I spent two weeks living in Da Nang after escaping the nearby town of Hoi An (way too touristy and definitely my least favorite place that I’ve visited). I had a fantastic time in Da Nang and will most definitely be back. Da Nang is the third largest city in Vietnam (1M people) and is located in the central part of the country. I lived with a Vietnamese host family (for $13/night) in this beautiful beach city and had my most authentic Asian experience to date. This is the first place in Asia that I’ve been where I felt like a tourist attraction. I lived in a local neighborhood with very few westerners or tourists and all of the kids waved and would say “Hello” whenever I walked by and I was usually met with (friendly) stares from adults everywhere that I went.
The city doesn’t have a very large expat or digital nomad community and the nightlife was a bit lacking compared to Chiang Mai, Bali and other places that I’ve visited. Because of this though it’s a great place to disconnect and get work done while enjoying the beach and great food.
My host family was incredibly kind to me and I spent a couple nights with the father and grandfather crushing beers and chatting about Da Nang and the USA (with the help of Google translate). The three daughters (aged 10-14) spoke good English and were very warm and friendly. The family even threw me a going away BBQ dinner with their extended family!
NomadList lists the cost of living in Da Nang at $1000/night but it’s easy to do it on a much tighter budget if you want to. The food was fantastic and incredibly cheap. I usually started each morning with two banh mis from a street vendor for $.50 each and restaurant meals usually cost $2-5.
The wifi was a bit spotty in my homestay which caused frequent frustrations but I was able to find a mall and coffee shop with consistent wifi around 4-5 Mbps.
Da Nang was an amazing, different and authentic experience for me. I will definitely be back to stay with the same family and highly recommend staying with them if you visit Da Nang!
I spent the last three days in Hong Kong and absolutely loved it! It’s hands down one of my favorite major cities. I’ve never been to a major, dense city in Asia that’s as beautiful as HK. There’s something about the modern architecture, colorful building lights and stunning views from either side of the bay that give Hong Kong a special flair.
Hong Kong is not a cheap city (NomadList says the cost of living is $2200/month) but it’s doable on a tight budget. I stayed in a two person shared room in Causeway Bay (nice area) for about $13 USD / night, you can consistently find tasty meals throughout the city under $4.50 (you do have to search a bit though), and the fantastic public transportation will cost you $.50-1.50 per ride. Prices skyrocket for nightlife so living cheaply and partying in Hong Kong definitely don’t mix. You can find $1.20 beers at 7-11 but beers at bars can run $8-12 which is a lot more than $2-3 double beers at bars in Thailand.
I will certainly be back to both cities!