Nov 8, 2018
Revisiting DaNang, Vietnam
Coming From: Bangkok, Thailand
Airline: Air Asia
Airport Departure: Don Mueang International Airport
Airport Arrival: DaNang International Airport
Flight: FD 638, depart BKK 4:20pm, arrive DaNang 6:20pm, $65 including 20kgs
Visa on Arrival: Nov 8 - Dec 8, 2018
Hotel: Sea Sand Apartment and Hotel
Money on Arrival: $78
Taxi Mafia at Danang Airport?
Although the airport is only a few kilometers from the main town, it would still be $5 (VND 120,000) by cab. After hemorrhaging $30 from Thai Immigration for a technical 2-day overstay, I wasn't ready to splurge on a cab! I asked the airport tourist desk where I could take the bus and they said take the taxi. I asked my hostel and they said take the taxi. The currency exchange said the same thing. Is there a taxi mafia in Danang? How do the minimum wage workers commute to Danang? Taxi? I didn't buy it. I walked outside the airport with my full gear until I got to the busy roads. I wasn't sure what to do but I had a better chance getting a cheaper ride there than cabbing it from the airport. Fortunately, a moto-taxi stopped and asked me where to go. He offered to take me to the hostel for $2 (VND 40k). Yey! I was actually prepared to pay up to VND 80. It rained so he donned his long-tailed rain coat and I kept under the cape, not seeing anything outside. I gave him VND 50k - just feeling thankful I didn't pay $5.
4 Seasons Hostel
At $3/night, I booked 2 nights hoping I could arrange a barter deal for the rest of my stay in Danang. They seemed interested but nothing came out of it. The hostel is crowded with foreigners. The rooms were full and it felt cramped. But it was your typical backpacker hostel where backpackers come and go. Great place to meet travelers. The hotel location was right where the cheap eateries could be found but quite a walk to the beach. Hotel owner/manager Ruby was friendly and helpful. If all I have to do is hang-out with people, this is where I would like to stay.
Keeping the Balance of the Mind
I was able to arrange a deal with a second hostel but for reasons unknown to me, the owner changed her mind after the deal was done and advised me to move out after a 3-day stay. I normally would be livid by this, but in my cosmic parlance, my universe simply had to pull me out of this place because a better place awaits. I've seen this happen in Bohol when the slumlord of a boarding house increased his rent forcing me to move out unceremoniously. I ended up in a luxury resort for an entire month! Back to Danang. While this development left me starting from square one again, I harbored no ill-feelings. I looked at what happened as part of a process making way for better things to come. While it lasted, I had a great time - the staff was friendly, the room was clean and comfortable and that's where I met Alannah and Max, two people who shaped my stay in Danang.
In my paradigm, perhaps the purpose of my stay in this hostel was not really for a roof over my head, but simply to meet these two wonderful people. Most often, the obvious expectation is not the true purpose of the event or process - best to expect the unexpected. Being unattached to outcomes help in keeping the balance of the mind.
Sea Sand Apartment and Hotel
Luckily for me, I found an interesting hotel while walking around the neighborhood. I got to talk to the owner and she was agreeable to my proposal. I would promote her newly opened hotel in exchange for lodging until my visa expiry. This was a great load off my mind. The hotel was just opened a few days ago. It was very near My Khe Beach, near Minsk Bar Cafe and other eating places.
Initially, I thought the hotel was just another newly opened hotel with a dorm room. When I checked-in, I was pleasantly surprised. It was a completely furnished luxury room/apartment. I was the first guest. All the items still had their grocery tags with them. All the amenities were there - washing machine, fridge, full kitchen, flat screen TV with lots of English cable channels, dining table and even a sofa to receive guests. I had a balcony that opened up to street view. There was also an ensuite with hot shower and rain nozzle. Wifi was dedicated to my room. Just how cool is that?
When I met up with the owner again, I increased the promotion-time from 1 year to 3 years - all at no added charge. She was pleased. I was simply grateful for the beautiful room.
My hair grew shaggy in Bangkok. I wanted to have it shaved already but I thought I'd wait for Danang - perhaps it's cheaper here. I went to this non-descript barber shop and using Google Translate, I wrote head shave. He nodded in approval and showed me 3 fingers (VND30k). First he shampooed my hair with some scalp massage. Rinsed it, then shampooed it again. He shampooed my hair 3 times! Then he asked for his VND 30k. Apparently, the translation failed. He thought what I wanted was a head shampoo! I explained what I wanted but this time, I asked him to include ear cleaning. Altogether, after a little haggling, we agreed to VND70k ($3). Given all the gunk that came out of my ears, it was definitely worth it.
My Khe Beach
One of Danang's main attraction is My Khe Beach. It's a white fine-sand beach that is both wide and long, extending for a few kilometers. The surf is up and surfer dudes line up for their waves. In the morning, as early as 5am, it is already crowded from fitness buffs who workout there. Lots of people also swimming at that time of day. This is also where I hold yoga classes, although balancing on one leg on sand is not exactly ideal.
Minsk Cafe Bar
In the days I'd been in Danang, I'd been hanging out at this neighborhood gathering place - Minsk Cafe Bar. It's a cafe during the day and a bar at night. With it's affordable VND10k coffee and VND18k Larue beer, it's accessible to me. During Wednesdays, there's even a live band. This is perhaps the coolest place in Danang. I'd come here almost daily for coffee, beer and socials.
With Sea Sand Hotel as my luxurious digs for the remainder of my stay, I begin to settle down and finish up all my Bangkok deliverables - the Adventure Hostel website and my remaining BKK blogs. This also begins work on my Danang mandate. A whole new horizon is open. With meaningful work lined-up for me, daily yoga classes and more time freed-up, I'm all too excited to see what happens to me here.
YOGA by Gigit | Learn English | Travel like a Nomad | Donation Bank
Reader Comments:Atlantic Spirit
(Nov 13, 2018) Wonderful Gigit. So true! The universe will provide but we need to do the ground work. Being open, receptive 🙏 ❤
(Nov 13, 2018) Remember Chiang Mai? The magic is repeating itself like a pattern. So re-assuring to know that the power of the Big Bang is behind me (in my humble metaphoric parlance)
(Nov 13, 2018) I do! Immediately thought about it. 🙂🙂❤
(Nov 13, 2018) Don't work too fast! You said you finished the work within a few days, maybe the first guy thought the work you promised to do would take longer. Maybe he felt ripped off?
(Nov 13, 2018) What a great little apartment!
(Nov 13, 2018) Happy for you always Gigit. That force is always with you and for you. Tell me more when I see you. I miss your wisdom my friend. I will always cherish you. Love you. ❤❤❤
(Nov 13, 2018) ...my love is always with you ❤❤❤
(Nov 13, 2018) Nice shack dude!!! Hey it was great to hear your voice again after about 20 years or so. 🙂
(Nov 13, 2018) Dave, 20 years and still riding hard on the saddle! Forever young!!!
(Nov 13, 2018) Very nice apartment. You have the Mona Lisa pa. And the room size is big.Wow with washing machine pa. If we were to pay, how much is the rate of that room?
(Nov 13, 2018) I finished watching the video..very nice place. Is that an AirBnB listing? And location and surrounding looks good. How much per night Git?
(Nov 13, 2018) I just looked it up and it's surprisingly cheap. I guess it's because they are really dropping down the price as an introduction. From Booking.com, it's only $23/night.
(Nov 8, 2018) Welcome to Da Nang. You are closer to me. Da Nang is a peaceful city so I am sure that you will have a wonderful month there. You look so energetic with new hair ;) Anw, a peaceful view. I love living near beach. Best wishes from HCM City.
(Nov 8, 2018) Thanks Huong 🙂 Wishing you were here though 🙂
(Nov 8, 2018) I was just there a day ago, Gigit! Sayang
(Nov 8, 2018) Welcome back to VN!
(Nov 8, 2018) You're in Danang? Thich Nhat Hanh is back living in Vietnam now, in Hue, not far from Danang.
(Nov 8, 2018) Mark, I could make a short trip to pay my respect. I didn't meet him when I was the English teacher at Plum Village, Pak Chong. Thanks for the heads-up (paging Tram Tran).
(Nov 8, 2018) I read 2 books of his. so good. go go go. visit him.
(Nov 8, 2018) Mikey, ah...you add fuel to the fire....I must go then
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Next stop: The Wonderful People I met in Danang, Vietnam
Da Nang (city), Vietnam
RESTO | BAR
DA NANG BLOGS
- 30-Day Mini-life in Danang, Goodbye and Thank You Dec 8, 2018
- The Universe Provides Dec 8, 2018
- Pampered Living at Sea Sand Apartment and Hotel Nov 14-Dec 8, 2018
- Thich Nhat Hanh in Hue, Vietnam Dec 7, 2018
- Goodbye Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 Dec 8, 2018
- Beer, Burgers and Friends at CohibaR DaNang Nov 25 - Dec 6, 2018
- Friendship, Beer and Sausages at the German Deli Nov 20 - Dec 1, 2018
- Beach Yoga in DaNang, Vietnam Nov 17, 2018
- Danang Wall Art Nov 8 - Dec 8, 2018
- The Wonderful People I met in Danang, Vietnam Nov 8 - Dec 8, 2018
- Revisiting DaNang, Vietnam Nov 8, 2018
- Backpacking Da Nang, Vietnam Jan 12-16, 2015
Da Nang International Airport (DAD) to Downtown Da Nang
- the airport is practically on the edge of the city center about $3 by cab. Taxis from the airport taking you to the city will try to charge you VND 10,000 "airport fee" in addition to your fare. Don't pay it. The passenger coming in to the airport already paid for this. But drivers don't pay this when going out. We were victimized by a Mai Linh taxi in this manner.
FYI / Tips
- Da Nang doesn't seem to have a backpacker area like Bangkok's Khaosan Road. The establishments are spread out within the city but most of them are lined up along the river between Han River Bridge and the Dragon Bridge
- XeOm or moto taxis are cheap and not aggressive
Hanoi to Da Nang
- plane - Jetstar takes you there in 1 hour, 15 mins. Da Nang Airport is just on the outskirt of the city center...about $3 by cab
- bus - a bus may take 15-16 hours from Hanoi's Giap Bat station
- train - the Reunification Express makes a stop in Da Nang
How to Get around Da Nang
- there are no tuks-tuks in Vietnam but you can rent a motorcycle, take a cab or hire a XeOm single motorcycle
- most of the places within the city center can be reached by foot - recommended as you see more of the city on foot than on a motorbike
- still, the best way to see Da Nang is on a bicycle. VND 50,000, it is not as cheap as Cambodia ($1), but it's still not bad. Or, you can check-in at a hotel that offers it for free - like Sanouva Hotel
Things to do, Places to go in Da Nang
- Lady Buddha - a 67m white marble statue on the slope of Monkey Mountain, similar to Rio de Janeiro's Christ the Redeemer
- Linh Ung Pagoda - same location as the Lady Buddha. Built in the 18th century and rebuilt by Minh Mang, the second ruler of Vietnam's Nguyen Dynasty
- Cham Museum - world's largest collection of Cham artefacts from the 7th to 15th century
- Danang Museum - free admission. Depicts life in Central Vietnam from 14th century
- Marble Mountains - see marble making at its finest together with an assortment of fine marble handicrafts. You can also explore the area for its many tunnels, caves and grottos
- Monkey Mountain - at 693MASL, it offers a stunning vista of Da Nang. You'll pass by the Lady Buddha on the way to the top
- My Khe Beach - fine white sand beach that stretches all the way along the eastern coast of Da Nang going to Hoi An
- Man Thai Fishing Village - a fishing village still using traditional methods
Da Nang Cost Index
- VND 12,000 1.5 liter drinking water
- VND 300,000 one hour body massage
- VND 10,000 banh mi (baguette sandwich)
- VND 25,000 noodle soup with meat
- VND 10-12,000 coffee
- VND 50,000 bicycle rental, 1 day (not readily available)
- VND 30,000/kilo laundry
- VND 380,000 sleeper bus to Da Nang from Hanoi (as of 2012)
- VND 100,000 dorm bed
- VND 200,000 double bed in a fan room, shared toilet
- VND 3,000 internet cafe
- VND 80,000 taxi from airport to city center by the river
- VND 460,000 Jetstar flight from Hanoi to Da Nang (no baggage)
- VND 150,000 seafood pasta in a decent restaurant
Vietnam FYI / Tips / Dos and Don'ts
- Hanoi Grapevine HCMC Update - for the latest events in Vietnam
- Vietnam establishments will not accept US dollars, unlike Cambodia. You have to use Vietnam Dong (US$1 = Vietnam Dong VND 23,255 = Php 53.20 as of Aug 1, 2016)
- Vietnamese smokers will smoke in air-conditioned establishments, air-conditioned buses packed with people including women, children and babies. They also smoke inside hospitals with no smoking signs.
- Vietnam ranks almost the same as Thailand and Cambodia for cheap price. Laos, Myanmar and Malaysia cost more
- internet speed is generally fast and reliable but during important events like Tet holiday, election, etc., it slows down
- Vietnamese generally do not speak or understand much English. It will be a challenge.
- best to dress appropriately, not revealing too much skin (Saigon is an exception - the ladies there set the trend in very short shorts)
- remove your shoes when entering a home or place of worship
- ask first before taking someone's picture. If they say no, don't persist or offer money
- best to carry your hotel's business card with you when going out. You can just show it to the cab driver or XeOm driver if they don't understand English
- leave your valuables, passport, travel tickets, etc. with the hotel's safety deposit box
- when lying down, don't point your feet or the soles of your shoes to anyone or to a family altar
- carry only enough cash for your needs that day
- don't lose your temper in public - Vietnamese people are warm, generous and polite. They look down on people who lose their composure
- don't take pictures of military installations - you can go to jail
- refrain from taking videos of minority people until permitted to do so
Lesser-Known Vietnam Destinations
- Phu Yen Province - by the beach
- Hoa Binh Lake - locals' alternative to Halong Bay
- Ninh Binh - Trang An Grottoes, Tam Coc, Mua Caves, Bai Dinh Pagoda, Van Long Nature Reserve
General Travel Tips
- avoiding scams - as a general rule, I ignore the touts or anyone I don't know who call out to me. The calling comes in many forms - "Hi! Where are you from?", "Excuse me! Excuse me!", "Where are you going?". I don't look them in the eye and I remain non-verbal with them. If you reply to them, you just gave them an 'in' to hound you. In order not to look rude, I smile and wave the 'not interested' hand to them, without looking at them.
- power bank - hand-carry your power bank. Do not check it in. You can be called in when you are already inside the plane to go all the way to the loading dock so you can personally remove the power bank...and chances are, you'll have to surrender it to them. And you might delay the plane departure!
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