One of our absolute favorite parts of our entire Vietnam vacation was our spontaneous visit to the Da Nang night market and the Dragon Bridge show. I’d read about them before we went to Vietnam, but I didn’t include them in our itinerary because I really didn’t want to over-plan our trip. More than anything, we really wanted to just decompress and enjoy our time in Vietnam, so I figured if something else beyond our itinerary was meant to happen, it would…and it did!
The Chợ Đêm Sơn Trà Night Market
After spending a full day at SunWorld Ba Na Hills on Monday, I’d planned a completely lowkey day at the resort for all of us. When dinner time rolled around though, we decided to grab a Grab (think: Uber) and head into Da Nang city. After searching for a family-friendly restaurant, we ended up at Cookshop Da Nang, which was amazing.
They had fabulous drinks, kid-friendly food (they loved the four-cheese pizza and Mieke just wanted the fries), and the steaks and salmon were divine. Best of all, it’s right in the heart of Da Nang city, and we decided we’d be bold and walk our way to the beach after dinner. Spoiler alert – we didn’t find the beach but we did, quite literally, stumble upon the Da Nang Night Market. As we crossed those death-defying streets without crosswalks, we saw the Dragon Bridge off to the left in the distance, and when we crossed the street towards the beach, suddenly, the Chợ Đêm Sơn Trà (better known as the Son Tra or Da Nang Night Market) was right in front of us.
All About the Son Tra Market in Da Nang
I honestly didn’t really know that night markets were a thing in Asia until we moved to South Korea, and the night markets here only just reopened post-Covid. The Vietnamese night markets, however, are a whole different level of amazing. You’re immediately hit with an incredible sensory (near)overload from the food vendors at the entrance, as well as the kids’ rides and games directly to your left. The food vendors vary from rolled ice cream to fresh food, all the stinky durian you could ever handle, pho, fresh meats, seafood, and beyond.
Be bold, make your way through the crowds, and you head straight down two parallel rows of clothing and trinket vendors. Many sell the same souvenirs, while some sell knockoff clothes and goods like Zara, or Hermes…basically anything you could want. Oh, and massage stalls. There are a lot of massage stalls (not the dirty kind), and you’d better believe both Ryan and I partook in those. Meanwhile, the kids got temporary tattoos and were basically a spectacle in their own right as the only redheaded and blonde kiddos we saw all night. The Son Tra market is basically the ultimate Da Nang city night vibe and perfect for families.
When to See the Dragon Bridge Show
I read some conflicting information, but the Dragon Bridge show takes place every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday evening, starting promptly at 9 PM. Directly adjacent to the Sơn Trà Night Market, the shops basically clear out, and everyone filters onto the bridge, which closes for the fire and water show those nights. Then, for approximately 15 minutes, the Dragon shoots fire then water from its mouth, heating, then dousing the crowds below.
The bridge is one of Da Nang City’s biggest draws. Built in 2013 to commemorate Da Nang’s liberation, the Dragon Bridge is 666 meters long and crosses the Han River with three lanes in each direction. Representing strength, virtue, and good fortune, it’s an incredible sight to behold, but it’s even more impressive at night when it lights up with a multicolor LED display then, obviously, shoots fire and water. We actually managed good spots on the street to view the show, and the kids loved it, though we backed up just in time because we almost got drenched at the end!
Tips for Visiting the Son Tra Night Market & Dragon Bridge Show
Address: The address for the night market is Mai Hắc Đế, An Hải Trung, Sơn Trà, Đà Nẵng 550000 – but you can honestly just type the address in for any driver or Grab, and they’ll know where to take you.
Entrance Fee: Free! The night market is cash-based though, so make sure you have VND for any vendors or shops you may patronize. Likewise, the Dragon Bridge Show is also free.
Accessibility: It is accessible, though it gets crowded, so moving around with wheelchairs and/or strollers gets a little chaotic. I recommend babywearing if you have little ones and can.
Best Tips: Wear comfortable shoes to walk, and bring cash! There are multiple ATMs that will dispense VND from US cards throughout Da Nang. We used our USAA check cards, and we had no issues drawing VND at all.