Beach Vibes and Fire Breathing Dragons
Da Nang is a vibrant beach city that we didn’t even know existed. In fact, we were so in the dark about Da Nang that when we arrived I was shocked to learn that there was a beach! Ultimately, Da Nang was a last minute decision with huge financial rewards. Cheaper cost of living than Chiang Mai (to the point where I payed off a student loan in full!), 30 minutes away from gorgeous Hoi An, steps away from some of the cleanest beaches, Da Nang may be a resort getaway city, but with a growing English speaking ex-pat scene, it is a strong consideration for as you digital nomad base in Vietnam. Many in the digital nomad community see Vietnam, and by extension Da Nang, as the next remote hotspot. Let’s get you ready and thriving as soon as you arrive!
Our Da Nang Story Overview
We had spent 1 week searching for apartments in Ho Chi Minh City and didn’t find an apartment within our budget that fit our needs. When we did find one in District 2, the ex-pat area of HCMC, someone else had put a deposit on it! We were so run down by the constant worry of windowless hotel room stays, work demands, and the anxiety that came with an unstable living situation, that a friend’s suggestion to give Da Nang a shot seemed like divine intervention. Without booking anything other than our plane tickets, Jonathan and I flew into Da Nang International, met up with an agent that we hooked up with over Facebook and she showed us two different apartment buildings. In the end we chose The Eastside Apartments, in the My An neighbourhood and we couldn’t have been happier there. The three months that we spent there were comfortable, close to the beach, and steps away from one of the best hamburger joints either of us had ever been to!
Cost of Living Overview
Just in food costs alone you see nearly a $300CAD savings, not to mention that we were only paying around $800CAD for our serviced apartment compared to $900+ Utils in Chiang Mai.
Languages – English is widely available, but keep your translate app handy
You’ll find that you’ll be able to get around without any Vietnamese. However, keep your phone handy because it is more than likely that you’ll be using it to translate, or get a specific address. We only stayed in Vietnam for 3 months this time around, and my philosophy with languages revolves around practicality: Learn a few key phrases, such as “Hello” or “Thank you” but, unless you move to that country or you’re living there for over a year, don’t use unnecessary energy learning another language when locals who study English want to practice theirs with you, or worse, answer you in their local language and leave you just as lost as before. That’s just embarrassing.
Hotels on Arrival – King’s Finger Hotel
I’m going to level with you – We were surrounded by hotels, but entered very few of them. The moment we got out of the airport taxi we met up with our apartment agent and we were signing a lease within an hour. However, that doesn’t mean that we didn’t have some hotel experiences while there. Da Nang is blessed when it comes to hotel accommodations, from hostels to 5 star gated resorts with private beach access. Here’s our recommendation:
1.) King’s Finger Hotel – Don’t let the name scare you off. This was the hotel where we met our agent and even though they were a little confused by our presence, they were unbelievably kind. Doesn’t hurt that it’s got a rooftop pool and a high rating on Booking.com. If you use our referral code it won’t cost you any extra, and you’d be helping us out!
Cellphone Data – Viettel
The cellphone giant Viettel was a 4G data provider at a seriously affordable for two people. We signed up for Viettel right at the airport kiosk in Ho Chi Minh City International Airport, right before the taxi stands. We needed our passports and our credit cards for payment. Monthly top-ups can be completed in convenience stores, but we missed that memo and just went to the primary shop for assistance.
Places to live – The Eastside Apartments
There was just something about this recently built apartment building that really called out to us. Was it the super kind staff? The multiple air-condition units? The proximity to the beach and restaurants and nightlife? Super strong internet and Smart TV that had the Netflix app? Needless to say, the situation over at The Eastside Apartments was so easy to show up, check out the units available and sign on the dotted line that we were thrilled to have a place to sleep that night.
Here’s a helpful tip to get around easier: Keep a copy or two of your apartment’s business card in your wallet. It’ll be invaluable in getting around town with your Grab Taxi.
Note: Facebook groups are a wealth of information when it comes to finding a place to live. You’ll be able to find an agent in Da Nang in no-time if you post a request for help and you can set up your appointments that way.
Shopping and Groceries – Big C and Lotte Mart
You’re going to find everything you need in Da Nang. Although it doesn’t feel nearly as developed as Chiang Mai by international standards, the charm of the local markets to larger shopping malls is unmistakably Vietnamese. When you arrive, it’s easy to be overwhelmed – luckily the warm familiarity of Big C and Lotte Mart are there for you.
- Big C – If you have any experience with South East Asia, you’re pretty familiar with Bic C. You’ll be able to find anything you need here. There’s also a solid movie theatre here to see the latest blockbusters.
- Lotte Mart – Much like Big C, it’s another big box grocery store. It’s also got a great movie theatre for when you’re needed other movie times.
- VinCom – The national mall chain, VinCom has a location that’s about 20 minutes away from My An.
- Han Market – The large and local market is packed with local produce, Vietnamese specialities and clothes at a very affordable price.
Note about sizing – If you’re larger, you’re out of luck. I highly recommend that you buy your clothes before arrive.
Things To See
Da Nang is a vibrant, up and coming space for digital nomad couples to head to. It’s a family friendly place that doesn’t let up on the night life options. You’ll find everything you need here.