BA NA HILLS MOUNTAIN RESORT $$ – $$$
The most awe-inspiring aspect of Ba Na Hills for me was its amazing transplantation of European architecture, much of it medieval, to the top of a 1,487-metre high Vietnamese mountain. For this alone it was worth a visit. But for most, the spectacular entrance by cable car, the new Golden Bridge supported by giant hands and the Fantasy Park are the big drawcards.
Each to their own, for Ba Na Hills has a little something for everyone from garden labyrinths to rollercoasters, and, as it’s still a work in progress, it’ll be interesting to watch how it develops. But fully developed or not, it’s already quite expensive, particularly if you have children in tow.
From Cable Car to Fantasy Park
I’d heard people raving about the views from the cable car, and they are extraordinary but, for acrophobics like me, the wonderful panorama of lush dense jungle below did nothing to stem my palpitating heart as we jostled over joints ascending further up to the clouds. For once I was grateful for the nosiness of Vietnamese passengers who inquisitively asked my age, if I was married, had children and tut tutted when I told them how much I rented my house for in Hoi An.
Back on terra firma the indoor fantasy park over three levels is fun for adults and kids alike. There’s the highest indoor drop and twist tower in Vietnam (that’s the ride that takes fools to obscene heights and drops them as if it’s fun).
Classic Medieval France
There’s also the highest indoor climbing wall in Vietnam; the biggest indoor floor for bumper cars, the first dinosaur park in Vietnam that contains life-sized animated dinosaurs (not quite up with Universal Studios or Disneyland but why be critical, I liked it); the biggest indoor amusement park in Vietnam and the first cinema in Vietnam to show 3D, 4D and… yes, 5D movies! There’s the wax works (extra cost) which we decided to give a miss and much more.
But for me, the replica French village was the standout. With its turrets and ancient church, it was like walking back in time into a fairytale wonderland that was really quite beautiful.
Why Not Stay the Night?
Ba Na Hills has hotels and restaurants and a beautiful pagoda at the top of the highest peak in the complex. With over 1.5 million visitors a year it can get packed at certain times so if you want to avoid the peak hour crush and the cable car queues at day’s end, and see what’s on offer at at your own speed, consider staying the night!
Prices: see website.
Book through a local travel agent or hire your own vehicle and guide or through the official Ba Na Hills Resort booking office: +84 (0) 905 766 777