It wasn’t in my plan to visit the Ba Na Hills, which are located in the Truong Son Mountains, near Da Nang, Vietnam. However, after having to wait around, whilst I was getting a dress tailor made for me, I had a free day. I saw an advertisement for a tour to the Ba Na Hills. I had no idea where, or what it was, but after I looked at some photos; a view from stunning hills, with greenery and mountains everywhere. I was sold.
However, I wasn’t quite sold on the price tag of $50, whether or not it included lunch, and return transport. So decided to get there myself.
So here is how you can get to the Ba Na Hills from Hoi An independently
Where are the Ba Na Hills?
The Ba Na Hills Mountain Resort, is located just outside of Da Nang, and 61km from Hoi An
I got there by hiring a little scooter (the scooter I later crashed into a pothole, and that landed me in hospital) at the cost of US $7 and put approx US$5 in it for fuel. The drive itself took about an hour and a half, I had a small hand drawn map, and basically followed my nose and the occasional sign to get there, and was pretty proud of myself for getting there without the need for a tour.
Parking at the Ba Na Hills
If you do drive by motorbike/scooter or car (I’ve not seen many cars in Vietnam, apart from in the big cities), then you can park free of charge. I left my bike with an offical looking guy, and was given a numbered ticket, and off I went.
I hadn’t realised that the Ba Na Hills was a full on resort, as well as somewhere that was rather pretty. The place has various gardens, a huge fantasy park, with a Castle, various hotels and spas, a golf coursem a luge and roller-coaster, wine cellar and shops. It really caters for all types of tourist, and is frequently used as a wedding venue.
To get into the Ba Na hills, isn’t cheap – a ticket price of US$25 – which you would think gets you a lot. Well, not really. The ticket includes admission to the resort itself, and for a return ride on the cable car, which really only takes you halfway up. You can then purchase additional tickets for the other cable cars and the gondola.
What to see at the Ba Na Hills
Despite the cost, it is a beautiful area, surrounded by lots of green hills, which stretch as far as the eye can see. At the top is a castle like building known as Fantasy Park, where the hotels, and various restaurants are, as well as the free water puppet show.
There are gardens, pagoda’s, temples, shrines, and a giant Buddha statue of Shakyamuni.
Rather than pay more to get up on another cable car, I walked to the top. Just follow the path which winds round. It isn’t well sign posted and was rough in parts, as it was still under construction. You’ll most likely be the only one on it (I encountered just one other).
As I neared to the top, I met a number of construction workers, who were working on a nearby building, they talked only in Vietnamese and looked at me and laughed a lot. Sometimes I wish I knew every language in the World.
They did however, point me in the direction of the castle, and I got some stunning photos.
In my opinion, the best views are taken from the Statue of Shakyamuni and nearby pagoda.
Getting there is easy via the first cable car, and a short walk (and just a few stairs to climb!)
If you’re in and around Da Nang area, the Ba Na Hills is definitely worth a look; though perhaps its not good for the total shoestring budget backpacker.
If you’re planning on getting there yourself (by bike), watch out for the potholes!