At first, Vietnam, a country that not really interests me. However, after a trip to Mui Ne sand dunes, I wanted to come back to this country again due to its delicious food and inexpensive travel expenses. After recruiting some friends to join, it's time to start our journey again. This time, Da Nang which has Bana Hills, the French city of Asia, and Hoi An, the World Heritage City, are our destinations.
Expenses per person for the entire trip (3 people altogether):
A round trip flight ticket of Bangkok-Da Nang is 4,877 THB (We fly with Air Asia, if you buy the promotional tickets, it could get even cheaper).
Accommodation for 3 nights is 1,534 THB each.
- We stay at Bana Hills one night. I do highly recommend you guys to spend a night up here so that you can truly enjoy the atmosphere. Because in the daytime, there'll be lots of tourists around and they will go down in the evening with the cable car. For the details, I'll give you guys later on. We've got a special price by booking with trip.com. It is 2,800 THB for 4 people room including breakfast.
- We stay at hotel in Hoi An 2 nights and each night is 900 THB, the total cost is 1,800 THB. Acacia Heritage Hotel in Hoi An has a swimming pool although it's quite small. Overall, this hotel is alright. It is a heritage style hotel that we can walk to enjoy the night market in Hoi An and there're a lot of bicycle to rent nearby too.
For SIM card, airport pick up services, and local tour guide, it is 1,500 THB each.
For food and beverages, we each prepare 1,200 THB a day. Some people might think, oh well, will this be enough? Trust me, it is really sufficient.
A cable car up to Bana Hills (for those who spend a night at the hotel there, otherwise, it could be more expensive) is 700 THB.
For the entire trip, we each pay 9,811 THB.
For those who didn't want to fly with Air Asia, you can also fly with other airlines to Da Nang, Vietnam. After that, you can either use the airport pick up service from the hotel which could be more expensive than taxi or when we book it ourselves and since we wanted to play safe, we choose to book a service that comes with a fixed price. For all transportation in our trip, we use the service of airporttaxidanang by which you can directly book with the website or sending them an email. For the payment, simply pay cash after each service.
- Da Nang airport to Bana Hills
- Bana Hills to Hoi An
- Hoi An to Da Nang Airport
What Bana Hills has to offer? Why do we travel here?
Bana Hills is located in Hoa Ninh District, Hoa Vang District, Da Nang Province, about 38 km away from Da Nang City. It is a tourist attraction filled with many interesting things. It was built on the summit of the hill, up to about 1,487 m above the sea level. Tourist spots spread around the hilltop. Tourists will have to ride the cable car up to visit this place. And this cable car is also the longest and tallest cable car in the world, with a length of up to 5,801 m and a height of 1,368 m.
Transportation: We first travel from Da Nang airport to Bana Hills and then take a cable car up.
Accommodation: Mercure Danang French Village Bana Hills
There're many types of room like for 2 people or 4 people. Since we are 3, we decided to take a 4 people. If you stay up here, you will feel like you are in a dream land. As soon as it's evening, other tourists who didn't spend a night up here will all go down so there're only few of tourists left. The entire town is covered by mist which is so beautiful. In addition, there're a lot of restaurants, say European food or French food. The price is not so expensive too, I think they are quite great options.
There're several tourist spots up here. French village is the highest peak where hotels and restaurants are located. It is a medieval French village on the hilltop which includes shops, restaurants, hotels, accommodations, churches, and souvenir shops. Then, it's an amusement park called Fantasy Park which was inspired by a famous French novelist named Jules Verne. This novel is called "Journey To The Center of the Earth และ 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea". There's also a wax museum (an additional entrance fee is required). And if you wish to see a flower garden, you must take a cable car down and then a tram further. Here is considered another highlight of Bana Hills as we can continue walk down to enjoy the Sky Golden Bridge which is a sky bridge hold by two hands. It's like we are walking in a heaven. In addition, there's also the Linh Phong Tu Temple located on the south-east side of Bana Hills. The only way to get to this temple is by foot which gets us quite exhausted. Anyhow, from here, we will get a very beautiful viewpoint, overseeing the entire French Village.
Atmosphere in the mist
Atmosphere inside French restaurant with a musician
4 people room
A tram we need to take towards a flower garden
This is a highlight that everyone must come. It's such a thick fog the day we visited, we have to wait quite long for the fog to kind of faded away before I could capture this shot.
A wax museum
Let's enjoy the most adventurous cycling experience at the World Heritage City "Hoi An"
After two days and one night at Bana Hills, it's time to travel back in time in Hoi An, the World Heritage City. As usual, we use the shuttle service that had already booked. It is convenient and we were picked up on time as agreed. Every driver can speak English. Although it's not very good, they are able to understand where to find and get us.
Hoi An is well known for having to roam around the city by cycling. And before we could make up our minds to rent one, we almost give up due to this traffic that despite having seen it many times, we still can't get used to it. Finally, we decided to give it a try anyway. The cycling is getting better once you are in old town area as no cars are running there. Old town is filled with shops and accommodations which give us an antique atmosphere. If you wish to buy some souvenir, I recommend you to cycle to the end of old town where souvenir shops are located, the sellers can speak Thai and you could also bargain for the price.
In addition to cycling around old town and enjoying a cup of coffee in a slow life manner, at night, this area is turned into night market. Boats are available for both side of river for you to sit. Here, you can enjoy a street food just like in Thailand. With this light decoration and cool breeze, it does make us feel like we are really go back in time.
Old town at night time
It's a yellowish atmosphere.
We need to buy a hat too, not because we wanted to feel fit in but it's really hot.
What to eat and see in Hoi An?
Arriving in Hoi An, you must enjoy a basket boat ride which will take you into a mangrove forest. You can either buy the tour package at your hotel, or if you prefer a cheaper price, buy it with a tour company in old town area which comes with a condition that you must come to take a van from the company. To save time and make it more convenient, we buy a tour package from our hotel.
Each basket boat can take no more than 3 passengers.
There're activities for us to do while riding this basket boat too.
Here is a fast turn and spin of basket boat show. Just by looking at it, I feel dizzy already, he's so good.
If you love Banh Mi or French bread, you must not miss this restaurant, Banh My Phuong. It is super tasty. The bread is crispy outside and soft inside with loads of filling and if you like spicy, they can add chili for you too. For lunch, you can eat from market in the old town as well as dinner because it offers a lot of food for us to choose from just like our street food in a walking street.
Today is not crowded, otherwise, we'd have to queue.
Vietnamese Nam Nueng (sausages) is really good. Although it's different from the one in Thailand, it's very tasty.
In addition, there's also a free bicycle tour that I will review separately as I wanted to put more details into it.
Time to say goodbye to Hoi An
After staying in Hoi An for two days and two nights, I began to fall in love with this city and wanted to return once more to visit this small town where people still have good hospitality. This city is said to be safe for parking bicycle wherever and I can assure you that it's true as I've already tried and my bicycle is still with me. When vising here myself, I now understood why there're so many tourists traveling to this World Heritage City despite not having much comfort to offer. Because it still has the smell of yesterday and when combined with culture, how could one not fall in love with this World Heritage City?