Easy on the eye

Da Nang’s bridges are all something out of the ordinary

By Le Diem on November 08,2018 03:03 PM

Easy on the eye

With sunny weather all-year-round, smooth sandy beaches, and beautiful landscapes, coastal Da Nang city is one of Vietnam’s most popular destinations and has hosted various international beauty pageants. In fact, there are many “beauties” in Da Nang that may have not won any pageants but are still “Miss …” in many hearts. They are all unique, with most spanning the Han River and bearing elements of Da Nang’s history and culture, making it a “city of bridges”.


PHOTO: Ngan Dong

PHOTO: Ngan Dong

Compared to the other “ladies” in the city, Nguyen Van Troi Bridge is more like a Cinderella whose prince finally arrived.

It was the city’s first bridge, built in 1965 by the Americans to connect Da Nang’s west and east to transport weapons of war from Tien Sa Harbor. It was built with Poni steel truss arch architecture and didn’t have a name until after the country’s liberation in 1975, when it was named in honor of hero Nguyen Van Troi, who was born in nearby Quang Nam province and was executed by the Saigon authorities in 1964.

After more bridges were built in the city, Nguyen Van Troi kept its original design as witness to part of Da Nang’s history. It was converted into the city’s only pedestrian bridge in 2013, in a bid to create a new tourist destination for visitors to learn about the city’s history and enjoy the pretty view. It has also become a new “check-in” spot for young people taking selfies, thanks to its “vintage” look and unusual design, while the newer bridges look good in the background.


Photo: Viet Tuan

Photo: Viet Tuan

Han River Bridge is the city’s most well-known “beauty” for “her” ability to “dance”. Different from other bridges, Han River Bridge is at its busiest after midnight. Tourists often gather at 1am to watch the country’s only swing bridge swinging. After traffic is stopped, the bridge’s middle section turns 90 degrees to allow the passage of ships, creating a spectacular view of colorful lights reflecting on the river.

To local people, the bridge also has another meaning. When the American War ended in 1975, there was only one bridge in Da Nang - Nguyen Van Troi Bridge over the Han River, built by the US. Most traffic over the river was by boat, which took time and cost money. The city was virtually divided into two parts by the river - to the west the busy urban and commercial area and to the east the homes of laborers and fisherman.

City authorities decided in 1997 to build the bridge and close the gap between the two sides. It was the country’s first to be built by Vietnamese designers and engineers. After it opened to traffic in 2000, it woke up the east, turning it into an attractive spot for tourism investment and home of the the city’s most popular sites today, such as My Khe Beach, Son Tra Peninsula, and Marble Mountain. The Han River Bridge then became a symbol of Da Nang.


Easy on the eye

In the unusual shape of a dragon, Dragon Bridge has become another symbol of Da Nang. In Asian culture, the dragon is a symbol of power, nobility, and good fortune. The bridge presents as a gold dragon flying towards the sea and expresses the city’s ambition of growth and prosperity.

This “dragon” also breathes fire and water at 9pm on weekends and holidays, to the wonder of both local people and tourists sitting at riverside cafés or riding on boats.

It was designed by the US-based Ammann & Whitney Consulting Engineers with the Louis Berger Group and opened to traffic in 2013. It serves as a quicker route from Da Nang International Airport to the heart of the city and luxury hotels and resorts along My Khe Beach.

The bridge won the 2016 American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) Outstanding Civil Engineering Achievement Award during the annual Outstanding Projects and Leaders Gala in the US, a Special Citation at the 2014 International Association of Lighting Designers’ (IALD) International Lighting Awards, and the Lighting Design award at the 2013 FX International Design Awards in London.


PHOTO: Pullman Danang Beach Resort

PHOTO: Pullman Danang Beach Resort

At 1,850 meters long, Thuan Phuoc Bridge is one of the longest cable-stayed suspension bridges in Vietnam.

Located at the mouth of the sea, the bridge has a design similar to San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge and is a beacon welcoming boats into Da Nang Bay.

It is also considered to resemble a bird spreading its wings and heading into the immense ocean, representing Da Nang’s desire for growth.

After sunset, the bridge is lit up like fireworks shooting into the sky, presenting a great nightly view.


PHOTO: Sun World Ba Na hills

PHOTO: Sun World Ba Na hills

Opened to public in the middle of the year, the brand-new Golden Bridge has become a key search word on the internet, with many agreeing it looks like something from “Lord of the Rings”.

Nestled in Ba Na Hills, 1,400 meters above sea level and over a 150-meter deep valley, the bridge seems supported by two giant hands that look like they were carved from stone but actually aren’t. The framework of the hands was covered with steel mesh before being finished with fiberglass. Construction took about a year.

The bridge soon attracted a lot of attention and praise on social networks, media, and architecture sites as a place to put on the bucket list. It resembles giant hands of gods pulling a strip of gold out of the land, according to Reuters. To AFP, it’s like a stroll on a shimmering thread stretching across the hands of Gods. Meanwhile, Buzzfeed said it was pretty surreal and must have come from Game of Thrones.

The bridge is considered one of the world’s most unique by Archdaily, a leading architectural news site. It also received compliments from other architectural sites such as Design Boom and Creapills and was featured on the Instagram account of Street Art Globe, which has 7.1 million followers.


PHOTO: Mechanical Construction Company No.1

PHOTO: Mechanical Construction Company No.1

Built in 1950 during French colonial rule and the first and only railway bridge crossing the Han River, Tran Thi Ly Bridge was first known as De Lattre Bridge, after an officer in the French Army.

The bridge was renamed after Vietnamese revolutionary Tran Thi Ly from Quang Nam, who was a member of the Vietnam People’s Army and the National Liberation Army. During the country’s two resistance wars, despite being brutally and inhumanely tortured, she showed her indomitable spirit and admirable bravery and never revealed any of Vietnam’s revolutionary strategies and plans to the enemy.

Rebuilt in 2009 with a striking design featuring a 145-meter high, single tower leaning 12 degrees, the suspension bridge forms an upside-down “V” and is intended to resemble a sail gliding towards the sea.

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