Ever since we saw pictures of a bridge set on huge hands we wanted to see it. The Golden Bridge is a part of a huge complex on top of the mountains. To get there you take a long 20 minutes cable car trip over the forest and mountains. It holds the world record for the longest non-stop single-track cable car at 5,801 metres in length. There is also a Fantasy park, French village, Big Buddha and beautiful gardens.
We had this crazy idea that maybe since coronavirus is on a loose there won’t be too many people visiting the place. We took a taxi and went for a long 20 minute trip to Ba Na Hills only to find out that exactly that day the place has been closed for tourists due to the pandemic and nobody knows when it’s going to be open again. So there, we have just lost time and money for a taxi. Oh well. It happens.
For our next visit, we decided to be much more prepared. We monitored the website and Facebook constantly to make sure it is finally open for tourists again. We had this idea that since there are no new tourists in Vietnam for a long time we may have a unique opportunity to see the place nearly empty. Also, we decided to go there very early morning, right at the opening time to make sure there weren’t too many people.
Well, it didn’t work exactly according to the plan. First of all, we didn’t take into account local tourists and tourists that were already in Vietnam just like us stranded there. Secondly, Asian people seem to get up very early. They know exactly that just before and after sunrise, the temperature is sort of bearable. I bet if we got there at noon it would be empty haha. Anyway, it still wasn’t as busy as we’ve seen on some videos so it was still good enough.
Cash only ?
At the ticket office, we encountered a weird problem. They asked us to pay for tickets with cash. We didn’t take that much cash with us because we thought since tickets are so expensive (850,000 VND / about $36 per person ) they surely take card payments, right? Well, sort of. They asked for cash and showed us the ATM nearby. I went to it but it didn’t work (probably there wasn’t any money in it since everything was closed for a month). We found another one. Same problem.
At this point, we were a bit annoyed that we might have wasted money for a taxi again and won’t see this stupid bridge. We went back to the ticket lady and said it doesn’t work but all the sudden she found a card reader and let us pay with a card. Really? Couldn’t we start like that? With tickets sorted we finally could go to see if the trip was worth all the effort and money.
Cable car and the bridge
The trip up the hill on the cable car was fantastic. We managed to be the only people on our car so we could move around freely and take as many pictures as we wanted. The view from it was breathtakingly beautiful. Unfortunately, pictures don’t do justice because it’s difficult to take a good picture through the glass and on a sunny morning.
At the top of the hill, we could already see the famous golden bridge. Those huge hands are surreal. We felt a bit disappointed that something that looked like moss on those hands is actually painted. I admit at first glance it looks like an aged stone and you could fool me it’s there for ages, but when you look closer the illusion disappears. It is also not so easy to take a good picture there because many people come there for a full professional photoshoot and spend a lot of time in those best locations.
Back to Europe
We weren’t able to see everything as many attractions were still closed, but we decided to not follow the crowd and went up to see a Big Buddha and then the French Village. By the Buddha statue, we’ve seen only very few people, even less further down to the pagoda. Opposite to the temple, there were huge stairs down. The view on top of those stairs was amazing… and no tourists there at all. We soon understood why. They were all in the French Village!
Was it worth it?
This was actually the less interesting part of our trip… for us. We’re from Europe. We’ve seen it all. All that architecture, even some of those buildings are just a smaller size copy of what you can see on nearly every corner in Europe. But what did we expect, it’s called French Village, right? There were many restaurants and coffee shops but even here, most of them were still closed and almost all a bit overpriced. We grabbed a nice ice cold cup of coffee and headed back to the cable car.
What can I say? It’s probably a fantastic attraction for Asian tourists who have never seen Europe. Not so much for us. Was it worth it? Yes! Just for those stunning views, it is worth it. Plus if you really want you can easily spend a whole day there if that all other attractions, restaurants etc are open. We were not so lucky.