My 3 months stay in Da Nang came to an end today. I’ve been a hermit for the most part, and here are the top 3 spots where I go to soak up solitude in the open air:

– Non Nuoc beach: about 7 kms south of town. Practically no tourists ever set foot here, especially after the last b&b was demolished to make way for future resorts. The crowd is exclusively local from the nearby Marble Mountains neighborhood, and they all go to the beach 5-7am and 4:30-6:30 pm. If you go anytime outside of these slots, good chance that you’ll have the whole beach to yourself.

– Marble Mountains: very popular with Vietnamese tour groups, but later in the afternoon and it’s much less crowded.  It’s lovely with marble stairs carved right out from the mountain leading to temples and caves reflecting a long Buddhist and Champa (Hindu) tradition. Climbing up to the top, you’ll be rewarded with the cooling ocean breeze and a beautiful panoramic view. The whole place would take at least 2 hours to explore. If you go after 4:30 you don’t even have to pay (ticket people have gone home).

– Linh Ung pagoda: From the beach, you’ll see a big white Guayin (Kannon) statute up in the mountains to the north. One of the biggest temples in central Vietnam, it’s a destination for locals and visitors alike. It gets quiet in the evening (the temple is open till 9pm) and that’s usually when I come to wander around. There are convenient benches where you can sit and enjoy a pretty view of the ocean sparsely lit up with squid fishing boats, and further away of the city blinking with neon lights stretching all the way Hoi An. Remember to check the lunar calendar to make sure it’s not the 1st or 15th of the month, or else you’d find yourself among a crowd of hundreds.

Linh Ung pagoda, Da Nang skyline at night