About Ozy, your tour guide for Danang, Vietnam

Hi, I am Ozy. I’m a regular tournament player in Asia and have been living in the region for 20 years. In late 2019, I played at the Asia Poker League event in Danang and learnt a little about the city. I want to share that with you. Say hello to me when you see me 🙂

ozy-abram-manila-pokerdanang-hand-bridge

This guide is copyright but feel free to link back to this page.

 

Worth going to Danang for poker?

Easy yes for live tournament players, when a regional event is being hosted. Possible yes for cash game only players. For players looking for a tropical beach holiday with some poker on the side, Danang is definitely on your list.

 

Bring your girlfriend, boyfriend, partner, other, fluff?

Yes, Danang is a beautiful city with plenty to do day and night. Bring your favourite people with you!

 

Cash poker or tournament poker in Danang?

Tournament poker is taking off in Danang as of 2019 and is permitted by the authorities so you run no risk at the poker rooms. My understanding is that some rooms offer disguised cash games using point systems or sit and goes and some offer pure cash games. There are no legal cash games in Vietnam although I’ve heard of many underground cash games, probably connected with the underworld. I’ve not heard of any raids in Danang, but do your homework.

 

Poker cash games in Danang

Cash games are illegal in Vietnam however it seems Danang poker rooms are overlooked by the authorities. I guess there are many underground games too.

 

Poker tournaments in Danang

There are 3 kinds of tournaments you can play:

Daily poker tournaments in Danang: Daily tournaments are low buy-in, fast structured events, with buy-ins starting under US$20. Each of the poker rooms will have daily tournaments.
Local poker tournaments series in Danang: As tournament poker in Danang picks up, there will be more regular, such as monthly, larger local tournaments to serve locals and expats. Generally you’ll find info on each Poker Room’s Facebook page.
Regional poker tours in Danang: Danang is still finding a place on the map for regional tours. APT has played there and APL and APT plan to be there in 2020.

So, travel to Danang during one of the larger tours and then check out what daily and local series are running to fill in some of your downtime.

 

About Danang

Da Nang (Đà Nẵng) is Vietnam’s third largest city, and is located on the Eastern Sea coast, midway between Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City and the largest city of Central Vietnam. It’s main features are a long gorgeous beach and a river that runs close to the sea.

The city itself has neither the atmosphere of Hanoi nor the hustle-bustle of Ho Chi Minh City, but has its share of sights and is close to the ancient cities of charming Hoi An and the imperial capital of Hue, making it a popular vacationing spot for those looking to explore the attractions of central Vietnam or soak up some rays while hanging out on the city’s beaches.

The city has grown rapidly in recent years and reached a population of over 1,000,000 people in 2014. There are many remnants of the “American War” leftover in Da Nang. On the way to the popular tourist spot; South Vietnam Sea, the ruins of a military base remain in the form of helicopter hangars, although these are now more easily spotted at the airport, which serves both civil and military flights.

Da Nang is often overlooked by tourists but is one of the most friendly in all of Vietnam. The famous My Khe Beach is monthly sprouting new high-rise hotels. Some of the most beautiful beaches in Vietnam are found here, and some of the friendliest people.

 

Visas for Danang

Your visa requirement will depend on the country of your passport. Many countries are visa free for 90 days.Check out this page on Wikipedia. At the time of writing, at least these countries are visa free for from 15 to 90 days: Philippines, Malaysia, Singapore, Germany, South Korea, Japan, UK, Russia, France.

Vietnam also has an e-visa. Apply online for an e-visa if your passport does not allow visa-free entry or if you plan to stay longer. Many sites sell the e-visa: the Vietnam government official site, approved online agents, government look-a-like sites, and of course, be wary of scam sites.

 

How to get to Danang by plane

Da Nang International Airport (DAD) is the smallest of Vietnam’s three international airports. There are frequent flights to and from Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City.

Internationally connected with direct flights to Guangzhou, Hong Kong, Kuala Lumpur, Seoul-Incheon, Shanghai-Pudong, Siem Reap, Singapore, Taipei and Tokyo-Narita.

 

Airport to downtown Danang

The airport is located within the city, just 3 km west of the center of Danang, a 10-minute trip at most.

 

 

Option 1: Metered taxi from the airport, which is relatively cheap.
Option 2: Arrange for your hotel to pick you up from the airport.
Option 3: Book a Grab to avoid a language barrier and to know the exact price in advance.

 

Where to stay in Danang for poker, accomodation in Danang

There are hundreds of hotels in Danang and something for all budgets. I suggest you stay near the poker place for your first visit. Of course, you could stay further way for a cheaper or larger room, and rent a motorbike to get around for about US$6/day.

Warning: Danang is in a construction boom. You should ask before booking about construction noise and at least request a room away from construction noise.

 

danang-poker-map-poker-hotels

 

Hotels right near the poker action in Danang

Staying in this area is convenient, and you are a 5 minute walk from the beach.

  • Risemount Resort (where many poker tours are hosted)
  • Royal Lotus Hotel (next door to Risemount)
  • King Finger Hotel (across the road from Risemount)

Hotels a 5-10 minutes walk from poker, but nearer the beach (recommended)

  • Halina Hotel
  • Aria hotel

 

Airbnb in Danang

There are many rooms popping up, from US$15 to US$60, some right near the beach and fully fitted out. You get more value for money for longer stays with AirBnb.

 

Get around Danang: Walk, Taxi, Grab, Motorbike

For just poker, restaurants, massage and beach, you can just walk. The streets are wide and easy to navigate. You could take a taxi or Grab for longer trips.

Da Nang spans many kilometers in all directions. Unlike a city such as Hanoi, the tourist destinations are not concentrated into a single district. Instead, many of the destinations of note for foreigners are far from one another and require motorized transportation. On the bright side, Da Nang’s generously spacious roadways, bridges, and walkways may be a welcome change to those who want a change from crowded urban living.

 

Danang by motorbike

Renting a motorbike costs about 80,000-150,000VND per day for most hotel and rental companies in Da Nang. The required motorbike skill level is moderate; traffic in Da Nang is not as complex to navigate as more concentrated cities such as Hanoi as roadways are incredibly spacious and the concentration of vehicles is much less. However, Da Nang is also not a place to learn how to ride a motorbike either as traffic does follow the spirit of the rest of Vietnam, where traffic flow is governed by peripheral awareness rather than street traffic signals. If you plan to explore, then rent a motorbike from your hotel or local vendor.

 

Danang by taxi

Fare starts at 8,000 to 15,000 VND, depending on size. All taxis are equipped with meters although some taxi companies are more expensive than others.

 

Taxation on poker earnings in Vietnam

In Vietnam, normal tournament rake is taken out. However, if you cash in a tournament, the cashier will also remove 10% “tax” on your profits. Your profit is the prize won minus the total of your buy-ins for that event. Whether or not this is a legal tax is debatable, but you cannot avoid paying it. If you cut a deal at final table, the distribution calculation is complicated by each person’s tax calculation.

 

Poker rooms in Danang Vietnam

This map shows the main poker rooms in Danang..

 

danang-poker-map-poker-rooms

 

Risemount Resort Hotel

 

danang-risemount-resort-poker-tournament

 

The Risemount is a 5-star hotel located on the map (Poker tournament). APL held their poker tournament series in their function room in 2019 and plan again for 2020. The place is spacious, well-presented and well-equipped. Relax and smoke around the pool during break times. There are no cash games at the hotel.

 

Win Bridge and Poker Club

Win Poker in Danang operates in a hotel and has splendid views of the beach and ocean. The room is clean and well run. Food is served at the tables. Mostly daily tournaments with small buy-ins. Some cash games starting at night. Here’s a local review in Vietnamese of Win Poker in Danang. A mix of locals and foreigners play here. A typical tournament plan is like this:

 

  • No Limit Hold’em Sunday Million 2.4M (12am every Sunday) with rake of 16.67%.
  • No Limit Hold’em Micro Million 720K (12am every Saturday) with rake of 16.67%.
  • Daily NLH tournaments with buy-ins ranging from 240K to 1.2M every day. Tournaments have a rake of 16.67%.

danang-Win-Bridge-and-Poker-Club-view

 

Address: 300 Vo Nguyen Giap, Da Nang, Vietnam 0084
Get Directions
+84 97 554 99 94
Facebook

 

Sokha Bridge and Poker Club

Small daily tournaments and weekly special tournaments. And cash games or “Sit ‘n’ gos” as they say here at Sokha. Local review of the club.

 

danang-Sokha-Bridge-and-Poker-Club

 

Facebook
Address Sokha Poker Club Danang: 287 Trần Hưng Đạo, Da Nang, Vietnam
Get Directions
+84 90 143 88 99

 

Diamond Poker Club

Small buy-in tournaments, freerolls and cash games. Visit them to find out what’s going on currently.

 

danang-diamond-poker-club

 

Add: Tầng 3 , Tòa nhà Golden Bay, 01 Lê Văn Duyệt, Sơn Trà, Đà Nẵng
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Get Directions
+84 82 738 2246

 

Currency and banking in Danang

The Vietnamese dong (VND), Vietnam’s official currency, come in polymerized notes with multiple zeroes.

1 USD ~ 23,000 VND

When you buy-in or get paid out, usually you’ll receive bundles of VND200,000 or VND500,000.

 

danang-currency-poker-vietnamese-dong

 

Getting a grip on all those zeros can be challenging for the first-time visitor to Vietnam. With a little time and practice, buying and spending Vietnamese dong becomes second nature to the Vietnam visitor. Carrying all the piles after a big payout can be a nuisance and you might change to USD at the local bank or sell your dong to another player who’s looking to buy in.

Money exchange – You can do money exchange from all major currencies including USD, KRW, JPY at all the bank branches and at some money exchanges too.

ATMs in Danang – There are ATMs everywhere, however there is a low limit on each transaction and your foreign cards won’t always work. Just try another ATM. Foreign banks work more reliably.

Credit cards – are widely accepted in Danang.

 

Open a bank account in Vietnam

Foreigners who are tourists might be able to open a local bank account in VND (depending on the bank, branch and your documents), but the bank account will not allow you to make deposits. The accounts are designed for bringing in foreign currency by wire transfer. You might like this if you plan on many trips to Vietnam, so you have your buy-in money safe and available. However, apparently there is a way in which a local friend can transfer VND from his account to yours via ATM, as a way of saving your prize money locally, ready for your next trip.

 

Power in Danang

 

danang-vietnam-power-outlet-shapedanang-vietnam-power-plug-shape

 

In Vietnam the power plugs and sockets are of type A, C and D. The standard voltage is 110 / 220 V and the standard frequency is 50 Hz. If your device says something like “100-240, 50-60Hz”, it means it is compatible with all of different voltages used in the world, including Vietnam. You can use them anywhere as long as the plugs are also compatible.

 

Safety and dangers in Danang

Overall Vietnam is a safe country to travel in. Us poker players might be the danger!

 

danang-poker-warnings-dangers-scams

 

Danang is a comparatively safe city but be sure to lock up your belongings at night (as everyone does) which includes not leaving your bike outside at night. Also be extremely wary of my khe beach hotels and apartments. There are some extremely dodgy hosts in the area. DO NOT book any apartment or hotel before asking around and finding out about the owner’s reputation. There is a lot of talk around town of severe scamming. Watch out for a business called Mahalo.

 

Safety ranking of Vietnam compared to other countries

Vietnam is a safe country. Tourism is the main source of income for not only the governmental budget but private as well. So, the tourists’ security is number 1 priority. Vietnam is ranked 43rd out of 162 on the ranking of the safest and most dangerous countries.

 

Disease and health

Common sense prevails: avoid mosquito bites, avoid street food, use protection during sexual activity and stay far away from poker tables full of coughing, sneezing nose-picking stinky belching gambling degenerates.
For detailed advice, read here.

 

On your first trip to a new tropical country, it’s quite common that you’ll have some stomach bug. Often this is from parasites in water that you are not used to. You might get diarrhea or fever or cramping. If it doesn’t pass soon, consider treatment from the pharmacy to start.

Scams in Danang

In my previous trip I didn’t encounter nor hear of any scams. However, forewarned is forearmed. Read this link and this link too. Motorbike rental places trying to charge you for pre-existing damages or overcharging for tiny scratches is common.

 

Internet access in Danang

Danang is an internet gateway for Vietnam, so expect fast speeds. Very easy to stream netflix or download movies.

 

Wifi in poker rooms

All the poker rooms will provide you with internet access. However, when you attend a larger tournament, the hotel wifi might not have the capacity for so many people and speeds slow down.

 

Wifi in hotels

All hotels offer fast wifi in the rooms.

 

Mobile internet sim

Pick up a sim card at the airport with 4G and it will work well all around the city.

 

Speeds

Danang has very fast internet speeds.

 

Laundry in Danang

Your hotel can handle it, or get a bag wash, dry and iron and one of the many local laundry shops – very cheap and usually take 1 day.

 

Beaches in Danang

There are three main beaches in Danang. (A fourth one faces north into the bay and is not a place where expats usually go.) The beaches on the eastern side of the city are beautiful and developed for expat-friendly tourism. In the north is Pham Van Dong beach and Temple Resort. Temple Resort has a beautiful infinity pool under the palm trees with a view of the ocean and beach (90,000 VND). The My Kye Beach (China Beach) is at the eastern end of the Dragon Bridge road. And at Holiday Beach in the south is where you can walk into the cafe-rich An Thuong area and rent a surf board–Holiday Beach always has bigger waves than other parts of the beach.

 

Awesome things to do in Danang on your day off from poker

You can do these things also after busting 3 or 4 in a row and cannot look at that poker room without crying.

 

Beach

The beaches on the eastern side of the city are beautiful and developed for expat-friendly tourism. In the north is Pham Van Dong beach and Temple Resort. The My Kye Beach (China Beach) is at the eastern end of the Dragon Bridge road.

 

danang-poker-beach

 

Sites in Danang

  • My Son Sanctuary, ancient ruins, UNESCO site
  • Cham Museum – history
  • Marble Mountains are 9 km south. Caves and mountains to explore
  • Ba Na Hill Station – wealthy retreat, famous hands bridge
  • Cham island
  • Linh Ung Buddhist Temple – views, photo opps
  • Bach Ma National Park
  • Dragon Bridge – photo opps, light shows at night
  • Son Tra Peninsula
  • Monkey Mountain. Motorbike and explore the mountainous northern tip of Son Tra. It’s cooler up at the top!
  • Son Tra Nature Education Center

 

Food and drink in Danang

Restaurants are all over the city and you’ll have plenty to explore. The “An Thuong” area of streets just west of Holiday Beach Hotel is the expat place-to-be. Great cafes there, and lots of information about planning the rest of your time. An Thuong Night Market: small, chill food stalls.
Try some of the seafood restaurants along the beach.

 

Eating at night in Danang

 

Coffee in Danang

Oh, there is coffee everywhere you look. Find your favourite for take out to the poker room. Take a walk just south of the Risemount and you’ll find many cool coffee shops and bars.

 

danang-poker-cafes-nearby

 

Languages in Danang

Danang has a dialect of Vietnamese. However, the city has a thriving overseas tourist market and most people in the service industry speak the necessary English, including at hotels. At some places, perhaps Chinese and Korean are spoken.

At the poker tables, usually both Vietnamese and English are accepted for the players. During major tournaments, you can expect English to be the common language of management, but the dealers typically will have limited English, unless they are from the Philippines.

 

Weather at Danang

From the rainfall chart below, you might like to avoid Danang during September to November.

 

danang-poker-weather-rainfall-temperature

 

Also, looking at the temperatures, January through to May is going to be more pleasant for outdoor activities, and May to August is the beach season.

Massage in Danang

No true poker player can do without massage, and you have so many choices in Danang. There are massage shops all over the city and densely in the tourist areas. Keep you valuables safe and on or near you.

You’ll find all types of massage including dry, shiatsu, Thai, oil, herbal and many more exotic massages.

Here is a great list of recommended spas in Danang to soothe after that nasty bad beat. A professional massage in a fancy setting will cost you under US$20. A typical massage in an everyday shop will cost about US$7.

Even though there are “happy ending” massage places around, you can feel pretty confident that if your massage therapist is dressed in pants and a company-logo shirt, you’re going to receive a professional massage. If you’ve chosen a place where your therapist is wearing high heels and a miniskirt, I guess you must know what you’re doing.

 

Nightlife and things to do in Danang

Bach Dang at night. The northbound street between Dragon Bridge and Han Bridge, on the city-center side of the river, comes alive with lights and cafes at night. Toward the Dragon Bridge is a row of shops where they’ll sell you a chilled coconut for a dollar or two, and you can sit and people-watch with the locals.

 

Foreigner friendly

Danang is refreshingly open to tourists from all countries and backgrounds. Service staff are usually courteous and patient with tourists and will often go out of their way to help you as best they can. Oftentimes, if you are struggling with communicating or paying for example, a local will voluntarily lend a hand.

Da Nang is more friendly than other Vietnamese cities on the city side. But be extremely careful about establishments on the beach side. There is a lot of corruption. Personally speak to sources, so you do not get shafted.

However, most locals are quite friendly and almost always willing to help (even when they do not speak English). They are also generally more easygoing and less motivated by scamming foreigners than you will experience in other cities such as Hanoi or HCM, and this can be a welcome surprise and gives Da Nang more of its own charm as well.

 

Adult entertainment in Danang

Read this blog for some ideas on how to meet your off-the-felt needs. Danang is quite an open-minded city.

 

Gay life in Danang

Danang has a thriving gay scene. I don’t know about a gay poker player niche however. Try this guide: https://www.gayDanang4u.com/guide/

 

Romance in Danang

Your best bet is online. Try VietnamCupid and DateinAsia, and of course tinder and other dating apps.

 

Drugs in Danang

Alcohol and tobacco are legal and plentiful but other recreational drugs are illegal. Do not do illegal drugs in Vietnam and definitely do not ask around for the plentiful supply of weed and other substances because you might just find what you are looking for.

 

Smoking cigarettes in Danang

Some of the poker rooms permit smoking and some do not. Smoking outside is common throughout the city. For the Risemount Hotel, where some poker tournaments are being held in 2020, there is no smoking in the poker area, but smoking is allowed around the poolside, just outside the main room.

 

Nearby cities and towns

Da Nang is also ideally positioned between Hoi An (40 minutes south) and Hue (2 hours north). Stop by and soak up the atmosphere and enjoy the unspoilt golden sandy beaches on the up and coming eastern part of Da Nang (Son Tra peninsula).

 

Nearby countries to Danang

You ought to consider these nearby locations on your poker travels: Manila (cash games and tournaments) (2.5 hour flight), Japan, South Korea (cash games and tournaments), Phnom Penh (cash games mostly) and Bangkok.

 

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