We arrived at Kon-tiki hostel Da Nang around 11:30 PM in the night yesterday. The plan today was to visit Sunworld Bana Hills, DaNang. This was already planned as per my initial itinerary and so as with most things, after a lot of researching online, I booked the group tour to Sunworld Bana Hills DaNang from Klook.
This is the tour I had booked – Sunworld Bana Hills DaNang Tour Klook
Self planned or tour?
You can always plan this trip on your own by hiring your own vehicle or scooter. However, it will definitely cost you either the same or very marginally less. Travelling using your own vehicle has 1 advantage though, you can decide to leave late in the evening. We did a group tour and we had to leave by 4 PM. The weather was deteriorating anyways, so it didn’t bother us much. But if you want to maximise your time at the venue then I would suggest doing this on your own by hiring a private vehicle or staying a night at the French Village.
There is only 1 hotel in Bana Hills called the Mercure Danang French Village, Bana Hills. Book Mercure Da Nang directly from Agoda using this Mercure Hotel, French Village.
Sunworld Bana Hills is actually a reconstruction of the hill station created by the French to escape Vietnamese heat, just like British created Matheran or Mahabaleshwar near Mumbai in India.
Tour Pickup from Hostel
We had a quick breakfast at the hostel. The breakfast included a choice of coffee/tea or a cold drink, an omelette and bread with butter or jam. Though the choice is limited the food was good and the staff is kind enough in case you ask for an extra helping.
Our hostel – Kon-Tiki Da Nang was located very close to the dragon bridge. So we were picked up from the hostel at 7:45AM. As with most of our tours, we got lucky again and had a wonderful guide. We were total 8-10 of us. After a short drive of 30 mins (20 kms) we reached Sunworld Bana hills. The guide gave us some time to freshen up till she got tickets for all of us.
Ba Na Hills’ cable car is also the world’s longest non-stop single track cable car line. There are 5 different tracks/cable car routes and depends on what you destination/itinerary. We took the Suoi Mo Cable Car Station and transferred to Marseille Station for our first stop.
Note – Its at a height of 1,487 m from the sea level, so there is a temperature drop as you reach the top. This gap can vary from 3-8 degrees depending on the weather conditions at the top. So carry a wraparound jacket or a sweat shirt just in case.
First stop – Golden Bridge
If you have been planning a trip to Vietnam I am sure that you must have come across photos of at least 2 places – Halong Bay & Golden Bridge. Golden bridge is currently the hottest Instagram destination in Vietnam. The sheer popularity can be judged by the number of people you see on the bridge. And yeah, if you really want to be the only person on the bridge for that Insta photo, I would suggest staying overnight or being among the first to step in to the Sunworld in the morning.
We arrived early by normal standards and still the bridge was pretty crowded. Had to wait patiently and to select a proper viewpoint to capture the beauty of this place.
This also marks the first level of the Park. We covered many other attractions other than Golden Bridge at this level like Le Jardin D’Amour Gardens, Bar Debay – Wine Cellar and a 27m high Buddha statue. We were given a couple of hours (or 1 hour) to roam around the place and return at the cable car station. During this time we visited most of the mentioned attractions. Here are some pictures:
After everyone was gathered back at the cable car station, we took the next cable car to head to the French Village. We had opted for the lunch buffet at Arapang Restaurant with the ticket because of the good reviews we had heard about the food. The buffet may seem a touch expensive at around 800-900 INR, but for the menu its worth every single bit penny. There is just so much food to eat. This option also seems to be a popular choice among locals as well as tourists as the restaurant was packed throughout the entire duration that we were there.
Still can’t decide – Here’s the menu. Unfortunately we did not get time to click photos of the food & restaurant as we were too busy indulging ourselves.
Post lunch scenes
After the humungous lunch, we both could barely walk. But walking was important to burn off those calories. We started going around the French Village. The French village looks so European that for few moments you would forget that you are in Vietnam. The architecture is beautiful and the vibe lively. There are lots of live shows happening at designated areas.
All lot of roaming, we decided to stand in queue for the Alpine coaster (ride). As the place was crowded it took us a good 1-1.5 hour to finally get on the ride. It was a fun ride and we even paid & collected the automatic camera clicked photos. After that we roamed around the French Village, saw some performances and clicked lots of photos. It was already 4PM by then and the guide asked us to assemble for the return journey.
As you can see from the photos, the weather turned cloudy and cool all of a sudden. We now took the cable car down to Suoi Mo Cable Car Station and started our return journey. Again, the only wish would have been to stay for a few more hours and witness the sunset, but that’s a tradeoff you have to make when you travel on a budget and with a group. Nevertheless, we did witness one of the most beautiful sunsets right from the dragon bridge, as you will soon see in the photos.
Back in Da Nang, What next?
Since, we reached the Dragon bridge by 4:30PM or so, we had plenty of time to explore the city of Da Nang, we went to the Han Market. Its a good place to shop for souvenirs, probably the cheapest prices that we found in Vietnam. I bought lots of fridge magnets for friends & family. Walking distance from the Han Market is the Da Nang cathedral. There was mass going on, so initially we were refused entry but on requesting the guard he finally let us in for 30 mins. The cathedral is another example of the French architecture that’s seen all over Vietnam.
After the cathedral, we had to return to the other side of the Dragon Bridge (where our hostel was located). While walking along the river promenade and the bridge we witness one of the most amazing urban sunsets.
After that we spent some time at hostel and waited for the city of Da Nang to come alive. This place looks magical at night, no 2 ways about it. Every weekend, at 9pm, there is a big firework display. In between, the dragon bridge starts to spit fire and water. Its a very cool site as seen in some videos but unfortunately we visited Da Nang during the mid-week.
After enjoying the fireworks for some more time, we headed to the neighbouring night market to try some local delicacies. We had fried fish, prawns, pho ga again and some fried rice. All of it was sourced from different stalls in the night market.
That brings Day 5 to a close. Time to head to Hoi An tomorrow. Till then checkout this video from today: