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RECOMMENDED PROPERTIES IN DA NANG

DA NANG

Da Nang is on the South China Sea coast, midway between Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City and the largest city of Central Vietnam. The city has its share of sights and is close to the charms of Hoi An and the imperial capital of Hue, making it a popular vacation spot for those looking to explore the attractions of central Vietnam or soak up some sun while hanging out on the city's beaches.

Nestled in between the Annamite Range and the South China Sea on the banks of the Han River, Da Nang's natural beauty is hard to miss; a trip up into the mountains and down to the beach should be on your to-do list. Culturally, Da Nang once lay at the northernmost reaches of the Kingdom of Champa; the Museum of Cham Sculpture, located downtown, should be mandatory if you're planning on visiting the ruins at nearby My Son.

The city is often overlooked by tourists but is one of the friendliest to backpackers in all of Vietnam. My Khe Beach, known to American GIs as China Beach, is now home to a small community of guesthouse owners, marble statue shops, and other various trades. Some of the most beautiful and isolated beaches in Vietnam are found here, among some of the friendliest people. This is a must-stop for the budget traveller.

Han Market is a typical Vietnamese market, with vendors selling everything from shoes to silk and souvenirs, from candles to coffee and candied plums. The upper part of the building is mainly dedicated to clothing, accessories and silk, while the lower part is mainly dedicated to foodstuffs. There's an extensive fruit and vegetable market on the side that's closest to the river, from which you can access the Han River promenade.

Seafood is big here, so you shouldn't be surprised to see plenty of it. As long as it looks fresh and well-cooked, give it a try. Then there are regional specialties like mì Quang, or Quang Nam-style noodles, featuring chicken, shrimp, quail eggs, peanuts and rice crackers in a turmeric-spiced broth; bún cha cá, or rice vermicelli with fish sausage; and bún mam, or rice vermicelli served with a high-octane fish sauce that's not for the weak of palate. Central Vietnamese love their food spicy, too, so be warned that the chili peppers you may see on your table are the real thing, even if they look tiny and harmless.

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