As the owner of a small seaside hotel in An Bang village just outside Hoi An, I’m often asked by travelers whether they should stay in bustling Da Nang or charming Hoi An. It’s a tough choice! Both have their advantages, depending on what you’re looking for in a Vietnam vacation. Here’s my insider’s take to help you decide where to stay on your next trip.
A Tale of Two Cities: Da Nang vs. Hoi An
Da Nang and Hoi An are two of the most popular destinations in central Vietnam, and for good reason. They’re only 30 minutes apart along the coast, but offer very different experiences.
Da Nang is Vietnam’s fifth largest city, with a metropolitan, urban vibe. It has beautiful beaches, delicious street food, lively markets, luxury resorts, and a fast-growing foodie scene. Da Nang is great if you like a city experience with nightlife and entertainment.
Hoi An, on the other hand, is a historic trading port and UNESCO World Heritage site known for its quaint ancient architecture, lantern-lit streets, tailors and custom clothing shops, cooking classes, and laidback riverside cafes. It’s perfect for a more relaxed, cultural experience.
So how do you choose? Here are my top tips on deciding where to stay in central Vietnam.
Da Nang Highlights: Why You Might Want to Stay Here
As a major city, Da Nang has plenty of attractions that make it tempting to stay here rather than Hoi An:
1. Da Nang Has Fabulous Beaches
Da Nang is known for its beautiful beaches along the eastern coast. My Khe Beach was named one of the “six most luxurious beaches on the planet” by Forbes Magazine. With white sand and clear blue waters, it’s popular for swimming, surfing, and relaxing in the sun.
Non Nuoc Beach is famous for skilled local surfers riding the waves. And upscale resorts line the shores of Son Tra Peninsula, with more secluded coves to explore.
2. Da Nang Has Lots of Nightlife and Entertainment
If you want to experience Vietnam’s nightlife, Da Nang is the place to be after dark. The city has a lively bar scene, from rooftop cocktail lounges with ocean views to pubs with pool tables and live music.
For entertainment, check out the high-tech Helio Center with indoor skydiving and virtual reality rides. Or see the spectacular Da Nang Water Show with colored fountains dancing to music.
3. Da Nang is a Hub for Vietnamese Street Food
One of the best things about Vietnam is the incredible food. And Da Nang is a paradise for street foodies, with an endless array of delicious dishes to try.
Wander the night markets to snack on favorites like banh xeo (sizzling pancakes), banh trang nuong (grilled rice paper), and banh canh (noodle soup). Or join the locals early in the morning at Mi Quang restaurants specializing in turmeric-infused noodles.
4. Da Nang Has Lots of Luxury Resorts and Hotels
As an up-and-coming destination, Da Nang offers many luxurious beachfront resorts, like the InterContinental Danang Sun Peninsula and Premier Village Danang Resort. Here you can indulge in amenities like infinity pools, world-class spas, fine dining, and private villas.
Even mid-range hotels in Da Nang often have nice pools, gyms, and ocean views. It’s easy to find nice accommodations close to the beach.
Hoi An Highlights: Why This Historic Town Might Be Better
Though Da Nang has plenty to offer, Hoi An also has compelling reasons to make it your Vietnam base:
1. Hoi An Has Charming Historic Architecture
The biggest draw of Hoi An is the Old Town, a perfectly preserved example of a Southeast Asian trading port. Wander narrow lanes to see wooden Chinese shophouses, Japanese merchant homes, and iconic covered Japanese Bridge pagoda.
Graceful historic buildings house trendy cafes, boutique shops, and fine dining restaurants. And colorful lanterns glow as you stroll by the river at night.
2. Hoi An Has Fabulous Cuisine
Hoi An is a paradise for foodies! Savor exceptional local dishes like cao lau noodles, white rose dumplings, and “white rose” pancakes. Take a cooking class to learn culinary secrets. And don’t miss the amazing coffee culture in Hoi An.
Another bonus: restaurants in Hoi An are generally cheaper than Da Nang, but with food just as delicious.
3. Hoi An is Famous for Custom Tailoring
One of Hoi An’s traditional crafts is made-to-order clothing. Get suits, dresses, shirts, and shoes stitched by local tailors for incredibly low prices. Choose from quality fabrics and get measured for the perfect fit. It’s a must-do experience.
4. Hoi An Has a Laid Back, Charming Vibe
The relaxed pace of life in Hoi An is part of its magic. Unwind at a riverside cafe or shop in the peaceful Old Town. Stroll past rice fields on quiet backroads. And spend time at An Bang Beach, with calmer seas than Da Nang.
Hoi An has a romantic, provincial atmosphere that contrasts with Da Nang’s bustling energy.
Tips for Where to Stay in Da Nang vs. Hoi An
Deciding where to stay between Da Nang and Hoi An depends on the experience you’re looking for in central Vietnam. Here are my tips:
If you want a city vibe with nightlife, entertainment, and luxury resorts, stay in Da Nang. The beachfront hotels here put you close to the best urban attractions.
If you prefer a laidback cultural experience, choose historic Hoi An. Boutique inns and homestays here immerse you in heritage ambiance.
Consider splitting your time between the two cities to get the full experience of everything central Vietnam has to offer!
Stay outside both cities in rural beach villages like An Bang. Here you can enjoy the outdoorsy feel while still easily accessing Da Nang and Hoi An.
Travel between cities by taxi, bus or motorbike. It’s easy to stay in one place and make day trips to the other destination.
Our Top Hotel Recommendation in Da Nang: Hanami Hotel Da Nang
If you decide to base yourself in Da Nang, one hotel I highly recommend is Hanami Hotel Da Nang. Here’s why it’s a great choice:
Convenient City Location
Hanami Hotel is located right in Da Nang city center, close to attractions like My Khe Beach, the Dragon Bridge, and Han Market. You can easily walk or take quick taxi rides around town.
Luxurious Rooms and Amenities
The hotel rooms are beautifully decorated in a modern, minimalist style with nice touches like rainfall showers. There’s an elegant rooftop pool, gym facilities, and free breakfast buffet too.
What really makes Hanami Hotel stand out is the wonderful customer service. The staff are incredibly friendly, welcoming, and go the extra mile for guests.
Compared to luxury resorts in Da Nang, Hanami Hotel Danang is very reasonably priced. You get 5-star amenities at a fraction of the cost.
Whether you’re traveling with family, friends, or solo, Hanami Hotel Da Nang is a fantastic base for experiencing the best of this vibrant seaside city. With its prime location, luxurious facilities, stellar service and affordable rates, it’s my top accommodation recommendation in Da Nang.
- Hanami Hotel Danang
- Address: 61-63 Hoang Ke Viem, Bac My An, Ngu Hanh Son, Da Nang, 550000
- Phone: 0905432992
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Website: https://hanamihotel.com
- Google Map: https://g.page/hanamihotel
- Facebook: https://facebook.com/hanamihotel
How to Get the Most Out of Your Central Vietnam Trip
I hope this insider perspective on Da Nang versus Hoi An helps you decide where to stay in central Vietnam! Here are a few final tips to make the most of your time in either destination:
- Get out early to see the action – markets and street food stalls start up at dawn!
- Join a walking, food or culture tour to understand the history and sample local flavors.
- Don’t be shy to chat with friendly locals – they’re happy to share insider tips!
- Head to An Bang Beach for more space to relax than busy city beaches.
- Hire a motorbike taxi driver as a guide if you want to safely explore further afield.
- Check calendars of festivals and events happening during your travel dates.
- Allow time to just wander and get lost – that’s when you find the best hidden gems!
I hope you absolutely love your time in central Vietnam, whether you choose vibrant Da Nang, historic Hoi An, or a bit of both. Please reach out to me at An Bang Seaside Village with any questions to help plan your ideal itinerary. I’m happy to share more local insight from my home on the central coast!