Where Dalat was once the mountain retreat for French colonialists living in Saigon, the Ba Na hill station was the vacation spot of choice for authorities living in Danang. After the French lost to communist forces at the Battle of Diem Bien Phu, in 1954, their villas at Ba Na fell into disrepair. Today, however, Vietnamese tourism authorities are banking on the old world charm of those villas to bring in modern tourism dollars.
The cable car ride up to the Ba Na Hills is an amazing experience. The gap stretches 5,801 meters (19,042 feet) and elevates 1,368 meters (4,488 feet), both of which are world records. But don’t worry, the system was built to European standards, with equipment imported from Germany, Switzerland and Sweden.
The Funicular is a Swiss style train that takes you to the flower gardens and Buddha statue.
Le Jardin D’Amour
These French style gardens feature a colorful variety of tropical flowers. The gardens aren’t very big, but they are an interesting scene to take in — reminiscent of Alice in Wonderland (1865). To complete the French experience, head to the Ancient Wine Cellar nearby.
Giant Buddha Statue
At 27 meters (89 feet), this concrete statue of the founder of Buddhism makes for some beautiful photographs. You can also visit the Linh Ung Pagoda to ask for blessings before you head into the fantasy park and subject yourself to some hair-raising rides.
Here’s your chance to stay in a 4-star castle resort at the top of a Vietnamese mountain. The resort complex has 494 rooms styled like old French villas, complete with antiques and artwork, and the restaurants also serve French cuisine, with imported wines and cheeses. After you’ve finished strolling around the cobblestone streets, gazing at the lights of Danang far below, enjoy a few nightcaps at one of the medieval bars.
The Fantasy Park is 21,000 square meters of indoor fun and games for the whole family. The theme is based on two novels by Jules Verne: Journey to the Centre of the Earth (1864) and Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea (1870). There are familiar carnival rides, like a carousal and a big spinner, but also some oddities, such as a Jurassic Park area and even a wax museum.
Gamers will feel right at home in the giant arcade area, while thrill seekers can get their adrenaline rush on the 29-meter (95 feet) tower drop. And if the tower drop in the Fantasy Park isn’t enough of a rush for you, then give the alpine coaster a try.
Whether your idea of fun is a nice glass of wine with pleasant company or a old western shootout in a 3D theater, Ba Na Hills has something for you. And just in case you need even more convincing, check this out!