Whenever Vietnam comes to mind, people immediately associate it with Saigon, now named Ho Chi Minh City, located in the Southern part of the country. It is the largest city in all of Vietnam and holds merited cultural and historical significance. Very much similar in this regard is the capital city of Hanoi in the Northern region of Vietnam. It is a city as rich in heritage and culture.
But lest we forget that Vietnam has three main regions: North, Central, and South. The central region of Vietnam, often overlooked at first, houses the beautiful coastal city of Da Nang. Da Nang City is the educational, cultural, and economic hub of the central region.
In a 2017 study commissioned by Asia institute of City Management (AiCM) Da Nang city was named “the most liveable place in Vietnam”. In terms of “vibrancy” and “liveability”, Da Nang possesses a potential for sustainable development and innovation.
Locals and foreigners alike have agreed that Da Nang is one of the best places to be in Vietnam. It has mountains, beaches, and a lively urban area. Multiple titles are held by the city; to name a few: Da Nang–Fantastic City, as the official tourism slogan, Best Places to Live in Vietnam, Top Travel Destinations in 2019, and one of the Most Affordable Cities.
Read on to have an idea about what living is like in the wonderful city of Da Nang!
1. Accommodations and Rentals
As a tourist destination popular locally and abroad, Da Nang is no stranger to global hotel and resort chains like Novotel, Hilton, Marriott, InterContinental, etc. They offer exclusive beach access and big villas which you can rent daily or monthly. But Da Nang city also has a plethora of local homestays and apartments that are affordable and comfortable.
Accommodations for short-term stays can be done through applications like Booking.com, agoda, or even AirB&B. For long-term stays, of course, there is Facebook with dedicated pages and groups for Apartments and Houses for rent in Da Nang. There are also reputable real estate agents that can help with apartment hunting.
You can get a fully furnished studio apartment for as low as 4 million VND, roughly 170$ a month. Prices mainly depend on the location of the apartment you are interested in and how big your rental is going to be–in the touristy area of Da Nang, An Thuong, and other places near the beach. There are multiple options to choose from! There is one bedroom/two bedrooms-to a whole house available for lease, and their prices rise accordingly.
2. Transportation in Da Nang
When you have settled in a place that fits your needs, the next thing to manage is your transportation! How are you going to go around the town? Well, it’s no stranger that Vietnam is one of the countries with the biggest motorbike ownership in the world. So the answer to the transportation question is a motorbike!
People prefer motorbikes as their primary mode of transportation because it is easy to use. It can fit in narrow streets and can be parked anywhere–although there are designated parking spots on the road or sidewalks. Renting or buying a motorbike is highly recommended when you want to stay in the city for a long time.
Motorbike rental prices can range from 120 thousand dong a day to 150 thousand VND (5-7$) depending on which model of bike you choose. Prices are lower when you rent the motorbike for a month. It may be around 3 to 4 million (150-200$).
But if you’re new to motorbike driving, the “xe om” or motorbike taxis are there to rescue you. They have become more sophisticated–from the drivers traditionally waiting for passengers by the sidewalk, there are now ride-hailing applications like Grab or Be, both offer motorbikes and car rides that take you from your point to your destination. Fares may vary depending on how far you will go.
There is also a public bus system DanaBus that stops from point to point. There are five lines of buses running at the moment, and the key is to know the stops for the forward and backward trips. It is not very popular among the residents because the bus interval is 30 minutes and some stops are far from their current location. So if you are in a hurry and want a quick and accessible mode of transport, a motorbike is the way to go!
3. Food selection in the city
Vietnamese cuisine is arguably one of the best in Southeast Asia. In Vietnam, Da Nang is home to central region specialties like the Quang noodles (mì quảng), Cao lầu, Clam rice (cơm hến), Rice Cracker dish (bánh đập), and many more. Because Da Nang is right by the seaside, the city is abundant in fresh, delicious seafood.
Food prices in the city start from 15 thousand VND (less than one dollar) to 100 thousand VND (4$), depending on where you eat. A small bowl of Quang noodles is about 30 thousand VND (1-2$). Rice meals which have your choice of protein, vegetables, and a bowl of soup start from 20 thousand VND to 50 thousand VND (.85$-3$).
Some restaurants offer foreign cuisine around the city. They serve English breakfast, American-style meals, and desserts. Fast food is also present in the city as there are several chains of KFC, Loteria, and Jollibee.
If you are the type to cook your meals, supermarkets around the city have grocery items and some imported goods. At the same time, there are plenty of traditional wet markets in every ward which has fresh produce every single day and other essential household items.
4. Weather and climate
Da Nang City has a tropical climate. Because of the city’s location, it experiences a combination of the North and South climates. Generally, the overall feel is more similar to that of the South.
Like other tropical places, the city has two distinct seasons: wet and dry. Although the four seasons are celebrated all over the country, the most notable of them are the two above. The wet season starts from August to December, while, the dry season is from January to July. The city experiences a cold wave from December to January, but it is often short-lived.
The city is also quite humid. Some households have humidifiers that help with this. The Da Nang Government portal reports that the average humidity is 83.4%. It is highest in October and November. It is lowest in June or July.
The average temperature in the city is about 26°C. This temperature reaches up to 34°C on a hot sunny day. It is the hottest during the summer months, from May to early October. The general temperature is hot and humid during the months above, and most people expect light to heavy rainfall.
5. Activities in the city
You will never run out of things to do in Da Nang. This city is home to the famed Ba Na Hills which has the Golden Bridge. The city is surrounded by mountains and beautiful beaches so there are plenty of water activities like snorkeling, swimming, stand up paddling, hiking, etc.
Da Nang is near four famous World Heritage Sites namely Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park, the Hue Citadel, Hoi An Ancient Town, and My Son Cham Sanctuary. Indoor and outdoor activities like painting, biking, and sports are available for everyone!
6. Community and people
Vietnamese people are friendly, and locals from Da Nang are no exception. Living in a foreign country may be challenging at first, especially if your home country is totally different from that of Vietnam’s culture and traditions.
You may find it difficult initially, but there are communities in Da Nang that offer help or support for foreigners in the city. Most of these groups have an online presence. One is the Da Nang Expats group on Facebook. It is composed mainly of foreigners who have come to live and work in the city. There you can post questions about food, events, and other concerns. People are more than willing to answer the queries and provide suggestions to anyone in need of them.
Living in Da Nang as a foreigner came easy for me as I come from a country not too far from Vietnam. There are similarities in the weather and the people I have come across. They are generally supportive and welcoming.
There were some challenges in other aspects though, such as learning the Vietnamese language (which I am still working on!) I put up this little guide about what to expect when you go to Da Nang and should you ponder upon living here. All I can say in the end is that the city lives up to its title as one of the best places to live in Vietnam.