Madison and I hopped on a sleeper bus from Hanoi to Da Nang, hoping to get away from the cold and spend some time on the beach. Unfortunately, the weather did not comply; fortunately, we stayed at a wonderful hostel and ate some delicious food.
Barney's Backpacker Hostel is one of the best hostels we have stayed at on our trip so far. It is across the river from Da Nang city center, which at first seemed inconvenient, but a quick stroll around the neighborhood proved that the location is perfect. The residential streets are filled with potted plants and lined with trees. Locals sit outside drinking tea, and are the friendliest people--everyone you pass says "Hello!" Or "What's your name?".
Walk a bit further and you'll find little restaurants, serving up quang noodles, or street stands selling barbecue meat and fresh seafood. There are fruit stands overflowing with fruits you have never seen before, corner cafes, and ladies serving Pho out of their living rooms. And everything is delicious, even if you're Vietnamese is awful and you don't get exactly what you ordered!
After some street food and a Valentine's Day cake from one of the many cake shops, we decided to walk to the nearest beach, only about 20 minutes from the hostel. Laying in the soft sand and watching the waves was wonderful, despite the clouds and approaching storm.
After the beach, we all showered off the sand back at the hostel. Barney's definitely has the nicest showers in Asia--hot, clean, and with huge shower heads! A nice shower makes all the difference while backpacking the world, and they are harder to find than one would expect.
We we didn't have to go far down the block to find a restaurant. The low plastic chairs and tables were packed, so we decided it must be good. There were bins of live seafood, which you could choose your meal from. We opted to share a "hot pot" with fresh fish, shrimp, noodles, pineapple, tomato, and lots of greens. Paired with the cheapest beer on the menu and good company, it was the perfect meal.
If you ever find yourself in Da Nang, be sure to stay at Barney's--definitely one of the best backpacker hostels in Vietnam. You will find authentic, low-key Vietnamese experiences while still staying comfortable and having fun!
check it out at www.barneyhostel.com