Vietnam is one of the most popular destinations in Southeast Asia, with a history dating back to the 3rd century BCE when China’s southward expansion reached the tribal Vietnamese inhabiting the Red River Delta. The country’s culture, traditions, language, beliefs, lifestyle, and gender relations have been shaped by its interaction with the dominant Chinese civilization, which is a huge part of the society’s ideologies, institutions, and technology. Today, Vietnam is a beautiful destination with a wealth of culture, unique cuisines, a coffee scene, a textile industry, amazing people, and bustling activities. Whether you travel for fun or you’re working remotely, you can always have things to do in Vietnam.
While most digital nomads and avid travelers visit the country’s capital – Hanoi – Da Nang, a coastal city in central Vietnam, has emerged as a popular tourist and economic hub, thanks to its pristine sandy beaches, fun water activities, welcoming dining destinations, dramatic landscapes, and fun places to visit.
A Wonderful Place for Coffee Lovers
Vietnam is the world’s second-largest producer of coffee beans after Brazil. The two most common coffee beans produced in Vietnam are Robusta and Arabica. The former accounts for 95% of Vietnam’s coffee production, although arabica coffee beans have been on the rise, accounting for the remaining 5% of the country’s total coffee production. But what differentiates these two coffee beans?
Robusta vs. Arabica Coffee Beans
Eighty percent of all Vietnamese robusta comes from the Central Highlands, where high altitude yields more nuanced flavors. Robusta beans contain about 2x higher caffeine levels than arabica but contain 60% fewer fats and sugar. It has a bolder, chocolate-y, nutty, and earthy flavor.
Arabica production is more dominant in the north and the south, where elevation is much higher and more suitable. Arabica beans come in a range of species, including Bourbon, Catimor, and Typica. The bulk of Vietnamese Arabica comprises the Catimor species, a hybrid of the Arabica and Arabica-robusta variants. Its taste is generally fruity, light, and citrusy.
Different Types of Coffee Drinks
Coffee is a staple of the local diet in Vietnam, and you can feel the coffee culture wherever you go. Visitors can explore Vietnam’s coffee scene and try a wide range of coffee drinks while working remotely, including:
- Coconut coffee – Known locally as Ca Phe Dua, this coffee drink is as tasty as it sounds. The robust coffee flavor is blended with coconut cream, condensed milk, and ice to create a refreshing summery treat, perfect for lactose-intolerant coffee lovers wanting to keep cool from the tropical summer heat.
- Egg coffee (Ca Phe Trung) – This is not coffee with an egg popped on top but coffee topped with a frothy, creamy layer of whipped egg yolk and sugar. The result: a creamy, sweet drink with a decadent custard-like consistency, steeped in the strong, full-bodied flavor of Vietnamese coffee.
- Salted cream coffee – A popular coffee drink in Vietnam, salted cream coffee combines sweetened cream, salt, and the bold flavor of Vietnamese coffee beans with a salted fudge-like flavor. Coffee makers add salt to dampen the bitterness and bring out the natural sweetness of coffee while maintaining a pleasant aroma.
- White coffee – Locally known as Bac Xiu, this is a lighter alternative to the more intense coffee drinks in the country. It’s prepared using large amounts of milk and condensed milk, which soften the intensity of Vietnamese robusta coffee beans. It’s a sweeter and lighter beverage usually consumed in the morning.
- Saigon coffee – Saigon coffee is coffee with condensed milk. It’s made by brewing drip coffee and adding condensed milk to it. Other people add ice, resulting in an iced coffee with condensed milk. It’s the best beverage if you want some energy or to beat the heat on a hot day.
Vietnamese unique coffee drinks are prepared following traditional techniques, with some having a modern twist. If you’re interested in learning the various recipes, you can enroll in a coffee-making class at various establishments across and near Da Nang, including the Pullman Danang Beach Resort, the HQJ Coffee School, and Vietnamese Culture and Coffee Making Classes in Hoi An.
A Great Place to Explore Different Dishes
Vietnam boasts some of the tastiest cuisines in Southeast Asia. Its food is distinct, delicate, and unforgettable. Whether you want a quick dish on the street or a hearty meal in a high-end restaurant, you’ll find a wide range of delicious meals, from beef, pork, and seafood to vegetarian and vegan options.
If you’re exploring the Vietnamese gastronomic scene, we’ve picked some essential foods that every visitor should try:
- Bahn Mi – A popular street food in Vietnam, Bahn Mi is a sandwich prepared from an exciting combination of ingredients, including crusty French baguette laced with pate, Asian ham, mayo, green onion, pickled vegetables, cilantro, fresh chilies, and a drizzle of seasoning.
- Pho (noodle soup) – Pho comprises a light chicken or beef broth flavored with ginger and coriander and added to flat, broad rice noodles and spring onions. Protein-wise, you add slivers of beef, chicken, or pork, but if you’re a vegetarian, tofu is the main option. Squeeze a few drops of lime over it and add a dash of chili flakes for an enhanced flavor.
- Bahn Xeo (pancakes) – These enormous Vietnamese pancakes contain several ingredients, such as pork, shrimp, egg, and bean sprouts. The ingredients are fried, wrapped in rice paper with greens, and dipped in a fish sauce before eating.
- Com Tam (Broken rice) – Com Tam is one of the popular treats you can buy from street vendors in Vietnam. The dish consists of smaller grains of rice served with grilled pork, fish, or fried egg. To eat like a local, squeeze a wedge of lime, a sprinkle of herbs, and a smattering of spring onion.
- Com Ga (Chicken rice) – Com Ga is a dish full of flavors and textures. It features shredded chicken tossed with coriander, onions, and lime juice. The chicken salad is served with turmeric rice prepared directly in chicken stock.
The Best Beaches in Da Nang
Da Nang is also known for its beautiful sandy beaches and turquoise waters, making the destination perfect for those seeking relaxation or a fun time in the water.
The most popular beaches are My Khe and Non Nuoc due to their proximity to the downtown area. They lie about 10 minutes away by car and offer opportunities to enjoy water sports like jet skiing, surfing, sunbathing, fishing, and snorkeling. It’s home to pristine sandy beaches and luxury resorts with high-end restaurants.
If you love privacy, Lang Co Beach is the place to go. The only visitors to this beach are travelers attempting the winding routes in Hai Van Pass. Therefore, either when you’re working remotely, reading a book, or sunbathing, you can enjoy the picturesque views of Truong Son Mountain. Son Tra Peninsula is also home to hidden beaches, such as Bai Bac, Con Beach, and Tien Sa.
Other beautiful beaches in Da Nang include:
- Nam O Beach
- Xuan Thieu Beach
- Bai Bac Beach
Places to Work From When Working Remotely
Da Nang’s growing popularity is also because of its friendliness to digital nomads or those who are working remotely. It has many coworking spaces and cafes with conducive environments where freelancers can maximize their productivity.
Here are some spots you might want to visit if you are working remotely:
The Embassy Coworking Space
The Embassy lies in Da Nang’s downtown area, providing convenient access to amenities such as local shops, bookstores, restaurants, mini-marts, and public transport stops. Digital nomads come to this spot for the ambiance, natural light, and complimentary coffee/water/tea. Besides, the bustling environment inspires ideas and creativity. Apart from the downtown location, there are three other Embassy offices in Tran Phu, Hoang Ke Viem, and Nguyen Van Linh.
Also nestled in the city center, DNC vaunts a spacious, air-conditioned, and well-lit place, perfect for working remotely. In addition to the standard desks on offer, workers can choose other specialty spaces, depending on their project/work. They include:
- Dedicated desks
- Private offices
- Rentable event spaces
- Virtual office
- Meeting room packages
DNC also partners with many influential organizations to provide consulting and mentorship programs to equip members with new skills and networking opportunities. The staff members are forthcoming, professional, and speak English – a vital trait for foreign workers.
Top Coworking Space
Top Coworking Space also lies in downtown Da Nang. That’s convenient because it minimizes commute time and makes it easier to meet clients. It features a basement parking space and offers high-security personal lockers, a power generator, and enough power outlets to serve all clients. TOP’s Startup Studio Model is ideal for small businesses lacking a physical office. This coworking space organizes meetups, workshops, and member-exclusive events.
43 Factory is a high-end coffee shop that doubles up as a coworking space. It’s spacious and has many tables so you can occupy a spot all day. There are enough power outlets, and digital nomads love it for its bright, inspiring atmosphere with a real tree right in the middle of the café. The staffs are welcoming and always happy to recommend their coconut coffee with a modern twist.
Bread N Salt Café
Like 43 Factory, Bread N Salt is an upscale coffee café with air conditioning, spacious seating, a full menu, and plenty of spots to work. Established in 2019, it’s a relative newcomer in Da Nang’s gastronomic scene, but its quiet atmosphere and great coffee make it an easy place to stay for hours in front of your laptop.
Where to Stay: An Thuong and Son Tra
Whether you’re a remote worker looking for an extended-stay hotel, or a traveler visiting Da Nang on holiday, you’ll find plenty of affordable accommodations with amenities to make your stay comfortable and enjoyable.
The two places we recommend are:
An Thuong is Da Nang’s tourism hotspot, welcoming over 70,000 foreigners annually. The area boasts over 140 tourism providers, including more than 60 accommodation establishments, which bring visitors close to the city center, Da Nang International Airport, and My Khe beach, where you can enjoy a wide range of water sports, including surfing, parasailing, snorkeling, and fishing.
The An Thuong Quarter is a “Street for Foreigners,” catering to night-time shopping, restaurants and bars, and entertainment spots. Most accommodation establishments here offer free Wi-Fi and hotel transfers; combine that with the area’s closeness to the downtown area, and you can come and go and stay in touch as you please.
Son Tra is one of the most beautiful places to visit and stay in Da Nang. This destination is famous for its beautiful views and attractions. Located 10 Km northeast of the city center, Son Tra is often considered the old eco-jungle within a young city. It lies in a nature reserve rich in natural diversity with many rare animal species like the endangered red-shanked douc.
On a map, Son Tra resembles a mushroom with the Son Tra Mountain range as its cap and a beautiful beach as its stalk. You can visit the beach for relaxation, sunbathing, beach sports, fishing, and swimming. Other attractions in Son Tra include the iconic Dragon Bridge, Han River Bridge, Linh Ung Pagoda, and Vincom Plaza Shopping Mall.
Must-Visit Cities near Da Nang
After a tiresome week working remotely in Da Nang, unwind during the weekend by either visiting Hoi An or Hue. Below is a discussion of what to expect in each of these destinations.
Hoi An lies 3 Km south of Da Nang and has a smaller population of 150,000 people compared to Da Nang’s 1.2 million people. It boasts pristine white, sandy beaches and a more historic vibe with a European feel, where you’ll find a variety of boutique hotels and lovely homestays. It’s located on the Thu Bon River with beautiful canals, earning it the title – Venice of the East.
There is plenty to see in Hoi An, including the Old Town, which features a mix of Vietnamese, Japanese, and Chinese architecture. While on tour, check out Cau Chua Pagoda and the four-century-old Japanese Bridge. Other historical sites are the Tran Family Chapel and Hoi An Museum.
Hue is a popular destination for design and gastronomic travelers, thanks to its royal mausoleums, iconic pagodas, imperial citadel, and rich cuisines. It’s a city with a rich history as chronicled by the many ancient structures. Begin your tour with a visit to the Contemplate Imperial City (part of the Imperial Citadel), which features many temples, pavilions, courts, walls, and gates. The ancient emperors’ tombs, such as the Khai Dinh Tomb, Minh Mang Tomb, and Tu Duc Tomb, give visitors an idea of how royals buried their own.
After your excursion, tingle your taste buds with Hue’s authentic flavors on the streets or in restaurants at affordable prices. The dishes here are known for their sweet and spicy flavors with a lot of herbs and sauces. Some must-try treats in Hue include Bun Bo Hue, Nem Lui, Bahn Beo, Che Hat Sen, Bahn Ram It, and many more.