Danang and Hoi An: awesome stops in Vietnam

Danang is a beach city currently on a building boom – more so than any other city we’ve seen in Vietnam so far, probably because it has so much to offer on a terrific beach spanning a long coastline.

Danang is a place I’d go back to in a heartbeat, and so is nearby Hoi An. We were only in both places for a few days each, but that was enough to convince us to go back sometime in the next year and stay much longer. We sure do have a fantastic, endless travel lifestyle, don’t we?

Hoi An

In Hoi An, we wandered around the city at sunrise before the throngs of tourists roused their groggy heads from beds. We had the city almost all to ourselves with the locals who use the cooler, early morning hours to get a jump on their day.

We took pictures at sunrise; we went to street-side cafes; we wandered the market; we strolled the river at night; we lit box candles and made wishes; we took a great bike tour of a nearby island with a delightful university student (bike tour review here); we talked with locals and found the greatest ice cream stand in town (location here); we went to the fabulous An Bang beach (review here).

We also took a “basket boat” tour. We used “Tin Basket Boat Tour”. An older woman was our guide and we had a blast. (Other reviews, details, contact info can be found here.)

I also met a friend in real-time after meeting her in a Facebook group. She lives in Hoi An. Sometimes you just meet people and click right away – as if you’d known them forever. This woman was that for me – and I’d love to see her again!


In Danang, Tedly and I relaxed on “China Beach”; we roamed alleys between main roads; we watched the fire-breathing dragon bridge at night; we took a trip to the amusement park at Sun World Ba Na Hills (Tedly’s review here).

The tourist park is more than 4500 feet above sea level, so it’s a nice quick break from the heat below. While that’s great, it’s not at all like Dalat, which I liked a lot (more info here).

We also went to the Lady Buddha of the Hills and the Marble Mountains while in Danang. Worth the trips if you want the views. My preference is Lady Buddha – I love sea views and you could see the Danang skyline in the distance.

For me, the best part of Danang was it’s easily-accessed beach. It’s right in the city, it’s long – and it’s beautiful! In Hoi An, An Bang beach is out of the tourist area – and that’s a good thing too. So each has its positives.

Geographically speaking, the beaches at Danang and An Bang (Hoi An’s closest beach) are basically the same beach — it runs that far down the coastline.

Hoi An, a small city, and Danang, a large city, both are awesome!

Expats who live in Hoi An often drive to Danang to stock up on bulk supplies, or get serious medical care – they are only about 45 minutes apart.

I could go back to both Hoi An and Danang for an extended period of time: Hoi An and its gorgeous An Bang beach for those times when I want relative quaint and quiet; Danang when I’m after big-city amenities. Actually, wherever we could get the best deal on a month-long rental is the city we would go to – and then simply visit the one where we weren’t temporarily living.

I am here as a visitor – in a communist country, as an early retired budget world traveler with my husband. Here is some irony: Danang is where my father landed ashore as a Marine during the Vietnam War in 1966. He remembers Danang, and other towns and villages from his tour of duty. Those places would come next on our itinerary.





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