When we arrived in Vietnam we knew we wanted to see Da Nang. We’ve found a cool place on Airbnb titled “Smart Home, Panorama View”. We didn’t think much and booked it for the next 2 weeks. The description sounded interesting especially for geeks like us. We just wanted to see what it actually meant to have a “smart home”. Our visa situation was still unclear at this point. Therefore, we didn’t want to risk booking it for longer not knowing if we can stay in Vietnam or not.
Ho Chi Minh airport and business lounge
The local flight from Ho Chi Minh City to Da Nang was a bit surreal. Coronavirus was more and more in the news and at the airport, you could see some people taking extra precautions. Double masks, gloves and those funny hats with a face shield was a normal view there. We have also seen some people fully covered in plastic raincoats.
Checkout in our hotel was at 12 while our flight was later in the afternoon. We decided to use our free entrance to the business lounge from Revolut and wait there. It was our first time at the lounge and we weren’t disappointed. There was plenty of food to choose from, some alcoholic drinks, soda, tea and coffee. All included in the price of the lounge. What was even more important was a quite fast internet. That provided our entertainment for the next few hours.
We decided next time we have a long layover we will take a lounge again. Even if we have to pay extra for it. It is still better than waiting in the waiting room with the rest of the people. If you ever had to wait for your flight longer than an hour at the airport you know it’s not fun. Business lounges are a great alternative. I think it’s definitely worth to pay a little extra for a bit of comfort. On the plane, for the first time in our life, we were asked to wear a mask during the entire flight. We didn’t have any masks so we were given one from the stewardess.
Health precautions at the airport
When we arrived at Da Nang we were asked to fill in a Health Declaration Form. It was all very weird and confusing. Many people didn’t know what is going on and what they were supposed to do. We didn’t either so we just followed the crowd. We figured out that we need to take our Health Declaration Forms to one of the tables with some doctors. They checked the data there, our temperature before we were allowed to go to the immigration office for our stamp and out to the city. To be honest, if all those procedures were to prevent coronavirus spread that was an example of how not to do it. There were huge numbers of people cramped in a small place for an hour or more and not all of them wore masks.
Anyway, when we finally arrived the first thing we did was checking all those “smart” features. We had to figure out all the switches on the wall first. After that, it was all playing with remote controls. There was a remote for curtains and lights, tv (obviously) and one for a toilet! The smart home was, in fact, a small studio flat with a round bed at the rounded corner with a huge panoramic window.
The “Smart” toilet was fun at first. After some time we decided to use it more traditional way. It simply took ages to go through the whole process. So what was the process you ask? You open the toilet with your remote control, sit on it and it warms up the sit for you. When you’ve done your business you press another button on your remote for washing. After that, one more button for drying and in the end, you close the toilet with another one. It’s nice, hygienic and all but I am simply not used to spend so much time on the toilet. Fun experience just not for me.
The round bed for a change was something that I would consider buying one day. It didn’t look that big at first but my man said it was long enough to our surprise. It was very comfortable. I imagine buying a mattress for this kind of bed must be a pain though. The location of this apartment was also not bad. There were restaurants and coffee shops around and a small grocery shop right next to the entrance to our building. 2-3 minutes walking distance to the river, about 10 minutes to the bridge and about 20 minutes walk to the beach. Very nice, green and peaceful area.
The owner of this place owns a couple of other flats in the same building. He showed us a nice choice of small and larger rooms to choose from. The place is very nice and clean. Internet is great too. The host speaks very good English and he is incredibly helpful with all small and big questions.
About a week in our stay he messaged us that the government changed some regulations. They decided that hotels and homeowners cannot take any new guests. Those that already are there need to provide extra info for local police. Health declaration number, copy of the passport and copy of the stamp when we arrived. We didn’t think much about that. We could see that the situation with coronavirus becomes worse and worse every day. From the news, we knew that Vietnam is still showing the lowest numbers and no deaths. We thought we are relatively safe.
A few days later our host informed us that the government enforces a quarantine: shops and restaurants must be closed, all public places including the beach are closed and going out without a mask is prohibited. It was very helpful to have him inform us about all of it in that tough time. This was also the moment when Vietnam closed its’ borders and we were not able to go anywhere else from now on. Visa extension at this point became a necessity.