Handker ❤️s Adventure: Da Nang 

Everything to do, from where to stay, chill and eat in Da Nang, Vietnam!

Mary Kate Hafner, Adventurer 

Why I went:

When you’re invited to a wedding on the other side of the world with a group of your best buds, the only answer is a resounding ‘absofreakinlutely.’ 

I’ve been entranced by Asia my entire life, and Vietnam was high on my ‘must-experience’ list. Before heading to Saigon for the nuptials, our group eased ourselves into the culture in the central coastal city of Da Nang. It was an experience I will dream about until I’m back again. 

Where to stay:

Draco Hotel - This hotel gives major ‘bachelor’ energy - think ultra-modern, gray, and a bed in the middle of the room, but in the best way. I decompressed in our room’s soaking tub overlooking the ocean at every spare moment. Highly recommend.

 Where to eat:

It is possibly impossible to make a wrong food choice while traveling in Vietnam. Around every corner is a mouthwatering, tantalizing option. Below are a few to get you started.

Kem bơ Bé Huệ (Avocado Ice Cream Bé Huệ) - Avocado ice cream is a specialty in this city. Thick coconut cream mixes with smooth avocado for a balanced, refreshing treat. Eating ice cream in the front room of someone’s house may feel different, but it’s typical to run a business from home there.

Bánh Mì Bà ĐàoThe bánh mì shop on the corner from Draco Hotel sent me. Order a coconut coffee with your sandwich and drift into the idea of expat life. My order was bread eggs with pork.

43 Factory Coffee Roaster - This place makes my list not so much for its superb coffee but for its outdoor seating. Situated on a street corner, you’ll lounge in a sunken Koi pond. Perf for observing scooter traffic and people watching.

Where to shop:

During your day trip to Hoi An, make a point to stop at BeBe. Hoi An is known for its custom tailoring, and BeBe is the best. A made-for-you ensemble is worth some precious carry-on space.

 What to do:

Lady Buddha - Overlooking the sea of Da Nang, Lady Buddha is a quick scooter ride along the coast. Your head may want to stay tilted up, but take in the beautiful grounds around you too.

Marble Mountains - Grab a coconut or ice cream from one of the vendors while taking in the dense vegetation, impressive views, and engrossing religious vignettes. TIP -  Be sure to go up the “heaven” not the “hell” side of the mountain. Just trust me on this one.

Hoi An Day Trip - About 30 minutes from Da Nang is UNESCO world heritage site, Hoi An. Get here early to take in all the color and charm Hoi An has to offer. 

At nightfall, end your day by taking a boat ride along the river, which will be illuminated by lanterns.

 My advice:

1. Splurge  - This is a country to stay at a five-star hotel, buy the spa package, and eat with abandon. With that in mind, get over-paying “tourist prices.” The US dollar to Vietnamese Dong conversion is insane. If you’re a foreigner, you may pay a little more, and that’s ok.

2. Rent a scooter - This is how everyone gets around - often with their children and dog also on board. I wouldn’t suggest scooters in larger cities, but Da Nang is an approachable place to ride, even for novices.  

3. Eat everything - There is room for third dinner.

Trip Highlight:

I’m not copping out when I say every moment was a highlight. From stopping at a convenience store to buy water to playing passenger princess on a scooter through the countryside, when everything is so new, everything is exciting.

Trip photo dump: