Vietnam's Rong Dragon Bridge Actually Breathes Fire

By: Jesslyn Shields  | 

dragon bridge
Rong Bridge over the Han river in Da Nang is the longest bridge in Vietnam, offering a nightly display of lights and a weekly fire and water show. Mythungoc Photography/Getty Images

If you've never seen a fire breathing dragon bridge, then you've never seen the Rong Bridge in Da Nang, Vietnam.

The 2,185-foot-long (666-meter-long), six-lane bridge is the longest suspension bridge in Vietnam. Da Nang is one of the biggest port cities in Vietnam, and the Rong Bridge spans the Han River just before it empties into Da Nang Bay. This is all well and good, but the most exciting thing about the Rong Bridge is that it's shaped like a sinuous, sparkly golden dragon, modeled after the stylized dragons from the Ly Dynasty that ruled over Vietnam in the 11th and 12th centuries. The Rong Dragon also breathes fire on weekends after 9 p.m. and on special occasions.

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After a design contest in 2005 and a six-year construction period, the Rong Bridge opened in 2013, commemorating the 38th anniversary of the city's liberation in 1975 during the Vietnam War (which, in Vietnam, is called the American War). It cost $US85 million to build and it is currently the world's largest dragon-shaped steel bridge.

The bridge is spectacular any time of day, but at night it's lit up with 2,500 color-changing LED lights and on weekends and holidays the head of the dragon breathes fire or sometimes spits water out of its mouth. Not only has the bridge eased traffic congestion in the city, it has generated tourist income, linking the city with the eastern sea front, the airport and the UNESCO heritage town of Hoi An, an important port for the spice trade starting in the 15th century.

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The Dragon Bridge in Da Nang, the third largest city of Vietnam, as it appears during the day.
Jethuynh/Getty Images

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