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Wednesday, September 27, 2023

Let’s Go Exploring! Da Nang, Vietnam: The Subsequent Digital Nomad Paradise?

Newest posts by FIRECracker (see all)

The final time we have been in Vietnam was 2016. Issues have been easier again then. Nobody knew what a pandemic was, ChatGPT wasn’t threatening to exchange jobs, our dad and mom have been all wholesome, and the one factor we anxious about was how badly we have been going to get scammed. We’d learn an article from seasoned finances traveler Nomadic Matt referred to as “Why I’ll By no means Return to Vietnam,” and have been fairly anxious about going there. In spite of everything, we’d simply been spoiled by Thailand, “the land of a thousand smiles,” which had a customer return fee of fifty% whereas Vietnam solely had a 2% return fee. So unnecessary to remain, we had low expectations.

Vietnam, because it turned out, far exceeded these expectations (which wasn’t precisely laborious, because it was just about within the gutter). We did get scammed far more than in Thailand, however having visited Ho Chi Minh, Hanoi, Hoi An, Na Trang, and Kat Ba, I found that Vietnam has rather a lot to supply should you simply give it an opportunity. However it’s not going to be as handy, snug, and laid again as travelling in Thailand so simply set your expectations accordingly.

And now, 7 years later, we have been going again to see if there are any large modifications. Particularly on condition that Da Nang has been touted by many digital nomads as the following up and coming hub now that Chiang Mai is getting saturated and overpriced.

Seems, 7 years makes an enormous distinction as a result of Da Nang stunned me in some ways.

After spending top-of-the-line months of my life with a bunch of thirty FIRE mates and digital nomads in Chiang Mai and paying solely $440 USD/month for a 1-bedroom rental with a pool, I didn’t suppose lodging might probably get any cheaper and higher.

Seems, I used to be mistaken. In Da Nang, the Lagom condo model lodge with roof-top pool ended up costing us solely $13 USD/day or $390 USD/month. That’s lower than how a lot most individuals spend on lunch in North America! Plus, it got here with day by day cleansing, laundry, and was solely 5 minutes stroll from the seashore. After staying at over 100+ lodging all around the world, I’ve discovered that condo model lodges are my favorite. You get the perfect of each worlds: a lounge, kitchen, and laundry that makes it really feel like dwelling reasonably than lodge, plus lodge facilities like a pool, day by day cleansing, and contemporary towels each day.

I might say, of all of the locations we stayed in on the planet, this one, fingers down, was the perfect worth primarily based on value for high quality. We acquired fortunate because it was simply inbuilt 2022, and so they’re charging a ridiculously low value making an attempt to entice vacationers after the pandemic. Even when the fee doubled, for the placement, the extent of high quality and repair, it’s nonetheless value it.

I’ve all the time needed to decrease my expectations for service in Vietnam in comparison with Thailand, as a result of they merely don’t have as a lot expertise as their neighbours by way of welcoming travellers. Plus, due to colonization and the battle (they don’t name it the “Vietnam Warfare,” they name it the “American battle”), they’re naturally much less trusting and relaxed than the Thais, however this time I used to be pleasantly stunned. Aside from the grouchy ticket counter and safety employees on the “Marble Mountain” vacationer attraction and the touts in that space, service has been nice. I additionally acquired an ideal haircut for less than $8 (one of many least expensive and greatest I’ve ever gotten) at Ly’s Salon. Usually, I didn’t really feel that Da Nang was a touristy place, although we stayed within the touristy Khe Seashore space, which is among the cleanest seashores in Vietnam since they rent individuals to choose up trash each day. It felt like a chill place I might reside in for the long run.

Hoi An, which is round a 45min drive from Da Nang, is one other story. For the reason that final time we have been there, the place appears to have exploded in reputation—particularly with Korean vacationers. Curiously, previous to the pandemic, the largest cohort of vacationers in Southeast Asia have been Chinese language. Now, Korean eating places and indicators are all over the place, changing Chinese language ones and the tour buses filled with Chinese language vacationers have all been changed by Koreans.

The primary cause I really like Southeast Asia is the meals. The variability, price, and availability of night time markets simply can’t be beat. I merely have by no means discovered something prefer it anyplace else on the planet.

Weirdly sufficient, Da Nang didn’t have a wide array of night time markets (which may be very unusual for Southeast Asia), but it surely wasn’t an enormous deal as a result of there have been tons of excellent eating places to select from.

The one time I turned on the range in my condo lodge in Da Nang was to boil some eggs for breakfast. All different occasions, we ate out and devoured Vietnamese specialties like:

Pho (beef noodle soup)

Our favorite mom-and-pop Pho store Pho Vu. Solely 25,000 dong or $1 USD. Weirdly solely opens till midday.

Bún chả  (vermicelli noodles and veggies dipped in grilled pork and fish sauce)

30,000 dong or $1.28 USD. Additionally from Pho Vu

Bánh xèo (crispy stuffed rice pancake)

Hanh & Ken – Genuine Vietnamese Delicacies, 36 An Thượng 5, Bắc Mỹ An, Ngũ Hành Sơn, Đà Nẵng 55000, Vietnam

Bun Bo Hue (Hue model beef noodle soup)

Com Pho Bun Hanoi Type, 49 Trần Bạch Đằng, Phước Mỹ, Ngũ Hành Sơn, Đà Nẵng 550000, Vietnam

Mì Quảng Noodles (Da Nang specialty)

Mì quảng Phương, 1 Phan Tứ, Bắc Mỹ An, Ngũ Hành Sơn, Đà Nẵng 550000, Vietnam

Cao lầu (Hoi An specialty of chewy rice noodles soaked in native water with lye)

Quán Cao lầu Bá Lễ, 49/3 Trần Hưng Đạo, Phường Minh An, Hội An, Quảng Nam 56000, Vietnam

Bahn Mi (Vietnamese baguette filled with chilly cuts and pate)

BBQ grilled Lobster

Dragon Bridge night time market, 366J+HRW, An Hải Bắc, An Hải Trung, Sơn Trà, Đà Nẵng 550000, Vietnam

Recent Grouper

Nhà Hàng Hải Sản Biển Việt, 64 An Thượng 26, Bắc Mỹ Phú, Ngũ Hành Sơn, Đà Nẵng 550000, Vietnam

Egg Espresso

RawCoco espresso, 83 Phan Chu Trinh, Outdated City, Hội An, Quảng Nam, Vietnam

French Bakery

Paris Levain Bakery & Cafe, 112 Trần Bạch Đằng, Bắc Mỹ Phú, Ngũ Hành Sơn, Đà Nẵng 550000, Vietnam

I’ve additionally observed much more worldwide cuisines and vegan cafes pop up since 2016…

My favourites have been: Pizza 4P’s Hoang Van Thu, Pokeman, and Khong Vegan Kitchen

Am I obsessive about meals? Who is aware of? However the factor about Vietnam is *inaudible as a result of mouth being stuffed*


I by no means get bored or lonely in Southeast Asia as a result of there’s all the time a lot to do! From bustling night time markets, road festivals, to animal sanctuaries, to scuba diving, to karaoke, to massages, to all-day saunas, the listing is countless! And also you by no means really feel lonely since you’re all the time surrounded by individuals.

I knew that coming to Vietnam, I’d have to surrender the massages I’d gotten to like a lot in Thailand. They’ve massages in Vietnam, however not almost nearly as good or low cost as Thailand, however what I didn’t know was that there was an entire new factor to find!

Vietnamese hair washing! I actually thought this was a Taiwanese factor as a result of that’s the one different time I’ve ever seen it, however these companies have been popping up throughout Da Nang.

For 250,000 dong (or $10.65 USD), you get a “one hour hair wash bundle”, by which they wash your hair, therapeutic massage your face for half-hour, adopted by 25 minutes of head massaging whereas rinsing your hair. Then they blow dry and elegance your hair. It’s so stress-free! We went to the “Khan Spa” in Da Nang each different day and it was heavenly.

Hair wash station at our favorite Khan Spa

Along with stress-free hair washes, we additionally visited the enormous White Buddha, the Marble Mountains, the Recollections Present in Hoi An, and the Dragon Bridge which spits hearth and water each weekend at 9 PM. Once more, unattainable to be bored.

Hoi An “Recollections Present.” E book from Klook to get a reduction.

My Khe seashore was additionally enjoyable to take a stroll on, although I discovered the water too wavy for swimming. It’s nice if you wish to learn to surf although.

Usually, I’m fairly comfortable solely spending per week or two in Vietnam, however after spending an entire month in Da Nang, I felt like I might’ve stayed longer. The method of getting a visa to go to Vietnam has additionally gotten simpler now that you could apply on-line for a 30-day e-visa. Nevertheless, as of proper now, there isn’t a straightforward option to keep longer, not like Thailand, the place you will get a 60 day visa earlier than getting into the nation after which extending it for 30 days. Simply bear in mind that you could be must have the bank card title match the title of the Vietnamese e-Visa if you apply. One among our mates bumped into this drawback when she tried to make use of her husband’s bank card to pay for each.

So, after a soothing time in Da Nang, I flew to Hanoi, staying one night time earlier than we flew out to Australia. However instantly, proper after we checked out of the Airport Hanoi lodge, the employees tried to rip-off us by charging us further for breakfast, which was already included within the value, early check-in, and transportation to the airport, which was listed as free on their web site!

Now there’s the Vietnam I bear in mind!

Right here’s how a lot we spent day by day for the month in Da Nang:

Class Value in USD/couple per day Value in CAD/couple per day Notes
Lodging $13 $17.58 The Lagom condo model lodge was one in all my favorite lodges in Southeast Asia with the highest quality for value.
Meals $24.47 $33.03 ($27.69 consuming out, $5.34 groceries) We hardly cooked in any respect and principally ate out at eating places. I really like how in Asia I can eat out on a regular basis and never achieve any weight. The truth that portion sizes are most likely 2/3 to 1/2 the scale of that in North America and can be low carb most likely helps.
Transportation $7.77 $10.50 Grabs (the Uber of Asia) have been tremendous low cost and solely price round $2-$5 to get anyplace in Da Nang and we have been inside strolling distance to most points of interest and the seashore, so a lot of the transportation price is the $100/individual flight from Bangkok direct to Da Nang, amortized over the month.
Leisure $13.82 $18.66 We had hair washes almost each different day and the opposite points of interest just like the Recollections present (round $24 per individual) wasn’t costly so leisure was fairly low cost for the entire time there.
Complete $59.06 $79.77 Even though costs have inflated considerably and we’ve integrated extra massages into our life-style and costlier meals, Da Nang Vietnam remains to be remarkably inexpensive at solely $21,556 USD/ couple per yr or $29,116 CAD/couple per yr.

What do you suppose? Have you ever ever been to Da Nang? Would you ever reside there?

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