My main motivation for wanting to visit Vietnam was the beautiful nature pictures I was seeing across social media. Then all the pictures of The Golden Bridge in Ba Na Hills resort started popping up as it became a hot Vietnam tourist attraction when it opened in June 2018. I won’t lie I quickly added this bridge to my list of things to see while visiting the country. It’s amazing how some pictures can influence you to do things you never planned on doing.
Ba Na Hills is located 35 km (21 miles ) west of Da Nang and 70 km (43 miles) northwest of Hoi An in the Trường Sơn Mountains. Coming from Hoi An you have to pass thru Da Nang to get there. When I booked my car from Hue to Hoi An I had the option to book Ba Na Hills as a stop along the way. I had to pass through Da Nang on the drive to Hoi An from Hue. I knew I would want to spend a full day in Ba Na Hill so I decided on other stops and saved Ba Na Hill to do as an excursion during my Da Nang stay.
How to Get There
Private Car hire with Driver - The cost should be between $30 to $50 US dollars. If you are traveling in a group it is cheaper to rent a private car for the day with a driver that will take you and bring you back.
Taxi - If you choose to go the taxi route you should get a pre-negotiated price for the trip. Grab is also an option, but I wouldn’t suggest them since their price fluctuates based on traffic and other factors (plus I’m not a fan). The taxi prices should range between $20-$25USD each way.
Tour Group – I chose to get picked up for round trip transport with a group from Danang Green Travel. My cost was 130,000VND ($5.86) for round trip transport from my Da Nang hotel. They also had an option to buy into the group with the prepaid entrance and meal fee if you prefer to be in a group. When we arrived to Ba Na Hill the tour guide told me where to be a 4:00pm for our departure. I separated from the group, purchased my entry ticket and was able to explore at my own pace for a fraction of the cost of other transport methods.
Time - The opening of the park is 7:00am – 10:00pm. If you want pictures I suggest you go early as possible to limit the number of random people in your photographs.
Entry Fee - You can purchase tickets at the entry booths at the front. The cost is 750,000VND ($32USD) for adults and child prices are 600,000VND ($27USD) for children over 1 meter (3ft) tall. The cost includes your cable car ride up and down along with most attractions in the park. Entry to the wax museum is 100,000VND ($4.27USD) and some games at Fantasy Park have an additional fee.
Cable Car - When you enter Sun World head towards the Hoi An Station cable car line. This is the highest and longest cable car system in the world. This is the only way to reach the top of the mountain. The ride up will be about 15 minutes. You will arrive at the Marseilles station.
Food - There are a few restaurant options within the park. I went with the buffet option because it had a lot of variety. The buffet cost was 225,000VND ($9.62USD). I would suggest paying attention to the times the large tour groups go to the restaurants and avoid those times so you don’t have the hassle of finding a seat or waiting for food to be refilled. You cannot bring food into the park, but you can bring drinks.
Lodging - Most people choose to stay at hotels outside of the park as I did. If I had it to do again I would stay in the park so I could get out and explore early and late with less people. The hotel cost are expensive for Vietnam but it will be well within a mid-tier hotel budget with US dollars.
Park Attractions - Take your time and walk around Ba Na Hills. There is so much more to experience along with the golden bridge. The French Village, The Debay Wine Cellar, Jardin D’Amour, Linh Ung Pagoda, Fantasy Park, the first Funicular Car in Vietnam, The Wax Museum and Mo stream. I took my time walking around and I still didn’t get to everything. That’s why I would suggest staying at a hotel there at least one night to make sure you see it all.
Da Nang – Da Nang is the city you want to base yourself in if you love beachfront resorts. There are several options to choose from with a wide range of prices for every budget. If you want a really cheap stay choose a hotel off the beach and use the public beaches. Da Nang is a good place to be if you want the variety that being in a larger city offers with it being the fourth largest city in Vietnam.
Hoi An – Hoi An also known as Ancient town is a cute little city in central Vietnam. The town is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is nicknamed the City of Lanterns because of all the beautiful lantern designs available to purchase. Shopping was big in Hoi An. When you walk through Ancient Town there was plenty of shops to choose from to get tailored clothes, leather bags, home décor, scarves, accessories and anything else you can think of. Remember to negotiate. Their first quoted price is most likely double the real price, so avoid paying that price at all cost even if it seems attractive to you in dollars. Other than shopping and strolling through Ancient Town there is not much to see. You could definitely make this a day trip or an overnight stay to see Ancient town at night. I spent five nights here because I booked the cutest little brand new hotel that was quiet and had decent food. The Ms. HOA laundry next door was great for getting my laundry done when I arrived and again right before I left.
Da Nang & Hoi An Attractions
Marble Mountains - Marble Mountain was a pleasant surprise that I wasn’t aware of. I chose it as one of my stops on the drive from Hue to Hoi An. It was huge and a lot of walking up and down steps. I rushed through it because I was ready to get to my hotel. If I had it to do again I would have saved that for something to do with a full day in Da Nang. The entry fee is 40,000VND ($1.80) and you have to purchase a roundtrip elevator ride up and down for 30,000VND ($1.35).
Dragon Bridge - If you can stay awake the Dragon Bridge has a ten minute fire and water show every Saturday and Sunday at 9pm. I made the mistake of laying down for an hour at 6 and when I woke up it was 10:30 so I missed it. This was one of the missed opportunities of rushing my trip just to get it over with. I probably subconsciously avoided it because I read it was a prime place in Da Nang for pickpocketing and purse snatching because of the crowds. Normally reading something like that wouldn’t bother me, but after my Ho Chi Minh City experience I wasn’t willing to take any chances.
My Son (Pronounced ME Sone) - My Son is a Hindu Sanctuary that is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. I chose to do My Son as a day trip from Hoi An, but you can also do it from Da Nang. I really enjoyed my day out for the My Son tour. I met two lovely young ladies Pa and Safaa! We bonded over our aggravation of being rushed through My Son and that bond turned into us sitting down to have a dinner meal together. We were all in Vietnam as solo female travelers and it was nice to have strangers turned soul sisters to share the last evening of my Hoi An experience with.
Japanese Covered Bridge – Funny enough I didn’t even know this was a thing until I started doing research for my post. I took a picture of the bridge when I was walking around one day because it caught my attention. Apparently it is an iconic structure that dates back to the 18th century.
An Bang Beach – Funny story about this beach. From the time I checked in the locals at the hotel were telling me about the free hotel shuttle to the beach. So on my next to last day I decided to catch the shuttle. I was expecting a boardwalk lined with shops with cool views of a beautiful beach. That was not what I got. Instead it was more like shops that backed right up to the beach with beach chairs in the sand. EEEWWWW! Y’all know I don’t like sand like that. The shuttle only did a drop off and came back hours later. I was ready to go after about 15 minutes. So I paid for a Grab back to the hotel. That was a stressful situation when he started deviating from the GPS route I was watching in my phone. As soon as I saw something familiar I told him to just let me out and I would walk the rest of the way. My anxiety was just not ready for the suspicious behavior of another Grab driver.
Below you will find links to the hotels I stayed in during my time in Hoi An and Da Nang. I have also included the links to my other Vietnam post along with some suggested tour options. If you are not a fan of figuring things out on your own this information should give you some direction.