Ba Na is located about two hours from Da Nang, the largest city in central Vietnam. Home to French resort built in the 1920s, the Ba Na hill station or hill resort used to be a playground for French tourists, who would come to enjoy the over two hundred villas, clubs, and restaurants located there. Today, Ba Na’s hill resort is still a popular spot four tourists, but the roads have gotten quite rough and it’s not the opulent spot it once was.
Ba Na is located almost 1,500 metres above sea level, giving it an excellent view of the South China Sea and surrounding mountains. Its elevation also makes it significantly cooler than the nearby coast; it’s not unusual to experience a ten to fifteen degree Celsius drop when climbing up the mountain.
The Colonial Era and the Communist Era
The villas that the French erected are mostly gone today. A few ruins remain, which tourists find interesting to visit, but most of them have completely disappeared. It’s no wonder that the Vietnamese would be eager to erase the colonialist past; even up until World War II, wealthy French villa owners would be carried by their poorer Vietnamese servants the last 20 km up the mountain road in a sedan chair.
These days, the local government hopes to bring tourists back to Ba Na – including foreign tourists, but also making it more accessible to local tourists. The mix of foreign traffic and local traffic up to the top of Ba Na hill station has led to an eclectic combination of some western-style hotels and restaurants, but also plenty of karaoke bars.
Pagoda and Cable Car
At the top of the mountain is the Linh Ung Pagoda, a gorgeous Buddhist temple that provides visitors a chance for peaceful reflection. The centrepiece of the pagoda is the 24 metre white Buddha, which is visible from miles away.
Not far from the pagoda is a cable car – but it’s not just any cable car. As of 25 March 2009, the cable car running in the Ba Na Hills was recognized by Guinness World Records as being both the highest non-stop cable car and the longest non-stop cable car. As long as you don’t mind heights, the cable car provides a great way not only to get to the top of the Ba Na hill station, but also gives its riders awe-inspiring views of the surrounding forests and mountains. The record-breaking cable car runs from the base of Ba Na Mountain to Vong Nguyet Mountain’s peak.