D A. N A N G. V I E T N A M

Quit that mundane, mediocre job you despise. Book that one way flight ticket and travel the world! Why not?! Currently writing from Da Nang, Vietnam at Barney’s Backpackers Hostel, located at 169 Trần Hưng Đạo, Nại Hiên Đông, Sơn Trà, Đà Nẵng, Vietnam.

Check out their website: www.Barneyshostel.com

It is now 1:50 PM, on a rainy afternoon in Da nang, Vietnam, as I sit up top the rooftop of Barney’s Backpackers Hostel. Overlooking the grungy Hàn River (also referred to as Sông Hàn 滝汗 or Hàn giang 汗江, which flows through Da Nang, Vietnam), the downtown bustling city, palm trees and tiny boats that afloat the Hàn River. ‘Twas a beautiful sight indeed. I could stay here forever, I thought to myself. As I look to the right, I have a bird’s eye view of the Thuận Phước Bridge and to my left, the Hàn River Bridge, Trần Thị Lý Bridge and my favourite Bridge of them all; Dragon Bridge. These are the four main Bridges in Da Nang, Vietnam.

I have been in Da Nang, but a mere 42 hours or less and already I have fallen in love with this beautiful city. In front of me, across from the river, you have the busy city life with a shopping mall and major stores for anything you need during your stay in Da Nang. Contrary to that, where I currently reside at Barney’s Backpackers Hostel, is a little bit of the quieter side. It is amazing how one big river separates the sides of this city into two different categories. There is no doubt something for every traveler who decides to take the risk and fly to Da Nang, Vietnam, like I did.

The amazing picturesque view of the Hàn River from the rooftop of Barney’s Backpackers Hostel.

Currently in Canada it is 3 degrees celsius feeling like 1 degree with snow on the ground to welcome the holiday’s. I booked that one way ticket without any plans to return to Canada anytime soon, because in my heart I believe my travels must continue. I arrived in Vietnam on December 1st, 2016, thus far I have visited 3 cities: Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC), Nha Trang and last, but not least, the beautiful Da Nang. The weather has not been on par these past couple of days… but, I would much rather rainfalls and downpours in Da Nang, half way around the world, 12 hours ahead of Canada, any day! Who needs the cold, snowy, slushy, horrible winter weather back in Canada? What can I say? I feel as though I am living out my dreams by traveling the world.

Never in a million years would I have thought to visit Vietnam. But, here I am writing to all my readers; Greetings from Da Nang, Vietnam. So far I had the privilege of visiting the Dragon Bridge, both at night and during the day. I will admit, the Dragon Bridge is such a captivating, yet mystical attraction and appealing to the eyes at night. With all the bright lights lighting up the city I can’t begin to explain how alluring the views are in Da Nang. It is unbelievably breathtaking, watching the colours change from red to green to yellow to even rainbow!

The alluring and captivating views of the Hàn River Bridge, Trần Thị Lý Bridge and Dragon Bridge at night.
Dragon Bridge during the day.

I encourage any traveler’s to Vietnam to definitely make a trip over to Da Nang, as it is one of my favourite cities I have visited thus far. With Da Nang being my last stop in Vietnam before heading off to Hong Kong, I had the honour of staying here for 4 days and 3 nights. Whereas HCMC (Ho Chi Minh City) I was there for just shy of 2 days, 1 night and in Nha Trang for 3 days, 2 nights. I arrived to Barney’s Backpackers Hostel just this afternoon and boy, oh boy. I wish I had discovered this hostel sooner than later, but better later than never. Prior to arriving at Barney’s Backpackers Hostel I was staying at the Mi Son Hostel on the other side of the Thuận Phước Bridge. Although my stay was pleasant, I must admit that Barney’s Backpackers Hostel is by far thee best hostel I have ever stayed at in the world.

Although I don’t have many hostel experiences, out of all my hostel stays, Barney’s Backpackers Hostel is rated #1 for sure! The staff here are all so pleasant, courteous and overall have such beautiful souls. It is really hard to come by decent, nice human beings these days. But, I am glad to say that there are still a few nice people out there in the world and they are all at Barney’s Backpackers Hostel. When in Da Nang, please be sure to have your stay with Barney’s Backpackers Hostel.

I have been here just a few hours and already I am in awe. This hostel is so amazing, the ambiance, the decor, the food, the people, everything! You name it, they’ve got it. This hostel has a theme from the popular show “How I Met Your Mother” and each room and throughout the hostel is decorated with different pictures based on the show. I actually discovered Barney’s Backpackers Hostel on a website called workaway.com where you can find many travel opportunities from all over the world, volunteering your time and overall gaining new experiences. A very good friend of mine referred me to this site, and I thought to myself why not check it out, what is the worst thing that could possibly happen?

“How I Met Your Mother” theme at Barney’s Backpackers Hostel.

And here I am writing a blog post for this beautiful, exquisite hostel, sipping on La Rue, a local beer from Vietnam on the rooftop of Barney’s Backpackers Hostel, enjoying the amazing views of Da Nang city, whilst breathing in the fresh air of Vietnam’s rainy season. What more could A girl ask for? I can definitely picture myself living here in Da Nang, there is so much to see and do, yet I have so little time. Tonight I will have another visit to the Dragon Bridge because there will be a show of the dragon breathing fire! How epic can this day get? Who wouldn’t want to watch a fire breathing dragon bridge? That is definitely something I have never saw before and would love to check it off my bucket list, that’s for sure. Just for the record, last nights plan didn’t go as followed. I ended up playing pool and bar/club hopping with some crazy South Africans and a Chinese girl I met at the hostel. ‘Twas a good night nonetheless.

The lifestyle in Vietnam is very relaxed I must say. The locals are all so friendly, happy and always smiling. I will never forget this one taxi driver who repeatedly said: “Sorry, but I am happy. I am very happy.” Over and over again. He legitimately told me his whole life story, I now know that he has been a taxi driver for 15 years, he has a beautiful wife and two kids, a boy and a girl ages 10 and 15. It is the little encounters like this taxi driver that make my day while traveling. I love to be in a new country, meeting new people, learning about the cultural language and trying the scrumptious food; which Vietnam has plenty of. The Vietnamese food here is to die for.

As I walk over to the balcony of the rooftop and have a look, I see a taxi driver relaxing in his car with his feet up… no biggie, quickie rest stop. A couple of other traveler’s from Barney’s Backpackers Hostel come out to join me and greeted me in a friendly manner. You here a wide array of noises throughout the day in Da Nang, many of which are cars honking. I thought honking was bad in New York, but Vietnam is off the charts. I also thought traffic in my home city, Toronto was bad, but the traffic here during rush hour in the evening can be very tedious yet adventurous at the same time while being in the midst of it all. At some points throughout the center of the roads you approach, there aren’t any stop lights, you have a local man directing traffic, plenty of motorbikes (one of the main methods of transportation) and cars of course driving in all different directions. It is brutally insane, hectic, crazy and nonetheless exciting.

I could sit on top the rooftop of Barney’s Backpackers Hostel all afternoon (which I have been) sightseeing and people watching. The various noises bring forth such euphoria and music to my ears. How could I forget, of course sipping on some local beer is always nice. Also, I am sipping on my favourite beer of all time: Strongbow. I have yet to see it in other parts of Asia, but when I saw it at the airport in HCMC, it was like love at first sight.

La Rue, a local beer in Vietnam.

Often times when I have traveled in the past I have received many stares from the locals. For example, in Iceland and Norway to name a couple, due to the fact that I look exotic from what their country is use to seeing on a daily basis. By far, Vietnam takes the cake and the cherry on top with numerous stares and questions about my hair and skin colour. It is very comical to me, because this is the skin I was born into and lived in for the past 23 years of my life. To me it is nothing special. But, it is refreshing, I suppose, that locals notice a difference with me. I get the opportunity to see life through the lens of another perspective. One of the workers here at Barney’s Backpackers Hostel asked to touch my hair, although slightly awkward for me it is a new experience for them, and so I allowed her to. She mentioned that she loves my dark skin and my hair and wants to try to be darker, but that it would not work for her because she is Asian.

Since I have been in Vietnam, 3 days and counting, I have definitely been treated like royalty. I experienced an encounter at the Dragon Bridge last night when one of the security guards kindly sheltered me from the outbursts of pouring rain with his umbrella. I felt so special to have my own personal umbrella holder as he put up with me taking millions of selfies with my selfie stick of the colourful views of Da Nang’s beautiful bridges at night. No words were exchanged, as he did not understand English, but I showed my appreciation through many smiles.

Right now I am on travels through Asia, following my old roommates cruise ship who I use to work on ships with and yesterday as I was waiting for her I had a couple of the locals jumping towards me to light my cigarette for me. It was such a humerous gesture, as I had my own lighter within seconds from sparking my cigarette. The locals here have definitely gone out of their way for me numerous amount of times and I couldn’t be happier.

Following my old roommates cruise ship through Asia.

One thing I must add is that I have yet to grow a custom to the currency here in Vietnam, but I am catching on little by little, day by day. Baby steps right? The currency is so different here, compared to North America and other parts of Asia, as Vietnam carries thousands and millions. Never have I ever carried that amount of dollars in my hands… thousands yes, but millions, HA! I wish. Needless to say, the conversion rate is about $1 CAD to 17,000 VND or otherwise referred to as “Dong”. Once I have nailed the conversion rate, I will already be off to Hong Kong. But, knowing the conversion rate has definitely made it a lot easier for me to price out in my head… not. It has made it a lot easier for me to price out on my calculator how much, or how little I have been spending.

Vietnam is super cheap, I could get a full course meal with a beer for as cheap as 6 bucks! Really, I kid you not. The inexpensive lifestyle, the relaxed pace, friendly natured locals, beautiful sights and definitely the tropical, hot weather has attracted me to Asia and overall, Vietnam. Da Nang has so much beauty to offer, it is definitely worth a visit. It is definitely worth staying and living here I should add. The fact that I get to wake up every morning to palm trees, sun and not have to go through the struggles and hassles of layering up with winter boots, scarves, mits and a winter jacket is definitely a plus, plus, plus in my “Where to Live” books. Not that I own a “Where to live” book, literally, but figuratively speaking, in my mind I do!

All in all, I have encountered the most craziest of adventures I have ever experienced in my life, since I started my travel journey around the world exactly a month ago. Everyday something preposterous is happening to me, but that will have to be a post for another day. I admit that my travels have definitely made me into a stronger a person now than ever before. For all my readers out there itching to travel I strongly encourage you to add Da Nang, Vietnam to that bucket list of yours and make sure to stay at Barneys Backpackers Hostel where you will find the sweetest of people, great food, great beer, a central location to everything both by walking distance, car and/or motorbike, whatever your heart desires! Barneys Backpackers Hostel is by far thee best hostel in Da Nang city! Be sure to check out their website: www.Barneyshostel.com

Stay tuned for upcoming posts of my travel journey, check out my instagram and instasnaps for travel pictures and videos: seiko_irene93 and also add me to snapchat for exciting travels throughout Asia: seiko_irene.


Seiko M | PASSION | ∞