Adventure Engineering in Da Nang, Vietnam

Editors Note: Introducing Vincent Paca, Adventure Engineer at PayrollHero. He will be contributing to the PayrollHero blog from time to time.

Not so many months ago, a talkative fellow wandered in my small Cebu office by chance. Dressed in shorts, flip flops and a black shirt with a man in a red cape. Turned out that was Mike Stephenson, CEO of PayrollHero. He talked about adventure, learning, teamwork and improving one’s self and the next thing I knew I was on a plane to Manila two days later to pair with a few of their engineers. A little under a year and here I am, in Singapore, busting out a blog post about the adventures and misadventures of Adventure Engineering.

Adventure engineers often travel depending on the client’s need. We go wherever we can be more effective at our job. Being ridiculously client focused, as we always say. (yes, we are hiring)

Da Nang, VietnamOne of the things that we wanted to try out this year was to partner up with 3rd party engineering teams to help us increase our velocity. In comes AgilityIO, a 150-strong engineering team based in Da Nang, Vietnam. We believe that a lot of problems can easily be solved when you’re in the same room together with your team. Making the communication loop so much shorter meant making things move faster.

At the beginning of April, Adam, Mike, Piotr and I decided to meet up in Da Nang, Vietnam to personally meet and work with team Agility. Adam, and Mike flew in from Singapore, Piotr arrived from Whistler and I catapulted all the way from Manila.

Getting to Da Nang is no simple task. Flying from the Philippines meant that I had to take a flight to either Hanoi or Saigon, then take another domestic flight to central Vietnam. I landed in Saigon around 12am bags in hand waiting for my next flight at 5am. DO NOT fly at these hours. Saigon domestic airport closes at night and the earliest they open is at four in the morning. I had to stay outside of the building and wait for it to open. Fun times indeed. I arrived in Da Nang around 6:30am. Being in Vietnam also meant that we had to wake up an hour earlier. Our daily huddle always happens at 6:47am GMT+8 and no, it doesn’t matter where you are.

I downed a can of RedBull and a shot of Cà phê sữa đá and headed to AgilityIO’s office with Piotr. Agility has a HUGE office in Da Nang, 5 floors of mobile and backend developers, it seemed like they had it all. We knew from the start that this wasn’t going to be a breeze. Communication and getting your thoughts across was definitely a challenge, but we didn’t let that wall stop us from where we’re going. We’re now two weeks into the project that we’re working with Agility and we’re almost near completion.

piotr, vince and agility team in da nang

A selfie with some of the Agility team in the background

Da Nang wasn’t all work and no play. We went for a food tour around Da Nang at lunch time. Summer from Funtastic Food Tour took us around Da Nang to its secret foodie gems scattered all around the city.

The next day we hopped in a cab and ventured to Hoi An. Our first stop was the Marble Mountains. The Marble Mountains is a cluster of mountains made of, you guessed it, marble. Going up one of the mountains wasn’t that difficult. Partly because the local government attached a modern elevator to the side of the mountain that takes you up halfway of the mountain.

(Adam, Piotr, Mike and myself)

(Adam, Piotr, Mike and myself)

Scaling the peak wasn’t all that bad either. All that marble makes for perfect steps when crawling up to the peak.

da hang, vietnam marble mountain stairsWe just made it in time for lunch at our hotel and just enough time to prepare for our motorbike tour around the countryside of Hoi An. This was the very first time I learned how to ride a motorbike and surprisingly enough it wasn’t that bad. Vuong took us around the scenic countryside of Hoi An, we rode on floating bridges, elevated bamboo bridges and along the rice fields. Exhilarating and enjoyable, the whole 5 hour ride was quite the experience.

bike tour around da nang

Finishing at 7pm left me little time to prepare for my 9pm domestic flight to Hanoi to get to Manila. Even though I left Vietnam a bit exhausted with mud on my shoes and a little bit of dirt here and there, I had a really great time. 10/10 would definitely do again.


Want to read more about our Adventure Engineers? Check out Nico’s story from when he left Manila to work from the Whistler office while getting his Canadian residency.

Interested in joining our team? We are always hiring!

What is an Adventure Engineer?

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