Updated April 2021. Due to the impact of Corona virus, things are changing rapidly, I’ll try to keep you in the loop.
Endless coastline, over 30 km of beach, mountains, custom-made clothes cheap food; you could say Da Nang is too good to be true. And, once you have seen what is possible in this city, you will be inclined to agree.
When I first moved to Da Nang, the city was a blessing and a curse; I felt lucky to have found such an amazing place to live, but I knew that everyone would find out sooner or later. Now it’s one of the most sought-after destinations in the country.
Away from the high rises of Ho Chi Minh City or Hanoi, Da Nang enjoys fresh air, green spaces and clean waters that are quite unlike any other city in Vietnam.
With that, comes five unique experience that I think will make a smile crawl across your face and your belly feel all warm inside;
Lady Buddha at Sunset
The tallest Buddha statue in Vietnam, Lady Buddha is a colossal statue that sits in the middle of Son Tra mountain, majestically looking over the city in all her glory. “Lady Buddha” is, in fact, the goddess of mercy, and stands tall fronting a monastery and a tower surrounded by gardens and the hum of cicadas from the jungle in the background
The temple is one of the most beautifully situated temples I have seen in Vietnam. It sits on one of the few points where, on a clear day, you can see the sunset behind the mountains in the distance.
For the ultimate local experience, opposite the temple you’ll find your perfect Instagram cafe. When it is open, you’ll struggle to get in for bikes as locals come to take photographs. It’s worth noting that the open times for this beautiful little spot are rather sporadic!
Hangover day – My Khe Beach; stressed out – My Khe Beach; the sun’s out – My Khe Beach; birthday celebration – My Khe Beach! Covering 20 km of Danang’s endless coastline, My Khe Beach is where white meets blue in glorious harmony, creating a wave of peace and tranquillity in the city.
During winter days, you’ll find surfers grouping in the best parts of the beach to catch some waves. In Summer, the water is so still and warm it feels like a jacuzzi.
Whether you are looking to play volleyball, rugby or bat and ball; dig a hole, drink some beers or chill out with some yoga and meditation – you’ll the beach is the best location! In the daytime, you’ll find expats lounging around topping up their tans. Come 4.30 pm, it feels like the entire city appears to have a dip before the sun goes down.
Da Nang’s Music Scene
A plethora of musical talent both local and foreign, Da Nang has many people who are working full time in the industry. As the journey from Da Nang to Hoi An is short, many people seek the benefit of living in the quiet of Da Nang and working in the tourist hub of Hoi An.
Ranging from Indie classics to Funk, Rockabilly and even Ska and Beatbox, the live music scene here attracts all walk of life to socialise and dance to the sound of good music. Gigs are hosted throughout the week in various locations around the western “An Thuong” area.
With live music in the bag, expats arriving in from Hanoi and Saigon are rapidly changing Da Nang’s otherwise laidback approach to bring the party. DJ’s are popping up left, right and centre with piping hot musical selections that you can’t help but dance to. What’s more, genre’s are expanding from the comfortable realms of house and disco with dancehall, techno and the odd trance night to keep things spicy.
Local Food and Beers
Away from the beachside hotels and into a more local way of life, the best way to sample Vietnam’s bountiful cuisine is to pull up a plastic chair. Opening a can of beer and ordering a table full of seafood dishes with friends is a national pastime.
A popular for Vietnamese people of all ages, there are local restaurants all over Da Nang, some even cover multiple buildings and fill great halls to cater to the clientele. The best part about getting into the ‘nhau‘ way of life is that you will find yourself chasing people all over the city in search of these restaurants, among the famous escapades are Nam Danh, one of the oldest on the beachside, and Ba Ro or Quan Nhau Co Ky, known for their quality fish salads.
While some restaurants do provide an English menu, you can expect some somewhat questionable translations. Unless you have a good understanding of Vietnamese, this tends to be obscure cuts of meat or otherwise unknown sea snails – it’s up to you whether or not you want to try them.
Don’t worry, dog and cat is difficult to come across and quite expensive! Personally, I would recommend sticking to seafood and snails for the best range of dishes.
If In Doubt – Hoi An
In tourism, Da Nang is treated as a gateway to Hoi An, with a slowly growing number of people stopping in the city. Those who lived here are blessed with Hoi An being a cosy escape when you need to get out of the city.
Hoi An is famous for its tailors, with hundreds of options lining the streets of the old town and beyond. In between the banana and watermelon shirts that are some skilled tailors with cute, quirky and unique styles. For teachers, tailor-made suits can be for a quarter of the price that you would find elsewhere.
Hoi An also has two beaches that offer a pleasant alternative, albeit being much more crowded that our beloved My Khe Beach back in Da Nang. To finish the day, the range of restaurants to be found in Hoi An is perhaps my favourite reason for going, with a broad range of local and western food, including incredible vegetarian options in tranquil settings.
Yet to visit Da Nang? Hit me up with any questions!