Danang

The Bana Hills: Best Amusement Resort in Vietnam

The Bana Hills (Vietnamese spelling: Bà Nà Hills) is one of the top tourist attractions in Vietnam. It’s situated among the cool and misty hilltops of the Son Tra (Sơn Trà) mountains just 25 km outside of Danang. A long time ago it was established as French retreat, and in modern times, has evolved into a French-themed entertainment resort.

The original cable line is still the longest skyview in the world, with the addition of four more cable routes. Recently, the Golden Bridge has made its world debut appearance. Bana Hills is not just an amusement resort with rides and attractions, but also a place with beautiful gardens and pagodas to uplift your spirit. 

What to Expect at the Bana Hills Resort 

French Village of Bana Hills
French Village of Bana Hills
[ by Sandip Roy from Unsplash ]

The Bana Hills is not a resort in the typical sense of the word. Most visitors are day trippers, although there are a couple of four-star hotels where you can stay the night. 

The Bana Hills are a combination of a theme and amusement park—the buildings are in a mock-up French Parisian style—with attractions such as an Alpine coaster, Funicular train, wax museum, and an amusement center with games, rides, and rock climbing. 

It also has major attractions such as the world-famous Golden Bridge with a walkway that passes through two giant hands. It boasts the longest scenic cable ride in the world, and there are other sites on top such as two pagodas, a quart cave, and numerous restaurants, cafes, and even street performances. 

Tickets and Pricing to the Bana Hills 

Tickets to Bana Hills are not cheap, but they are reasonable. There’s only one ticket choice regardless if you choose to stay a full or half day. Most attractions are included in the single price.

  • Adults: 750 000 VND (33 USD) 
  • Children from 1m to 1.4m: 600 000 VND (23 USD) 
  • Children below 1m: Free 

You have to buy the full-priced ticket even if you just go to the Golden Bridge. 

To avoid standing in the queue for tickets at the ground station, you may want to organize a ticket via your hotel or a tour agency. Two large tour bus agencies include Sinh Tourist and Legend Travel.

Ticket options can include a buffet lunch and a pass to the wax museum or some other attraction. There’s an online booking service, but it doesn’t display information in English. 

Getting around Bana Hills 

There are three ground cable stations that will take you to different areas and elevations of the Bana Hills. If you go to either of the two mid sections, there are two further cable ways to the upper section, There’s also an interconnecting Funicular train (tàu hoả leo núi) between the two mid sections. 

Which Bana Hills Cable is the Best Route?

Longest Single Cable Line in the World
Longest Single Cable Line in the World
[ image by Roger ]

It really depends on what you enjoy, what you want to do and see, and how much time you have. Most people spend an entire day in Bana Hills, which is recommended for the price of the ticket. 

Don’t Miss the Golden Bridge

The most unique and splendid attraction is really the Golden Bridge (Cầu Vàng). If you only have half a day to spare, make sure it’s on your list. If you’re out on a full day, plan to either go to the Golden Hands in the morning or in the late afternoon coming down. 

The late afternoon towards sunset is one of the best times to photograph the bridge with the light of the setting sun. There are also fewer people around at this time. 

Going With Young Children

If you’re going with children, then go to the Golden Hands Bridge first. The reason is that once you’re on the top section, your kids will get engrossed in all the theme park and game attractions. It will be difficult to drag them away or they will tire out by the time you want to see the bridge, which now won’t interest them. 

The Longest Cable Ride in the World

If you really enjoy cable rides, then you will want to take the longest single-track cable in the world from Suoi Mo Station (ga cáp treo Suối Mơ) going up, or L’Indochine Station coming down. The Bana cable started operating in March 2013 and traverses some 5 801 meters, a near 6-km-ride to 1 485 meters above sea level.

The Three Main Recreational Areas

Bana Hills attractions are grouped around three main areas that are linked via cable cars and a Funicular train.

Be Wowed at the Golden Bridge

The famous Golden Bridge is located in the lower mid section. You can get there from the base Hoi An Station, which is also the Bana ticket office. You can then walk around and through the hands and then take another cable car to the upper level.

Golden Hands at Bana Hills
Golden Hands at Bana Hills
[ by Andreea Popa from Unsplash ]

Golden Bridge is about 150 meters long and sits around 1 000 meters or 3 280 feet above sea level. The weather changes quickly and constantly, so if it’s very cloudy, just wait a while for things to clear. There’s also a pathway below where you can take that perfectly awesome ground shot. 

The cable from Bordeaux Station goes to the upper section with Fantasy Park and the French Village. Alternatively, if you swing right and walk to Le Jardin Station, you can enjoy a light Funicular ride to the romantic attractions around the French gardens.

Be Romanced in the Garden of Love 

For a more chilled and relaxed time, or to express the passion in your heart, you, plus one other, can stroll through the Jardin D’Amour, disappear into the hedge maze, or play peek-a-boo among the pillar rows in the rolling mist. 

French Gardens at Bana Hills
French Gardens at Bana Hills
[ image by Roger ]

Below the garden is a French wine cellar serving snacks, and wine by the glass or bottle. This cellar dates back to 1923 when Bana was a French hill station. There’s also the Doumer restaurant nearby— the food is kind of average but not too bad. 

Just behind and above the garden is the giant seated Buddha and Linh Ung Pagoda (chùa Linh Ứng). It can get quite misty in this section, which adds a sense of mystery and danger to whole escapade. 

Misty Staircase to Linh Ung Pagoda
Misty Staircase to Linh Ung Pagoda
[ image by Roger ]

You can get directly to these locations from Toc Tien Station (ga thác Tóc Tiên) just past the big souvenir shop at the bottom. The cable line takes you to Bana Station and then you can take the cable up to Morin Station and the Alpine Coaster (xe trượt ống).

Taking the Toc Tien cable up is kind of pointless unless you’re doing half a day and just want to enjoy the French Gardens, shoot up to the Alpine Coaster, and the Golden Bridge after. It’s a good choice though if you suffer anxiety and hate long cable rides.  

Be Thrilled at Fantasy Park and French Village

The upper section of Bana Hills includes the French Village, Fantasy Park amusement center, and Spiritual Landmarks.

From Suoi Mo Station you can get here directly via the world’s longest cableway. The way to Suoi Mo Station is via Toc Tien Station and the pedestrian rampway. 

French Village at Bana Hills
French Village at Bana Hills
[ by Trần Quốc Phi Hải from FaceBook ]

Once there, most attractions are free. The Wax Museum (Bảo tàng Sáp) costs an extra 100 000 VND, but it’s not exactly Madame Tussauds and may not be worth a long wait. The not-to-be-missed Alpine Coaster is near Fantasy Park next to the Morin Station. 

Alpine Coaster at Bana Hills
Alpine Coaster at Bana Hills
[ by Aiden Lee ZJ from FaceBook ]

Fantasy Park is built around the themes of ‘Twenty Thousand Leagues Under The Sea’ and ‘Journey To The Center of the Earth’, by the famous French author Jules Verne. 

Big attractions include Drop Death Tower (tháp xoay rơi tự do), 5D Shooting Cowboys, 4D Death Race, 3D-4D-5D cinemas, and daredevil rock climbing. There’s a whole basement area with games for younger kids and also Back to Jurassic dinosaur park. 

Bana Hills is still developing with new attractions appearing. The most recent is Quartz Cave which is 60 sq meters and 3m tall. It displays 5 tons of unprocessed quartz mined in France. There are numerous souvenir and gift shops, restaurants, and cafes. 

Death Drop Tower at Fantasy Park
Death Drop Tower at Fantasy Park
[ by Jordon Opal from Unsplash ]

How to Get to Bana Hills from Danang

From Danang, it’s about  25 km or 45 min by car. Despite being one of the leading domestic tourist destinations, there’s little in the way of cheap public transport to get you there. Tours are convenient, but don’t leave you much in the way of doing your own thing. 

The best way to go is with a private shuttle service. Often larger hotels in Danang will have their own shuttle service. These, however, will probably not get you to the cable station for an early morning 7 AM ride.

For early birds, you will have to organize a taxi or a Grab Car. A round shuttle service is about 130 000 VND per person. 

How to Get to Bana Hills from Hoi An and Hue

Taxis are not always the best option for a long distance because drivers may not speak English and there are various taxi scams. Grab Car can also be expensive at peak times. Private vehicle hire or a tour service is, therefore, the best choice. 

Private vehicle hire from Hoi An can range from 600 000 VND to 1 500 000 VND depending on the type of vehicle, the number of passengers, and whether it’s a one way or return trip. It’s about 65 km and the ride is usually 1 hr 15 min to 1 hr 30 min. 

Hue is a longer trip around 100 km or 2 hrs 30 min, and usually includes scenic stopovers at Lang Co Beach and the Hai Van Pass. For most people coming from Hue, the next stop after Bana Hills is either Danang airport, a hotel in Danang, or a grand finale via Marble Mountain to your hotel in Hoi An. 

Protip: There is ample storage space for luggage at the Bana Hills ground station area. 

Where to Stay in the Bana Hills

If you want to stay the night and enjoy more of the fresh cool air of Bana there are a couple of options. The most established hotel is the Mercure Hotel. It’s an excellent four-star hotel with facilities such as a small library, art gallery, jacuzzi and swimming pool, a recreation center, and various family activities for children. 

A cheaper option on the mountain is Hotel De Lyon, and also under the management of Mercure Hotel. Another option is the Ebisu Onsen Resort. It’s part of the Nui Than Tai Hotspring Park (Công viên Suối khoáng nóng Núi Thần Tài) and is about an hour or so by car as the road circles to a lower elevation of the same Son Tra mountains.

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