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Da Nang is a perfect mix of nature, culture, people and food. Located in central Vietnam, Da Nang is easily accessible from all parts of the country.
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Escaping hectic Hanoi can be like a breath of fresh air, and the beautiful beaches of Da Nang offer an ideal antidote to all of those crazy scooter-filled streets. It's funny though, no sooner than you've departed the Vietnamese capital and you'll already be pining for the food markets, French-style buildings and even the heart-racing experience of crossing the road at rush hour.
The ride from Hanoi to Da Nang is a lengthy one. It's a southbound overland trip of 767 kilometers (476 miles) which takes, roughly, 16 hours to complete. There's a good choice of bus and train departures from midday onward with overnight sleeper buses and trains offering the most efficient way to experience Vietnam in daylight hours. Also, you'll save on accommodation costs, too - what's not to like? Comfort levels range from local sleeper buses with reclining seats to luxury VIP train cabins. It's up to you how far you'd like your vacation budget to stretch and what levels of comfort you're willing to enjoy or endure as part of the traveling experience.
It is a long trip and, no matter which mode of transport you opt for, being prepared is the key to success. Black out sleep mask, ear plugs and plenty of snacks and drinks will always come in handy. Bus seats won't recline to full-on horizontal so take a neck support or travel pillow to ensure you arrive without too many aches. Trains often offer more opportunities to mingle with local folk as well as fellow travelers. Packing a phrasebook is a great way to brush up on your Vietnamese and prepare yourself for what lies ahead in the sleepy beachside communities of Da Nang.
If you're taking an overnight sleeper train or sleeper bus from Hanoi to Da Nang then you're not really going to see much apart from the bright lights of the service stations and roadside bathrooms en route. As you depart from Hanoi, however, you'll get to see all walks of life in the capital city's suburbs. Many local market traders and workers live on the outskirts of the city and commute in each day to make a living. It's a real eye-opener to see the living conditions in comparison to what you'll have been used to seeing in central Hanoi and even in the Old Quarter.
Nighttime travel to Da Nang from Hanoi is a great way to save money on accommodation and give yourself more time to enjoy Vietnam during the day. As you get closer to Da Nang you might well be greeted by the sunrise. This, again, is a good opportunity to see how local people live as they wake up early for work in the countryside or around local villages and towns.
A good idea is to book your accommodation in Da Nang in advance. You might then be met at the bus or train station by a representative of your hotel or hostel. Alternatively, it's never hard to hail a cab, or even walk, once you arrive. Give yourself time to take in your new location over a coffee, if possible. Catching your thoughts and recounting traveling tales after a long trip is all part of the experience. Try not to rush through at a frantic pace. Vietnam's been around for a long while, try to travel like a local and go with the flow as you soak up every inch.
The fastest way to get to Da Nang from Hanoi is via the Sleeping Bus by Van Luc Tung. The ride usually takes about 13 hours and costs $25.
The cheapest way to get to Da Nang from Hanoi is with a Local Sleeping Bus by Camel Travel which costs from $15.
The most popular way to get to Da Nang from Hanoi is the Luxury Train service by New Livitrans. The train travels through the night and costs $87.
Bus travel, especially an overnight sleeper bus, is a rite of passage in Vietnam. Due to the narrow nature of the country, it's really easy to get from top to tail without missing much out in between. Buses, however, can be a little bit cramped and don't often provide a great deal of peace and quiet. All of those snaking side roads and winding mountain passes can also make even the hardiest travelers just a wee bit dizzy. One thing is for sure: this is going to be an experience that you won't ever forget!
Onboard amenities that you can expect on a bus journey from Hanoi to Da Nang will include an onboard WC, air conditioning (and travel blanket), WiFi coverage and seats that partially recline. Comfort breaks for food and bathroom facilities offer good opportunities to stretch your legs but can also interfere with sleep patterns if you've only just begun to grab forty winks.
The best advice is to just go with the flow and appear bleary-eyed with other travelers who will probably have fared no better or worse than yourself. It's all part of the fun and just think of the savings you'll be making on a night's accommodation!
It's really straightforward to exit Vietnam's capital by train. There's only one train station in Hanoi, and Da Nang, so you can't go wrong! Most departures from Hanoi to Da Nang include an overnight sleeping berth where beds fold down from carriage walls. You can also book a four berth cabin for more privacy and comfort. Train classes are as follows: Economy, Second Class, Luxury, Deluxe, VIP, Tourist and Sleeper.
There's a lot to choose from so ask questions before purchasing your train ticket. Alternatively, just buy whichever grade suits your budget. Everyone on the train will get from Hanoi to Da Nang at the same time and often those traveling alongside local people will have the most interesting stories to recount. Go on, push those comfort zones to the max!
There are around 19 total buses and trains leaving from Hanoi to Da Nang each day.