We came back to Da Nang, Vietnam

After 3 weeks in Hoi An and An Bang beach we are back ‘home’ in Da Nang 😎  We have the same corner unit junior apartment as before, just one level down on the 15th floor this time, right below our last apartment.  When we were here last month we spoke to the booking manager and negotiated a pretty sweet deal for a 30 night, non-refundable stay.  Our cost for 30 nights at the Avatar Da Nang is 28,100,000 VND (USD $1,128.50) which works out to USD $37.61 per night for an ocean view apartment and an extensive buffet breakfast.  This was a deal we just could not pass up!!  Especially since we were craving some ‘time out’ from traveling.

Overall our month here was very quiet, as we had hoped it would be, with one or two excursions around the city and a little socializing with fellow nomads.  Tim & Sachi (left) who we first met in Chiang Mai and new friends who we met here in Da Nang, Michael & Rona (middle) and Pete & Juanita (right).  Pete & Juanita have spent over 20 months in Da Nang during the past few years and were a wealth of information, plus very helpful when we needed advice on where to seek medical attention.

Our day’s consisted of an early morning beach walk/run, breakfast, swimming/gym time at My An Sport Center, relaxing afternoons escaping the heat at the hotel and dinners at one of the many nearby restaurants.  Lazy days but also some productive days making future flight and hotel bookings.  In fact, we made a big change to our upcoming plans, but more on that later!

My An Sport Center, we spent a lot of time here!

Something we did not get around to during our first visit to Da Nang was to see the fire and water show at the Dragon bridge.  The show happens every Friday, Saturday and Sunday at 9pm, so we took a Grab one evening to see the event.  We had heard it was crushingly busy every night, but down by the river we found a bit of space to hang out.  It was packed up on the bridge, but those folks have a very good chance of getting soaked during the water portion of the show, so we were pretty happy on the ground.  Even as far away as we were, the heat from the flames could be felt.  All in all, it was a really fun experience and one we are glad we did.  Here is a link to a  short video of the show.


Our only big day out during the month out was a trip to Hue.  Hue is approx 2.5 hours north of Da Nang so we hired a private driver/guide for what turned out to be a 9 hour day.  The cost for this was 3,000,000 VND (USD $117), expensive but it was nice to set our own schedule and go where we wanted.

To get to Hue from Da Nang we traveled over the Hai Van Pass, renowned for it’s steep, winding roads and spectacular views.  But, not for us!  Hai Van Pass means ‘ocean cloud pass’ and with heavy clouds/mist rolling over the hilltops any views we had hoped to see were non-existent.  At the summit there are vendors charging for a viewing platform to take photos from, but with the heavy mist there were no views and no business to be had for them.  On the peak above the road there are old fortifications built by the French, subsequently used by South Vietnamese and Americans during the American/Vietnam war.  Beside the fortifications there are still traces of the ancient border gate Hai Van Quan, marking the former border between the kingdoms of Champa and Da Viet.  The fortifications and border gate were closed for restorations so we were unable to walk up there, not that it would have helped because everywhere was blanketed in mist.  We did not stay long with nothing much to see ☹️ (click on any photo to enlarge)

Leaving the Hai Van Pass we descended down the mountain until we had views of Lang Co Beach.  On the other side of Lang Co Beach is Lap An Lagoon, a protected tidal lagoon filled with oyster farms and traditional wooden stilt houses.

Hue was the capital of the Champa Kingdom and during the Nguyen dynasty from 1802 to 1945, served as the Imperial City and administrative capital.  The Nguyen dynasty was Vietnam’s last royal dynastic family reigning for 143 years, it was during this period that the Imperial Citadel of Hue was built.  The walled city contained palaces that housed the imperial family, as well as shrines, gardens, villas for mandarins (bureaucrat scholars) and villas for wives, concubines and children.  It was a busy place during those times!  The Imperial Citadel was designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1993 and has been undergoing extensive restoration after suffering heavy damage during the Indochina Wars through the 1980’s.  Of the 160 buildings within the site, only 10 major ones survived.  Tickets to tour the Citadel cost 200,000 VND (USD $7.85) each.


The innermost area, the Forbidden City, was reserved for the imperial family and its here that we saw the Kien Trung Palace, a magnificently rebuilt building where the last 2 emperors lived and worked.  The palace was designed in an eclectic mix of Italian Renaissance, French Classicism and Ancient Vietnamese styles.  The original building was destroyed in 1947 but was rebuilt between 2019-2023 and is now open to the public.

  • Kien Trung Palace


Built on a small hill overlooking the Song Huong (Perfume River) is the Thien Mu Pagoda, the tallest pagoda in Vietnam.  The 21m high octagonal tower was constructed under the reign of Emperor Thieu Tri in 1844.  Each of its 7 levels is dedicated to a Buddha that appeared in human form.

On the grounds of the Thien Mu Pagoda is the car that Thich Quang Duc was driven to his self-immolation in.  Thich Quang Duc was a Buddhist monk who set himself on fire in 1963, in the middle of Saigon, protesting President Ngo Dinh Diem’s persecution of Buddhists in South Vietnam.  He was the first of a series of self-immolations by members of the Buddhist clergy garnering the attention of the international community to their plight 😢

Khai Dinh Tomb was constructed between 1920 and 1931 for the 12th emperor of the Nguyen Dynasty and is a blend of Western and Eastern architecture.  Khai Dinh was the penultimate emperor of Vietnam, from 1916 to 1925, and widely considered a puppet of the French.  Most of the tomb’s exterior is covered in darkened, weathered concrete, with an unexpectedly Gothic air.  Steps lead to the Honor Courtyard where mandarin honor guards have a mixture of Vietnamese and European features.  Up three more flights of stairs is the main building, the walls of which are decorated with murals.  In the center, under a gold-speckled concrete canopy is a gilt bronze statue (cast in Marseilles) of Khai Dinh, his remains are interred 18m below the statue.  Tickets to visit the tomb cost 150,000 VND (USD $5.90) each.

  • Steps to the Honor Courtyard


So, about our change in travel plans…the heat has become pretty unbearable here with daytime highs hitting 39C and with the humidity the ‘feels like’ temperature was hitting 45C.  We were spending a lot of time indoors and this prompted us to shorten our time in Asia by just over a month.  We cut our time in Japan from 6 weeks to 10 days once we realized that it was going to be very hot and humid there in June/July.  We really want to explore Japan and will re-schedule a trip there for another time when the weather is cooler, and more agreeable to our constitution.  We already had a flight booked from Tokyo to Calgary, so we just moved the date up by a month and we will head to Calgary in June.

But, before our early departure from Asia, we still have 6 more weeks of fairly fast moving travel that was already booked and paid for, and that we are still looking forward to.  Next up, Hanoi…..


I’ll leave you with a few random photos from the past month in Da Nang:






There are literally hundreds of restaurants in the area we stayed, here are the ones that we went to regularly and were our favorites:  Roadhouse (great burgers and the best pizza in Da Nang); Hahn and Ken (Vietnamese); Touch of Thai (great Pad Thai); Rainbowl Poke (a new place we came to love and ate here a lot); Bikini Bottom (great tacos); Eco Green Cafe (wonderful salads); L’Italiano (great pasta and a really fun owner).  I know, most of these are Western food but our tummy’s appreciated it 😊

Grab, the Asian equivalent to Uber, is a fabulous way to get around the city.  We got to love it knowing that the price was fixed and we never had to wait more than 5 minutes for a car to arrive.

Banking, Blair used the TP instabank machine and never had any trouble, plus they allow 5 million VND per transaction.  Yes, there are ATM fees but the offset is that many restaurants add 2.5 – 3% if you pay by credit card.



2 thoughts on “We came back to Da Nang, Vietnam

  • May 9, 2024 at 7:30 pm

    You guys are rocking it. Just going through your postings. Well done. Also, glad you’re enjoy Vietnam and our “hood” in particular.

    • May 10, 2024 at 1:39 am

      Thanks! We certainly did enjoy your ‘hood’ and spending time with you both. Your recommendations were invaluable! See you in Canada 🍁


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