Sunworld Ba Na Hills – discover the unique village in the clouds

Golden Bridge is a 150 metre-long pedestrian bridge

Vietnam is a brilliant destination: featuring fabulous cities, wonderful beaches, welcoming locals, delicious cuisine and a truly fascinating culture. 

My wife and I have visited Vietnam several times and adore being there. The country also represents very good value – you get a lot for your dollar there.  Six nights in a large room (including breakfast) in a delightful hotel in the centre of Hoi An (our favourite town) cost just $67 per night. Dinner (including a G&T each) at a good restaurant in Hanoi’s Old Quarter was just $15 each. It’s really easy to keep to your budget in Vietnam. 

That low cost means that you can also splurge if you wish to. Whilst staying in Hoi An we decided to do just that and arranged a day trip to Sunworld Ban Na Hills, which is inland from Vietnam’s fifth largest city Danang, and about an hour’s drive from Hoi An.

The French ruled Vietnam, which they called French Indochina, from 1887 to 1954. Due to the heat and humidity on the coast, they would retreat to the Ba Na Hills, which rise to a height of nearly 1500 metres, where it was cool and mostly pleasant.

At Sunworld Ba Na Hills they built an authentic French medieval village complete with castle plus an amusement park. It is one of the most amazingly mind-boggling places that I have ever visited. 

French Village Ba Na Hills

Located just over 20 km away from Danang, Sun World Ba Na Hills is the most significant resort and recreational complex of Vietnam.

We were staying in Hoi An, 60 kms from the theme park, so negotiated a tour with a local shopkeeper. That’s basically the way things are done in Vietnam, once you get used to bargaining. For 1,100,000 Dong each, or about $70, we got a return trip to the park by private vehicle, entry fees and cable car to the park and a buffet lunch in one of the restaurants. It was a full day trip, and great value for the total experience.

Complex entrance

The first surprise reveals itself when you reach the complex entrance, which is at the base of a mountain. It’s like entering a medieval fortress and is enormous. There’s quite a walk past gardens and through pavilions until you reach the cable car departure point. There are five cable car routes, but the most popular is the Toc Tien-LÍndochine line which holds multiple Guinness World Records: the longest one-wire sling, the greatest elevation between stations, the longest unpatched wire, and the heaviest cable roll in the world. The ride takes approximately 17 minutes for the 5.7 km journey that climbs about 1400 metres and travels over the beautiful Toc Tien waterfalls. Amazingly, it was built using Australian technology.

The view as you soar, quite quickly, over dense rainforest is breath-taking. Then, as you near the first cable car station, you notice a pair of giant hands jutting out of the hill. This is the Golden Bridge, a 150-metre-long pedestrian bridge, which connects the cable car with a botanic garden which provides a scenic view (when it’s not cloudy) over the valley below.

You then board another cable car to the French Village. On this journey you can see works being undertaken to massively expand the complex.

The French Village is ginormous and utterly surreal, it’s not a facade but an actual stone village complete with castle, church, public square, cobblestone streets, shops, restaurants, olde village fair, and immaculate gardens.

Inside some of the bigger buildings you will find indoor amusement rides, wax museum and a walk-through Jurassic Park.

Lower complex

We enjoyed a buffet lunch at the large Arapang Restaurant which boasted a variety of western and Asian cuisines, apparently there’s more than 70 choices, but, sadly, I couldn’t fit that much on my plate. There are about 30 restaurants and bars within the complex, so you are not denied adequate choice.

Visitors are advised to take both warm and wet weather gear with them. You are, after all, nearly 1.5km higher than the coast below. It was a beautiful day when we went in for lunch and cold and raining by the time we emerged. The clouds had descended so it was quite foggy too, which gave the complex a very surreal feeling.

The return cable car trips were equally fascinating as we got completely different perspectives on the descent.

There is an Accor hotel on the site and next time we will stay there for a night or two, to give us more time to enjoy the venue, as it was truly a highlight of our trip to Vietnam.

Vietjet has just started five direct flights between Perth and Ho Chi Minh City, making Vietnam so much more accessible.