ruthdelacruz

travel & lifestyle blog by ruth dela cruz

Travel

Day Zero | Manila to Da Nang, Vietnam via Cebu Pacific Air

June 15, 2024

It’s been a year since the last time I traveled internationally.
I had to pause and postpone some travel plans because of a recent (sad) life event; so I am happy and excited to be able to explore new places and have a short vacation.

The destination, Da Nang, Vietnam.

Now, it is easier to go to Da Nang, Vietnam from Manila, Philippines via the direct flight of Cebu Pacific.

The iconic Golden Bridge in Da Nang, Vietnam

Da Nang is a popular tourist destination known for its stunning landscapes, luxurious resorts, and rich history. It is also the gateway to three UNESCO World Heritage Sites: The Hue Imperial Citadel, My Son Sanctuary, and Hoi An Ancient Town.

The last time I was in Da Nang, I just flew domestically to Ho Chi Minh on my flight back to Manila. Cebu Pacific recently launched a direct flight from Manila to Da Nang with a flight time of less than 3 hours.

I felt that I no longer know how to travel. Life is much different now to the point that I packed my luggage a day before the flight (previously, I got to pre-pack a week before my flight). But I still made sure that I arrived early at the airport.

➡️ Best time to visit Da Nang: The best time to visit Da Nang is February to May and then August to October. We originally planned to fly last week of May, but we had to move to first week of June to accommodate some projects.

Rodel and I agreed to meet up at 4:00 PM (that’s 3.5 hours before our flight). I arrived before 4:00 PM and asked about the “new travel process”. The ground attendant, Joy was very helpful in assisting passengers in the Check-in Kiosks, as well as making sure that everyone lined up at the right counter – for check-in and bag drop.

I obviously had too many questions, from how the new immigration process would go, to asking if I could already line up (while waiting) and if my friend could skip the line when he arrived. She said, “yes” and made sure I lined up at the right check-in counter.

Checking – in

I only waited for only 15 minutes, and found myself next on queue. I told the girl behind me to go ahead (she is a BTS Army!). I checked with my friend for his ETA, and it appeared he would arrive in 30 minutes. I let more passengers go ahead and check in.

One guy even asked what was the problem, and I told him I was waiting for a friend. He probably got curious about why I was letting more and more people ahead.

To ensure that we would be accommodated and that travel taxes were paid, I asked the Ground Attendant if it was okay if I just stayed in the line while I waited for my friend. She said, I could go straight to her once he arrived. When he finally arrived, she only asked for our passports and checked us in.

Immigration

While waiting to check in, I completed the eTravel form. I had to sign up on the website and fill out a form based on whether I was arriving or leaving the country. You can do this as early as 72 hours before your flight.

➡️ Register via eTravel app: https://etravel.gov.ph/

Interestingly, the Immigration Officer didn’t ask for the QR code. The only question she asked was when is my return date.

Airport Lounge Time

It has become an airport / flight experience for me to have snacks and kill time at the airport lounge. This time around, I tried the PAGSS airport lounge and used my new BPI card (with plus one). Since we knew that there wouldn’t be any in-flight entertainment (it was relatively a short flight), we downloaded movies via Netflix.

Boarding Time

Da Nang, Vietnam flight’s boarding gate is located just near the airport lounge. We arrived just in time to prepare our stuff before boarding. We boarded on time and left Manila at exactly 7:30 PM.

Flight Experience

We got seated at the Exit Row which gave us more leg room, and a view. We took off on time and it was a smooth flight.

Our ticket came with in-flight meals which are more affordable when purchased during booking (versus buying during flight). But if you are someone like me who is always hungry, go ahead and buy yourself the Cheese Roll (my fave).

For the most part of the flight, we were just talking and catching up, and then it was time to descend.

The total flight time is around 3 hours.

Welcome to Da Nang, Vietnam

We arrived safely and was pleasantly surprised to see the airport. It was so beautiful, organized, and well-lit. Our luggage also arrived safely. I was feeling a bit anxious because of the previous experience when my luggage was delayed for 4 days.

We just booked a Grab Car to get to our hotel which is just a quick 15-minute ride. There is a designated Grab Car pickup area just right in front of the airport. The security and airport staff were also very helpful in assisting us where to go, to make sure we wait for our service at the designated area.

➡️ Money Exchange: Rodel just exchanged money in the hotel; while I decided to just withdraw cash from my ATM. There is a service fee of Php 200 to Php 210 per transaction. To make it easier for us to calculate and convert prices, we took note that VND 50,000 = Php 100

➡️ Transporation: If you have s Grab app installed, you can use it directly in Vietnam. Just make sure that you have your credit card linked so you can book and use it even without Vietnamese Dong. We used Grab to book a car going to our hotel since we arrived 10:30 PM (Vietnam Time). I find that Grab Car fare is cheaper in Vietnam. To go around the city and other towns, Rodel rented a motorcycle arranged by the hotel which allowed us to visit places faster and cheaper. I had to learn how to angkas.

➡️ Hotel Accommodation: We stayed in Diamond Sea Hotel which is conveniently located right in front of the My Khe beach, and is close to many restaurants and convenience store. Hotels and accommodations are relatively cheap in Vietnam. While going around the city, we found really big hotel chains and properties.

➡️ eSIM / Data: I purchased my eSIM Vietnam via Klook which I had installed the day before the flight. I just turned off my local SIM and activated it when we landed in Da Nang. It costs around Php 800 for 7 days. I booked the same provider that I used in Japan and Indonesia.

➡️ Communicating with Locals: Some locals can communicate via English, but to make sure that you don’t get lost in translation, you can download the Translate app. We used it to communicate to our driver and locals we get to interact with especially when negotiating prices.

On my next blogs, I will share more about places to visit and more travel tips.

You can also follow me @ruthilicious and watch Instagram Reels featuring things to do in Da Nang, including Paragliding.

@ruth.delacruz

Paragliding in Da Nang, Vietnam 🪂One of the things to do to see more of Da Nang. We booked our ticket via @Klook Philippines . Use my code RUTHILICIOUS for discount. Fly directly from Manila to Da Namg via @Cebu Pacific Air ✈️ #RuthGoestoDaNang #DaNang #Vietnam #Paragliding

♬ These Words – Badger & Natasha Bedingfield

Cebu Pacific’s Manila to Da Nang flights operate thrice a week, every Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday. The flight will depart Manila from 7:30 PM (PH time) and will arrive at 9:30 PM (Vietnam time). The return flight from Da Nang to Manila will operate from 10:30 PM (Vietnam time) to 2:20 AM (PH time).

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