Danang Travel Itinerary Day 1: Marble Mountain, Hoi An and Danang Hoi An Local Food!

Thinking of travelling to Danang? What comes to mind first? Is it the pristine My Khe Beaches? The majestic Marble Mountains? The lanterns of Hoi An? Or the instagrammable Golden Bridge of Ba Na hills? For this Danang Travel Itinerary, we combined all of that with a little side trip to one of the most instagrammable hotels in the region…

From Singapore Changi Airport to Danang International Airport

For this trip, we combined a “TO” flight by Jetstar with a “RETURN” flight by Vietnam Air to reach a combined cost for return tickets at 300SGD each. The flight from Singapore to Danang takes about 2.5 hours. Our flight departed at 7am in the morning and was scheduled to arrive at 8:40am in the morning in Danang. This meant that we had almost the entire day when we arrived.

This day, we woke up at 4am and arrived at the airport at 5-ish in the morning. We headed to one of the self check-in machines and got our boarding passes. No scare this time – unlike what we experienced during our self check-in bound for Okinawa -_-” Armed with our boarding pass and unlimited access Priority Pass (Courtesy of Citibank Prestige), we headed, for the 2nd time, to visit Changi Lounge – the latest Priority Pass Lounge of Singapore Changi Airport…

Changi Lounge Changi Airport Singapore Review
Classy decoraction in Changi Lounge JEWEL Changi Airport
Inside Changi Lounge JEWEL Changi International Airport
Partially filled cup of coffee at Changi Lounge JEWEL Singapore

The very first time that we visited, we were rejected because we were more than 4 hours early. Changi Lounge seems to be very strict about this. Hence, we made sure that we were within the 4 hours timeline when we reached. Although we were able to enter, we unfortunately, we still too early for breakfast which starts at 6am. The coffee machine was also a little cranky and we ended up having a partially filled cup of coffee before heading over to our most trusted SATS lounge in T1. You can find out more about the Best Priority Pass Lounges in Singapore Changi Airport before you fly off on your next trip as well! After our light breakfast of chicken rice, carrot cake, ee fu noodles, Johnny Walker on Coke and a nice cup of latte, we were raring to go board our flight to Danang!

Flight from Singapore to Danang (2.5 hours flight time)

The plane was half-filled and after a flight time of 2.5 hours, we arrived in the city of Danang!

Arriving at Da Nang International Airport

Upon arrival, we were promptly picked up by our airport transfer to Hoi An. However, we added a little stopover at Marble Mountains enroute, arriving there at about 9:30am…

Danang Travel Itinerary Day 1 From Danang to Hoi An with a stopover at Marble Mountains

Da Nang Marble Mountains

Car waiting point at The Marble Mountains - Outside a Marble Shop
First view of Marble Mountains - Lift Up to The Marble Mountains
Map of the Marble Mountains Da Nang Vietnam

There are actually 5 mountains at The Marble Mountains – named after the 5 elements of wood, water, metal, earth and fire. However, the main attraction is Water Mountain. We opted to climb up and only bought the entrance fees for 40,000 VND (~2.5 SGD). The climb up was actually a little steep, especially at the start. Definitely not recommended for the older folks and young children…

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Entrance fees to the Marble Mountains Da Nang (40,000 VND ~2.5SGD)
Steep Climb Up The Marble Mountains Da Nang

After about a 5 minutes climb, we arrived at the gate. From there, the up and down slopes were a little easier…

Main Gate of The Marble Mountains Danang
More steps at Marble Mountains

The Marble Mountains is actually a cluster of 5 marble and limestone hills. Within, there are several caves and tunnels that you can visit. We walked past Van Thong Cave first and decided to just head up to take a look…

Entrance of Van Thong Cave Marble Mountains Da Nang

However, before we entered Van Thong Cave, we overheard local guides telling different groups of tourists just to take a look and not walk through it. This is because the tunnel becomes narrower and narrower until portions whereby only 1 person can pass through. If anyone got stuck, it would definitely be a problem for the authorities and the tour guides. Hence, we followed the advice and did see the steep and narrow tunnel before coming out again.

The other cave that we visited was the Huyen Khong Cave because of its “sky-lit roof” where sunlight is able to pass through into the cave. At certain times of the day, the light beams become very clear, offering an instagrammable moment…

Light coming into Huyen Khong Cave at Marble Mountains Danang
2bearbear at Huyen Khong Cave of The Marble Mountains Da Nang

We also took a short hike up to an observatory at “The Highest Peak” of the Marble Mountains to catch a view of the vicinity…

Views from the highest peak of the Marble Mountains Danang

After which, we bought a cold coke (25K VND ~1.5SGD) and chilled a little before leaving for Hoi An. All in all, we spent an hour-ish at The Marble Mountains. For the price of 40K VND, the place was very well-kept and certainly worth a visit if you’re in vicinity. We left at about 10:30am and arrived in Hoi An at about 11am.

Hoi An Ancient City, Night Markets and NGO House Villa

Our stay in Hoi An was at NGO House Villa, a short walk to the ancient city of Hoi An and the night markets. Rates were fairly reasonable as well, at 30SGD per night.

NGO House Villa Hoi An

As we were still early for check-in, we walked over to the ancient city itself to take some photos and have lunch…

2bearbear at Hoi An!
Crossing the iconic bridge at Hoi An ancient city
Iconic Bridge Hoi An City
Beautiful lanterns that lined the streets of Hoi An City
Local Food of Cao Lau (70k) and Bun Thit Nuong (70k) with a Saigon Beer (35K)

The first sight of the river next to the ancient town of Hoi An, was exactly how we imagined it to be. Picturesque and yet exuding an old world charm as you walk along its streets. Strangely, we found ourselves at an Italian restaurant (Casa Italia) which sold local food – which we later found to be overpriced. Nonetheless, we were glad to have tried Cao Lau (udon-like noodle with preserved radish and braised pork slices) and Bun Thit Nuong (vermicelli with grilled pork). At 70k per bowl, they were almost double the price as compared to the versions further from the touristic old town. However, the portion was muh bigger as well. We must say that Cao Lau is somewhat an acquired taste, on the salty side while Bun Thit Nuong is not like what we have in Singapore. It was not so “fish-sauce” heavy but was still tasty nonetheless. All these were washed down with a local Saigon Beer (35K) before we headed back to check in…

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Bed in NGO House Villa Hoi An
Hot Shower at NGO House Villa Hoi An
TV with cable channel at Hoi An NGO House Villa
Outdoor Patio of NGO House Villa Hoi An
Swimming pool in NGO House Villa

Besides the slight struggle of trying to unlock the door, we were pretty pleased with the room at NGO House Villa. There was cable TV, hot shower, clean bed and even an outdoor patio. Plus, there’s a swimming pool in the common area – just that the water’s a little too cold when we visited. The owners who manage the villa, also stays here. This is also why you’ll see them playing with their kids in the common areas throughout your stay. For dinner, we decided to try another local food – white rose dumpling (60K)

White rose dumpling (60K) and Bun Thit Nuong (35k) with beer (20k)
View from restaurant down the street from NGO House Villa

We felt a little cheated with this rendition of the white rose dumpling. Firstly, it was expensive. Then it was tough and there was no prawn inside, just miserable bits of pork. The saving grace was the accompanying spicy sauce. Noodles was great, just that the portion was really small. As we were heading to the night market next, we decided to save some space for the street snacks…

Hoi An Night Market
Vietnamese Pizza at Hoi An Night Market (20K VND)
Lots of lobsters in the open air at Hoi An Night Market
Banana Pancake Hoi An Night Market
Close Up of Banana Pancake Hoi An Night Market

For street snacks, we tried the “Vietnamese Pizza” which was essentially a toasted beancurd skin filled with condiments. Not too bad at 20K (1.2SGD). We also had a banana pancake (40k) which was like a crepe that we would get in Singapore – albeit somewhat cheaper. We also saw lots of stores selling lobsters. HUGE lobsters at that. We did not try it this time because we think it was more of a tourist trap. Also, we read online that there were several people who had the upset as the lobsters were left in the open for a long time. Lastly, we did have our fill at The Private Room when we flew SQ First Class and SQ First Class Suites previously.

Next, we checked out the lanterns at Hoi An Old Town for the night views…

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Hoi An Old Town Bridge in the evening
Hoi An and its lantern lit streets
Boats with lanterns in Hoi An
Lantern-lit streets in Hoi An Ancient City
Japan Bridge Hoi An
Hoi An Lune Center for the Performing Arts
Shop selling lanterns in Hoi An

The streets in Hoi An Old Town can get quite crowded in the evenings. During the day, it was actually quite hot and in the night, when the lanterns are lit, the people enjoy the cool evening walks along the streets. Still, you’ll be able to get some great shots as the streets are relatively wide for an old town.

Initially, we were contemplating whether to watch a Bamboo Show (Vietnamese Circus) at Lune Center for the Performing Arts. However, as it was the Chinese New Year period (Yes, Vietnam celebrates CNY as well), the troop was not performing. We ventured on and found a nice little local joint for some coffee, right opposite a fruit stall that also sells durians…

Chilling with coconut and iced coffee along the river walk in Hoi An Old Town

It was quite nice to people watch a while here. We were able to see locals and tourists alike, trying out the Vietnamese durian – larger and a closer relative to the Thai durians than the Malaysia durians. We also found locals speaking Korean quite fluently due to the large influx of Korean tourists to the Da Nang and Hoi An area.

As we walked home, we saw a rehearsal taking place – probably for the CNY festive celebrations…

Catching a dance and song segment of the CNY show rehearsals

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We hope you have enjoyed our first full day in Da Nang / Hoi An where we checked out the Marble Mountains as well as the Hoi An ancient city and its night markets! Stay tuned as we spend our 2nd day in Hoi An where we have some recommendations for your next visit here!

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