My Favorite 7 Things to do Da Nang and Hoi An
My Favorite 7 Things to do Da Nang and Hoi An - Understand
The Da Nang area is located roughly halfway between Hanoi and Saigon (Ho Chi Minh) along Vietnam's huge coastline.Da Nang is the commercial hub of the area and features a modern airport and bustling commercial center with good shopping.
Hoi An is located about 30 miles south and is well-known for its UNESCO World Heritage Ancient Town.Hoi An feels VERY touristy but has enough charm to keep you happy for a day or two.
In-between are a big number of resorts along the coast, including the Hyatt Regency, InterContinental, Four Seasons, Pullman, Sheraton and more.
The climate of Da Nang resembles Hanoi more than Ho Chi Minh, with the winters in the low 70s and summers in the high 90s. So while Saigon can be steamy, Da Nang can be freezing on a December day.
As with most of Vietnam, prices are very affordable unless you enter the resorts, which usually have the same prices as in the US.
The Vietnamese are generally oblivious to everyone, including tourists.
My Favorite 7 Things to do Da Nang and Hoi An - Get Around
Uber and Grab are in town and most rides are under $3. A ride from the resorts to Hoi An is about $10 one-way but there are a number of minivans and buses (partially organized by hotels) to get you moving.
I resorted to using Uber even for short distances as there are few walkable sidewalks (almost all are used for motorbike parking). Walking around town seems dangerous, with traffic coming at you at any time and cables hanging down in your face in many places.
My Favorite 7 Things to do Da Nang and Hoi An - Safety
Vietnam is generally a safe country. Da Nang is even more so - the biggest risk by far is the manic traffic.
My Favorite 7 Things to do Da Nang and Hoi An - Connectivity
As with most of Vietnam, the Internet is typically fast and a 10 Mbit connection is easy to find in hotels and coffee shops around town. There are plenty of cables right under the China Sea connecting you to Hong Kong.
My Favorite 7 Things to do Da Nang and Hoi An - Pollution
There is a fresh ocean breeze and air pollution is minimal unless you are right across a big intersection with heavy traffic. The biggest problem is noise pollution, with the constant honking of traffic participants. While interesting and strange initially, it becomes pretty annoying after some time.
Most Vietnamese cities will strike visitors as dirty; they are not unhygienic but there are piles of trash in many random places and locals seem content on moving it around (and make less of an effort to collect it for good).
My Favorite 7 Things to do Da Nang and Hoi An - Eat and Drink
Da Nang and Hoi An aren't foodie heavens and there are just a small number of ‘great' eateries spread around the towns.
Pizza 4P's, Da Nang
This gourmet temple that originally started in Ho Chi Minh (but is now in most Vietnamese cities) also has an outlet in Da Nang. It is so good (and so much above local eatery or restaurant standards) that it is a crime not to come eat here. The service, the food, the staff are all well above the level of expectations I have of any restaurants. It's also rather cheap as seen from a US point of view).
Banh Mi Phuong, Hoi An
This is the local banh mi institution and EVERY tour guide takes their sheep there. There are manic lines and it can be a frustrating experience but the cheap yet artisan banh mi for under $1 will make up for it. I had the vegetarian banh mi (not the best usually) and thought it was perfect.
Ganesh Restaurant, Hoi An
Indian food in Hoi An - really? While I did not have lunch there myself, I walked in just after the restaurant had closed and the dishes looked awesome and it smelled just right. Even better - the staff had sat down to eat their own dishes. This can't be so bad!
Minh Hien, Hoi An
This vegetarian restaurant looks just a bit too ‘backpacker' style but the owners did a wonderful noodle salad for just $2. I kept ordering more of it while I was there - it was that good.
Morning Glory, Hoi An
Morning Glory's secret is clearly out and it keeps adding buildings and floors to keep up with demand. I liked the 'spicy' seafood soup and the salad,though the fried tofu was bad (it was taken off the bill without drama).
There are plenty of coffee chains in town (plus lots of tea chains) but none of them will inspire you much.
Surprisingly, many, like ‘Coffee House', come with excellent interior design but the food offerings and drinks are a world behind.
Namunamu (multiple locations, Da Nang)
This local coffee chain makes decent espresso drinks (espresso drinks in Vietnam tend to be subpar) and has some good breakfast options. It isn't great but seems a bit more artisan and is better than what the local competition provides.
The Espresso Station, Hoi An
Despite being coffee country, Vietnam has a serious shortage of good espresso drinks (since locals despise espresso drinks if they don't haveplenty of sugar and condensed milk). The Espresso Station is hidden in a quiet alley in a beautiful old building. The staff are super-friendly and the drinks are much above average (though I would not say great).