Saigon vs. Danang: Which city is right for you?

Justin Douglas and I discuss the pros and cons of each city.

Music credit:
Cold Funk – Funkorama by Kevin MacLeod is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution license (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/)
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FAQ:
Q: Where are you from?
A: I’m Vietnamese-American from Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota, USA.

Q: Where are you based?
A: Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam and travel throughout the Asia-Pacific.

Q: Where did you go to school?
A: I have a B.A. from St. John’s University (Minnesota), a M.A. degree in Chinese Studies from the University of Hawaii, a Global Trade Certificate from Saint Paul College (Minnesota), and am APICS-certified as a Supply Chain Professional (CSCP).

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52 comments

  1. Is Da Nang and Nha Trang very similar or are they quite different?
    I have been to Nha Trang and will go back for 6 months soon but I have not been to Da Nang.

    Renting a cheap place and not collecting a lot of stuff, just live 6 months in Da Nang and when bored go for 6 months in Ho Chi Min?

    1. @Drgnfli Thanks Drgnfli – good to know. . When I was single I’d have only a backpack through SE Asia. Now we need 2 suitcases! We want to rent in one location all year and just weeks in other countries. Still open to which country is year-round.

    2. It’s a great plan. I am renting near the beach in Danang, and I go away for a few days at a time, but yes your plan is perfect. It’s great going away with just hand luggage on a plane. People here are very nice, douchebags like Idiot X aren’t here, they just like to troll from outside of Vietnam. Admin should block him.

    3. @Mr. X < If Da Nang is full of wannabe elitist assholes like you, I just may do that! Very likely, however, you're alone in that distinction and most in Da Nang wish YOU would stay out. Mr. X said, "Renting a cheap place....what’s the matter? You can’t afford anything better? Please stay out of Da Nang"

    1. Justin is from Michigan. I love the Twin Cities but right now I want to take part in Vietnam and Asia’s economic growth and transformation. Will make it back to my beloved MN some day, though. Perhaps in a couple of years.

  2. I love Saigon and visited Danang for the first time this year. I totally agree with what you say about Danang V HCMC. Danang has a long beautiful beach and a laid back atmosphere but for me it’s lacking the extras a big city like Saigon provides. I’m not a big fan of big cities like Bangkok but Saigon doesn’t feel as big as it is. I assume it’s French city planning that has resulted in all the central parks in the southern capital softening the feel of a huge metropolis. The night life there is also the best I’ve encountered in S E Asia. I also attended a language Meetup group and it was packed out with locals. Bottom line – Danang nice place to visit but Saigon is a city I can easily live in.

    1. I will be returning to Danang come mid-October. I am revamping my schedule now to exclude Hanoi on my subsequent trip. Just HCMC Saigon and Danang, with an emphasis on Danang. I took 2 “tours” of “Nam by 2 tour guides lol, and bribed them double their rate (lol) and they both gave me 2 of the best and most informative tours through Central Vietnam.

      I also motorbiked at night by myself, across the 5 main bridges that connect the Hai Chau side to the Hai Bac and Hai Dong (“eastern seaboard) and My An areas. These bridges transcend the Han river. The biggest attraction of these 5 bridges is the Dragon bridge (“Cau Rong”) which breathes smoke and water at around 9pm and i believe 10pm.

      The Ba Na hills boasts a world class golf course, so i will bring my set of Pings and Callaways next time. Venture down to CocoBay, and you find yet another golf course. I can literally strap my clubs to my Honda Air Blade, and be on the course in less than 25 minutes.

      But let’s get back to why Danang is the real attraction. The People. From my observation of HCMC Saigonese and the Danang people, one is a city-slicker accustomed to all the spoils and scams of a big city. Whereas in Danang, because of the bridges i believe, “connect people”. People are connected, with each other…Community.

      We have in the Bay Area a culture where bridges connect. The Golden Gate, the Bay Bridge, and there are countless other bridges. Then came the Yahoos, the Googles, the Facebooks, etc. that also “connects”. People. Danang is similar, also more laid back, and even though growing rapidly, the people need time to adapt. Danang also has 5 bridges, 3 of which were recently constructed in the last 15 years. Things will be different 5, 10, and 15 years from now, as the sprouting of high-rises shooting up from the ground are seemingly endless. The concept was and is called “Phat Trien” or simply “Develop”.

      The people of Danang are already advanced, if you ask me. 😉

  3. Another excellent vlog! Thanks guys! I’ve chosen DaNang for the laid back atmosphere plus I’m a little older so would rather be able to go to the excitement and leave when I choose. I touch down in DaNang on the 29 of September on a oneway ticket preparing for a few years in SEA. I really do appreciate your perspectives! ✌🏻🇨🇦

  4. I am renting a brand new western style first floor studio apartment, 550 metres walk to the beach for 9.3 million, US $400 plus electricity. Most one bedrooms here start at US $500 to $600 per month. Beach to the main shopping malls or Airport takes less than 10 min drive. Lots of construction of hotels on the beach and apartments in the quiet back streets. It’s set to get more expensive as the place gets more and more tourists every year.

  5. I was just in Danang a week ago. I am in Hanoi now. Spent the first 6 days in HCMC Saigon prior to arrival in Danang. Danang to me is the higher quality of life at less of a cost as compared to both Saigon and Hanoi. Also, Danang has the beach, and a City, reminiscent of a Macau or mini-Hong Kong without the high prices and casinos. Danang is also central and 30 minutes by motorbike to Hoi An, which is similar to a quaint Napa California-like town rich in culture and tailor tradition. Then if you head North from Danang, you’re traversing one of the most beautiful roads in the World, in the Hai Van Pass. You’re literally 90 minutes away from Hue and the Imperial City. If you head up even more North, you’re now headed towards the Phong Nha area, where the World’s largest cave is found, in the Son Doong cave.

    Lest not we forget that Northeast Danang into the hills of Ba Na and beyond, you have one of the World’s most lush regions, almost recovered by the effects of Agent Orange that once decimated the area. 80-90km North, and by motorbike, you can ride through the rural regions (Vietnam’s bread basket aside from the Mekong in the South) where cows, water buffalos, goats, chickens, and some of the fiercest fighting occurred during the Vietnam War, or as termed by the Vietnamese, as the American War.

    I had the privilege of riding through Danang and down to Hoi An and back up north all the way to Hue and back down the Ho Chi Minh trail and back down towards Danang which took 5.5 days. This was better than the amazing time i had spent in HCMC Saigon prior to flying into Danang Int’l airport. I had missed your Saigon Social mixer (wine festival) due to another business commitment.

    Hope to catch you on my next trip in mid-October and one of your meet-n-greet dinner mixers which i would be more than happy to put together for you. I know the perfect place in HCMC Saigon.

    Keep up the good work, Vinh!

    Kind Regards from Hanoi and the Silicon Valley Northern California Bay Area,

    Don

  6. Great comparison vid. One more – I live in Bangkok and travel to Saigon a few times a year. Have toyed with upping sticks and moving to Saigon but in the end BKK still tops especially housing cost (ie: new condo with pool/gym for $400 or even less – see my vlogs) but also for overall food, entertainment, shopping, hospitals, culture, activities and transport (Skytrain/Subway) so easy and fast to get around. Might have another look at Saigon after the metro is finally complete. Until then will continue to visit as Saigon’s a great city too plus have friends there. Cheers!

  7. 1/Danang,Hue and HoiAn ..beautiful central coast South China Sea

    2/ Saigon.. metropolis.Need I see more

    3/ Hanoi ..live and learn

    4/ Ha Giang…beautiful mountain

    5/Sapa ..wonder scene

    6/ Halong bay ..wonderful decent dragon

    7/ Dalat..French colonial town

    8/ Mekong Delta..good time roll

    9/Nhatrang…beautiful beach

    10/ Phong Nha Ke Bang..beautiful limestone and biggest cave of the world

    Must wish list for all travel .Cheer

  8. Thanks for the info guys. My Son arrived in Danang today, first impressions very good. Don’t think he’ll be to bothered by lack of networking or social scene, he just wants good quality of life & clean air!! Been living in Chiangmai but the pollution during smoky season is shocking..

  9. I like the info about the two cities. I would also like to hear about Dalat. I am making an effort to get to Vietnam hopefully by September 2020. Any info on Dalat would help with knowing where to reside. Thank you.

  10. Originally I was interested in Da Nang but when I heard at the beginning that it is becoming touristy and prices are going up that turned me off. I like the idea of being near a beach but that’s not the be all and end all for me. I don’t want to live in a resort area with accelerating prices. What is exactly is the best choice as far as lowest cost of living for rents? Sounds like Saigon might be the better option. Looking 300+

  11. Neither city after 1st of July with the new visas . I don’t think retirement means running to Cambodia every 30 days to get a stamp. Too much hassle. Moving to Mexico a visa is valid for six months . The same madness in Thailand will beset Vietnam

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