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DA NANG

Da Nang – Vietnam

Lies in the central path of Vietnam. Da Nang was the landing point of both the French and the Americans during their stints in Vietnam. When the French established a garrison in Da Nang (then called Tourane), more soldiers died from disease than the associated fighting in establishing the garrison.

There is now a small cemetery dedicated to them. During the Vietnam War, Da Nang was the home to one fifth of all US servicemen based in Vietnam. This made Da Nang on of the heaviest defended cities in South Vietnam, yet it eventually fell to the North Vietnamese in 1975 with hardly a bullet fired.

Da Nang marks the halfway point between Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City and was the first place to organize its own local communist party committee. The city is fairly featureless, and if you are coming from the tranquil setting of Lang Co, Hoi An, or anywhere for that matter, Da Nang is an extreme disappointment. It is a busy, dusty, colorless city, the fourth largest in Vietnam, and one of the largest business centers. Unless you are in Da Nang for business, chances are you will pass straight through. Da Nang does have a fascinating Cham Museum that contains an excellent collection of Cham art. However, the main reason for staying in Da Nang is in the surrounding region. Beach, the Marble Mountains, Hoi An and My Son are all within striking distance of Da mange, though it is more pleasant to stay in Hoi An and visit these sights.

Lang co beach: If you were not planning on staying in Lang Co, a drive through may change your mind. The main street is lined with palm trees enticing you to go for a swim in the crystal clear waters that lap onto fine white sandy beaches. Lang Co is on a sand spit peninsula with a sparkling lagoon on one side, and a long beach lining Danang Sea on the other. This is one of the most beautiful places in Vietnam, and is yet to be developed extensively for tourists, which is probably a good thing.

Hai Van Pass: Traveling by road between Lang Co and Da Nang, you will have to get over the Hai Van Pass. This pass is created by a spur from the Truong Son Mountain Range that extends to the coast. This extremely mountainous road, with its sensational views, is the cause of many local vehicles breaking down. So if you are on one, allow yourself plenty of time. The view from the top of the pass is extraordinarily beautiful and well worth a stop to take it all in.

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