The beach. The food. The nightlife. And the proximity to so much more. This Central Vietnam hub makes a strong case for being the best place to live in Vietnam.
Vietnam’s two largest cities, Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, have a lot to offer a long-term expat in Vietnam. However, in recent years, Danang, a much smaller city, has become a hot spot for expats. Considering business opportunities, amenities and cost of living, here are a few reasons why so many expats — and even more Vietnamese — are living in Danang, the fourth-largest city in Vietnam.
You will not get to experience the beach lifestyle in Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh City. Both cities are hours away from the coast. Danang, on the other hand, is a true coastal city.
There is lots to see if you love the ocean. Lang Co and My Khe Beach offer beautiful white sand lined with palm trees. Water sport activities are available such as fishing, water-skiing, diving and yachting. The beaches in Danang seem to stretch on forever, or approximately 30 kilometers. But who’s counting?
Your digital nomad fantasy of working from a laptop near the beach can become a reality if you’re living in Danang. Or, if you were born and raised in one of Vietnam’s provinces, you have a good option for jobs that doesn’t involve all the chaos of Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh City.
Here you can enjoy a much calmer lifestyle than in the big cities with fewer people and better tropical views.
Danang has a population of 1.2 million, which is small compared to Ho Chi Minh City’s and Hanoi’s 8.5 and 7.8 million, respectively. Vietnam as a whole is a country that is growing fast, with a ~7% GDP growth rate year over year.
Danang has been growing at an equal pace. KPMG considers Danang is the socioeconomic hub of Central Vietnam with an estimated gross domestic regional product (GRDP) of $3,504 million USD. Vietnam’s growth is easily seen in Danang with rapid construction happening in many parts of the city.
Bridges, buildings and resorts continue to open or are under construction. World-class shopping is available in newly built modern malls. More people are coming to the city than ever before, not only for tourism, but for Danang’s growing technology, software and manufacturing industries. Danang is also the largest commercial shipping port in the region.
Today more than 5,000 expats live in Danang permanently, according to KPMG. And the numbers likely will keep growing in tandem with the local economy.
Although Danang is a smaller city, it is surrounded by places to visit and things to do, which means you will never get bored.
Hoi An, a UNESCO world heritage site, is only a 20-minute drive south. Hoi An is a well-preserved 15th to 19th century historic Asian trading village. It also offers modern shopping and fine dining, and 5-star amenities.
Go north a couple of hours and you will find Hue, Vietnam’s ancient ex-capital city. Hue is a wonderful historic sight of great importance. There you can visit the Imperial Fortress which was once home of the legendary Nguyen Dynasty.
My Son Sanctuary, another UNESCO heritage site, is also not far away. There you can see the impressive remains of tower-temples built between the 4th and 13th centuries.
The Hai Van Pass is a scenic road that boasts breathtaking winding seaside views. It is often called the most beautiful road in Vietnam. The Hai Van Pass is popular among motorbike tourists visiting Vietnam and cannot be missed.
There are also lots of shopping spots, if that is your thing. The Vincom Plaza, while not as impressive or as big as the malls in Ho Chi Minh City, offers several international brand names and a pleasant and bright atmosphere, as well as a cinema.
And don’t forget about Bana Hills. The former French resort is now popular with tourists from all over the globe. They love seeing the Golden Bridge, held up by big hands of stone, and riding the cable car, the longest and highest continuous cable car in the world.
Danang has something for everyone and enough to keep you busy for a long time.
Cost of living
Many factors such as shopping, groceries and eating out are comparable in price to the big cities. But your biggest expense is lower if you’re living in Danang, especially if you are looking to make the city a long-term home.
According to numbeo.com, rent is 12.5% cheaper in Danang than Ho Chi Minh City for comparable sizes and locations. If you plan on staying long-term, buying an apartment is on average 65% cheaper in Danang that Ho Chi Minh City. This low cost of living in Danang is the primary reason many long-term expats in Vietnam are slowly making their way to the central city.
Bigger cities will always have more job opportunities, more shopping, and more places to eat out. Danang is smaller, but by no means is a small city, and still offers all the amenities that a city dweller craves, with many added benefits.
What you do get by living in Danang is a more relaxed lifestyle, more beaches, and possibly new business opportunities. Danang is a new popular choice for long-term expats in Vietnam, especially if they are planning to make Vietnam their forever home.