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Hoi An Or Da Nang – Which Should You Visit?

Are you planning a trip to Central Vietnam and can’t decide between the charming town of Hoi An or the bustling city of Da Nang? 

Well, you’re in luck because today I’m going to compare these two destinations to help you choose the perfect spot for your next adventure.

In this post, I’ll be comparing Hoi An with Da Nang in every aspect including cost, things to do, atmosphere, food, accommodation and more.

Da Nang vs Hoi An – Where To Stay

The honest answer is that there really is no wrong choice here. You’ll have an amazing time visiting either one of these locations as both have so much to offer.

That being said, it’s also worth noting that Hoi An and Da Nang are completely different in so many ways so it’s likely that you’ll prefer one over the other.

In a hurry? Here’s the key differences between Da Nang & Hoi An:

  • Both are located in Central Vietnam along the coast.
  • Hoi An is a small town, home to 150,000 people. Da Nang is bigger with a population of 1.1 million. 
  • Da Nang is much more modern than Hoi An which has an older feel.
  • Hoi An has one main beach but Da Nang has a wide range of beaches to choose from.
  • The nightlife in Hoi An is quiet and relaxed but is lively and vibrant in Da Nang.
  • Da Nang has sky bars with great views but Hoi An doesn’t.
  • Hoi An has more of an authentic Vietnamese feel to it compared to Da Nang.
  • It’s easy to get to Da Nang as it has an airport and a train station but Hoi An doesn’t have either so you’ll need to get a taxi from Da Nang.
  • Da Nang has more international food options compared to Hoi An.
  • Hoi An has smaller, locally run hotels and homestays whereas Da Nang has more international chains and high rise hotels.

Hoi An features a picturesque, dreamy old town filled with historic buildings such as the Japanese Covered Bridge, hanging lanterns and has a real local, authentic Vietnamese feel.

Hoi An is ideal for anyone that loves history and wants to explore a quaint old town. Hoi An is surrounded with lots of local villages and countryside which you can take a bike ride through.

It’s also famous for its cheap tailor made clothing which is some of the cheapest in the whole world.

Da Nang, on the other hand, is a modern urban city. It’s more of a metropolis and you’ll find tons of high rise buildings, malls and sky bars.

It also has some pretty unique sights such as a fire-breathing dragon bridge. 

There’s also a wide range of beaches to choose from and the whole city is surrounded by mountains.

Let’s take a more detailed look at the two…

Location – Hoi An vs Da Nang

Map showing the location of Hoi An and Da Nang in Vietnam.
Map showing the location of Hoi An and Da Nang in Vietnam.

Da Nang and Hoi An are both located in Central Vietnam along the coastline. They are actually very close to each other and lie just 29 km (18 miles) apart.

It takes just 45 minutes by car to get from one to the other. This means that it’s actually pretty easy to do a day trip from one to the other.

Another plus for both Da Nang and Hoi An is that they are both coastal cities so you can enjoy a day at the beach in both locations.

Size – Hoi An vs Da Nang

Da Nang is a large urban city and is much bigger in size than Hoi An. Da Nang also has a much higher population than Hoi An. 

How Big Is Hoi An?

Hoi An is a small city covering just 60km2. It has a much smaller population than Da Nang with just 150,000 local residents.

Whilst Hoi An is much smaller than Da Nang, this does give it a real authentic local feel.

You can easily walk or ride a bicycle around the entire town to get to know the area.

How Big Is Da Nang?

In contrast, Da Nang is actually the largest city in central Vietnam and one of the country’s most important ports. It is a highly urbanized and important city in Vietnam.

It covers 1,285km2 which makes it over 20 times larger than Hoi An. It also has a population of over 1.1 million people.

Which Is Cheaper? Hoi An or Da Nang

Hoi An vs Da Nang - which is cheaper graphic.
Hoi An vs Da Nang – which is cheaper graphic.

As a whole, there’s not much difference in cost between the two cities. 

Both are very cheap cities where you’ll be able to get a hotel room for under $50 per night and a meal for just a few dollars.

How Cheap Is Hoi An?

I have written a full pricing guide to Hoi An which goes into a lot more detail on costs in Hoi An but I’ll give a quick overview.

You can get a decent budget hotel room for $20 or less per night and a mid-range hotel for under $50 per night. 

Food is really cheap in Hoi An, especially street food and local restaurants. You will pay under $1.30 for a meal at a local restaurant.

You’ll pay a bit more to go to a mid-range or tourist restaurant. Expect to pay between $5 and $9 per person.

How Cheap Is Da Nang?

Prices in Da Nang are similar to Hoi An. If anything, you may pay a few dollars extra for a similar standard of hotel.

Again food prices in Da Nang are very similar to Hoi An, if anything it may cost a tad more in Da Nang.

To dine at a local restaurant or street food stall, expect to pay around $2 per person.

For a mid-range restaurant meal, I’d budget $10 per person. Of course, you’ll pay more if you go to a fine dining restaurant.

Which Has Better Things To Do?

Hoi An vs Da Nang - things to do graphic.
Hoi An vs Da Nang – things to do graphic.

There’s plenty to do in both Hoi An and Da Nang. Hoi An has an older feel and you are able to explore the old town area which feels very authentic. 

Da Nang is a modern city filled with high rise buildings, fancy shopping malls and rooftop bars. You’ll be able to see some unique bridges, epic mountains or enjoy a day at a theme park. 

Things To Do In Hoi An

The old town of Hoi An is very walkable and is located along the Thu Bon River. 

As you wander through the narrow alleys and streets, you’ll come across old buildings, historical monuments, stunning illuminated lanterns and so much more.

Did you know you can actually take a lantern making class in Hoi An?

Top Things To Do In Hoi An:

  • Purchase tailor-made clothes
  • Hire a bicycle and explore the old town
  • Japanese Covered Bridge
  • Fuijan Assembly Hall
  • Old House of Tan Ky

I personally adore Hoi An as it’s so quaint and interesting. It’s very different to Vietnam’s other cities so should definitely make it onto your Vietnam bucket list if you have time.

Things To Do In Da Nang

You can’t really walk from one side of Da Nang to the other due to its size so you’ll need to use some form of transport to see it all.

Da Nang has a completely different feel to Hoi An as it’s filled with bright lights and modern high-rise buildings. 

Whilst you won’t really find old buildings here, you’ll find some incredible modern wonders like a bridge that appears to be held up by two giant hands made of stone.

Top Things To Do In Da Nang:

  • Relax on the beach
  • Grab a drink in a sky bar
  • See the Marble Mountains
  • Dragon Bridge
  • Golden Bridge
  • Asia Theme Park

Some of Da Nang’s sights, like the Golden Bridge, are really Instagram worthy so definitely bring along your best Vietnam Instagram captions.

Which Has Better Beaches?

Hoi An vs Da Nang - which has better beaches graphic.
Hoi An vs Da Nang – which has better beaches graphic.

The good news is that you’ll be able to relax on the beach in both Hoi An and Da Nang.

Whilst Hoi An does have a wonderful beach, Da Nang definitely has the best beaches of the two. 

The beaches of Da Nang are often ranked amongst the world’s most beautiful and there’s plenty to choose from whereas Hoi An only really has one main beach and it does get crowded.

Beaches in Hoi An

The main beach in Hoi An is An Bang Beach.

An Bang Beach

An Bang Beach lies just under 5 km from the main old town of Hoi An. It’s easily accessible as it’s just a 10 minute ride in a Grab or taxi. 

There’s plenty of sunbeds and umbrellas laid out across the beach to provide you with some shade. 

Most restaurants will also let you use their sunbeds for the day if you purchase something.

There’s also plenty of water sports available on the beach from parasailing, jet skis, banana boats and much more. 

You’ll also find some fantastic beachside restaurants to grab a drink or snack from throughout the day. 

Cua Dai Beach

Cua Dai Beach in Hoi An used to be the main tourist beach however after many years of coastal erosion, the beach became thinner.

The beach still has plenty of space but is much less popular now so you won’t really find many people there.

There are a few other small beaches in Hoi An such as Hidden Beach but the majority of people go to An Bang Beach but this does mean that it can get very busy.

Beaches in Da Nang

Da Nang has a wider range of beaches compared with Hoi An. Da Nang beaches are known for their beauty, clean water and soft sand.

Here’s two of my favorites: 

My Khe Beach

My Khe Beach is located close to the city center and is just a 10 minute car ride away.

This beach is known to be one of Vietnam’s most beautiful beaches with soft white sand and crystal clear waters. The sand stretched on for 32 km (20 miles).

The beach itself offers a wealth of activities from sunbathing, snorkeling, jet-skiing, surfing and so much more. You’ll also find high-end resorts and restaurants along the shores.

Non Nuoc Beach

Non Nuoc Beach is also located close to the city center, just a 10 minute car ride away.

It’s also incredibly beautiful and not as busy as My Khe Beach.

There’s a range of water sports available as well as plenty of restaurants to grab a snack or drink from throughout the day.

The beach stretches on for 5 km ending at the base of the Marble Mountains so it’s pretty scenic.

Which Has A Better Nightlife?

Hoi An vs Da Nang - which has better nightlife graphic.
Hoi An vs Da Nang – which has better nightlife graphic.

As a whole, the nightlife in Da Nang is much more lively than in Hoi An.

In Hoi An, you’ll mostly find relaxed bars and the town has a very chilled vibe at night time. However in Da Nang, you’ll find lively bars, clubs and live music.

Bars in Hoi An also tend to close earlier than in Da Nang. In Da Nang, the party never has to end as the bars and clubs stay open all night.

Nightlife in Hoi An

I’d say that the nightlife in Hoi An has a very chilled and relaxed vibe.

You won’t find many loud parties here but plenty of quiet and charming bars by the riverside.

The best place for nightlife is in the bustling old town by the riverside. You won’t find many bars outside of this area at all.

Hoi An is not known to be a party town but there’s a good range of bars in the old town.

The main thing to note is that bars tend to close fairly early in Hoi An at around midnight and there aren’t really any clubs. 

Mango Rooms is a favorite, their delicious cocktails are really popular.

If you’re looking for something more sophisticated then head over to White Marble Wine Bar.

Nightlife in Da Nang

Da Nang has a much more lively nightlife scene compared with Hoi An.

You’ll find a fantastic range of rooftop bars, live music venues, bars and clubs all around the city.

The parties go on long into the night here and you can pretty much go to any type of bar that you like. 

Da Nang is best if you’re looking for a big night out.

Sky36 is an excellent place to grab a drink and that comes with some amazing views as it sits right on top of the Novotel Da Nang.

Some other favorites include Luna Pub and the Waterfront

Getting To Hoi An & Da Nang

Hoi An vs Da Nang - which is easier to get to graphic.
Hoi An vs Da Nang – which is easier to get to graphic.

As a major city, Da Nang is easily reached from all over Vietnam (and the world) as it has an international airport and a train station with passengers arriving 24/7.

Hoi An is less easily accessible and you will have to go to Da Nang first then take either a bus or taxi to Hoi An. 

Getting to Hoi An

Hoi An doesn’t have an airport or a train station so it can be difficult to get to.

You pretty much have to arrive in Da Nang and then take either a bus or taxi to Hoi An from there.

Getting to Da Nang

Da Nang is easily accessible from all over Vietnam as it is one of the country’s major cities. 

It has its own international airport which is located just 3 km from the city center. There are frequent incoming flights from Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City for as little as $30.

There’s also plenty of other domestic flights as well as flights from places like Seoul, Kuala Lumpur, Shanghai, Singapore, Siem Reap and much more. 

Da Nang also has a train station located just outside of the city center. Trains arrive here constantly from all over Vietnam.

Which Has Better Restaurants?

Hoi An vs Da Nang - which has better restaurants graphic.
Hoi An vs Da Nang – which has better restaurants graphic.

Overall both Hoi An and Da Nang have incredible food options and you certainly won’t go hungry in either city.

You can try a variety of traditional Vietnamese food as well as international options in both.

Hoi An’s old town is filled with authentic-looking restaurants, charming cafes and street food vendors.

There is lots of local Vietnamese food to try as well as plenty of international food options too.

As Da Nang is a larger city, you’ll find a wider variety of restaurants. Da Nang definitely has more international restaurants, a wider variety of cuisines and more fine dining options.

Which Has Better Accommodation?

Hoi An vs Da Nang - which has better hotels graphic.
Hoi An vs Da Nang – which has better hotels graphic.

There’s a wide range of options when it comes to hotels and places to stay in both Hoi An and Da Nang.

You’ll mainly find international hotel brands in Da Nang whereas in Hoi An, you tend to get smaller, locally run boutique hotels and homestays.

Hotels In Hoi An

In Hoi An, you’ll mostly find small hotels and homestays. There’s plenty of options to choose from so you’ll definitely find something that suits you. 

Hotels are also super reasonably priced here and you can easily get a 4-star hotel for around $50 per night.

The Four Seasons is a top choice as it’s super modern and is the best luxury hotel in Hoi An but it tends to get booked up months in advance. 

Some other great options include:

Hotels In Da Nang

In Da Nang, you’ll find more international hotel brands and high rise hotels. Again, there’s plenty of choice and you’ll definitely find something that suits you.

There’s also some excellent luxury resorts along the shores of Da Nang’s beaches which are the ideal place to escape from the hustle and bustle of the city.

Here’s some top hotel picks in Da Nang:


Airbnb is also a fantastic option in both Hoi An and Da Nang especially if you’re looking at staying more long term.

You can easily get a decent villa or private apartment for under $500 per month on Airbnb.

I often stay in Airbnbs when I travel as they’re super convenient, reasonably priced and you can often find some really stunning places to stay.

There’s a multitude of options on Airbnb for both Hoi An and Da Nang. 

And that’s it!

Thanks for reading this guide which helps you decide whether you should visit Da Nang or Hoi An for your next vacation.

The truth is that there is no right or wrong answer. Both Hoi An and Da Nang are wonderful destinations and you’ll have an amazing time in whichever one you choose to visit.

It’s also great to know that you can easily travel from one to the other so you don’t have to miss out on either.

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Megan Jones is a travel expert and founder of Traveller's Elixir, who has been travelling the world full time since 2021. Megan's travel tips been featured in numerous media outlets including Metro, Timeout, Thrillist and more.

Learn more about the Traveller's Elixir Team.

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