Almost immediately after opening in June 2018, the Golden Bridge in Ba Na Hills went viral. You’ve probably seen it pop up on your social media feed many times already. This beautiful beautiful golden bridge with two hands hewn out of rock overlooking the mountains seemed to capture everyone’s imagination. When we realised it was just down the road from our last stop in Vietnam we knew we had to visit.
How to visit the Golden Bridge, Ba Na Hills
The bridge is everything you’d expect and more. As you make your entry by cable car, you’ll just about see the bridge in the distance as you approach atop the mountain. More than likely if you have come early morning it will be shrouded in fog. As soon as you walk out the doors you’ll realise that they couldn’t have picked a better spot.
When it’s clear, you can see all the way down to the coast to the up and coming city of Da Nang and beyond. The difficulty is that you can never tell what the weather will be! Even if it’s clear on the ground as it was for us, the bridge can be surrounded by clouds.
However, in the early morning with the golden light, this just makes it even more atmospheric.
We chose the clearest day we could to visit, so even when there was mist it cleared every 15 minutes or so, having seen it in both fog and clear we actually preferred it in fog! It felt much more mysterious.
Timing is everything - the best time to visit the Golden Bridge
Timing is everything with the Golden Bridge and every minute counts.
We’d go as far as to say that unless you can cope with mega crowds - and we mean MEGA - then you need to be on that first cable car at 7am. Sometimes we go to places and arrive early only to find that we have so much time to ourselves we could have actually come a little later. This is not one of those times. And bear in mind we visited on a Tuesday in off season.
We were literally the first people up in the cable car and around 15 people were minutes behind us. Then they just kept on coming, we’ll let the photos do the talking…..
Here’s the bridge at 7.15am.
We’ve heard about it being even worse at weekends and during peak tourism season. Set your alarm and go early, it really is worth it. That first 20-30 minutes you get while there is still virtually no one else there is very special and worth that dreaded 5am alarm call.
Although the early morning may have mist (we felt that made it more atmospheric) you can see the later shots have clear skies. They are nice but don’t compare to the mysterious misty ones.
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Photography Tips for the Golden Bridge
The best thing to do if you want to get shots without any people is to take a couple of shots at the first hand (the right hand nearest the stage area in the cable car station) you come to and when other people come up to this point move on to the second set (the left hand, the one furthest away). We don’t know why but everyone wanted to take the first hand and we ended up with the second to ourselves for 20 minutes!
In the early hours, we found there was enough space for everyone. There’s a couple of different angles you can take, including a little viewpoint at the furthest end (it’s a green step looking back), one by the flower garden at the train station and you can even try from inside the cable car station (you’ll be shooting through glass, but you can get higher up).
If you’re looking for a break (sometimes the mist can clear, so hang around) there’s a couple of nice spots nearby.
Our favourite was the Linh Un Ba Pagoda, there wasn’t another soul around for the full 30 minutes we were there. The prayer flags fluttering in the wind and the music made it a lovely spot to escape the crowds.
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Golden Bridge Location
The Golden Bridge is on the top of a mountain in Ba Na Hills and is only accessible by cable car. The cable cars all run from Sun World, meaning the only way to get to the bridge is by buying a ticket to visit Sun World (a franchise of theme parks in Vietnam).
It is a 40 minutes drive west of Da Nang or one hour from Hoi An and pretty straight forward to get to. Google Maps kept telling us it was about 1.5 hours, but we managed to make it there within the hour.
How to get to the Golden Bridge, Da Nang
The condition of the road is excellent and they are relatively quiet, so you could get a motorbike to Sun World from Da Nang or Hoi An.
As we were unsure about driving so far in the dark and thought the road was going to be a windy mountain one (it isn’t), so we chose to hire a driver from Hoi An. It didn’t look like there was a bus or any form of public transport to Sun World, or at least not so early in the day anyway.
If you are coming from Hoi An we can highly recommend using Hoi An Cars as they arrived to pick us up early (always good that you aren’t left hanging when you’ve got up at the crack of dawn!), the driver was lovely, the car was great and - bless them - they even gave us cold towels and cold drinks when we got back to the car after leaving Sun World.
You can Whatsapp them on +84 1268422252. We paid 900k dong ($40 USD), a lot when you can hire a motorbike for 100k, but it’s a good option if you don’t have your own wheels.
The hotel at Sun World
Those who don’t fancy making such an early start can stay overnight in the heart of Sun World. The Mercure French Village is set in a section of the theme park that is only a very short cable car away from the Golden Bridge. There are plenty of restaurants around the hotel as well.
The hotel is set in the French Village section, an area where they’ve recreated French castles, churches and cobbled streets for people to explore. The irony of creating a little piece of France 70 years after the Vietnamese went to war to get liberated from French colonial rule wasn’t lost on us!
It looked like people staying at the Mercure could get a cable car at 7am to the bridge, being the first people there. Even though this is the same time as you can get a cable car from the ground, the ride from the French village is shorter. Bear in mind though that this will only get you ahead of others by a really small margin.
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Entrance price for the Golden Bridge
Brace yourself, because this is the painful part. Entry to Sun World is 700,000 dong per person (about $30 USD)! We were shocked when we realised this, especially as Vietnam is such a great value destination. It did make us stop and think but in the end we decided to go for it and we weren’t disappointed. You only regret the things you don’t do, right?!
However, you do get access to everything in Sun World, not just the bridge. This means you’ll enjoy the longest cable car in the world (over 5km) and is also the highest elevation by cable car from start to end.
You can also check out the Linh Un Ba Pagoda, the gardens, some more cable cars and the very cheesy french village (no pun intended).
To be honest, if it wasn’t for the bridge, we wouldn’t have visited Sun World. But you can justify the extortionate cost by thinking about the other things you could do.
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Are you planning a trip to the Golden Bridge? Have you been and have any tips for us? Let us know in the comments below!