Where to eat, sleep, shop and beach in Vietnam’s happening coastal cities.
Less than a two-hour flight from Ho Chi Minh City and a 30-minute drive between one another, coastal cities Dan Nang and Hoi An are known for their sandy beaches, ancient architecture and melting pot of cultures steeped in French and Chinese influences.
Hoi An Ancient Town. Photo by Felisia Canedo.
What to Do
Take a trip to Bana Hills and ride one of the world’s most extensive cable car networks to marvel at the Golden Bridge and the Linh Ung Pagoda. Located inside the Bana Hills theme park, Sun World, and at almost five-thousand feet above sea level, both the bridge and the pagoda provide stunning views of Da Nang and the surrounding Son mountains.
A Unesco World Heritage site, Hoi An was previously a trading port between the 15th and 19th centuries. Don’t let the high volume of tourists that flow through the city’s small streets and alley ways dissuade you; with more than 1,000 exceptionally preserved timber-wood-frame buildings, family cult houses, religious monuments and open-air markets, Hoi An will keep you intrigued and wandering.
Da Nang’s Golden Bridge. Photo by Felisia Canedo.
Where to Shop
Whether it’s an open-air market on one of Hoi An’s main roads with street vendors creating custom scroll-paint art, or a tiny shop front selling tailor made suits and leather goods, this ancient city has it all. Make sure to check out the arts and crafts shop Reaching Out. Nestled in a particularly picturesque street within the small town (look out for the wooden bike!) Reaching Out focuses on sustainable and fair-trade goods, with authentic Vietnamese housewares and jewelry made in their on-site workshop. Lastly, pop into Copenhagen Delights, a Danish luxury children’s retailer. Locally owned and operated by Danish expats, the shop specializes in garments that are produced in various sewing factories within Vietnam.
Huynh So in Hoi An. Photo by Felisia Canedo.
Where to Beach
As Da Nang continues its rise as a popular beach destination, some of the biggest names in luxury hospitality have taken up beachfront residence along the city’s coastline. From the Melia, to the Crowne Plaza and Hyatt Regency, each outpost offers the seemingly endless South China Sea as the perfect backdrop for a tranquil beach getaway. If big names and higher price tags aren’t your thing, there’s no shortage of independently owned hotel options sprinkled along Vo Nguyen Giap Street, like the Haian Beach Hotel & Spa, which, while not exactly beachfront, is just a stone’s throw from the pristine looking My Khe Beach.