Travel Guide to Da Nang, Vietnam

Should you move to Da Nang, now?

Vietnam is one of the top destinations to visit for digital nomads. While Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC) are definitely more vibrant, interesting cities, with more to offer in terms of food, shopping, activities, culture and night life, Da Nang is your best choice if you’re looking for a relaxed beach vibe.

Hanoi and HCMC are intensely crowded, loud and unbearably polluted — with some of the worst air quality and traffic anywhere. Hanoi is the second most polluted city (air pollution) in SE Asia.

Theft is also a serious issue in the larger cities — thieves on motorbikes will adroitly grab your phone right out of your hand as you stand on the sidewalk, consulting Google Maps.

While Da Nang is boring in comparison to its two larger sisters, it has some features that make it stand out.

First, what it has less of

Air pollution, population density, traffic, crime. The beach and riverfront area feel like a sleepy beach town and the city center is small, manageable, and not very crowded. There is some theft, but it’s not common and absolutely not on the scale of HCMC.

The air is ok on the beach and surrounding areas, but lately airborn microplastic fibers have been in the news in Da Nang — apparently there’s a high level of plastic in the air in the city.

“Microplastic pollution in the air in both inner and suburban areas of the central city of Da Nang has become serious. Microplastics can go directly into the lungs during daily activities.” —

That news article quoted a researcher who noted that Da Nang’s microplastic contamination is 14 and 28 percent higher than Paris and London, respectively. 

You’ll appreciate the relaxed and friendly vibe

There’s a noticeable lack of hawkers or touts, who relentlessly plague tourists in other South and SE Asian countries. Other than the occasional mild mannered sunglass hawker, you can pretty much walk around or hang out on the beach without being bothered at all.

Locals are exceptionally friendly and welcoming, and English is widely spoken, especially in the beach side.

Da Nang beaches

So that leads us to the most obvious reason to come to Da Nang: the beach. It’s a lovely, long stretch of white sand beach. This is nothing really unusual in SE Asia — lots of places have gorgeous beaches. So while I wouldn’t put Da Nang on the top of my SE Asia beach holiday list, when you throw convenience into the equation, Da Nang gets consideration.

You can get from the airport to the beach in 15 minutes, lodging and dining are relatively inexpensive, and it’s a good option if you’re looking for an easy escape from the terrible spring air in Bangkok or the crowds and concrete in any of the large Asian cities.

You can swim, surf, jet ski and parasail. The heavily touristed beaches on the Strip (My Khe – My An beach area) are lined with restaurants, bars and massage parlors. If you’re looking for a quieter beach experience, head a few minutes north toward Son Tra, where there are hardly any tourists and the beach is mostly full of fishermen going in and out on their distinctive round basket boats.

The southern beaches are all encompassed by private resorts. If I was coming to Da Nang on holiday, that’s where I would stay. They’re set on beautiful, quiet private beaches, have good, safe food and pretty much all the services you need for a perfect beach holiday.

The city makes a concerted effort to keep the beach clean, and if you’ve been to any of the many SE Asian beaches lately that are strewn with garbage, you’ll really appreciate this. It’s white, soft, clean sand for miles. 


There are several areas where wastewater and perhaps sewage is dumped into the ocean along the main beach walk. It smells putrid, is toxic and once I even found myself walking in the surf and realized there was a large quantity of human feces floating in the water.

This issue pops up in the news from time to time, but nothing has changed.

The water looks gorgeous, but personally I don’t swim in it. There may be other areas up in Son Tra or generally away from the main strip that are cleaner.

The areas to specifically be aware of and avoid ( I won’t even walk on the sand in these areas) are near Vegas Beer, Galina Spa (or what used to be) and EscoBeach. There are probably more, but these are the ones on the main beach boardwalk that I know of, and avoid.

Da Nang airport is convenient

As I noted, the airport is just ten minutes from the city or fifteen minutes from the beach and is really easy to get in and out of. It’s never crowded or chaotic, just a nice, efficient, small airport. It doesn’t have a lot of services, but it gets the job done without much fuss.

Everything is nearby

Once you’re here, you can enjoy three main areas in Da Nang: the city, the riverfront and the beach. They each have a different feel and activities, and are just minutes apart.

When you get bored of Da Nang proper (and you will), there are plenty of interesting places to explore nearby. In fifteen minutes, you can drive north to Son Tra to the Lady Buddha gardens or further to the peninsula — full of birds, forests and monkeys. Driving 40 minutes in the other direction will land you in the picturesque World Heritage Site of Hoi An.

A great work base for nomads

If you’re not coming on holiday, but rather looking for a temporary base as a location independent nomad, Da Nang gets top marks for affordable, comfortable housing options, easy transportation, friendly English-speaking locals and fast, reliable internet (with the caveat that there are frequent scheduled and unscheduled blackouts). This is a very convenient place from which to run your location independent business for a while.

Is it safe?

And finally, let’s talk about safety. As a woman traveling alone, there are few places in the world I’ve felt as safe as Da Nang. Tourists consistently complain about being hassled, treated extremely rudely, being constantly ripped off, having to practically strap their belongings to their person, and foreign women traveling alone regularly report sexual harassment and assault…in other Vietnamese cities. I’ve never experienced any of these things in Da Nang.

Locals are friendly, relaxed and open. Everyone I’ve dealt with has been completely scrupulous, I’ve never once been ripped off or scammed. And I feel perfectly safe walking around at night alone, even conspicuously carrying all my camera gear. Feeling safe and welcomed and relaxed — I think these are essential quality of life issues that create a great environment for a productive work base or a pleasant holiday, especially for solo female travelers.

Where to eat in Da Nang

best cafes in da nang

Where to go for Coffee and Tea in Da Nang 2024

Vietnam is know for its coffee. What you may not know is a lot of it is adulterated with chemical dyes, flavors, fillers. Here’s my list of favorite tea houses, cafes and restaurants with great espresso drinks in Da Nang.

Da Nang Restaurant Guide 2024 {Where to Eat Without Getting Sick}

Is Da Nang a Foodie Paradise? Straight talk about prices, food poisoning, navigating restaurant reviews and a breakdown of what to eat and what to avoid.

best breakfast restaurants in da nang

My Favorite Breakfast Spots In Da Nang

Western style breakfasts in Da Nang are easy to find, though not always very good. If you’re down for something heartier than a morning coffee or smoothie, here’s a list of tried and true Da Nang breakfast spots. 

Working Remotely in Da Nang

best cafes for digital nomads to work in da nang
Best Cafes to Work in Da Nang

Even if you have super fast internet in your apartment, sometimes you need another place to work. Whether it’s to switch up with a change of scenery or a work refuge when the inevitable power outage hits your neighborhood, here’s a list of my favorite cafes in Da Nang to work remotely.

Getting around in Da Nang

best way to get around in da nang
Using GRAB Taxi and GRAB Bike Motorcycle Rides in Da Nang Vietnam

Using the GRAB app is the best way to get around Da Nang, including from the airport. Here are tips you need to know to make it easy and safe.

Where to shop in Da Nang


where to shop in da nang

Grocery Stores

Lotte Mart
A multi story shopping center with house goods on one level and groceries on another. It’s clean, orderly and air conditioned. You can sign up for a membership rewards card to get discounts and loyalty rewards if you’ll be shopping here often.

Vincom Plaza
Vinmart is on the second floor of Vincom Plaza, Da Nang’s idea of an upscale shopping mall. You’ll find a few familiar brand stores here, like H&M, Body Shop, Aldo.

Mega Market
Da Nang’s answer to Costco. Large, organized selection and decent prices, all in an orderly, clean and air conditioned warehouse. You’ll need a membership…here’s how to get one for free.

Big C
This large city side shopping mall has several floors loaded with groceries, personal care and home goods.

Health Food Stores + Imported Brands

Joly Mart
Happy Healthy Farm
No Waste To Go
Blue Ocean


As mentioned elsewhere, getting quality meat is a real challenge. The best butcher I’ve found in Da Nang is Butcher Shop Plus. They sell imported meats and chicken, custom cut steaks and pork chops, smoke their own BBQ brisket (highly recommended!) and ribs, and sell holiday specialties, like smoked ham for Easter. 

Outdoor Markets

Bac My An (video tour)
Man Thai


You can find dedicated brand stores in the city and makeup counters at Vincom Plaza.


Covered Markets

Han Market (video tour)
Con Market

Computer & Electronics

Mega Computer
Phi Long Technology

Online Shopping

Amazon International
Amazon has a limited stock of items they ship to Vietnam. It’s best to browse through the Amazon international portal to see what is available.

This online marketplace offers lots of different items for sale by a variety of vendors, from personal care to electronics. Items are delivered to your home and you can set up payment on delivery. Do your research and shop with care, as items are sometimes not exactly as described in the listings, and lots of branded makeup and skincare products are fake.

This online marketplace is similar to Lazada.

Order all kinds of supplements and personal care items from this trusted source of natural products. I use this for vitamins, collagen proteins, homeopathic remedies, herbal supplements and essential oils.

Facebook groups
Locals advertise everything from prepared food to motorcycles for sale to pop up craft fairs on Da Nang expat groups.

Food Delivery Apps

Facebook (some restaurants let you order delivery through their fb page)

Renting an apartment in Da Nang

how to rent an apartment in da nang
How to Rent an Apartment in Da Nang, Vietnam 2024

How to avoid the most common mistakes when renting in Da Nang. Everything you need to know: costs, what’s included, what internet speed is really like, power outages, leases and more.