side by side comparisons of Da Nang or Hoi An, left side is Da Nang's famous My Khe Beach, on the right is a woman riding a bike in the Old Town of Hoi An, Vietnam

Da Nang or Hoi An: 8 Things To Consider Before

Are you planning to visit Central Vietnam and can’t decide whether to stay in Da Nang or Hoi An? This guide outlines 8 things you must consider before you make that decision!

The reason it’s such a popular debate is because Hoi An and Da Nang are the two most popular tourist destinations in central Vietnam, and only a 50-minute drive separates them!

This makes it confusing for first time vistors to this region in Vietnam, not to worry, I’ve got you covered after visiting both places and spending a fair share of time in both!

Travel Base: Length of Stay

When deciding between Da Nang and Hoi An, your travel plans for Central Vietnam are key. If you’re looking to explore as much as possible, Da Nang is the better choice. It’s more centrally located and has its own airport, making it a convenient base for your adventures.

Da Nang itself has plenty to offer, including the famous Golden Bridge at Ba Na Hills – definitely worth a visit! Plus, you’re just a short trip away from the ancient city of Hue and only about 50 minutes from Hoi An.

While charming, Hoi An is a bit more isolated and doesn’t have as much going on around it as Da Nang does.

Also, think about how long you’re planning to stay. If you’re looking at more than a week in Central Vietnam, Da Nang is probably your best bet. It’s got all the amenities you might need for a longer stay – supermarkets, a variety of restaurants, and plenty of accommodation options. After all, it is Vietnam’s fourth-largest city.

So, if you want a mix of convenience, variety, and easy access to other attractions, Da Nang is a far better base location for your many adventures in Central Vietnam!

Winner: Da Nang

charming cobblestone street in Au Thuong area in Da Nang, Vietnam


When it comes to atmosphere, both Da Nang and Hoi An have their own unique vibes, and it’s worth considering what kind of experience you’re after.

Da Nang is like two cities in one. You’ve got the bustling city center on one side and the laid-back beach area on the other, connected by many bridges, including the famous Dragon Bridge.

The city center is busy during the day but calms down a bit at night. Meanwhile, the beach area is chill all day long – you can cross the streets easily in the beach area! And because Da Nang is pretty big, you won’t feel like it’s ever flooded with tourists.

Hoi An, on the other hand, is a bit of a different story. It’s smaller and tends to get more crowded with tourists, especially in the Old Town. While Hoi An’s Old Town is relatively busy after 3 PM, the crowds can become quite dense because it comes alive at night, especially along the river. But if you venture out to places like An Bang Beach or beyond the Old Town, you’ll find a more relaxed vibe with fewer tourists.

So, if you’re after a mix of city life and beach chill, Da Nang might be the place for you. But if you’re looking for that charming, historic town feel and don’t mind rubbing elbows with other tourists, Hoi An could be right up your alley. It depends on what kind of atmosphere you’re in the mood for and the length of your stay!

Winner: Hoi An

charming courtyard in the Old Town of Hoi An during the evening time

Things To Do

While both destinations offer unique experiences, Hoi An provides a more immersive cultural experience with its well-preserved Old Town, traditional crafts, and historical sites.

Da Nang, on the other hand, offers a mix of modern attractions and natural wonders, making it ideal for those seeking a blend of city life and outdoor activities.

Both places offer several things to do and have their advantages: Hoi An wins for a cultural experience, while Da Nang wins for a broad range of activities!

Best Things To Do in Da Nang

  • Visit the Golden Bridge at Ba Na Hills: This iconic hands-shaped bridge offers breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains. While there, explore the French village replica and enjoy the cable car ride.
  • Explore the Marble Mountains: These five limestone hills are filled with caves, tunnels, and pagodas. Climb to the summit for panoramic views of Da Nang and discover hidden Buddhist sanctuaries.
  • Relax on My Khe Beach: This 20-mile beach is known for its pristine white sand and clear waters. Enjoy water sports, beachside restaurants, and stunning sunsets.
  • Dragon Bridge: On weekend nights at 9:00 PM, this unique bridge breathes fire and water, creating a spectacular show. During the day, admire its dragon-shaped design spanning the Han River.
  • Visit the Lady Buddha statue and Linh Ung Pagoda: Standing 220 feet (67 meters) tall, the Lady Buddha statue is visible from anywhere in Da Nang. Visit the surrounding Linh Ung Pagoda complex, admire the intricate architecture, and enjoy stunning views of the city and coastline.
a large floral garden surrounding the Golden Bridge at the Ba Na Hills in Vietnam

Best Things To Do in Hoi An

  • Wander through the UNESCO-listed Old Town: Explore well-preserved architecture from the 15th to 19th centuries, including Chinese temples, Japanese merchant houses, and French colonial buildings. At night, the town transforms with thousands of colorful lanterns.
  • Take a Cooking Class: Learn to prepare traditional Vietnamese dishes using fresh local ingredients. Many classes include visiting the local market to select produce and herbs.
  • Explore the Local Markets: Visit the bustling Central Market during the day and the vibrant Night Market in the evening. Sample street food, shop for souvenirs, and soak in the lively atmosphere.
  • Experience a Basket Boat Ride: Try the popular and quirky basket boat ride, a traditional fishing method turned tourist attraction. Spin around in these round bamboo boats for a unique and fun experience on the water.
  • Get Custom-Made Clothing: Hoi An is famous for its skilled tailors who can create bespoke clothing in just 24-48 hours. Choose from a wide range of fabrics and styles for a unique souvenir.

Winner: Tied

several tourists on boat rides in the evening among many lantern lights in Hoi An, Vietnam


Each destination has its stunning beach to experience, so no matter where you should stay, that won’t be a worry!

Da Nang’s My Khe Beach offers a vibrant atmosphere with a 30-kilometer coastline accommodating lively and quiet areas. The beach is well-developed with a beautiful boardwalk, numerous amenities, and water sports facilities and is easily accessible from the city center.

An Bang Beach in Hoi An provides a more laid-back, village-like atmosphere. It’s less crowded and offers a more intimate experience with a good selection of beach bars and seafood restaurants.

Both beaches have their unique appeal, but My Khe Beach in Da Nang ultimately stands out due to its long, beautiful coastline, exceptional boardwalk, and atmosphere. Due to its natural beauty, activities, and extensive beachside amenities, My Khe Beach has been ranked as one of the best beaches in Southeast Asia.

Winner: Da Nang

aerial views of My Khe Beach and mountains in Da Nang, Vietnam / Da Nang Itinerary


Regarding accommodations, both Da Nang and Hoi An offer various options to suit different preferences and budgets, but there are some notable differences between the two destinations.

Da Nang, being significantly larger than Hoi An in both size and population, naturally offers a wider range of accommodations. From luxury beachfront resorts to budget-friendly options, the city has it all.

Its larger scale means more high-rise hotels and modern apartment rentals, many concentrated along the coastline with stunning beach views and easy access to attractions.

While smaller, Hoi An still provides plenty of accommodation choices. What sets Hoi An apart is its charm and the unique experience it offers visitors. Here, you’re more likely to find boutique hotels that reflect the area’s rich history and culture, especially in and around the Old Town. Hoi An is known for its abundance of homestays and hostels, perfect for travelers seeking a more authentic and intimate Vietnamese experience.

It’s worth noting that during peak tourist seasons, accommodations in Hoi An can fill up quickly due to its popularity and smaller size. With its greater capacity, Da Nang might offer more availability during these busy periods.

Where to Stay in Da Nang

InterContinental Da Nang / Luxury 5 Star resort on Son Tra Peninsula with stunning views. Blends local culture and modern luxury. Perfect for high-end Da Nang getaways.

Grand Sunrise Boutique Hotel / This budget-friendly 4 Star hotel offers comfortable rooms and good value for money. Located in the city center, it provides easy access to local attractions.

FIVITEL King: A wallet-friendly 3 Star hotel has basic amenities and a convenient location. It’s suitable for travelers looking for a no-frills stay.

Rom Casa Da Nang / Situated in Ngũ Hành Sơn, Rom Casa provides a slightly upscale hostel experience starting at $16/night. It is highly rated and popular among travelers for its comfort and amenities.

Where to Stay in Hoi An

Allegro Hoi An / A 4-star boutique hotel with easy access to Old Town, nearby many restaurants, and luxurious amenities, including a spa and pool.

Lasenta Boutique Hotel / A 4-star property located in Cam Chau. It offers access to the Old Town and An Bang Beach, many restaurants, and stunning rice fields nearby.

Coral Riverside Homestay / A charming 3-star stay in the peaceful Cam Chau area, surrounded by lush greenery and close to the Old Town and local markets.

Mad Monkey Hoi An / A lively backpacker hostel in the Cam Chau district, between the UNESCO Old Town and beaches. The hostel has a pool and offers daily tours and nightly events.

Winner: Tied

lanterns hung on trees with a river in the distance in the Old Town of Hoi An, Vietnam

Food & Restaurants

Comparing Da Nang and Hoi An’s cuisine is challenging, as both offer exceptional food with similar flavors due to their proximity. Da Nang excels in seafood, while Hoi An shines with fresh produce from local farms. And, of course, Hoi An is famous for being home to the Banh Mi. Both cities provide a delightful culinary experience with unique strengths.

As a larger city, Da Nang provides a wider variety of dining options. You’ll find everything from street food stalls to high-end restaurants serving local and international cuisine such as Korean, Italian, American and much more. 

On the other hand, Hoi An is renowned for its unique local dishes and charming dining atmosphere. Hoi An is famous for dishes like “Cao lầu” (a noodle dish found only in Hoi An), “White Rose” dumplings, and “Com ga” (chicken rice)

Da Nang’s food scene is more diverse, with traditional Vietnamese dishes and modern fusion cuisine. You’ll also find local and international cuisine in Hoi An but not on the scale of Da Nang.

When it comes to food, Hoi An wins for its authentic cuisine and traditional Vietnamese representation, but Da Nang takes the lead for restaurants!

Winner: Hoi An for Authentic – Da Nang for Variety


When it comes to getting around, Da Nang and Hoi An offer quite different experiences due to their size and layout.

Da Nang is a larger city, so visiting different parts of the city and its attractions often requires some form of transportation. While exploring areas on foot is possible, you’ll likely need to use taxis, Grab, or rent a scooter to reach different parts of the city. However, you can manage without daily transportation if you stay in a central location or near the beach.

Hoi An, in contrast, is a small town, and most places can be reached on foot or by bicycle. Renting a bike is the perfect way to get around Hoi An, allowing you to easily reach the Old Town, beaches, and surrounding countryside. Bicycle rental shops are plentiful and affordable, with options throughout the town, and some hotels even offer rentals for free.

While Da Nang might require more transportation sometimes, Hoi An offers a more relaxed, self-paced experience. All destinations are just a short walk or bike ride away!

Winner: Hoi An

charming shady street in Hoi An, Vietnam


Da Nang and Hoi An are both popular tourist destinations in central Vietnam. Each is very appealing and offers visitors a unique experience. Both cities attract numerous travelers each year.

Da Nang is a city that’s got it all. It’s famous for its unique attractions, such as the Marble Mountains, Ba Na Hills, and the Dragon Bridge. But the real star of the show? That has to be My Khe Beach. It’s not just any beach, it’s one of the best beaches in Southeast Asia.

What makes Da Nang really special is how it mixes things up. You’ve got mountains, beaches, and modern skyscrapers all in one place. It’s like the city couldn’t decide what it wanted to be, so it chose everything. From natural wonders to urban landscapes, Da Nang’s got a little bit of everything for everyone.

With the city’s mix of cultural experiences, adventure, modern amenities, historical sites, and excellent location for exploring central Vietnam, Da Nang is an attractive destination for all visitors.

old building built amongst the boardwalk at My Khe Beach in Da Nang, Vietnam

When you visit Hoi An, you’ll feel like you’ve stepped back in time. The town is famous for its well-preserved Ancient Town, colorful lantern-lit streets, and charming countryside. With the Old Town’s recognition as a UNESCO World Heritage site, Hoi An has become a destination for visitors from worldwide.

Hoi An’s popularity lies in its fusion of history and natural beauty. Ancient buildings stand alongside serene rice paddies, and beautiful beaches are nearby, creating a unique landscape. The town preserves its old-world atmosphere while offering modern comforts, giving visitors a taste of the past with present-day conveniences.

Hoi An is a must-visit destination for travelers seeking an authentic and picturesque Vietnamese experience.

dense crowds of tourists heading towards the bridge in Hoi An, Vietnam

Best Time to Visit Hoi An or Da Nang

Da Nang and Hoi An experience two distinct weather seasons: dry and rainy, known as the monsoon season. Due to their proximity, both destinations share the same weather patterns.

During the dry season, both Da Nang and Hoi An enjoy warm temperatures, plenty of sunshine, and less humid conditions.

The wet season brings intermittent rain showers and increased humidity to both cities.

Dry Season: February to July

The best time to visit Da Nang and Hoi An is during the dry season, from February to July. Average temperatures in both places during this time range from 25°C (77°F) to 35°C (95°F).

The dry season in Da Nang and Hoi An brings consistent weather with plenty of sunshine and lower humidity. February to May are typically the driest months, ideal for the beach!

Rainy Season: August to January

Visiting Hoi An or Da Nang during the rainy season could be better, but it’s still doable!

During this time, you’re more likely to experience rainfall, and humidity levels are higher. October and November stand out as the rainiest months in both places.

balcony views of the coastline in Da Nang on a sunny day in March / Best time to visit Da Nang

Final Thoughts

So, have you figured out whether Da Nang or Hoi An is the better fit for your stay?

Da Nang comes out on top for several reasons: it’s more accommodating, less touristy, and has a central location with its airport.

Hoi An, on the other hand, can get pretty touristy. The Old Town is packed with visitors every night after 5:00 PM, which might get old after a few evenings.

While Da Nang is clearly the winner between the two, here’s a thought: if you’re only in central Vietnam for a short time and want to soak up as much Vietnamese culture as possible, Hoi An may be better for you to stay in!

Hoi An offers a laid-back vibe with its countryside, beach, and charming Old Town. But remember that it gets pretty crowded with tourists at night, which might get tiresome fast, depending on the type of traveler you’re.

Happy & Safe Travels

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