I have spent the last month living in Da Nang city and in just a few short days I will be saying goodbye to this crazy but amazing up and coming city. I was only planning to stay here for a few days but I ended up getting sucked in and staying for much longer.
Below I will list a few Pros and Cons about living in Da Nang city.
Living in Da Nang PROS
To me, Da Nang is a city of bright colours. During the day it is blue and green. Then, in the evening, it changes the colours to pink, yellow, red and dark blue. All of the bridges that connect the eastern part of Da Nang with the western part are illuminated in different colours. The most famous feature is the Dragon Bridge, which is beautifully lit every night and on Saturday and Sunday evenings at 9:00 pm spits fire and water over cheering crowds.
The city centre
The area around the southern beaches might not be the most attractive one in Da Nang. When I first came here I thought that it was how the whole city looked like. I was so wrong!
The centre of Da Nang is lively and interesting. Life happens on the streets. Women selling fruits and vegetables from tiny street stalls, or straight from their motorbikes. Men sit at coffee shops and tea houses drinking coffee, playing cards and do business. Shops stay open until late, little restaurants cook food all day long and serve their hungry customers.
Beaches in Da Nang are the cleanest I have ever encountered in South East Asia. You won’t find garbage lying around or floating plastic bottles. The water is clean and has a nice, dark blue colour, which is a beautiful contrast to white sand and green palm trees.
Da Nang is conveniently located, only 30 km from Hoi An and at the foot of Son Tra Peninsula and Hai Van Pass.
Good coffee shops with fast internet
Highlands was my favourite spot to go for excellent wifi, good banh mi and delicious drinks. I spent hours on hours here and loved every minute.
Living in Da Nang – cons
I stayed in a hostel called ‘The Vietnam Hostel‘ the whole time here, it was so cheap and really nice. BUUUT.. there is a building being built right next door so if you want to sit on the rooftop you have workers staring at you the whole time and listening to them pour cement all night was very annoying. The wifi is absolutely horrible, we have asked them to reset it a few times but it doesn’t work for very long. If your planning to come to Da Nang don’t expect to work in your accommodation with wifi, just find a good coffee shop with decent wifi.
Availability of good food
I don’t like Vietnamese food. There, I said it. I have never had good experiences with it. I guess there are some restaurants and bars serving tasty Vietnamese dishes, but I have never really stumbled upon them. The only good dish is Banh Mai but its literally only a chicken sandwich on a baguette.
I’ve tried some of the more famous dishes, like com ga – rice with roasted chicken. Chicken is usually so dry that you can’t separate the meat from the bones. In other dishes meat is hard or there’s no meat at all, just bones.
Everything in Da Nang is more expensive than in Thailand. This might be due to the fact that the government wants to turn Da Nang into an expensive holiday destination, or Vietnam is expensive in general?
For comparison: a plate of rice with chicken will set you back $4 CAD ($1.50 in Thailand), renting a scooter for a day is around $10 CAD ($4-$5 in Thailand) and a body massage is $10 CAD ($6 in Thailand).
I wouldn’t call these scams as some tourists do but rather overcharging. Vietnamese people always try to charge foreigners more. They will try to overcharge you for everything because they think you don’t know better and that you should have money to just give away.
Who hasn’t heard about the notorious traffic in Vietnam? The roads here are crazy. Da Nang is not as bad as Hanoi, but it is also a busy city, where everyone drives like crazy. It took me a couple of days to finally gather my courage and drive a scooter here.
I got to Da Nang in late November and I was there until early January. November was very cold and dry. Then December was hot, wet and so humid.
All in all..
I really enjoyed my time in Da Nang. I think it’s a great city for foreigners. It’s colourful, exciting, it’s developing quickly and there are so many expats. But I don’t feel too sad that I’m leaving soon. The city didn’t grow on me, but the people really did. I meet so many amazing people I will forever remember.
Da Nang has too many things I found irritating and I missed a lot of conveniences I had in Thailand (like 24/7 shops serving delicious snacks like 7/11). I am sure that I will look back at my experiences here with some nostalgia, but for now, I’m looking forward to my adventures back in Thailand next month.