Originally known as Cua
Han, it gradually developed into a commercial port replacing
Hoi An in the early 18th century, when European shipbuilding
was improved and large deep-draught vessels could easily enter
Danang Bay. The city was associated with the French colonialists
who, after establishing their domination of the whole of Vietnam
in 1889, separated Danang from Quang Nam Province and renamed
the city Tourane under the control of the Governor General
of Indochina. After the defeat of the French in 1954, it was
given its present name under the authority of the Saigon government.
international fame arose from its role during the American
War. In March 1965, American marine units landed and started
to set up a major military complex to support the combat bases
and operations in and near the De-Militarised Zone, about
220km to the north. American troops and the Saigon government
expanded Danang into a political and military centre with
an airport, ports, warehouses, roads, and other infrastructure.
Industry flourished, and the population grew.
March 1975, the advancing North Vietnam Army (NVA) captured
Hue, and by the end of the month, panic spread through Danang
and order collapsed. In early April, with NVA tanks advancing
on the city, the chaotic evacuation and airlift began. The
human story of the event was documented in the 1997 film ‘Daughter
featuring a child and mother separated at that time.
Danang is an important port and Vietnam’s fourth largest city
but, despite its substantial business travel potential, there's
a dearth of decent hotels with only the upmarket Furama Resort
above a three-star standard.
its a pleasant place but without a great deal of interest
for the traveller apart from its ancient association with
the Cham Kingdom, represented by its famous Cham Museum, and
a Cao Dai temple second only to the Cao Dai Holy See in importance.
However, not counting the DMZ, Hue, My Son and Hoi An, there
are places worth visiting not far away.
My Khe Beach
famous by the American War, the actual location of the GI’s
rest and relaxation area is a small section of My Khe beach,
part of the long stretch of sand that runs south alongside
the coast for hundreds of kilometres. Nearby, is the Furama,
Vietnam’s premier first class resort hotel, the only First
Class hotel within reasonable reach of Hue.
Beach is down the sand from the Furama - it’s easy enough
to spot. You can still see the old aircraft hangers at the
back of the beach. The American forces used them to house
bombers, unwittingly in full view of the Vietcong who maintained
a spectacular network of tunnels in the Marble Mountains.
The Marble Mountains are a popular spot for Vietnamese visitors,
about ten kilometres from Danang.
known by their Vietnamese name of Ngu Hanh Son (Five Mountains
Range), they face the East Sea and contain some of the
oldest pagodas in Vietnam. The colour of the marble in the
five peaks differs: the Thuy Son mountain has pink marble,
while the Moc Son mountain’s is white and the Hoa Son mountain’s
a commercialised site, but the shrines and pagodas built into
the caves in the limestone hills are interesting if not too
crowded. At its base is Non Nuoc, a stone carving village
with more than a thousand people involved in making fine art
works and Buddha statues from high-grade limestone, mostly
for export worldwide.