. Carry plenty of ones and fives to buy bargain for souvenirs (if you use larger bills, your change may be in dongs). There are ATMs at branches of Vietcombank in Da Nang, Hue, and Hoi An.
The official language is Vietnamese, but English and French are widely spoken.
2. TOP THINGS TO DO FROM DA NANG (TIEN SA PORT), VIETNAM
UNESCO World Cultural Heritage: Complex Hue Monuments
Hue Imperia Citadel is the main draw of Hue and a major attraction in Vietnam, has been recognized by UNESCO as a World Cultural Heritage in 1993 for its irreplaceable values in history, culture and architecture.
Built from 1804 and finished in 1833 by King Minh Mang, the Imperial Citadel is consisted of 147 structures inside Imperial City. The innermost enclosure belonged to the imperial family, called ‘Purple Forbidden City’, built based on Forbidden City in Beijing.
The Purple Forbidden City
When step inside this city, you’ll feel that you’ve entered an entire different world. Not only refine architecture you’ll admire as you walk around but also the green moat, carved gates, solemn royal pavilions and few museums on the grounds. Remember to get a guide to show you around and not miss the interesting pieces of history and culture at this heritage. *Admission fee: 200,000VND/guest
Thien Mu Pagoda Visit and Perfume River Boat Ride
Sited on Ha Khe Hill, Thien Mu Pagoda is about 5km west of Hue City Center. When looked from afar, the seven-tier chedi overlooking the poetic Huong River (Perfume River) creates such a solemn and beautiful sight of a spiritual construction adorned by a peaceful backdrop of nature.
Thien Mu Pagoda has long been agreed to be the symbol of the city and to tourists, a must-have things to do in Hue. Other than the iconic 7-tier chedi on the pagoda’s backyard, things to look inside the pagoda is the huge bell casted in 1710 and a stone turtle carried a marble stele on its back, dated from 17th century. You can visit the pagoda by taking a half-hour boat trip on Perfume River. The reason for the river to have this name due to the flowers dropped on the rivers from the upriver orchards, carrying a fragrant floral scent. Even though the fragrance has disappeared, Perfume River is still worth a trip for its peaceful scenery along the riverside, the daily life of people and gorgeous view of sunset. You can book a short boat trip or a dinner cruise departing from Huong Pier. The boat will stop at landmarks like Thien Mu, Hon Chen Temple and Tomb of Minh Mang.
Visit the tombs of Nguyen Emperors
If Imperial City is the place kings lived and worked throughout their lifetime then the tombs are the places each king chose to be his resting place after death. Visit the tombs, you’ll have chance to know more about the kings, the history and admire the architecture that reflect the king’s personality and belief.
– Tomb of Khai Dinh
Also recognized as a World Cultural Heritage by UNESCO, Tomb of Khai Dinh boasts an impressive architecture fusion of modern Western style and Vietnamese traditional features. Khai Dinh Tomb is the last imperial tomb in Vietnam, taking 11 years of constructing and completed in 1931. The tomb reflected well the influence of French culture in Emperor Khai Dinh, as seen in the French architecture elements used in many parts.
After climbing 127 stone steps, visitors will come to the king’s temple where a statue of King Khai Dinh siting on a throne considered as a masterpiece of royal architecture, lavishly adorned with colorful pieces of inlaid glass and porcelain.
– Tomb of Minh Mang
Unlike Tomb of Khai Dinh, Tomb of Minh Mang took only 3 years to complete yet having a total different style compared to Khai Dinh’s tomb. The temple is rather simple with Chinese typical architecture, blending so harmoniously with the nature layout composed of lakes, canals and gardens.
The gate to the king’s tomb is only opened once a year on the anniversary of Minh Mang’s death.
– Tomb of Tu Duc
Located in the narrow valley in Duong Xuan Thuong village (now in Thuong Ba village, Thuy Xuan commune, Hue city), Tu Duc Tomb has the traditional Vietnamese architecture style designed in a very elegant fashion.
The tomb is hailed as the most beautiful of all Nguyen emperor tombs for its poetic sceneries. The construction is harmonized in balance with the surrounding nature, enhance the beauties of each other. Especially, the walking road here is paved by Bat Trang bricks which are considered as the best type of bricks in the country.
Enjoy Hue Cuisine in Dong Ba Market
As the place that had left worldwide famous Anthony Bourdain fascinated, all food enthusiasts should come to Dong Ba market, you can find all the delicacies of Hue cuisine here.
Built in 1899, Dong Ba is one of the oldest markets in Hue, also serves as a trading centre, historical landmark and now tourist site of the city. There’re thousands of booths selling all kinds of things from clothes, housewares to foodstuff. Dong Ba Market’s food court offers a bustling food scene featuring all the best dishes of Hue like ‘banh beo’, Phu Hoa fried spring rolls, Banh Canh Nam Pho and the ones that Anthony Bourdain tried – Com Hen and Bun Bo Hue. One thing you will love Dong Ba market for sure: the place is not as noisy, busy and boisterous as many other markets in Vietnam. It’s also the one special of Hue people – calm, lovely and slow-paced. All in all, Dong Market is a great place to shop, eat and enjoy the personality of Hue people.
Enjoy Hue Street Food Tour with Hue Food Tour Company
This is the best food tour company in Hue. It is specially designed for all foodies with unique food & culture experiences in Hue City, Vietnam. You not only have a chance to taste various delicious kinds of Hue Cuisine, aso chat with local people, study their livelihoods and understand more Hue Cultures. We guarantee a local perspective that will give you and your family a once in a lifetime experience.
Visit Hue Royal Threatre
Built in year 1826 under King Minh Mang, solely to entertain the royalty, Royal Theatre now serves as the National Conservatory of Music. You can visit the theatre freely to admire the refinedness in architecture and decoration of the stage, examine the actor’s masks and musical instruments. A cultural art performance here lasts for about 45 minutes, bring back the cultural atmosphere and the art performances which were dedicated only to the kings.
Walk on Thanh Toan Bridge
Thanh Toan Bridge is another excellent example of Hue architecture during Nguyen dynasties, so valuable in terms of history and culture. Located 8 kilometers east from Hue city centre, Thanh Toan roofed bridge reflects itself on the green water of a small channel. Often compared with Hoi An’s Japanese Covered Bridge, Thanh Toan has a much more humble, rustic appearance.
The bridge is divided into 7 departments, almost the size of a big house. An ancestral altar is placed on the bridge to worship its constructor. On both sides of the bridge, there are platforms made for pedestrians to rest and hide from the sun. – Location: Thanh Thuy Chan village, Phu Vang, Hue
Relax at Lang Co Beach
Often mentioned in the list of best beaches in Vietnam, the beauty of Lang Co can’t be described by few simple words. With white beach dune stretching along the azure, Lang Co pleases your eyes with the gentlest colors.
After a winding ride on Hai Van Pass, Lang Co appears like a gift from mother nature, especially gorgeous in sunny days. The beach is calm and suitable for swimming and other beachside activities. But don’t just relax at the beach only, get to see the Lang Co village for its peaceful atmosphere as well as its local delicacies.
Short visit to Hue conical hat making village
To Hue and Vietnamese people, a conical hat isn’t just a hat, it’s also attached to the image of Ao Dai young Hue girls wear as a school uniform. Conical hat must be the oldest Vietnamese fashion wear that is still being used widely in everyday life of middle class and in rural areas. In Hue, don’t miss the chance to visit one of the villages that still practice the craft of conical hat making.
In Tay Ho village, making conical hat has been taken as a practice of making art. The village is famous for producing the famous ‘poem conical hat’ – an endearing name given by Vietnamese people. The hat made in Tay Ho village looks like an ordinary conical hat, but when you hold the hat under sunlight, you can see a poem or painting on the hat body. ‘Poem Conical Hat’ is considered as a precious Hue gift to bring back home.
Bach Ma National Park
Only 50 kilometers away, Bach Ma makes a wonderful day trip from Hue. The park is a natural border to divide Hue and Da Nang, overlooking to the gorgeous Lang Co bay and Da Nang bay. Not only the views are beautiful here, visitors will have chance to enjoy the fauna and flora diversity.
What to see in Bach Ma National Park: five lakes, Do Quyen (Azalea) waterfall, Vong Hai Dai…. *Tips to travel to Bach Ma National Park: Motorbikes are not allowed in the park, you will have to park your vehicles at the entrance and book a seat on a 12-seat minivan for a round-trip tour. Entrance fee is 60,000VND.
Hai Van Pass
Connecting two major tourist destinations Hue and Da Nang, Hai Van Pass or ocean cloud pass is about 21 kilometers long on National Highway 1A. Many names have been invented to call the pass, but they all indicate the same thing – its beauty and danger.
When riding on Hai Van Pass, you’ll find yourself constantly stop to take in the beautiful natural views of mountain-hugged beaches. Especially when you reach the pass’s highest point, you can see the total view of Lang Co beach. Motorbiking and bicycling are often the two most popular way to explore Hai Van pass. Other way is taking Reunification train from Hue to Da Nang, you can also see the spectacular views of the coastal line.
One of Da Nang’s quirkiest sights is Dragon Bridge, which is a yellow-orange bridge that breathes fire and water into the air. Both a bridge and a stunning modern sculpture, the Dragon Bridge lights up at night and promises fun shows every Saturday and Sunday night. You won’t find a bridge like this anywhere else.
Walk the Golden Bridge
There’s another bridge in Da Nang that attracts tourists and offers plenty of photo ops, and that’s Cau Vang Golden Bridge. Two giant stone hands hold up the massive, bright yellow walking bridge, which extends nearly 500 feet across. The Golden Bridge hands are called “the hands of God,” so you’ll be awed by their scale and magnificence as you walk across.
The Cham Museum has the largest collection in the world of Cham sculpture, with more than 300 sandstone pieces dating from the fourth to 14th centuries. A guide is almost a necessity to fully appreciate these timeless treasures (and to understand the labels, all in Vietnamese). (Tran Phu Street; open daily 7 a.m. to 6 p.m.; admission around $3 for adults)
Linh Ứng Pagoda and Lady Buddha statue
Located on the center of Son Tra Peninsula, Linh Ung Pagoda is one of the typical examples of Vietnamese pagoda. The path leads to the main chamber of the pagoda consists of 18 Arhats statues, each depicts various human emotions. Linh Ung Pagoda is also famous for the huge statue of Lady Buddha – 67m high, hence it got the name Lady Buddha pagoda. Lady Buddha statue stands in a perfect position that visitors can see it from every corner of Danang. It is the highest statue in Vietnam, measuring 67 meters in height and 35 meters in diameter at its base. The Lady Buddha Statue in Vietnam created a wonderful place where visitors can free their mind. Linh Ung’s not only just a religious place, but it is also one of the most visited attractions in the city of Danang.
The five Marble Mountains are each named for elements — water, metal, wood, fire and earth. Tho Son (earth) is the highest peak, and for a small fee, visitors can climb 153 rather steep steps to the top for tremendous views of Da Nang, China Beach and the South China Sea beyond. There also are caves where the Viet Cong hid during the war. Most of the temples and shrines are new, replacements for those destroyed during the fighting. Donations are requested at some of the shrines.
Below the mountains, the town of Non Nuoc produces marble goods, and there are numerous production studios and stalls selling everything from tiny folk figures and chess sets to giant statuary. Ship shore excursions often stop at these studios for shopping and bathroom breaks on the way back to the cruise port.
Hoi An Ancient Town
Hoi An offers visitors a wealth of culture, great food, friendly people and some of the best shopping in Vietnam. Basically untouched during the Vietnam War, it is a 45-minute drive from Da Nang and two hours from Chan May. Hoi An’s narrow streets (many pedestrian only) are lined with well-preserved architecture that gives the centuries-old town a wonderfully quaint atmosphere. To visit the museums and old houses, get a ticket for a nominal fee at the Hoi An Tourist Guiding Office (1 Nguyen Truong).
Most visitors simply wander and shop, stopping for a refreshing iced coffee before boarding buses back to the ship. The Central Market, near the Thu Bon river at Nguyen and Tran Phu streets, has stalls selling food, crafts, spices, fish and so forth, and lots of hustle and bustle (haggle there if you want to buy anything). As for the shops, Shop Ngoc Uyen (92 Le Loi Street) is an excellent souvenir venue for high-quality silk scarves, purses and other accessories (at prices so reasonable you’ll want to stock up).
See the Historic My Son Sanctuary
Not far from Da Nang is the sanctuary of My Son, which dates all the way back to the 4th century. The temples here hold precious Hindu significance and are dedicated to the Hindu god Shiva.
III. SUGGESTED SHORE EXCURSIONS (PRIVATE & GROUP SHORE EXURSIONS) IN DA NANG (TIEN SA) CRUISE PORT, VIETNAM
Vietnam Shore Excursions offers fully customisable Vietnam shore excursions (private & group shore excursions) for cruise ship passengers in Da Nang (Tien Sa) Cruise Port, Vietnam. We guarantee a local perspective that will give you and your family a once in a lifetime experience. Check out recommended Vietnam Shore Excursions, if you do not find any suitable itinerary, please contact our Vietnam travel experts. We will help you tailor a unique shore excursion to Vietnam that is exclusively for you.
Nha Trang is known as the Riviera of the South China Sea, offers a six-kilometre stretch of beautiful coastline with white sandy beaches, clear waters with an abundance of marine life and thriving reefs, verdant mountain ranges at each end, as well as 19 untouched islets that are just a short boat ride away. This city also offers a myriad of sightseeing and recreational activities, the coastal town itself is steeped with breath-taking structures that date back to the Champa Kingdom, Buddhist temples, and gothic-style Catholic churches, as well as natural hot springs, salt fields, and unique waterfalls. Customers will have a chance to taste and try fresh seafood and Vietnamese cuisine while lively bars and pubs along the pristine beach are favourite hangouts for tourists to watch the sun sets over the East Sea…
This shore excursion is specially designed for cruise ship passengers from Chan May or Tien Sa Port who want to discover all must-see attractions of Marble Mountains, China Beach, the Japanese Bridge, the UNESCO-listed old quarter of Hoi An, and Dragon Bridge in one day. With this shore excursion, customers not only have a chance to learn about the history and culture of each city, also enjoy a delicious lunch at a local restaurant…
This shore excursion introduces two unique & amazing attractions recognized as world heritage by UNESCO: My Son Sanctuary & Hoi An Ancient Town. Customers not only have chance to explore My Son Sanctuary, admire the mysterious ancient ruins of a once blooming capital under the Cham civilization dating from the second century, but also visit Hoi An Ancient Town – a trading center of Vietnam in 15th Century and have best souvenirs for your friends and family…
Vung Tau city or Ba Ria-Vung Tau is a famous port city in Vietnam. It has long sandy beaches which stretch along the coastline. This city is also the best place on mainland where you can admire sunrise and sunset on the sea beautifully and has many unique relics such as Vung Tau Lighthouse, Jesus Statue, Niet Ban Tinh Xa Pagoda, Thich Ca Phat Dai Pagoda, Long Son Large House, etc. All the attractions of the city thank to the harmonious combination between natural landscape, urban architecture and cultural works…
This shore excursion brings you to visit the Golden Bridge – a new wonder of Vietnam, get lost in French Villas, stand on the top of Bana Mountain, and get a glimpse of Buddhism in Vietnam by a visit to sacred Linh Ung Pagoda…
Hue is known as the capital of imperial Vietnam for 143 years, shines with the glories of the old times. The city has a peculiar kind of conservative beauty and slow paced life style. Emperors’ tombs, Imperial Citadel, historic relics, beautiful beaches to poetic Perfume River, Dong Ba Market, Thien Mu Pagoda – Hue is just like a hidden gem of Central Vietnam where you can forget the flow of time. And these are just the most obvious things to do in Hue, just a scratch of what this beautiful city can offer…
Halong Bay is known as a beautiful natural wonder in northern Vietnam. It is dotted with 1,600 limestone islands and islets and covers an area of over 1,500 sqkm. This extraordinary area was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1994. For many tourists, this place is like something right out of a movie. The fact is that Halong Bay features a wide range of biodiversity, while the surrealistic scenery has indeed featured in endless movies…
Hanoi is known as one of the most ancient capitals in the world, where travellers can find well-preserved colonial buildings, ancient pagodas, and unique museums within the city centre. A great place to explore on foot, this French-colonial city is also known for its delectable cuisine, vibrant nightlife, silks and handicrafts, as well as a multi-cultural community that’s made up of Chinese, French and Russian influences…
Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) is known as the business and financial hub of Vietnam. It becomes a popular tourist destination due to its fascinating culture, classic French architecture, and sleek skyscrapers as well as ornate temples and pagodas. The city is also filled with rooftop bars that overlook Saigon and beyond, while fantastic restaurants offer a combination of French, Chinese, and, of course, local Vietnamese cuisine. Here is the ideal destination for cruise passengers from Phu My & Sai Gon Port…
With Cu Chi Tunnels and Ho Chi Minh City Shore Excursions, cruise passengers not only have a chance to explore an immense network of connecting underground tunnels that witnessed several military campaigns during the Vietnam War, but also see the hustle and bustle of Vietnamese life in Ho Chi Minh City. Whether you are a veteran, a war-site enthusiast or just a visitor, you will leave Cu Chi Tunnels and Ho Chi Minh City with newer and deeper perspectives of the country than you had before…
Mekong Delta – the endearing name Vietnamese people often call the land – has always been the most unique destination of Vietnam for cruise passengers from Phu My & Sai Gon Port. With most of the land covered and divided by wetlands and rivers, Mekong Delta has developed a unique way of life and culture adapting to the geography characteristics. There’re a lot of things to do in Mekong Delta Vietnam with the immense beauties and cultural charms…
Cu Chi Tunnel is known as one of the must-see spots in Phu My & Sai Gon shore excursions for cruise passengers. It boasts an immense network of connecting underground tunnels that witnessed several military campaigns during the Vietnam War. Whether you are a veteran, a war-site enthusiast or just a visitor, you will leave Cu Chi Tunnels with newer and deeper perspectives of the country than you had before…
Are you temped to visit Da Nang? Why not let us arrange your perfect tailor-made trip to Da Nang and Vietnam? Tell us your own ideas and requests by mailing to email@example.com. One of our travel experts will get back to you as soon as possible!