We did the opposite stayed in Danang and took a motorbike to Hoi An .
Hoi An is charming without a doubt and hotels are cheaper than Danang. What Danang has in its favour is it is not over run with tourists like Hoi An so you get to see a real Vietnamaese city and a very beautiful one at that.Walking the river front in the evening is delightful. Peaceful and lovely.The beach which is just an extension of the one in Hoi An is full of places selling fresh seafood at very cheap prices.So it depends what you want. Just remember Hoi An is as touristy as it gets.
Agree with Sayadian - if you want to stay very close to the beach Da Nang is probably a better option as well. You could stay on the east side of the river and take motorbike cabs into town in the evening - or hire a bike for multiple days (a lot of the hotels let you keep them in the lobby), Monkey Mountain is nice to check out as well as Marble Mountain.
A real city that also isn't as crazy as Hoi'an or HCMC - very accessible, a great place to get the feel of life in Vietnam.
I stay in Danang and Hoi An 3-4 times a year, and i love them all. However for a short trip 1 -1.5 day, you should choose Hoi An. You could spend a day walking in old quarters, afternoon at local beaches ( An Bang or Ha Mi ).
#5 budgethanoi has been a member since 20/10/2012. Posts: 4
Da Nang isn't exactly unattractive (although beauty is in the eye of the beholder; the area near China beach that lives in pre-development limbo is a mess) but Hoi An is one of the region's highlights. Only reason I'd give Hoi An a miss is if I really hated being approached by people trying to sell me things in English, and if that was the case I'd take a massive detour to avoid Nha Trang.
(which has a lot of the aesthetic qualities of Da Nang if you like well-designed promenades, skinny tower hotels and everything having a fresh coat of paint).
#8 enigmatic has been a member since 14/4/2011. Posts: 84
I can only speak of Hoi An which was beautiful and tranquil ( low season ) some of the shop keepers are getting desperate to sell so bargains can be found but it does also lead to some being a bit persistent which took me by surprise after the rest of Vietnam being so laid back compared to Thailand and Cambodia. Bech again was very quiet due to it beign low season dont know if the sea is calmer nearer Da Nang but it was quite rough at the Hoi An side.
I'll admit i didnt possibly see Da Nang in the best light but i wasnt that impressed as we drove out of it to get to Hoi An but I will give it more of a chance if i ever make it back in that direction.