This post was originally published as part of our Local Nomads Unedited email newsletter. Subscribe to receive monthly updates about our shenanigans!
At the time this was written, we were rounding out our 3rd month of living in Da Nang. By then finishing up our first 3 month visa, and preparing for a visa run.
Greetings from Da Nang, Vietnam
We're sitting here in one of our favorite Da Nang coffee shops, sipping a world class latte and wondering where the hell the time has gone these past 3 months.
We’ve been working hard every day, beefing up our Da Nang Guide, (now a whopping 40 some pages of pure joy), and constantly tweaking our plans for global domination.
The latest version contains updated information about:
finding an apartment in Da Nang
best cafes to work from
local specialties to eat
health care options
lots of Gabby's beautiful photos
And wayyy more
New friends are arriving here in Da Nang every day, and the more fun we have the faster the clock ticks down!
Our 3 month Vietnam visa expires in 2 weeks…and we’ve still got so much to do before we leave here.
One of the most interesting parts about being an expat is how quickly normal mundane activities, like going to the dentist (Or even just going to the post office or getting a bite to eat) can become an adventure.
After a year and a half of traveling around the globe, Gabby and I realized that we were more than a bit overdue for a visit to the dentist.
I’m just going to put this out there. I’m a big baby when it comes to dental work, and I tend to put if off as long as possible. So the thought of visiting a dentist in Vietnam was a bit unsettling at first.
Ok fine….I was scared shitless. It had been quite a bit longer for me than it had for Gabby…and I just knew that it was going to take hours to scrape the accumulated shit off my teeth.
We got a recommendation from some long term Da Nang expats who directed us to a dental office here in town that is run by an American dentist from Alaska of all places!
The rest of the story is rather uneventful as it turned out that visiting the dentist in Vietnam is really no big deal at all. We both had our teeth cleaned, and I had 4 cavities filled. We were in and out in about 30 minutes.
The most shocking thing was that the dentist used an ultrasonic vibrating water sprayer thingy to clean my teeth rather than scraping away with a hook all afternoon. My dentist back home never used this thing. I even called my mom to confirm that he still hasn’t adopted this technology. It made the whole process much friendlier.
The lessons you learn from a rather normal dentist visit in Vietnam.
Total bill for 2 cleanings and 4 fillings? Roughly $60
So where are we going next?
Until about 2 weeks ago we were still flying by the seat of our pants, and had no idea where we’d be going at the end of this month. We’d tossed around a few options....Ubud….Koh Lanta...Penang...? And finally we settled on none of those. Typical.
Several factors weigh into our decision whenever we’re planning a trip:
- Internet speed/reliability
- It’s crucial for our work that we have strong stable internet whenever we’ll be spending any extended time in a place. >>We wouldn’t be able to live this lifestyle if it wasn’t for our online jobs.
- Summer monsoons and Summer heat are the real deal in Southeast Asia. When planning a trip it’s important to consider the seasonal weather patterns for the region. Sometimes, it’s a lot cheaper to travel during the off season though.
- Blog Content
- It’s a no brainer that we’ll be producing a guide about whichever destination we choose, so it’s important to pick the most interesting places that haven’t been fully discovered yet.
- We’d love to write a Digital Nomads Guide to Hong Kong, but it’s just not in our budget right now. Cost of living makes a big difference in the number of coffee shops we can visit in a week, the kinds of activities we can do, and the amount of stress we deal with. We operate on a $1,500/month budget for 2 of us. So budget is a huge factor.
Ok, we've kept you waiting long enough. It's time to spill it.
Finally, we decided to head back to amazing Thailand to check out the most popular island for digital nomads, Koh Phangan!
Next week, we’re planning a little side trip up the the imperial city of Hue (pronounced Hway) for Meeting Of Styles Vietnam, an international street art festival. We’ll be filming the whole time and hopefully getting thrown into some interesting situations while we’re there.
We’ve also heard about an abandoned water park in the area, so you know we’re all over that shit.
Hue is just a couple of hours from Da Nang by train, and makes an awesome spot for a weekend getaway.
The train ride up the coast is pretty incredible on its own.
Backpackers tend to stop in Hue either directly before, or directly after passing through Da Nang. And usually they only stick around for a day or two before moving South to Hoi An, the ancient UNESCO Heritage site in this area.
Unlike most backpackers, we have jobs and do a lot of work as we travel. We need some sense of stability in order to stay productive. Especially since both of us are teaching English online now, and running the world (Uhh.. I mean the blog).
That’s why we tend to spend 1-3 months wherever we go. If we moved any faster or slower, we’d probably lose our minds.
The Lady Buddha is one of the most recognizable icons of Da Nang. From here you can get an amazing view of the city and the sea. She keeps a constant watch over the surfers and the ships passing by. She looks especially beautiful when lit up at night. Check out our post of things to do in Da Nang for more information about visiting Son Tra Peninsula.
It's important to know that although it feels safer, sidewalks in Vietnam are not actually meant for walking. Sidewalks are a place to park bikes, play cards, or even to display goods in front of open shops. People will also ride their motorbikes along the sidewalk if they're not going far. Walking should be done on the street, unless you need to check your cell phone for directions.
There is no shortage of amazing local food options in Da Nang. This is one of our favorite dishes, Bo Kho. When you need a break from Vietnamese food, there's also a great selection of international cuisines to sample around the city. If you need to branch out and add a few new dishes to your repertoire be sure to peruse our list of favorite Vietnamese foods!
Part of the beauty of Da Nang is in the details. Colorful walls and decorative windows offer a glimpse into the daily life of the locals who welcome us as visitors to their city. We have been overwhelmed by the kindness of the locals here.
The tall one in the middle there is the building we lived in for 6 months. This is actually the back side of the building. Apartments in Da Nang tend to be very narrow with 2 units per floor. You can see there are a few buildings under construction, which is due to the rapid growth of the city. This also explains the large amount of construction debris you see in the foreground. All of these apartments are brand new.
As you wander around, you'll see a lot of unique architectural designs, and buildings with character. Wouldn't you love to relax on that terrace with a nice cup of coffee and a good book? I would.
An often overlooked portion of the population is the local canine community. We've made a lot of four legged friends in Da Nang. For better or worse, it's been quite a learning experience to see the way that dogs are treated in Vietnam. This isn't our home, so we reserve judgement and just love the pups as much as we can. This little guy is hunting for a tasty morsel among these boxes of home grown lettuce.
Signs like these are common around Da Nang. This one reads "Vocational training, for creating human resources for social welfare"
At the end of the day it's nice to kick back on the beach, hang with the locals and just chill out with your toes in the sand. The views of the Son Tra Peninsula never gets old, the water is clean enough to swim in, and the waves are perfect for beginner surfers to develop their skills. For more information about living in Da Nang, check out our guide.