Leonardo and I were lucky this year to be in Danang, Vietnam, during the last week of the Danang International Fireworks Festival. I had heard a lot about this festival, apparently one of the most famous in the world, and I was so pleased to be there during the final night, especially for Leonardo, who had never seen an event of such proportions.
Danang International Fireworks Festival 2023 was the 11th fireworks festival, the first after a two-year break due to the Covid-19 epidemic, and it was organised by Sun Group in partnership with Danang City. This is not only a light festival but also the most anticipated event of the year in Danang.
Danang International Fireworks Festival 2023 is part of the town plans to become ‘Asia’s Leading Festival-Event Destination’, and as such the city organised many ancillary activities such as festivals, music and art events to serve residents and visitors. These included art performances bearing the cultural identity of Vietnam and other attendee countries with the participation of divas, A-class artists and major domestic and foreign art troupes.
The Danang International Fireworks Festival attracted 8 fireworks teams competing with each other: England, Italy, Poland, France, Australia, Canada, Finland, and the home team Vietnam. With the meaningful theme ‘The world without distance’, each artillery team brought their best pyrotechnics to Vietnam and had 20 minutes to give the audience spectacular performances. Fireworks nights were organised under the themes of each night: Love Without Distance, Peace for the World, Equality for Humanity, Unlimited Creativity, and Sustainable Tourism Development.
We watched the event from the main venue, the gorgeous Han River riverfront, having a grandstand size of about 17,000 seats. It took us at least 1 hour to reach it by bike: the amounts of vehicles in the road was beyond belief, all competing for a place in the tarmac and avoiding each other and the pedestrians who were invading the road to make it to the several parking areas and walk to the best locations to watch the event. It was a frenzy.
We were guided there by our good friend A-Dong from The Motorbike Station bike rental shop, and I am glad we decided to go with him as the place was an anthill. A-Dong slowly sneaked through the packed city streets to reach a very small alley where we parked the bikes, then walked for 5 minuted to reach the riverfront area. The main riverfront road had been cordoned off by the police to avoid the circulation of vehicles, and the number of humans present was exceptional.
There were restaurants and shacks selling food and drinks, and the trepidation of the people present was palpable in the humid air. We bought drinks, found the best possible spot and waited for the competition to start, which was scheduled at 8pm. France and Italy were competing for the crown, with the latter starting first. Both performances were a jaw-dropping display, but France was definitely more entertaining, and in fact they took home the grand prize.
It was a magical experience for both of us. Leonardo watched in awe as hundreds of fireworks were shot in the air sequentially, lighting the Danang sky as if it were daytime. I later learned that the best way to watch the Danang International Fireworks Festival is to book well in advance a place in one of the restaurants in the Han River riverfront, which needless to say were all packed. The event is also visible from the Danang’s main 5 star hotels’ rooftops and from the Sun Park ferris wheel. Overall, it was a fantastic event, one where to have an amazing time with family and friends.