The idea of trying to find a new place to live can be pretty daunting. Throw in a new country, new city and an epic language barrier and you have yourself an apartment hunting conundrum lol. Well walk you through some things to think about when you’re apartment hunting in Da Nang.
Making the big decision to move
A year ago, we were already living in a foreign country and moved to our second new city. This should be easy right? But if I’m going to be honest, we were kiwis living in Australia so it’s not that big and scary really.
This however, is a whole new ball game. We decided to move from sunny Brisbane on the east coast of Australia to Da Nang on the central coast of Vietnam. Now that is scary, but exciting too.
When we started looking for apartments it became clear that we had a mountain of choices. Not so great when most of it is in a language that is not easy to read or pronounce. So, we grabbed a few cold ones and a note pad and started making a list of what we would like from our soon to be new home.
Figuring out what apartment works best?
After a couple of hours, the list was pretty big and pretty western. What to do now? Have another cold one and simplify the list. It didn’t take us long to come up with a few simple requirements. Firstly, it has to be a furnished apartment. It has to provide a separate bedroom, standalone shower, king size bed and it must be within budget. (The bed was my request because sharing one with 6’2″ Leon has to be comfortable for us both.)
We found plenty of studio options available for far less than our budget allowance. That wasn’t going to work for us though. Leon tends to be a night owl and I’m a nap addict lol. You get the picture, right?
Then we got to the fun part. My sarcastic side is coming out because it was anything but. It’s not like we could click on ‘Realeastate Vietnam’ and bang it’s all there. This was going to need some extra ‘outside the box’ thinking.
Lucky for me, I live with super sleuth ha-ha. Leon loves research and it agrees with him. Me not so much. We had about six months to prepare for this crazy master plan. Most of it was spent pouring over reviews, comments and advice from several sources.
Finding the right apartment
The best source of information we found was Facebook. It was invaluable from an expat perspective. The info was in English, current and covered everything we were looking for. Also, the expat community here are very helpful, another great thing about this city. We made a fair few inquiries and scoured all the suggested sites for info and options. In the end the Da Nang Landlords page was our go to source. (See below)
- Da Nang Landlord FB Page
- Da Nang Landlord Website
- Da Nang Apartments & Rooms FB Page
- Da Nang Hoi An Expats
- Da Nang Expats Sell, Buy & Auction
- Da Nang Rental
These are only a few of the sources we used, but you’ll find plenty out there.
Scoping out the best neighborhoods for apartment hunting
In preparation for this process, we chose to stay in a hotel in Son Tra for our first week. We thought this would help us get the lay of the land and make the hunting easier. The first three days we spent walking around getting to know all the areas of Da Nang and a feel for what is where. This certainly did help a lot.
After day two it became apartment that we may be limiting ourselves by only looking into Son Tra. So, we decided to point the scope in other directions and loved what we found! We asked a few more questions and voila.
We received details for Bella, an English speaking Da Nang native who came with rave reviews. For this, we were grateful. Bella managed to find us two apartments and we found another two from our own investigations. Bella has become an apartment hunting superstar of sorts. This lead to an offer she couldn’t refuse. And she didn’t. So, we’re happy we were one of the last to receive her stellar service. Thank you, Bella.
Now, four may sound minuscule in the scheme of what is out there for rent. The issue we had was we got here before the busy season and one-bedroom apartments are kind of hard to find. Studios are a dime a dozen while one bedders are rare as hen’s teeth, they are out there if you persevere.
With our list in hand, we arranged to view them all on the same day which helped a little with the lack of wheels lol. We haven’t hired scooters yet as we still need to apply for Vietnamese licenses. The apartments were all an approximate 10-minute walk from each other. Planned to made the lack of transportation a non-issue and easy to do around here.
Initially we wanted an apartment in Son Tra. It is at the northern end of My Khe beach and looked to have everything we were wanting from a new neighborhood. There are plenty of restaurants, bars and activities. The beach has a large grassed area for chilling on a sunny day and an events area with a booked-out calendar.
Reading between the map lines
HA! What Google maps doesn’t show you can be relevant too. There are the throngs of tourists, inflated price tags and nightly karaoke marathons. The singing is almost impossible to sleep through lol. Even for a nap addict, who loves karaoke herself.
This isn’t an issue if you’re only there for a short stay, mind you. Definitely something to consider if you are looking at staying in the area long term.
Rentals are abundant. But some are lacking even if you have a small list of requirements. There were ones with no kitchen appliances or utensils and a double bed. Others would have a double bed and small cafe style table and chairs. Hardly big enough to hold your coffee cup, let alone two people’s gear. The list goes on, hence why it’s good to be specific about what you want.
All four apartments were in An Throng, approximately five kilometers south of Son Tra. We didn’t know much about the area but what we saw on our exploration convinced us that this was the place we wanted to be.
The area provides plenty of coffee shops, eateries and watering holes. There is a good mix of locals, expats and tourists in the area. The beach and all it has to offer is only a short walk away. Perfect for what we were looking for.
Making a decision
After a long hot day, we sat down to make a decision and it wasn’t a hard. Before we could sign on the dotted line though, we had to ask a few more questions. We received our answers in short order and the owner was tremendous to deal with.
The sign up process was also a lot easier than expected. We made an appointment to meet the owner the next morning and we all arrived at 9AM sharp. Even Bella, bless her awesome soul.
We literally signed a two page rental agreement lol. And I’m laughing because anybody that has rented anything in Australia knows what a ‘mare’ it can be.
The form was pretty simple and all our parts were in English too. We supplemented that with copies of our passports and a month’s rent as deposit and that was it! We had a new place to live.
Our chosen pad is in a brand-new building, six hundred meters from the beach. Offering everything we were looking for and then some. It has the separate bedroom with a super comfy king size bed, YAY! The bathroom is nice and big and has a shower that fits Leon, added bonus. Oh, and it has a monsoon head too (me clapping excitedly). The kitchen/living area is adequate too. It comes with all the utensils and appliances you’d expect. The only thing missing right now is the couch. The building is so new that they are still working on finishing off some of apartments at the moment. We’re expecting the couch soon.
Also included in the rental amount is cleaning once a week, water usage, internet and cable TV. The only additional charge is electricity, charged at VND3,000 (~USD0.13 / ~AUD0.18) per kilowatt hour.
How much you ask? For short stays you are looking at approximately VND10,250,000 per month. We signed up for three months, so they offered us a discount and we pay VND9,700,000 (~USD416.00 / ~AUD575.00) per month. (That is almost as much as the weekly rent we were paying in Brisbane eeeep!) You may be able to negotiate further if you are planning on staying longer. But be fair too, the rent here is more than affordable and remember, you do get what you pay for.
Best piece of advice we can impart is wait until you get here before you sign up as plans can change pretty rapidly. Once we got here, we found things were different to what we had research. Don’t let that deter you, and remember flexibility is the key to success.
We have since moved in as our stay at Mai Boutique Villas in Son Tra came to an end. We’ve only been here a few days, so I’ll update you on how we go with living in a Vietnamese apartment in a month or so.
I’m off to enjoy a long, relaxing walk on the beach. Wish you could come too.
If this is your first visit to our site, please feel free to go and check out our our other Destinations or Our Two Cents pages on all our Vietnamese adventures. Or if you’re running low on time or over reading, head on over to our Leon and Tash YouTube channel for more fun and adventures.
Thank you for reading and see you in the next post…