How to spend your days (successfully) in Da Nang

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It is easy -go to Hoi An !!!!!

a lady offering boat trip on the river

a lady offering boat trip on the river

Danang is a very friendly and relaxing place, and it is very easy to just stay here and spend some time. If the weather is up for it – there is a bunch of beaches to choose from, and many good restaurants as well. Only downside, is that Danang is rather big to its area, so you need your own vehicle to go around (taxi is cheap so that is an alternative – but I always find it difficult using taxi when I am not really going anywhere specific).

View from our room on a sunny day

View from our room on a sunny day

View from our room on a rainy day

View from our room on a rainy day

The weeks we stayed here, in February, the weather did not invite us to long and lazy days on the beach (windy and around 18 degrees Celsius) so we rented a motorbike from the coffee-shop next door (100. 000 vdn/day) – and went for day trips to Hoi An – only 30 minutes away.

Hoi An - just like we remember it

Hoi An – just like we remember it

We visited Hoi An back in 2003 (before the heavy flooding) and remember it to be very beautiful and picturesque, a little bit like being in the middle of a Tin Tin album, so it was with mixed emotions we planned for the re-entry. But no reason to fear – a few km outside the city we start seeing all the tourists out on bicycle – and it was just to “follow the stream” into town. And the first sight f Hoi An was just as beautiful as we remembered it – with one difference – now the entire old city has turned into a huge tourist market with restaurants, tailor-shops, shoe-shops and art galleries in absolute every building.

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Tourist scam

And then we faced the tourist scam. On our first day we were approached for tourist scam 3 times: First scam: on the restaurant – it was really good, reasonable priced and we even told the lady in charge that we would come back – but when we were going to pay she would not give us the bill, just said the amount. First when we have asked for the menu several times to double check the prices on our food and drink, she gave us the written bill – with the correct amount  (about 60.000 vdn) below her first attempt.
Second scam: we had an ice-coffee in a normal Vietnamese coffee-corner, but when we paid, he “accidentally” forgot to give us change back on our 200.000 bill and pretends he only receive a 100.000 bill.
Third scam: on our way back we needed to fill petrol – and had to pay for the guest prior to us as well.

On our next visit, we had trouble on the restaurant – again! The bill was much higher than expected, but the price for each dishes was correct, but the sum at the end around 60.000 extra. What are we doing wrong????

When first visiting Hoi An we want to sit in an old building in the middle of the old city – it is partly because of that atmosphere we do our (daily) visits. For the rest of our visits we were more lucky – found restaurants serving good food – and  paid according to the prices in their menu

Going to the tailor

party smoking anyone???

party smoking anyone???

Hoi An is well known for all its tailors, and during our first day we stopped by at a small tailor shop to see what they offer and to get an idea of the price. Back in Danang we visited the markets, looked at the fabric on offer there and tried to find some English speaking persons making men clothes. Failure (a week later we realized we were at the wrong market). We started looking for tailor-shops out on the street, and when we finally found one that was open,  the price for a shirt (with same kind of fabric) was 40 US$ and 10 days for delivery compared to 17 US$ in Hoi An and ready within 1-2 days. So we went back to Hoi An and was met with a warm welcome at the same tailor–shop.

so many fabric to choose from

so many fabric to choose from

 

 

In total we paid 455 US$ for

  • 10 men shirts (long sleeve)
  • 3 women blouses (long sleeve)
  • 1 women top
  • 2 men suit-jackets
  • 1 woman suit-jacket (in wool)

3 days and 4 fittings later we could bring it all back. I red somewhere that it should be possible to buy men shirt for as low as 10 US$ – but we were very pleased with the price we got, taken into consideration that we agreed on the final designs together with the tailors, when it comes to colour on thread, button, fabric inside neck, pocket shape and placement etc.

What else???

We had daily biking trips around in Danang, Visited the Marble Mountain – actually better than expected, and when you got further away from the elevator it was more relaxed, no guides anymore stressing around you, only families having their picnic or sitting relaxing on a bench and looking at the beautiful flowers/garden/temples.

Dark Beer from Tulip

Dark Beer from Tulip

Tried also the Check brewery Tulip (after advice from the guy we rented motorbike from). Lovely cold, dark beer – at last the first one. The second glass was unfortunately a big disappointment, warm and without no freshness. As we forgot to take a table close to the bar we could not check if we were served fresh tapped beer each time.

 

 

Even if the weather did not invite for lazy sun-bathing days on the beach – it was still nice enough to sit on the pedestrian watching the sun-set, drinking freshly pressed sugar-cane lemonade. Or we had a good cup of coffee (7.000 vnd only) and a chat at our next door coffee-shop.

Danang Bay

Danang Bay

relaxing at Danang bay with freshy squeesed sucar-cane lemonade

relaxing at Danang bay with freshy squeesed sucar-cane lemonade

one of the Danang beaches

one of the Danang beaches

In Hoi An we also found a favorite spot, next to the old Japanese bridge was a simple and cheap café with plastic chair, where you could have some noodle lunch, a beer, or just a refreshing ice-coffee, while watching couples taking photos of themselves in front of the bridge.

“ice-cleam, ice-cleam”

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We have headed up to Da Nang, a very relaxed and friendly destination. For the first time since our Surin visit in November, we are hiring motor-bike again, and are enjoying ourselves cruising around. A sunny saturday we were headed towards the big statue on the Son Tra Peninsula. Many locals were going in the same direction, and we just followed them. Fantastic views, so we had to stop for some photo events. The statue was reached – and fast passed by – as none of the locals in front of us stopped. So we just continue as well. The view is just getting nicer and nicer, with plenty of empty beaches to the left. Would have been a perfect stop for a picnic or just relaxing on the beach, if we had brought any swimming suits with us. So we kept going on. Finally, the roads turned into a T-cross, and we had to choose direction.

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We turned left, and started our new adventure. Small, small winding road going upwards, in the beginning so steep that closing my eyes was appropriate (I was not our driver). Then getting used to the road quality, rather good actually, betong all the way, and stunning views. In each cross, we kept to the left (so it should be easy to remember how we get there when turning back). Met a few bikers on their way down, but mostly we’re on our own. And then we reached the first top, amazed that we could travel here, as we thought the area belong to the military. At the first top, some of the area was restricted with no trespassing, but we could continue moving forward and going even higher. On the next top, we noticed tourists up on a viewpoint, so we headed there, parked our bike, and started climbing. Up there we had time for a game of chess (?) before planning where to go next.

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Then we heard a very familiar and welcoming pling-pling sound. It was the icecream seller, on motorbike, coming the same way as we. P1040322

Everyone bought the cold and refreshing icecream cone for 20.000 vnd. We didn’t plan going so far and had not brought any cold drinks, so as this was a sunny day, his ice-cream offer was more than welcoming.

P1040318The road continued, and the ice-cream man confirmed that if we continued straight we would reach Danang. So we kept going, up, up and up – until we reached the next viewpoint – new positive surprise as a young couple has started a small drink & coffee stand here – and very reasonable priced. Refreshing ourselves, listening to the sounds from the jungle, was there maybe monkeys???? The Son Tra Peninsula is also called Monkey Mountain named after the monkeys living there. The way down to Danang from here was easy, since it now was a normal two-lane asphalt road.

The weather changes quickly, ad since this first Saturday it has been cloudy and rather cold. One late afternoon we went up to the top once more, but this time by the two-lane asphalt road. Just arrived to the top, then the fog came, and we could not see anything. But as quickly as it arrived, the fog disappeared again and we had a fantastic sunset view, but difficult to imagine that a few days earlier we were welcoming cold refreshments while we this day only wanted something hot ……

“same, same but different” – it is the same place but on two different occasions

We have also managed to make the drive through the Hai Van Mountain Pass. The history of this route is better described by another blogger, so read his story here. We enjoyed our ride, and when we watch the train going in and out of tunnels along the pass it felt that we had shrunk and became models in a huge Merchline Railway. Now we are waiting for a sunny day to arrive so we can repeat the trip once more.

At the end of the pass, is the small village of Lang Co, it looked so beautiful from a distance, but really difficult to travel through, specially since we arrived when the school closed for lunch and we found ourselves in the middle of all the bikes.

 

Below you can enjoy part our ride through the Hai Van Mountain Pass.