A Complete Guide To Visiting Ba Na Hills
Described on paper you would be right in thinking “madness, it can’t be done…” but it has been. Perched on top of the Ba Na Hills, 1487 metres above sea level, is the spectacular home of a fully fledged French replica village of epic proportions.
To reach this spectacular village you ride Ba Na’s cable cars. They are of the top 10 in the world and hold two Guinness Records—for being both the longest and highest cable car. Taking you from Asia to Europe in little over half an hour, the views alone are spectacular and the ride up is breathtaking. You really do feel like you’re being carried away to somewhere quite magical.
When you get off the cable car you feel the temperature change—it’s so much cooler up here. You are free to roam the beautifully manicured gardens with their giant chess pieces and pagodas. There’s a 27-metre tall Buddha and the new addition of the now famous Golden Bridge. Its giant hands holding the bridge itself, providing you with an unforgettable panoramic view of the valley below.
- Ba Na Hills History, Tour, And Attractions:
- Visiting Ba Na Hills:
- How To Get To Ba Na Hills From Hoi An:
- Tickets and Extra Costs
- Specific Attractions: Cable Cars
- Da Nang Golden Bridge aka Da Nang Hand Bridge
- Other Attractions:
- Hidden’s Thoughts
- Map: Hoi An to Ba Na Hills
More details about your journey
Travel even further up again and you’ll reach the replica French village. The Gothic-inspired buildings are nothing short of amazing. Walking around here you would be forgiven for thinking you were actually in France itself. But, in true Vietnamese style—there is more… much more! Ba Na Hills is a thriving theme park, there’s karaoke, a wax museum, video arcades and rides at its peak. Accompanied by restaurants from across the globe and a myriad of street performers, add the thousands of visitors into the mix and it can be all a little overwhelming at times.
Which is why we’re here! Hidden gives you the insider’s guide on how to plan your day, so it’s the most enjoyable for you as you tackle this entertainment behemoth.
Ba Na Hills History, Tour, And Attractions:
The Ba Na Hills lie west of Da Nang in the Truong Son Mountains. In 1919, the area was established by the French, who used it as a temperate and cool playground for colonialists. It consisted of hundreds of villas, restaurants, and resorts. However, during the war, the urban centre of Ba Na was destroyed. Some ruins can still be found, but they’re quite the opposite of their once opulent state.
One of the main drawcards to the Ba Na Hills resort is the opportunities that the park provides for selfies and photos. It’s essentially a manicured social media dreamland for your next profile picture or Instagram post. Walking around and immersing yourself in the experience is a big part of what you pay for.
Hidden Hint: It may be a very hot day in Hoi An or Da Nang, but the weather on Ba Na Hills is unstable and can range anywhere from 16°C – 29°C (70°F – 84°F). As you ascend inside the cable car the temperature will drop, so make sure you pack a warmer clothing option just in case it’s a cold one.
Visiting Ba Na Hills:
There are a few different ways to get to Ba Na Hills from both Da Nang and Hoi An. We’d suggest one that suits your budget and is easy—save your energy for Ba Na Hills as it is a full-on day out.
How To Get To Ba Na Hills From Hoi An:
It’s possible to take a metered taxi from Hoi An to Ba Na Hills costing you around 680,000 VND (30 USD) one way. However, considering the distance and the fact that unless you decide you want to stay over at the hotel, you will want to return the same day. It’s wise to negotiate a flat rate instead, allowing for waiting time for your driver. Your accommodation in Hoi An will be able to recommend their own driver for you, or you can try the options below if you need to search for a better rate.
Taxi Company – Mai Linh taxis 0235 3929292
Private Car Company – Hoi An Private Car Company Price: 1,180,000 VND (51 USD) return, including wait time.
Ba Na is a full day out. We show you how to do it below but It’s going to take you 5 hours to get there and back using public buses so it is really not advisable.
From the centre of Hoi An, make your way to Ben Xe Hoi An Bus Station, located northwest of the town. At the station catch the #1 public yellow bus that runs every 20 minutes to Da Nang (roughly 1.5hours). From the bus station, you’ll still need to take a taxi for the remaining 17 kilometres to Ba Na Hills. A metered taxi will cost around 300,000 VND (13 USD), but it is better to opt for a flat rate.
With the public bus being so daunting, Hoi An Express (a reputable tour company in Vietnam), offers an air-conditioned shuttle bus between Hoi An and Da Nang for a low cost of 110,000 VND (4.70 USD) one way. It’s a more comfortable option, and they can pick you up from your hotel, but remember that you will still need to catch a taxi between Da Nang and Ba Na Hills.
There are three route options to choose from when heading to Ba Na. While they all do the job, walking around the hill station can be physically quite tiring, so we suggest taking the easiest and most straightforward route there.
This easy route begins by taking you along the QL1A Highway, around 9 kilometres west of Hoi An. Depending on the time of day you’re driving, your map app may spit out different roads between Hoi An and the highway, but they’re all pretty much the same. When you reach the QL1A Highway stay on it for about 15 kilometres and then go west along the QL14B Highway for 5 kilometres. Next, turn right and travel northwest along the AH1 Highway for 4 kilometres. Finally, turn left heading west along Ba Na Soui Mo for roughly 10 kilometres. It is a double three-lane highway built to reach the base of Ba Na. For the most part, the roads are in good condition and are free of obstructions. It’s a comfortable choice with relatively well-lit roads, making the drive stress-free.
From Da Nang to Ba Na Hills
The drive is around 25 kilometres with a travel time of under an hour. The route is incredibly straightforward and involves you getting onto Dien Bien Phu road. The only worry you have is to make a left turn onto Hoang Van Thai. There are a few bends and a roundabout that you continue through, but the road ends up turning in Ba Na Soui Mo where it will take you straight to the base Ba Na.
As you travel along the road leading to Sun World Ba Na Hills, there are staff members who point you to where you need to go, depending on which vehicle you’re driving. Cars, vans, and tour buses all have a lower parking lot, while motorbikes are directed down a separate road to a sheltered parking lot about minutes walk from the ticket booth. All parking at Ba Na Hills is free.
The majority of organised tours to Ba Na Hills are from Da Nang, but there are a couple that we found that start from Hoi An. However, the tours from Hoi An can be quite expensive. Tours include a pick-up service, entrance fee, an English-speaking guide, insurance, bottled water, and lunch.
Hidden Hint: Ba Na itself is very well set up for tourists, clearly signposted in multiple languages and maps are provided. It’s up to you if you want to spend the extra money for someone else to take care of you for the day, but it’s certainly not essential.
Get Your Guide.com tour company tour includes a stop at Linh Ung Pagoda, the 27-metre tall Buddha in Da Nang, the wine cellar, Tinh Tam Garden, Nghinh Phong Peak and Nguyet Hill for some panoramic views of the surrounding region. After lunch, you go to the last stop—Man Thai Fish village where you can chat with fishers about traditional catching methods and rattan basket boats.
Price: Adult 2,080,000 VND (90 USD), Aged 4-5 Child 1,560,000 (67 USD), Aged 3 and under are free – Duration: 8:00 am. to 4:00 pm – Booking: Book via the online booking system on their website
Tickets and Extra Costs
An adult ticket to Ba Na Hills costs 700,000 VND (30 USD), while for a child (1 metre to 1.3 metres tall), it’s 550,000 VND (23.50 USD). Da Nang residents and visitors are eligible to a reduced amount—just bring along a personal identity card that shows your household registered in Da Nang. The ticket includes the cable car ride, and the only extra costs are the Wax Museum, cotton animal game and carnival skills at the Fantasy Park.
There are multitudes of different restaurants from around the globe offering every type of sit down meal from buffet to barbeque. Remember you’re at a major tourist attraction and so food and drink prices are inflated. A small bottle of water costs 50,000 VND (2.20 USD), and a proper meal starts at around 150,000 VND (6.50 USD). Ba Na is still a theme park like location, and there is much cheaper fast food, so you can snack on sausage on a stick or pancake as you wander the grounds.
The park is large and will require you to navigate endless paths, stairs, courtyards, and cobbled roads. While there are ramps and elevators in some sections, if you’re of limited mobility you may find it difficult or undoable in many areas. As for families with strollers, you’ll find it hard to take the cable cars on the Dream Spring-Morin line, as the barrel-shaped cabins are awkwardly shaped for anything other than people. Hence, the Hoi An-Louvre Line would be your best choice for comfort with cargo.
Sun protection, water, and some snacks would go a long way in making your day at Ba Na Hills more enjoyable. However, if you’re travelling with large pieces of luggage or are in need of storage, there is a storage counter to the right of the ticket booth. But the best part is that it is absolutely free.
Currently, there is only one hotel residing at Ba Na Hills—The Mercure Danang French Village Bana Hills. It’s in the heart of the French village with rooms starting at around 3,000,000 VND (130 USD). Staying overnight offers you the advantage of having the whole park to yourself before opening and after it closes. This enables you to capture some photographs in the village without the many tourists obstructing your shot. However, other than that there isn’t much other reason to spend the night in Ba Na Hills. In 2019, another hotel called M’Gallery is scheduled to open west of the main attractions in a more secluded area of Ba Na Hills.
Hidden Hint: After 5 pm everything from the attractions to the restaurants and bars close—the grounds are basically a ghost town. This leaves you to have your remaining meals at the Mercure, which can be pretty expensive.
Specific Attractions: Cable Cars
The cable cars that get you from the bottom to the top at Ba Na Hills are a large part of the whole experience. They hold Guinness records for being “The longest non-stop single track cable car” at 5,801 metres, and “The highest non-stop single track cable car” at 1,368 metres. They consist of three lines: Mo Stream-Ba Na, Debay-Morin, and Toc Tien Waterfall-L’Indochine line, which crosses a fantastic waterfall.
Between the three lines, there are 201 cabinets with a capacity to move 3000 guests an hour. The ride up is nothing short of astounding. It’s super slick too, a steep climb but a very smooth one as the cable cars have been cleverly designed and are well-maintained. When you’re not gazing out into the distance, try looking down into the dense jungle. You might get fortunate and spot a ruin or two from decades past.
Da Nang Golden Bridge aka Da Nang Hand Bridge
Elevated 1414 metres above sea level and stretching over the side of the mountain above Da Nang lies the Golden Bridge. Constructed from July 2017 to April 2018, it opened to the public in early June 2018. The Golden Bridge was part of a $2 billion investment to raise the tourist levels in the area, and it has worked! It has gained ample attention from visitors by dominating social media pages around the globe.
The bridge resembles a golden strand in the sky. Held up by monolithic hands that the dense jungle seems to be struggling to reclaim. The bridge looks east, over the lush greenery towards Da Nang, and has no obstructions crowding the view.
To quickly access the bridge after buying your cable car ticket, make your way to Hoi An cable car station. It’s is the closest station of the three, being only a five-minute walk from the ticket booth. From there it’s a 20-minute cable car ride to Marseille station where the bridge is located.
Best time to view the bridge
Visiting the bridge is possible at any time while the park is open. However, if you choose a time between 11 am and 4 pm. make sure you harness the skills and patience necessary to dodge a multitude of selfie-sticks and tripods and the crowds of tourists that possess them. We advise that you go when the park first opens or as it’s in the process of closing for a more relaxed experience. Around 5 pm, when the sun is lower in the sky, is the best time to take photographs on the bridge. This “golden hour” of light will give the bridge a look and feel that you can’t capture during the harsh direct sunlight from the rest of the day.
Hidden Hint: To save you some time, our favourite angle to shoot the bridge is about 20 metres from the southern entrance of the bridge. This is the same entrance from the little round building you pass through when coming up the cable car.
From this point, you not only get a close up of the impressive detail on the right hand, but also the bridge itself and the second hand. It’s a good location to see the best mix of what the Golden Bridge is.
Another option, which is good for families or groups, is the small podium at the northern end of the bridge. It’s free to use for your photographs and is a great way to gain some extra height or to get your posse together without a crowd around. The view of the bridge from this angle is also ideal.
A funicular is a passenger transportation system used in mountainous areas to ascend and descend slopes of varying degrees—and it always operates in pairs. The carriage runs on rails and is lowered and raised with a cable by the counterbalance of the other carriage. Almost like a balancing scale, if one is going up the other must go down.
The funicular at Ba Na is made by a Swiss company and is the only one of its kind in Vietnam. It transports visitors to and from the area of the D’Amour Flower Gardens, and Debay Wine Cellar to D’Amour Station.
Le Jardin D’Amour
Here you have the freedom to explore the beautifully sculptured themed gardens. Giant chess pieces and hedging sculpted into the shape of cable cars adorn the area. You can stop for a cold drink or ice cream and enjoy some of the cooler temperatures in this elevated position. Children will enjoy exploring the maze-like gardens, and there are multiple photo opportunities.
The Debay Wine Cellar is the only lasting, and well-kept piece of work from the French. Constructed in 1923 100 metres long, this cellar is buried deep into the rocky mountain. The temperature stays between 16°C – 20°C (61°F -68°F) perfect for wine. The tunnel opens halfway into what was once a luxury entertainment room. The French used this to enjoy wine, food, and dance in the presence of natural air conditioning.
Once you exit the wine cellar, you’ll find yourself in a café. Here you can indulge in various beverages such as wine, sangria, cocktails, as well as some non-alcoholic drinks.
This Fantasy Park is full-on crazy fun and far from the serenity of the gardens below. It’s the largest indoor video arcade in Vietnam. Equipped with 3D, 4D, and 5D cinemas, over 90 free arcade games, a free drop tower, rock climbing, foot massages, and much more. The kids will love it. Adults can choose to avoid it altogether or to return to their childhood.
The 3 level subterranean family fun zone is based on the novels “Journey to the Centre of the Earth” and “20,000 Leagues Under the Sea” by French author Jules Verne. Here is a run-down on each level of the Fantasy Park.
Real Fun world
Basement 1 Thrill Zone – The Thrill Zone is a good all-ages level. Here you’ll find “Spunky’s Mystery Maze” a glass and mirror maze. “Back To Jurassic” a small dinosaur world with English and Vietnamese descriptions as well as bumper cars. There are also various arcade games to play.
Basement 2 Spirit Of Adventure – This level houses the 4D and 5D cinemas, the rest mostly caters to toddlers and young children. The rides here are slower and less intense. You’ll find carousels, small track rides, Kid World, Young Explorer and Baby Explorer obstacle courses.
Hidden Hint: There isn’t a lot of foot traffic on Basement 2, so not many people know there is a small spa that offers to revive your tired feet and mind. The prices range from 200,000 VND (8.50 USD) for a 30-minute facial. To 270,000 VND (11.50 USD) for an hour of a foot, hand or head massage.
Basement 3 Mystery World – This is the most mature of all the levels, but still family-friendly. This level contains the rides Drop and Twist Tower, 3D Mega 360 Cinema, House of the Dead, Adventure to the Centre of the Earth, and rock climbing. The majority of the video arcades are on this level.
The Fantasy Park is also home to a wax museum. For an additional 100,000 VND (Children under 1.3 metres are free) you can view the biggest wax statue museum in Vietnam.
The French village is an aesthetic recreation of a medieval French town. French architects designed the village with inspiration drawn from Pigneau de Behaine’s journey around France. He was the first foreigner to visit Ba Na Hills.
The logistics of constructing this village here are truly mind-blowing. Occupying the village is a cathedral, a large square with a fountain, cafes, restaurants, vintage cars, and colourful flowers. It’s a unique architectural delight that creates a timeless European atmosphere. Soothing French melodies play throughout the village. However, this tranquillity is in fierce competition with the many other performances competing for attention. Also, the entire area is full of tourists.
The cherry on top of all this are the masses of Ukrainian performers (it’s where the Sun Group first took up business) that the park employs. Expect to see costumes from circus performers, tribal Africa, Egypt, collective Europe and the City Of Atlantis. The village square holds the majority of the theatrical performances, along with a couple of other locations in the park. Showtimes and locations can vary and are also subject to weather conditions. Check out this link before your visit.
The most tranquil and peaceful place in the park is in the northeast. This section holds the Tombstone Temple, Linh Phong Tu Tower, Linh Chua Linh Tu Temple, Campanile, and The Ba Shrine. The Ba Shrine was originally built in 1931 and has survived many wars. It’s been well refurbished and restored to its former glory. Visiting the shrine is a great way to pay your respects, or even to unplug from the chaos.
The highest viewpoint can be found from the Campanile. It looks over the French Village and offers a 360-degree view of the surrounding area. Feel free to strike the four-tonne bronze bell while you’re there.
Hidden Hint: A good spot to relax or wait out bad weather is the Tru Vu Tea Shop. Kick your shoes off, sit on some comfy cushions on the wooden floor, and pick a tea of your choice. The prices range from 29,000 VND – 99,000 VND (1.50 USD – 4.95 USD).
Linh Ung Pagoda and the 27-metre Tall Buddha
Built from 2003 to 2004, the Linh Ung Pagoda is an imposing beauty. Its curbed tiled rooftops, dragons, lotus flowers and Buddhist prayer wheels add to its beauty. It’s accompanied by the 27-metre high statue of Sakyamuni Buddha sitting on a 6-metre high round lotus base. One of the most massive sitting Buddha statues in SE Asia and an impactful site worthy of a visit. It’s a peaceful escape from the fantasy world around it so spend some time here to get your breath back.
The Alpine Coaster is an individual or shared speed machine that has the potential of reaching 40 kilometres an hour. Each car is equipped with its own braking system if you wish to slow down. The coaster doesn’t have to be about speed if you don’t want it to be. You’re free to use the brakes whenever you like. On the other hand, if you’re looking to make record time, disregard the brakes altogether.
Just make sure that while you’re waiting for the green light you tell the attendant that you have the need for speed. This way, they can ensure that the passenger ahead of you will make some good distance down the track before they let you go. There’s nothing more disappointing than making it only partially through the course. To then get stuck behind someone moving at a snail’s pace. The coaster is open from 8 am to 5 pm.
Hidden Hint: Avoid going between the hours of 10 am and 3 pm, as the line is extremely long and could eat up a good portion of your time. Going early or late when the line is shorter can save you an hour or two of wait time. Be aware that the last passenger allowed in is 30 minutes before closing time.
With it’s highly sculpted, painted, and manicured photo opportunities from top to bottom. It’s no wonder Ba Na is a huge draw for both tourists and locals. Not to mention the record-breaking cable cars that rise out of the hot jungle to the cool hilltop. To fully understand this amusement park can be daunting and downright confusing. That being said, don’t try to!
So you now have one of the most comprehensive guides to tackle Ba Na. We recommend that you start early to avoid the crowds. You must be prepared to encounter them though, this is a major tourist attraction, and it will be crowded for a large part of the day. Above all Ba Na is definitely a unique place with its array of activities; however, if it’s a cultural trip you’re after, this is not the option for you.
We advise that you embrace this wonderfully surreal place, take your sense of humour and escape reality for the day.