Monday, 16 July 2018

Ba Na Hills, Danang (Vietnam)

We did a 7D6N Vietnam - Danang and Hoi An with our friends, Angs, during the June holiday.

We spent 2 nights in Danang, at Bana Hills Mountain resort. It is located in the Truong Seon Mountains west of the city Da Nang, in central Vietnam. The place was founded by the french colonists in 1919. Home to French, the resort was a recreational place for French visitors who would come to enjoy the villas, clubs, bungalows and restaurants. The place was unfortunately ruined after the World War II. 

It was restored and remodeled by investors in 2007. A popular local and foreign attraction in Vietnam today. Thanks to its altitude, about 1500 metres above sea level, we got to enjoy cool and fresh air throughout our stay. Day time was quite alright for us, but night was cold. About 15 to 20 degrees Celsius in the night.  

We booked our hotel stay with Mecure. The only hotel as of 2018. Our hotel booking did not come with cable car ride, it needs to be purchased separately at the foot of the hill. Another way up would be by car. Enjoy the cable car ride, it is the longest and highest non-stop cable car in the World!


Hotel Room

There are many activities you can do within your stay:

1. FRENCH VILLAGE
It is the 'town' you are welcomed daily the moment you step out of your hotel. A place built to the romantic and elegant taste of a unique and ancient french architecture. It is unbelievably beautiful and assuredly a great place for photography. It was however, much crowded on the days we visited. We did it over the weekend. It may be better during weekdays. Most local tourists do their one day getaways over the weekend here. We know crowd aren't great for photography.

A better time for photos would be the evening, when most crowd make their way down hill. When most shops and restaurants close at 5pm. With a handful opened for those still lurking around.


View from hotel

Awesome architecture

Front of Cathedral

Unique architecture

Great view

Lovely walk


2. FUNICULAR
This railway train brings us from Ba Na station to Le Jardin d'Amour Garden. A fun and simple ride to get the kids a little thrilled. 

Funicular

Service hour: 8am to 6.30pm (Till 5pm in low-peak season) 

3. LE JARDIN D'AMOUR GARDEN
There are 9 gardens in this mega garden. Each garden is themed to different feelings of love and classical art. It is less crowded with ample space for the kids to roam and expel some energy. The kids loved playing in the garden maze.

Le Jardin D'Amour Garden

'Cable car ride'

Play with me?
Awesome Hand statue

4. FANTASY PARK
The largest indoor entertainment park in Vietnam. Within it consists of games, shows, kiddy rides, theme park rides, not exactly equivalent, but mostly. There were bumper cars, arcade games, playground for toddlers and mostly satisfying for any child. 

Everything is free to play in here, subject to minimum height for some rides. No additional charges unless otherwise stated. Which explains why cable car ride fees are rather exuberant for the locals who are making their way up. 

Pros and cons. You can play till the cows go home! But free play can also mean a long wait for your turn at popular arcade games. After watching a boy 'game over-ed' and 'played again' four times, I decided to ask if my son could play. Trust me, you may have to do this at the park.


Fantasy Park

5. WAX MUSEUM
We skipped this. Doubt it was any exciting. After all, we have a wax museum in Sentosa. 

6. ALPINE COASTER
Alpine coaster is outdoor, not within Fantasy park. Jazz had really want to do this thrilling ride, but the queue was snaking long! Considering that the ride takes only 1 or 2 riders per play, it moved steadily slow. We knew we were not game to queue. Moreover, the younger boys weren't able to ride. It opens from 8am to 5pm. We tried checking it out at 8.15am, it was just as long as any other timing of the day. Oh well, it is said to be the top favourite of all visitors.


Alpine Coaster


7. CARNIVAL SHOW
From parade to street entertainment, performers are frequently seen hanging around French Village.

Carnival Parade

8. HOTEL'S RECREATION
The hotel's facilities are sprawled all across French Village. While French Village is also open to non hotel guests, access to use the swimming, kids and sports room are strictly for hotel guests only. You will require your hotel's access key to enter.

There are pools for adults to swim and toddlers to wade. To swim in the night (pool closes at 10pm I think), you will need to brave the cold to walk back to your hotel. Not too far of a distance though. The robe in the hotel room was good for that brisk walk. Good thing, water in the pool is heated. Our little swimmers feedback that there was some funny smell in the pool. I didn't verify that though.

There was also nightly movie screening by the pool. Just a projector and screen, not some high resolution images though.

The kids' playroom room are more for toddlers to really young kids. We didn't stay long, it wasn't well ventilated, and there was a stench of stale air lingering.


Kids' playroom

Kids' playroom

Heated pool

Slide fun

9. RESTAURANTS
Breakfast was included with the booking of the hotel. We needed to settle lunch and dinner out of the hotel. We did Vietnamese lunch at French Village, not sure what its name was, but pho was really good! And probably the best tasting one we had throughout our stay in Vietnam. We also tried the dinner buffet in the hotel and another Japanese buffet out of the hotel, which we belatedly realised they weren't good at hosting buffet. There was variety, but not satisfying in quality.

Vietnamese food may be the best bet in there.




10. STREET SNACKS
Surprisingly, street snacks were yummy! We tried their sweet potato ball, custard puff and mango smoothie. All good!


Street Food

These pretty much summed up on what you can do in Ba Na Hills. Spending 2 nights at the hotel was just nice for us, but I am sure 1 night or even a day trip may be good too. A tad disappointed that the family bunks room we booked were unavailable upon check in. We were given 2 connecting rooms instead.

The place was really beautiful and made even more enjoyable with its cool weather. However, I find most facilities and attractions, even our hotel rooms looked like they were due for a major clean up or renovation. Even though the place was built in 2007, it did not look well maintained. Expect too, a difference in culture. I was watching the parade gleefully before a lady gave my shoulder a sudden strong tug just to make way for her view. I was literally shocked! I looked at her and went speechless. It looked like a norm to her. Shoving and pushing seemed almost ordinary in there. So yeap, that was my experience.

After Ba Na Hills, we booked a taxi at the hotel's reception before heading down hill. It was a 45 minutes ride to Hoi An. 

Coming up on next post, our stay in Hoi An, Sunrise Premium Resort and tailoring, food and farming in Hoi An.

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