Finding a place to live in Da Nang, Vietnam as a digital nomad was quite a bit easier than finding a place to live in Chiang Mai, Thailand.
Here’s how we did it.
Soft Landing: Aria Grand Hotel
Based on our experience in Chiang Mai we decided to book a hotel for a couple nights so we could decide what area was right for us and find an apartment.
We landed at the Aria Grand Hotel, which is a fairly new and very nice hotel in the My An area of Da Nang. We booked a 1-BR apartment.
Now, I’m not going to say it was a penthouse, but it WAS the only apartment on the top (12th) floor of the building, which also had the small hotel gym and stair access to the rooftop pool and bar:
Gorgeous property but about double our intended budget.
Our Original Requirements
We treated finding a place to live in Da Nang the same way we would manage any project: start with requirements.
Here were ours:
- The My An area of Da Nang: My An has a city feel but is right on My Khe Beach (aka China Beach). It’s also home to many expats and digital nomads. Since we were only going to be in Da Nang for a few weeks the area made sense to us.
- 1-BR apartment: We like to roll out of bed, plop down on the couch with a cup of keto bulletproof tea and get to work. We find that even a small apartment is far more conducive to our work-from-home lifestyle than a hotel room-type studio apartment. We really prefer to have a working area that is not on the bed or at a cafe/coffee shop. There are lots of studio apartments in My An, but fewer 1-BR apartments.
- Swimming pool: We really got into swimming laps during our time in Chiang Mai and wanted to keep it up in Da Nang.
Unlike in Chiang Mai, the rental agents in Da Nang are active on social media and easy to find. These independent contractors hang out in the Da Nang Facebook groups and offer to help find short or long-term accomodations for expats and digital nomads.
For their assistance they take a commission from the property of up to 8% or so.
This does complicate things, though, because it means you can typically book directly with a property for less than you can book through an agent.
So the agents, while helpful in finding a place to live in Da Nang , don’t REALLY want you to know much about the property until they are showing it to you to ensure they get their commission. I have a lot of empathy for their situation, but it does tend to make things slightly awkward.
Lisa worked with a couple of agents while we were still in Hanoi and found the process to be frustrating: the agents were responsive but so vague that it wasn’t clear if the properties being offered actually met our requirements or not. Meanwhile, many of the apartments we wanted to see were ‘taken’ by the time we got to Da Nang, according to the agents.
In the end we did meet up with one agent, Ashley, a super-helpful South African expat. He showed us a nice flat at the Moon Apartments. But it was just a bit far from the downtown/beach part of My An for our requirements, so we thanked him for his efforts but passed on the flat.
About That Swimming Pool Requirement…
Part of the problem with finding a place to live in Da Nang that met our requirements is that not a lot of buildings in My An have a pool. And when they do it tends to be a ‘dipping’ pool rather than a swimming pool where we could swim laps.
But walking back from Ashley showing us Moon Apartments, we stumbled upon My An Sports Center! This new facility has a pool and gym and offers both monthly and daily rates! For 50,000 Dong ($2.15US) per swim, we could use this gorgeous pool for laps.
By meeting our pool requirement, My An Sports Center really opened up our housing possibilities.
How We Found a Flat in Da Nang
In the end, we took the same approach to finding a flat in Da Nang that we had used in Chiang Mai: pounding the pavement.
Using the My An Sports Center pool as an anchor point, we started walking the streets in the yellow circle below looking for a place to live:
We pretty quickly narrowed the search to the pink circle. Each of those streets parallel to the beach have a mix of hotels, apartments and serviced apartments.
We simply walked into each one and inquired about monthly and weekly rates for a 1 BR apartment. There were so many that we lost track:
We spent a little over 2 hours looking at many apartments. None felt exactly right.
Then we walked into the Sincero Hotel and Serviced Apartments and everything just clicked.
The available flat was on the third floor so we could walk up and down rather than waiting for a slow elevator.
The flat faces the street rather than an ally or the side of another building and has a long and wide balcony.
The flat is literally in the center of the My An area of Da Nang and about 4 blocks from the beach.
And, despite including a small second bedroom (and bathroom!!), the flat met (barely) our budget – we negotiated a daily rate of $32US/night…it would have been less had we stayed a full month.
Most importantly, it FELT right in our guts:
There are certainly cheaper places to rent in My An as well as other parts of Da Nang. We saw several on our quest. But we decided to pay a little more to have a flat that met all of our requirements and felt right.
Finding a place to live in Da Nang was really easy.
You can use an agent for convenience.
But if you have the time and ability it’s far simpler to just walk the city so you can find the place that is right for you and then negotiate directly with the property!