Abandoned hill station turned into tourism paradise

By Kieu Mai - Apr 01, 2019 | 09:56 AM GMT+7

TheLEADERAfter being neglected for decades, Ba Na has now become one of the country's tourism hubs, attracting millions of visitors each year.

Situated 25 kilometers southwest of Danang, Ba Na used to be a famous resort not only in Central Vietnam but also throughout Indochina in the years before 1945.

After founding Ba Na, the French colonists had built a resort to be used as a leisure destination for French tourists. Located above about 1,500 metres above sea level, the resort has a view of the East Sea and the surrounding mountains.

Abandoned hill station turned into tourism paradise
Ba Na used to be a famous resort for French colonists.

Under the construction of French colonists, Ba Na featured almost all kinds of services such as hotels, restaurants, wine cellars, cinemas, post offices, hospitals and tennis courts. About 240 modern, luxurious, fully-equipped villas and guesthouses were put into use in the 1920s and 1930s.

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Most tourists in Ba Na were French officials.

In 1925, there were only about 120 travellers in Ba Na. In 1928 when a road leading to the top of mountain was completed, the number of new tourists increased gradually and reached over 1,000, most were French and Vietnamese officials.

After the August Revolution in 1945, few tourists went to Ba Na. Following the war against French colonial rule in Vietnam, locals destroyed buildings in Ba Na and since then, the resort had been forgotten for nearly half a century.

The remaining buildings of the well-known resort continued to be destroyed by the US military in the anti-American War.

In early 1997, Danang People's Committee decided to rebuild Ba Na into an eco-tourism area with a system of guest houses, restaurants, reserves. Ten years later, the municipal authorities transferred the entire resort to Sun Group.

On March 25, 2009, Sun Group put Ba Na - Suoi Mo cable car system into operation, marking the effort to bring Ba Na back to the glorious period.

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Ba Na - Suoi Mo cable cars holds the world record for longest non-stop single track cable car at 5,801 metres in length.

The cable car system was among the most modern in the world at that time, Ba Na also boast many new projects such as a 21,000sqm - indoor entertainment area, Fantasy Park or French Village.

With Golden Bridge, the latest tourist attraction, the abandoned hill station has been transformed into tourism paradise Ba Na Hills Sun World, attracting millions of visitors each year.

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The Golden Bridge was also voted by TIME magazine as one of the “Top 10 best destinations of the world 2018” and admired by The Guardian as “The world’s most impressive pedestrians’ bridge”.

In 2001, there were nearly 490,000 domestic and foreign visitors to Danang and the figure was more than 1.3 million in 2009. It even reached nearly 7.7 million last year, increasing up to 463 per cent compared to 2009.

The number of tourists to Ba Na also increased over 160 times compared to that of 2009, the first year the resort went into operation.

In the past ten years, Danang airport witnessed a remarkable increase in the number of passengers, from 2.1 million in 2009 to 13.3 million in 2018. Especially, after the Golden Bridge was opened, the number of international flights to Danang from new markets such as Thailand, Korea, India surged.

In the first two months of 2019, the number of flights from Thailand to Danang has increased to 56 flights per week and for every three international visitors in Danang, two come to Sun World Ba Na Hills.

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The number of international flights and tourists to Ba Na increased significantly.