Dragon Bridge in Danang Spits Fire
This popular tourist destination is also the longest bridge in Vietnam called “Dragon Bridge”. It is a large bridge that goes across a river, and it surprises people with both its size and its ornamentation. The six-lane bridge is popular with photographers and tourists and serves as a car route to My Khe Beach and Non Nuoc Beach.
In this article, we will describe the bridge, its history, and its status today.
What is Dragon Bridge?
The Dragon Bridge is one of the longest bridges in the world and the longest one in Vietnam. Aside from its great length of 666 meters, this bridge also has a light display that makes it very picturesque. It can change colors and looks especially interesting at night, attracting visitors from all around the world to see it and take pictures.
The bridge’s middle section is designed in the shape of a dragon, which is considered a symbol of wealth and prosperity in Vietnamese culture. This makes the bridge “lucky” to travel over, which is another incentive for Vietnamese people to visit it.
In the daytime, the bridge looks pretty amazing, but its real imagery can only be seen at night. Only then will you see the light show and, most importantly, the fire and water show.
Dragon Bridge History
The Dragon Bridge was built in 2013 – it officially was opened that year, and cars were allowed to travel over it. The bridge took two years to fully construct, and the opening coincided with the 38th anniversary of the city’s liberation.
The bridge is 666 meters long, and a statue of a dragon runs along the middle of the bridge. The dragon is colored gold and is a spectacular sight at any time of the day. However, when it is dark, the dragon will light up with a bright LED light, which can change color. Then it becomes visible for miles away. The show starts at around 9 o’clock at night, although on special occasions, the administration may choose to start it repeatedly or at different times.
The dragon is made of metal and is patterned after the one associated with the Ly Dynasty. It is illuminated at night with over 2,500 separate LEDs.
The dragon lies across the Han River and is made to commemorate the war that took place near here when the city of Da Nang was freed by the Vietnamese army.
The opening of the newly-built bridge was attended by many government authorities, including the then-prime minister of Vietnam. Since then, the bridge regularly lights up at night and goes through its daily show.
The COVID pandemic has impacted the tourist flow towards all of Danang, and hotels report having only 10 percent as many visitors today. However, as the bridge is not closed, you may still come and see it. The light show and fire show will be there as they usually are.
The administration of Danang city did not close most of the attractions, and they expect the number of tourists to be even greater after the pandemic ends, so they use this time to repair the attractions.
In short, you may travel to the bridge, and it will not be closed. As a matter of fact, you will not have to face as much crowding as usual.
Architectural Design of the Dragon Bridge in Da Nang
The bridge has a large width – 38 meters wide. This allows 6 lanes of traffic over it. When the show starts, the bridge lights up, and cars are not allowed onto the bridge. However, people may then safely access it. The dragon statue rapidly changes colors as the LEDs light up and produce a light show. The show lasts for 15 minutes, during which cars are not allowed to access the bridge.
During the show, the dragon head will spit out fire into the night sky, producing great visuals. However, on certain occasions, the fire is replaced with water that rains down onto the people below.
The bridge is 666 meters long, and even though this number may sound weird and unusual to western visitors, it is actually there for a reason. The digit 6 is considered lucky in Vietnamese culture, which is why you will often see it overused in many places. For that same reason, the height of the dragon statues is also 66 meters, and the bridge is 6 lanes wide.
The bridge is made of concrete supports and a regular concrete base that holds the six lanes of traffic. The dragon’s body is constructed of stainless steel plates, supported by steel bars. This construction is also the longest continuous construction in Vietnam. Strong LEDs are mounted inside the steel tubing, and this produces the lighting effect.
The pipe system leads a flammable gas to the dragon’s mouth. It is set on fire by a spark when the fire effect is activated. The water tube is similar in its working principle.
Events at Dragon Bridge
The most important event is, in fact, the daily bridge light show. This occurs usually at 9 in the evening, unless otherwise specified by the city’s administration. The bridge can be turned on more than once every night, and that is common for parties like Tet (Vietnamese New Year) when the bridge can be flashing all night long. The head of the statue will also alternate between spitting fire and water. The water is heated in order to make steam, and that is also lighted. This makes for an excellent show that is accompanied by the LEDs changing colors and flickering rapidly.
The show lasts 15 minutes, and anyone wishing to see it is urgently advised to come early, as it may happen a bit later or earlier. Beneath the bridge, there are a lot of LED lights as well, and these will also illuminate the space under the bridge.
Also beneath the bridge are a few stalls that sell local cuisine. These will help you if you are going to wait for the light show.
There are a few places that are near the bridge that are great to visit after you have seen the fire or water show. The places we list both offer a great view of the bridge and are great locations to visit while you are in Da Nang.
Son Tra’s Night Market
This market is also a great tourist attraction, which opened in 2018, and as it is a rather new attraction, many people visit it. The market is a variety of stalls, shops, and stores, all operating under the open sky. It is like a shopping center, just without a roof. Over 150 stores sell souvenirs, clothing, jewelry, and other things. There are also restaurants there.
Bạch Đang Street
This is widely considered to be the most beautiful street in this city, and you have an excellent view of both the Dragon Bridge and the city on the other side of the river. The street is a great place to be, just to walk on it and feel the city’s atmosphere.
The river below the bridge is very wide, and there are many businesses offering boat tours on the Han river, any time of the day. A river is a great place for viewing the light and fire show. And it is especially good for taking pictures. Boats are cheap to rent, and you can order one for any amount of time.
Restaurants and bars
The area is known for being a tourist attraction, and, therefore, it is full of food stands and stalls, where people come to buy snacks while they are waiting for the show to start.
There are a few especially good ones where you can not only have a meal and drink but also see the light show from the rooftops. There are three bars we would like to name as being the best. Those are:
- 7 Bridges Taphouse
- Sky 36
- The Han River Waterfront
All of them offer panoramic sights, let you see both the bridge and all the city around it. Of course, these are all great places for selfies too. All these places also give you the ability to enjoy the show without having to stand in the crowd that always forms below the bridge.
Accommodation and food are available in any of the hotels located nearby, all of which are ready for visitors at a small price.
During the fire performance, which lasts 15 minutes and is conducted nightly, the bridge starts changing colors rapidly and playing various light effects, and the head of the dragon statue repeatedly spews out puffs of bright fire.
The dragon will take two turns during the performance and take 9 shots during each of the two turns.
The dragon will spit three times, each time emitting a long stream of water. The water is illuminated as well and looks especially spectacular from a distance. The water show is notably shorter than the fire show, and it is only played one time.
The Dragon Bridge’s Location
The Dragon Bridge is located in Da Nang, where it connects the two halves of the city, located on different sides of the Han River. The bridge is easy to approach from both sides, and there are many hotels on either side of the bridge, where you can stay. The hotels are available at surprisingly low fees, with some of the best being Benzen Boutique Stays, Vanda Hotel, and Val Soleil. These hotels all rank 4 or more stars and offer swimming pools and other comforts.
The bridge is viewable from many of the tall hotel buildings all around the city.
How to get to Dragon Bridge
The bridge is located in the center of Danang city and crosses the Han River. It is possible to get to the bridge by both land and water. Understandably, most people prefer to drive to the bridge and then visit all the nearby attractions. However, many decide to use the water route and arrive at the bridge by boat. This has the benefit of being cheap, safe, and very spectacular, especially if you are approaching the bridge at night.
Taxis are the best way for tourists since big companies, such as Vinasun, charge very little and will get you to the bridge safely.