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View from our balcony overlooking the sea in Da Nang, Vietnam

5 months in Da Nang

As chaotic and noisy as the city is, there’s a friendly local charm about Da Nang that we truly fell in love with. We decided to stay a few months and really dig in.

Why Da Nang?

On our first trip through Vietnam in early 2015, we passed through Da Nang and really, really liked it. It’s a river city, surrounded by mountains on one side, beach on the other, thriving culture, nearby nature, great food – what’s not to love about it? We knew it would be a cool place to settle for a bit.

And… we were absolutely right!

The apartment

The interior of our flat in Da Nang, Vietnam
Our first apartment in Da Nang, Vietnam / Mango Pine

We lucked out! We were the first tenants in a brand new ocean-front serviced apartment building. It was clean, modern, great location, perfect amount of space with a balcony overlooking the South China Sea. All utilities, internet, weekly cleaning, security, etc = $380/month. The process was quick and easy, you just have to contact the right person at the right time.

We also came to know and love the people who owned and managed the property. There were extremely warm and friendly, making us feel not only at home but part of their family. In subsequent trips to Da Nang, we have stopped by to visit and say hello. To our surprise, they never forgot us either.

Over time, a few locals told us we could have found something cheaper, but for our situation, our arrangement was perfectly perfect!

 

The food

It was in Da Nang that we discovered our new favorite Vietnamese dish (move over Pho!)Mi Quang. It’s a regional dish from the Quang Nam province in central Vietnam, made of noodles, hearty broth, quail eggs, chicken/beef, with a plate of fresh veggies, herbs, some limes and hot chili peppers, and a large sesame rice cracker. Eating a $1 bowl of Mi Quang for lunch became part of our daily ritual.

We also ate lots of seafood at the endless supply of fresh seafood restaurants lining the shore. Tons of other-worldly sea creatures, fresh off the boat!

The lifestyle

Everything is a scooter ride away! Son Tra mountains are nearby where you can coast down the road and see rare Red-Shanked Douc monkeys! Hoi An, a beautiful lantern city, and UNESCO Heritage site, is half an hour in the other direction. Marble Mountain is a great day trip for hiking and visiting temples and sights. We also motorbiked the mountainous Hai Van Pass between Da Nang and Hue, as well as by train. It provides spectacular views of some of the most scenic coastal stretches in all of Vietnam.

We met this guy on one of our many day trips…

Overall

As chaotic and noisy as the city is, there’s a friendly local charm about Da Nang that we truly fell in love with. The people are friendly, the food is great, it’s an easy city to get around, it’s affordable, it’s adventurous… and we’re already looking forward to next time.

Update

We returned to stay another two months in Da Nang on our next visit. Just as we remembered, it was a magical place to explore.

Author: Daisey

Daisey is a UX designer for Art+Logic by day, soul/funk singer by night, full of love and always smiling.

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