Da Nang! BOLT Top 5 Things to See Here!

We are so fortunate to be sheltering in Da Nang during this pandemic. We are able to go places and do things. The virus appears to be under control and with sane precautions we are able to enjoy this part of Vietnam. We’ve been here long enough that we have our top 5 spots.

5. Hoi An Ancient Town

This picturesque town is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It’s touristy with lots of shops and souvenirs. It also has lovely ancient buildings and views of the water. Hoi An is a short. (less than 45 minutes) ride from Da Nang. A highlight for us was the river boat ride.

Hoi An

4. Bana Hills Sun World

This place is amazing! A marvel of engineering and design, it’s set high above the city. To get there you take the world’s longest cable car. After a breathtaking ride you can spend hours exploring the park. There are amusement park rides, arcade games, flower gardens and beautiful buildings. A highlight of Bana Hills for most folks is the amazing Golden Hands Bridge.

Bana Hills

3. Kwan Yin Statue

I love that we are sheltering in a city that is overlooked by Kwan Yin. She is the Buddhist goddess of love and compassion. A short ride up into the hills can take you for a visit. There you can oooh and ahhh at beautiful statues and gardens and even see some monkeys (a highlight for me).

Monkeys at the Kwan Yin Statue

2. Vinpearlland

It’s a water park! It’s a zoo! It’s an amusement park! It’s an awesome place to spend the day! Vinpearlland is the kind of place you have to experience, it’s hard for me to really tell you how much fun can be had there! I’ve been twice and each time I discover more. I especially loved feeding the giraffes on the safari river!


1. Hot Springs Park

I LOVE a good soak in a hot springs or even a hot tub. Unlike most hot springs that I have visited, this place has so much more! It’s a fully loaded water park with all the slides and water features you’d expect. There’s a 5D movie theater, an area full of growling, moving dinosaurs and there are lovely gardens. I really enjoyed the mud bath I had and spending time with Kathy and our friends at this lovely place.

Hot Springs Park

We are grateful for our time here in Da Nang. It’s a beautiful big city. We are looking forward to exploring more of Vietnam in the near future and sharing our experiences with you!

BOLT TOP 5: Vietnamese Eats

We came for a month’s stay and are here for 6. I came with negative opinions about Vietnamese food, gratefully they have changed.

I love the freshness of Vietnamese food. Everything is full of vegetables and herbs. Many dishes come with a side plate of fresh herbs and greens. Another thing I love is that most things are served with a variety of delicious sauces.

It’s a lazy Sunday so I thought I’d share my top 5 Vietnamese meals. All of these can be made vegan, vegatarian of with seafood, poultry, beef or pork. So here’s my countdown.

5. Morning Glory!

These savory greens, also called water spinach, remind me of home cooked collards. I serve them with beans and hot water cornbread.

4. Spring Rolls!

Whether fried or fresh you can’t go wrong with spring rolls. Whenever I don’t know what to order these are always my go to.

3. Op La!

There are many varieties of this egg sandwich. I like this deconstructed version served at Rom Coffee Cafe. The eggs are served sunny side up, topped with a delicious spicy sauce. You create your own sandwich on crusty French bread with lettuce and tomato.

2. Bahn Xeo!

You can get versions of this Vietnamese savory crepe all over Da Nang. My favorite is this vegetarian version filled with mushrooms served at The End of the Beach restaurant.

1. Bun Cha!

This is a delicious and unique Vietnamese noodle dish, said to be President Barak Obama’s favorite when he visited Vietnam. It’s traditionally made with pork meatballs but I love the vegan version (below) served at one of my favorite spots, Loving Vegan.

One of the great things about travel is trying new foods. Living life without set favorites and preferences allows me to explore and enjoy new things all the time. I hope you do too!

BOLT Dong Budget

Dong is the currency here in Vietnam. We get lots of questions about the strength of the American dollar here and the cost of living. Of course, Covid 19 has affected prices, bringing them down. This post reflects our current budget for life in Da Nang.

RENT: 7 Million Vietnamese Dong ($300) for our spacious studio apartment, with rooftop pool and twice a week maid service

FOOD and SUPPLIES: 9 million VND ($386) This includes groceries, eating out and all household supplies.

ELECTRICITY AND WATER: 2 million VND ($85) we try to be mindful about our air con useage but it’s really hot right now in Da Nang. This amount includes our monthly electric and tap water bill as well as delivered drinking water.

TRANSPORTATION: 1 million VND ($43) Kathy rents a motorbike when she wants to go out for a solo ride. I prefer the local ride .service called Grab (like Uber in the states). I have a favorite driver who i call for any longer distance trips. We are fortunate that we are able to walk to the local market, etc so we rarely use all of this budget allotment.

ENTERTAINMENT: 4 Million VND ($170) There is lots to see and do here in Da Nang so we have a generous budget for sightseeing. I don’t think we have ever exceeded the 4 million.

Life is really good, affordable and easy here in Da Nang. We could never afford life in a U.S. beach city on our retirement income. We are very grateful to have landed in this safe spot during these difficult times.

Watch “Basic Buddhism: The Precepts: Can Buddhists Kill Insects?” on YouTube

Basic Buddhism:
Kathy Halili Akoma is an ordained Zen Buddhist Dharma teacher and priest. She answers many of your questions in her YouTube video series. Please watch, like, subscribe and share!

Change is Possible! Don’t give up hope!

Kathy and I were talking this morning about revolution in all it’s forms. We are tired and heart broken. Tired of the killing of black folks. Tired of police brutality. Tired of injustice. As I despaired over the state of the United States and what is happening there, Kathy reminded me that change does happen. As I expressed doubt that unorganized uprising can effect change she reminded me that the truth of revolution is that it is often unorganized. As I expressed anxiety that people will be hurt and die she reminded me that dying can be a revolutionary act and that dying is not the worst thing that can happen. Ultimately she reminded me of the revolutionary changes achieved as a result of the Civil Rights Movement. This post is hopefully a reminder for us all.

In March 1965 these folks braved Billy clubs, tear gas, dogs and a racist governor who empowered a racist sheriff to do anything he could think of to stop those unarmed, non-violent people from walking to the capital of Alabama for their rights. They marched for 54 miles over 5 days.

In March 2015 Kathy and I repeated that 54 mile walk. We marched with foot soldiers who had been on the original march. We marched with young people, students and families. We marched because we wanted to honor and give thanks for those original marchers and the changes they wrested from the hands of the powerful.

We marched with Ms Annie Pearl Avery. She is a life long civil rights activist. Ms Annie Pearl was on the Edmund Pettus Bridge on Bloody Sunday 50 years ago. She was beaten and jailed. She didn’t let that stop her. She made the Selma to Montgomery March in 1965 and she was with us every step of the 2015 march!

We met Julian Bond, who is a reminder that change can come about in many ways: political, street activism, education and more.

On the way we stopped at the memorial to Viola Liuzzo who lost her life in 1965 during the original Selma to Montgomery March. Driving back from a trip shuttling fellow activists to the Montgomery airport, she was shot by members of the Ku Klux Klan. She was 39 years old.

We marched to remember, reconnect and restore. We marched because the fight for civil rights and social justice is far from over.

We made it! 54 miles from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama! “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” -Margaret Mead

In 2015 President Barak Obama gave a speech on the Edmund Pettis Bridge. He embraced Congressman John Lewis who was beaten on that bridge 50 years ago. Change does happen!

Don’t give up hope dear brothers and sisters. “It is our duty to fight for our freedom. It is our duty to win. We must love each other and support each other. We have nothing to lose but our chains.” -Assata Shakur

Cooking with BOLT: Vegetarian Bahn Mi

Bahn Mi is the quintessential Vietnamese sandwich/street food. Served on delicious and crusty french bread it’s usually full of meat. I’ve created a delicious vegetarian version (vegan if you choose vegan mayo).

It’s quite easy to make and all the ingredients can be found at any local market.

Ingredients (For 3 sandwiches)
4 Chopped garlic cloves
1 Sliced onion
1 cup sliced oyster  and king mushrooms
1 Sliced red bell pepper
2 Tablespoons Coconut oil
Soy sauce
Pho sauce
3 French bread baguettes
1 Avocado
6 Lettuce leaves
1 Tomato

1. Saute garlic and onions in coconut oil.
2. Add mushrooms and red bell pepper.
3. Cook until tender but not mushy.
4. Add soy sauce, pho sauce and sugar to taste.
5. Toast the French bread.
6. Spread the bread with mayo to taste.
7. Top with cooked veggies.
8. The top the sandwich with lettuce, tomato and avocado.