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Danang

Introduction
Danang is the largest city in central Vietnam and one of the country's most important ports. Ringed by mountains on one side and the East Sea on the other, Danang has numerous sites of natural beauty and historical interest.

The city’s origins date back to the ancient Champa Kingdom, established by Indonesian settlers in 192AD. At its peak, the Cham’s sphere of influence stretched from Hue to Vung Tau. The expansion of the Chinese, Vietnamese and Khmer led to the decline and fall of the Cham by the mid-15th century.

In the 17th and 18th centuries, French and Spanish traders and missionaries made landfall at Hoi An, just south of Danang. By the 19th century, Danang had superceded Hoi An as the most important seaport in the central region. The presence of the French in the 19th and early 20th centuries and the Americans in the 1960s, led to continued growth of Danang, and it is now Vietnam's fourth largest city

Places of interest

Cham Museum
Established by French archeologists in 1936, the Cham Museum houses the world's finest collection of Cham art. Many of the statues, sculptures and reliefs were discovered at nearby My Son, a former ancient capital of the Cham and now a UNESCO designated World Heritage site. Dating from the 4th to the 14th centuries, the sensual artwork depicts daily activities as well as Hindu and Buddhist religious artifacts. The museum itself is housed in a beautiful French colonial style villa with open-air courtyards, fruit trees and bougainvillea.

Marble Mountains
The Marble Mountains are rocky limestone outcrops jutting out of the beach just south of Danang. Paths lead to the top of the forested cliffs, affording spectacular views of Non Nuoc Beach and the East Sea. The caves nestled in the cliffs were originally inhabited by Cham people. Later, Vietnamese under the Nguyen Dynasty built numerous pagodas amongst the caves. Today, the Marble Mountains are home to various artisans producing sculpture and artwork at its base.

Non Nuoc Beach
This white sandy beach on the outskirts of Danang is renowned for both its spectacular beauty and for its history as an R&R destination for American troops during the War. Today, the beach is home to luxurious resorts, surfing and entertainment facilities.

My Son
My Son is a remarkable archaeological site dating back over a thousand years. Located in a remote forested valley some 70 km west of Danang, this former capital and religious center of the Cham Kingdom once contained in excess of 70 style temples and stupas. Although badly damaged by bombing raids in the 1960s the site still has over 20 structures and was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1999. Visitors are advised to arrive to beat the rush of tourists and also avoid the heat as there is little shade.