Da Nang, I Think We Could Live Here

We arrived in Da Nang after our overnight train ride from Hanoi on Vietnam Railways. Some of us were more tired than others, but we were reenergized knowing we were meeting up with friends for lunch! A few families who we met during the Worldschool Pop-up Hub in Kuala Lumpur were going to be in Da Nang and Hoi An during the same time as us.  We were all excited to explore Central Vietnam together!

We stayed at the Louis Mo apartments while in Da Nang, located just a few blocks from the beach.  It was a newer apartment and much to my excitement they had washing machines and REAL dryers!!! Such a luxury!!!! We took a quick tour of our new home for the week and then met our friends at ECO Green Cafe for a healthy lunch.  Another treat was having a big, delicious salad! There was a large expat community in Da Nang and so there felt like an endless supply of restaurant options suitable for all palettes.  It would be so easy to live here for several months and get involved in this community.  In fact, we met several families who were doing just that.  Living in Da Nang with more affordable cost of living and in a safe, friendly environment is hard to beat.

Our time in Da Nang was a bit slower and we loved catching up on homeschool and with friends.  We spent several afternoons at the beach and the kids got to have lots of playdates.  We spent one day at the Mikazuki Water Park, a Japanese style indoor water park.  There were slides and lazy rivers as well as a proper onsen

Manji all smiles at the water park!

That evening, we concluded with dinner at a restaurant near the enormous Dragon Bridge which lights up in the evening.  While chatting with our friends, James saw a huge rat scurry across the floor!  He let out a huge laugh and we all thought how different the situation would be at home. If we were in the US, we would have probably mentioned it to the waiter and contemplated leaving. But here we saw our waitress just nod and smile as she had seen what we had seen.  That was the first of many rats we saw throughout Vietnam!

One of our favorite parts of this trip has been learning about the country we’re in. Whether podcasts, books, or movies, it makes the history come alive when we learn about a place while we’re there. We knew about the Vietnam War but didn’t realize the history of being occupied by so many nations. James and I both especially enjoyed reading The Mountains Sing together.

A few days later, Goose and Bingo spent a morning with friends at Danang Art Studio making fluid art. Tristan and Emma, a young married couple, own the studio.  They were so welcoming and invited us to participate in the burning of their old money to symbolize a fresh start for the new year.   After, the kids spent time pouring paint mixed with watered down glue onto a canvas and then allowing the art to drip.  In the end it created a marble effect on the canvas.  The process took a lot of patience.  Bingo was happy to sit and wait, while Goose gave up and painted over all his! A great example of their different personalities!

Fluid art with Emma and Tristan

We also were so lucky to make new friends with the Drewsens in Da Nang. They normally live in Bend, Oregon but are on a family gap year as well. Jason and Courtney, the parents, are avid travelers and spent a stint working in Dubai as flight attendants before moving to the US. Goose became fast friends with their son, Oz, and their daughter, Chloe. James loved all of the sailing conversations with Jason and I think that will spur another sailing adventure on our trip so stay tuned!

Our last night in Da Nang, we celebrated a friend’s birthday.  The Johnston Family, who we met in Kuala Lumpur, has a daughter about Bingo’s age and she had a party to celebrate.   The kids enjoyed playing football in the street with other local families. And, the evening culminated in cake and ice cream.  It was a sweet way to end our time in Da Nang!

Celebrating the youngest Johnston family member!

Check out our Blog for the latest on our adventures