Xin Chao Da Nang

Dragon Bridge

Xin Chao Da Nang!

I’ve been ‘xin chaoed’ endlessly by the courteous and well trained staff at Angsana Lang Co.  The resort was a sister company of the famous Banyan Tree resort chain, and we’ve been told that Angsana was not that different from Banyan Tree, except for the cheaper price and that Banyan tree Lang Co seems to have more privacy as each accommodation was its own villa, while we would have two other floors in the same building.  But still, ours was very private already, there were no intersections between us and the tenants at the other floors.

Anyway, just like a lot of South East Asian countries, hotel staff members tend to be very friendly, courteous, and in a way subservient.  We tested their politeness by working out this theory, and it worked!  Whenever you make eye contact with a staff member, they must make eye contact with you and give you a smile, and then also say Xin Chao (which means hello in Vietnamese).

Da Nang is located in central Vietnam and meant to be the ‘resort/beach’ sot of location.  Now it might be biased for me to say this, considering I went to Da Nang in December when the skies were grey and the weather a little chilly, and often rainy (except for the days I was there), but I’d much rather go to Phuket and definitely Bali if you’re looking more of a resort style vacation.



Angsana Lang Co (Website)

Situated a little more than an hour away from the city of Da Nang, both Angsana and Banyan Tree are perfect resorts for families and couples who are planning to laze around.  They have daily activities where you can sign up for learning how to make Vietnamese hot chocolate, Vietnamese coffee (3 hours course!), basics of Vietnamese language, water sports, and more.

The accommodation however, is not ideal for those who want to keep going outside to the city of Da Nang.  As mentioned at the beginning, it takes more than an hour to get there.  We had to hire a whole day taxi, which costed about about 1.5M Vietnamese Dollars, to rent a driver for the whole day.  This was booked in Angsana and probably quite expensive relative to prices in Vietnam in general.

We got the courtyard 1 bed king size, and the room was equipped with its own outdoor swimming pool, a spacious living room, a beautiful bathroom, and a comfortable bedroom.  Variations of lights such as Vanity and Ambience allowed you to control the amount of lighting you want in your rooms.

There were various cuisines for you to choose from, such as Italian and of course Vietnamese.  They also provided a morning breakfast buffet which included rice noodles, ham, eggs cooked to your style, yoghurt, Vietnamese coffee, orange juice, cucumber juice, orange juice and more.  Prices in these restaurants were more expensive compared to the average meal in Vietnam.

If you want, you can always hop a boat to get to the other side, Banyan Tree.  You can also laze by their beach or just chill at their own swimming pools.  The biggest points that they got was that their staff was incredibly friendly and courteous.  They arranged a takeaway breakfast for us since we had to catch a shuttle bus at 5am to get to the airport on the day of departure.

Angsana Lang CoUpon arriving from the airport, they will ring the gong for you.

Angsana Lang CoThe Angsana Spa and gym

Angsana Lang CoThe uniquely designed Christmas tree

Angsana Lang CoStep outside and you get to see the outdoor area.

Angsana Lang CoThe main structure for Angsana Lang Co.  Lanterns are lighted up at night.

Angsana Lang CoThis is the swimming pool of Angsana

Angsana Lang CoInside the main lobby, mini “human” structures

Angsana Lang CoThe boat to Banyan Tree.  Do it once for fun; it takes about 8 mins to get to Banyan Tree by boat, but 2 mins by golf carts.

Angsana Lang CoAlong the ‘river’ cruise

Banyan Tree Lang CoThe Banyan Tree’s uniquely designed Christmas tree

Banyan Tree Lang CoBanyan Tree Lang Co’s exterior design

Banyan Tree Lang CoThe interior

Banyan Tree Lang CoBanyan tree swimming pool

Angsana Lang CoLiving room

Angsana Lang CoBedroom

Angsana Lang CoOur private swimming pool, but too cold to swim anyway ><

Angsana Lang CoOne side of the bathroom

Angsana Lang CoThe other side


Day 1

We took the 11am shuttle bus from the airport to get to Angsana Lang Co.  Since we were early as check in was 3pm, we lounged around the hotel for a bit.  Explored a bit, and also went to Banyan tree, and then had a quick lunch at one of their Italian restaurants.

Da Nang AirportDa Nang airport

Da Nang AirportThe first meal I had since I was so hungry.

Da Nang AirportChicken pho and also ordered Vietnamese coffee.  Surprisingly this turned out to be one of the best meals I had in the entire trip.  It was pho-king good.

Da NangThe main transportation in this city is motorbikes.  Most developing nations main transport is motorbikes.

AzuraWe ate at their restaurant Azura.  Serves Italian food.

AzuraDeep fried Mozzarella Cheese

AzuraGrilled Octopus salad, not as good as fried cheese

We stayed and rested in the room for a bit before we headed out to Da Nang city with a private taxi.  First stop was Han market.

Han MarketShop nearby Han Market

Han MarketInside Han Market.  They sold basic stuff like food, clothings, fabrics, raw vegetables, housewares, butchered meat etc.  Honestly wasn’t interested in this stuff, so was out this place in about 5 minutes.  Basically sort of like a wet market.

Han MarketWelcome to Han Market

Da NangArt gallery

WonderlustWonderlust.  Attracted my attention since it was “glowing” compared to the rest of the market stalls around the area.  For pastries and desserts.


WonderlustSalted egg cupcake, nom!

Da NangSome random restaurant

Private Taxi Da NangOur view from our private taxi.  Felt like VIP service that night.  Heard that Vietnamese taxi drivers can speak good English, but this one didn’t really understood most of our English and sometimes wasn’t sure of where we wanted to go even for the main tourist attractions.

Con Market Da NangThe second market we went to, the Con Market.  We were excited for this one, hoping it was a change from Han Market… but not.  It turned out again to be selling produce, food, clothing, housewares, stuff we weren’t interested in.

Con Market Da NangWas out of Con Market in less than 2 minutes.  Was really hyped up for street food but it turned out to be similar to Han Market…

Con Market Da NangNearby Con Market and there were street food vendors nearby

Con Market Da NangWelcome to Con Market!

Con Market Da NangAgain more street food

Con Market Da NangHelmets cause the majority of drivers are riding motorbikes.  Speaking of which, the cars and motorbikes do not stop for you!  Sometimes it would be a green light pedestrian and yet there would still be motorbikes crossing, so be careful!  I actually got hit on my leg by a motorbike once because of this and thankfully only got bruised a little bit.

Con Market Da NangOnce again, around Con Market

Da Nang Street FoodDon’t think street food can get as local as this

Da Nang Street Food

Da Nang Street FoodThe ingredients used to make.  I know, looks ghettoish

Da Nang Street FoodBut really good!

Da Nang Street FoodMore street food.  Had random insects and snails available to be eaten

Da Nang Street Food

Da Nang Street FoodAround the area

Da Nang Street FoodDried Shrimp Dumplings

Da NangA La Carte, a hotel with a beautiful sky bar.  You will see later in the below pictures.  Also sort of the beginning of the road of beautiful hotels… the further south you go, the better hotels you get like Pullman, Naman and Four Seasons, all nearby the My Khe Beach.

Da Nang

Be Anh

Be Ni 2Believe this was the restaurant we ended up at

Be Ni 2Just like in Hong Kong seafood areas, you get to pick the food.  They are ridiculously cheap… clams for like HKD 60 when it’s usually quadruple the price for the same amount.

Be Ni 2Appetizer served by them.  Probably the best dish served by them to be honest… quail eggs with salt and pepper.  They are supposed to be the most nutritious eggs of all eggs.

Be Ni 2La Rue beer.  This is Vietnamese beer.  Not good at all.  Tastes very cheap and light and just quite watery.

Be Ni 2Fried Noodles

Be Ni 2We got the clams and geoduck.  Neither were as good as the ones cooked in Hong Kong.  Very cheap, but quality not as good as Hong Kong.

My Khe BeachThis is the My Khe beach at night, supposedly ranked as one of the top 10 beaches in the world.  Didn’t get a chance to enjoy it since it was during the winter.  You can see the waves keep pouring in from this image.

Da NangAlongside My Khe beach lies a long line of modern hotels.

Da NangThis is the view from above the A La Carte hotel.  They had a sky bar up here.

Da NangThe bar of A La Carte.  There were so many Koreans everywhere in Da Nang surprisingly!  Everywhere you went in Da Nang, there were Koreans.  Some places were overrun by Koreans as well, in coffee cafes, clubs, bars, etc.

Da NangFrom the other side of the bar.

Da NangOnce again the waves of My Khe Beach.

Da NangNear the Da Nang Riverside park was a concert sang by… kids!

Dragon BridgeHere is the famous Dragon Bridge.  So Da Nang is famous for their bridges.  The dragon bridge will spit out fire on Saturdays and Sundays from 9pm for about 10 to 15 minutes.  As you can see from the picture, there were loads and loads of people.  The bridge gets blocked off and cars cannot enter, but once the show ends, the people intelligently scatter out really quickly and the rapid cars continue to zoom past again.

Dragon Bridge

Da NangThe view from Sky36, a famous bar that’s situated in Novotel.

Sky36It’s actually pretty cool.  So they had 2 floors, one was indoors where there was no one, and there was an upper outdoors level, which is the photo you see here.  Once again, almost 80% of the crowd were Koreans.  You can order shisha and drinks here.  The drinks are relatively expensive compared to rest of Da Nang.  We had a really funny waiter serving us and kept telling me to suck up the shisha smoke.  BY THE WAY, their shisha is REALLY strong.  Few sucks of their smoke and you will feel lightheaded already.

Sky36Once again, another view from Da Nang.


Day 2

This day was New Year’s eve.  We lazed around our hotel for a bit, and even tried out our private pool, which the water was chilling.  Soaked in it for no more than 3 minutes.  For me, I had to step each stair every 30 seconds for my body to adjust and get used to the chilling water.

Anyway, there was a free bus that went to Hoi An ancient town from our hotel at 3pm, and if you wanted, it could also start taking you back at 9pm.  Since it was NYE, of course we wanted to celebrate outside, so we only opted to go for the 3pm bus, and didn’t take the 9pm bus.

Anyway, the road to Hoi An is actually pretty far, even further south than Da Nang city, so from Angsana Lang Co, it took about 2 hours to get there.

Angsana MoombaWe ate lunch at a Vietnamese restaurant in our resort called Moomba.

Angsana MoombaSpring rolls and forgot the other one.

Hoi An Old TownArriving at Hoi An Old Town.  Used to not have to pay for a ticket, but now there’s a “security guard” who keeps telling people to go to this stall to buy tickets.  But there is no traffic control or gates or anything so it’s hard for them to monitor who’s entering since it’s open space.

Hoi An Old TownAlong the river of the Hoi An Old Town – many souvenir and accessories stores

Hoi An Old Town

Hoi An Old Town

Hoi An Old TownSome Vietnamese couple getting married

Hoi An Old TownJapanese Cover Bridge – “This beautiful little bridge is emblematic of Hoi An. A bridge was first constructed here in the 1590s by the Japanese community to link them with the Chinese quarters. Over the centuries the ornamentation has remained relatively faithful to the original Japanese design. The French flattened out the roadway for cars, but the original arched shape was restored in 1986. The bridge is due for a complete removal for repair, so check it’s open before you travel, if making a special trip” (Lonely Planet)

Hoi An Old TownApparently 5 years ago, there were little or no boats on the river of Hoi An Old Town.  Now, there are many locals trying to sell you services to ride the boat on the river, probably another way to make more money.  Also, the place is more crowded now… but it also may be because it was NYE.

Hoi An Old TownA close up of a local

Hoi An Old TownOne cafe / juice bar in Old Town called Cocobox

Hoi An Old Town

Hoi An Old TownAnother coffee shop

Hoi An Old TownLots of Vietnamese clothing on sale

Hoi An Old Town

Hoi An Old TownSun setting, purple pink sky

Hoi An Old Town

Hoi An Old Town

Hoi An Old Town
Hoi An Old TownLanterns in the sky

Hoi An Old Town

Hoi An Old TownMorning Glory, the “authentic” Vietnamese restaurant we went to and also quite popular.

Morning Glory‘Roll It’ – Barbecued Pork with Rice Paper.  Deliciously marinated barbecued pork with peanut sauce, fresh herbs, star fruit and green banana.  This was my favorite dish.  They even have this sweet vegetable that looks like ginger / avocado and when you bite on it, it makes your mouth really dry.  Tastes really bad itself, but when mixed with the other meats and sauces and herbs, it complements excellently.

Morning GloryVietnamese Roast Chicken served with broken rice, herbs and apaya pickle, spicy

Morning GloryCao Lau Noodles with Marinated Pork – Thick, homemade rice noodles called cao lau noodles, with tender marinated pork, fresh herbs and croutons in a light, delicious broth.  Japanese, Chinese, and French influenced.

Morning GloryWhite Rose Dumplings – a Chinese family started in Hoi An that produce these famous soft steamed rice flour dumplings filled with ground shrimp and much lighter than the traditional Chinese one, same family still produces them.  So famous this delicacy that there is now a restaurant also in Hoi An called White Rose due to this dish, and that restaurant also serves Vietnamese food.

Hoi An Old TownThe night view of Hoi An

Hoi An Old Town

Banh Mi PhuongThis was supposed to be the really famous Vietnamese bread store, this type of Vietnamese bread called Banh Mi.  This small shop is called Banh Mi Phuong, and once again there were Koreans and foreigners queuing for this place.  You can dine inside, but most people just takeaway.  They have different types of Banh Mi, and the most popular one is #3, mixed meats.  In my opinion, it was overrated, the banh mi was just OK.

Banh Mi Phuong

Banh Mi Phuong

Hoi An Old TownContinued walking around Old Town.  Why do these mannequins just have half a head?  Scary.

Hoi An Old TownStill love my toys.

Hoi An Old TownOn the opposite side of the town, there were many shops selling lanterns.

Hoi An Old TownYeah Hoi An is famous for their lanterns.  This is also where you see the lanterns float on the river.

Hoi An Old Town

Hoi An Old TownDream catchers, making the bad dreams go away.

Hoi An Old Town

Hoi An Old TownThis was really cool.  On a thin layered ice, they would pour milk, mash up the fruit or item you desire (mine was chocolate and Oreo), and turn it into ice cream rolls.

Hoi An Old TownTada.  Delicious.

When we finished Hoi An, it was just around 9:30pm, so we took a taxi to go to Brilliance Hotel and went up the bar.  Listened to live music and counted down there… ordered a bottle of white wine to go along with the celebrations.  Once again, many Koreans in the Brilliance Hotel.


Day 3

Day Three, the first day of 2018, was reserved for doing more cultural/sightseeing places and also to continue to try local Vietnamese food.

Marble Mountains Da NangOne of the attractions of Da Nang, Marble Mountains.  You know you arrived here when you see these marble statues.

Marble Mountains Da Nang

Marble Mountains Da NangSupposedly there were supposed to be caves where you can explore.  Not sure how to access or where to go, but we only did the hike up to Marble Mountains.

Marble Mountains Da Nang

Marble Mountains Da Nang

Marble Mountains Da Nang

Marble Mountains Da NangTook about 30 minutes to get to the top.  Each stair step was quite high actually.  Not too difficult to climb.

Marble Mountains Da Nang

Marble Mountains Da Nang

Marble Mountains Da Nang

Marble Mountains Da Nang

Marble Mountains Da Nang

Marble Mountains Da Nang

Thien Ly SaigonIt was recommended to be one of the ‘top’ Vietnamese restaurants, called Thien Ly Saigon.

Thien Ly SaigonMenu, and some hand languages like how to say hello, I wanna pay, and thank you.

Thien Ly SaigonRice noodles with stir fried prawns

Thien Ly SaigonPork wrap-and-roll

Thien Ly SaigonPho with medium rare beef

To be quite frank, the restaurant here was OK.  Morning Glory was definitely better, but that’s not to say that this restaurant is bad, just nothing exceptional.  But, we can’t complain.  Three dishes all for HKD 40!  That’s almost USD 5 for two persons.  The restaurant does pride itself in being a very low cost and delicious meal.

Da NangDa Nang

Cong CapheCong Caphe.  Went there as it’s famous for the coconut coffee smoothie.  Well I got the regular Vietnamese coffee.

Cong CapheAgain, Koreans everywhere.  Note the 4 girls taking selfies they are Koreans too!  Don’t know why so many Korean tourists.

Cong CapheYum.  Actually I had two of these coffees on the right as three gulps already finished a cup.  I had 4 coffees a day.  My body was twitching and I felt my eyes bulging the next 2-3 days.  But being me, I still managed to fall asleep early.

Da NangAfter we finished our Vietnamese coffees, Da Nang at night.  Note the bridge.

Lady Buddha Da NangHere at night we went to visit the Lady Buddha at Son Tra peninsula.  It’s a bit of a distance from the city, but fortunately not as far as going back to our resort, Angsana Lang Co.

Lady Buddha Da Nang

Lady Buddha Da Nang

Lady Buddha Da NangSupposed to be open from 6am to 7pm every day.

Pullman Da NangWe were supposed to visit Intercontinental, rated as one of the most prestigious resort in Southeast Asia.  It’s nearby Lady Buddha, again also at Son Tra peninsula.  We went there on our private taxi once again (same driver as the first day) and got to the entrance.  Security guard asked if we had booking for the bars.  We said we just wanted to have one drink.  He said the bars and restaurants were fully booked and so we were turned away.  So what’s this image above from?  It’s a Christmas tree at…

Pullman Da NangPullman Da Nang!

Pullman Da NangLeading towards the beach

Pullman Da NangDa Nang gives off very familiar vibes like Bali

Pullman Da NangPullman Hotel

Lam Vien RestaurantThis restaurant, Lam Vien, was located back nearby Da Nang city.  Not your typical Vietnamese restaurant… in fact it was leaning towards being a Chinese/Asian restaurant.  They didn’t had the usual Vietnamese delicacies and the cooking style was more Chinese.

Lam Vien Restaurant

Lam Vien RestaurantAppetizer – 3 types of dishes.  OK this one was probably more traditionally Vietnamese.

Lam Vien RestaurantGrilled sunny squid with chilli salt.

Lam Vien RestaurantSweet and sour soup of Southern Vietnam.  They used pineapple in the soup and you can clearly taste the distinctive pineapple taste.

Lam Vien RestaurantStir fried egg noodles with duck breasts

Lam Vien RestaurantCreme Brulee cake Lam Vien Style

By the way, the reason why Vietnam uses so much ‘rice paper’ for their food is that it’s because they aren’t able to sell their rice.  Compared to rice from other countries, like Japan and Thailand, their rice is much finer and people prefer eating those rice instead.  As such, the Vietnamese have to create different products using their rice.  You can see previously in Morning Glory that one of the dishes is called broken rice, because the rice does taste quite… ‘weak and broken’.

I have to admit – Da Nang is a city that is worth going at least once, preferably not during the winter time when it’s just chilly enough to not swim, and probably not in the summer as I heard from friends that it gets pretty hot here.  In fact, you can continue to feel the humidity in the city even during winter, so I cannot imagine how to survive during the summer months.

Besides going to Da Nang and Hoi An, you might also want to visit Hue as well, another small city good for a day trip.

What is Da Nang to me?  It doesn’t scream impressive in every sense.  The best things there were probably the hotels and resorts, and of course I love Vietnamese coffee, but both the foods and the sightseeing and cultural sights felt a bit undertuned.

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