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Our time in Viet Nam, so far…

Well we’ve been here for 7 months now, so it’s time to share what we love about Da Nang

The area

To us the area is perfect – it is like a blend of the Gold Coast on one side with a beautiful, long stretching sandy beach and Brisbane on the other, separated by the Han River.  The main thing I struggle with is the heat, which seems to be relentless from May – September.  November – January are supposed to be the coolest months and I am enjoying it here a lot more.  We live on the East side (My Khe beach) however it’s only a 5 minute taxi drive into town and the same to the International Airport!

Da Nang is the third largest city in Vietnam and there are many things to see nearby. On our immediate list while we’re here are: 

And we’ve already visited:

We didn’t do a post on Dragon Bridge, but Jim and I went to The Brilliant Top Bar in Da Nang for our 29th Wedding Anniversary.  It had a perfect view to Dragon Bridge which puts on a fire breathing show at 9pm every Saturday and Sunday.  They actually close down the bridge to traffic beforehand.  We have also visited Hội An a couple of times to see friends who were in Da Nang, and another to watch the Lantern Festival, which takes place when there is a full moon.   It is only about 20 minutes away and we usually travel there with a private driver.

The people

Other than our recent crappy accommodation experience, we have found the locals of Da Nang so friendly and welcoming and very honest folk.   If you go for a walk as the sun rises, there are many out exercising and dancing and as you pass by they will give you a smile, say hello, ask you where you are from, invite you to join them in dance, ask for a photo with you – and the kids are like this too.  Many will sit with you for a while to practice their English and lord knows we try to learn their language too, but wow it is so tonal and even though I will write down words or phrases phonetically, I have found that the next Vietnamese person says it different again (perhaps they are from different areas of Vietnam, I’m not sure).

I have my regular ladies at the markets to buy fruit, vegies and some meats and they look after me.  While I am trying to learn numbers, sometimes I get mixed up and fan the money out and let them take what they need – that’s how honest I feel they are and in the end, I rarely spend over $18 AUD at the markets, which is a massive shopping bag (bigger than those at Coles/Bilo) full of fruit, vegies and usually chicken breast too.  There is also a lady who I will regularly buy soap/loo rolls/wine/milk/eggs and a few other miscellaneous things.  Vy is her name and we’re like besties since she accidentally gave me 500,000 VND in change instead of 50,000 VND.  When I brought this to her attention, she was very grateful and interestingly, my price of all these goodies have gone down now!  haha!  Even when she is out of town and her family is running the shop, they never know the price of anything I buy, so I tell them and they’re fine with it.  So funny.

There’s also a really a great community of expats here with a variety of Facebook sites to join, which I will list below.  We have found them handy to tap into as many have been here for years and have a wealth of information which they kindly share to make life a little easier.   We’ve made a few life-long friends over the last several months and I expect there will be a few more added to the mix.

Some idea about the cost of living (all prices in AUD)

Well, it’s certainly more affordable than Australia, but also the cost of living is even less than Thailand.  Here’s a quick rundown:

  • Rent, based on this apartment as we have moved around a bit – $800 a month (includes cleaning, washing & ironing 3 x a week)
  • Electricity, now it is a little cooler, we haven’t needed the air-conditioning, so this month was only $40, but it has been as high as $90 for the month when the heat was relentless.
  • Water is so minimal it is not even worth mentioning.  Actually we probably spend more on drinking water and a big 20 ltrs – $1.20
  • A meal delivered.  We had some Thai, although didn’t really taste like Thai, delivered yesterday: 1 pad thai, 1 chicken cashew, 1 pork meal – total, including delivery – $9
  • A trip to the markets – which can include a kg of prawns, 2 kgs chicken breast, and a supply for a week of  fruit and vegies – $16-$20
  • A dozen eggs – $1.70
  • Bánh mì $- 0.60
  • Omlette at the local, when I’m too lazy to cook – $1.30
  • A beer is generally around $1 at the local shops, but does go up of course if you’re at a restaurant etc.
  • A bottle of JW Red – $16
  • A glass of red wine at Holiday Beach – $9 (or happy hour – by 2 and get 1 free so $6 with a beautiful outlook)
  • A bottle of Chile Red Wine – $9
  • Cigarettes – About $2 I believe
  • Taxi into “town” or the airport – Less than – $6
  • Driver to Hoi An – return (and they wait for you for a few hours say if you’re going there for lunch or the Lantern Festival) – $24
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