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Ba Na Hill Station/Vietnam

Introducing Ba Na Hill Station

A hill resort inherited from the French, lush Ba Na has refreshingly cool weather and gorgeous countryside views. Established in 1919, the resort area once held 200-odd villas, but only a few ruins remain.

Until WWII the French were carried up the last 20km of rough mountain road by sedan chair, but now a 5km (the world’s longest) cable car system has really opened up access. The ride involves a rise of almost 1300m, a truly spectacular trip over dense jungle. However, be warned that a tourism boom has resulted in a lot of ugly construction (and a serious garbage problem) once you get to the hill top, including a castle-like theme park.

Take an extra layer or two whatever time of year you visit – when it’s 36°C on the coast, it could be 15°C on the mountain. Cloud and mist also cling to the hill top, so if you can, try to visit on a clear day.

Mountain tracks lead to waterfalls and viewing points. Near the top is the Linh Ung Pagoda (2004) and a colossal 24m-high white seated Buddha that’s visible for miles around.

There’s an ATM at Ga Suoi Mo, the (lowest) cable-car station. Up on the hill you can change money at the hotels. As all hotels at the hill station are poor value for money, it’s best to see Ba Na on a day trip.