Day 95, Sunday 08 April 2012, Da Nang
Up early again for a group trip with some of Vans family to Ba Na Hills, just out of Da Nang. We took the hire car with a few of us inside and four motorcycles, I got to ride in the car ! Dan and Malcolm with Dan’s bro Russell in the background.
Ba Na Hills is a weird place ! I am not entirely sure of its history, but the original site was started by the French in 1919 as a 200 bed hotel. This all fell apart before the war in the 60’s and now it is owned by the Vietnamese government who are investing huge amounts of money into making it a major tourist attraction. However, it is not the type of tourist attraction I would go to!
The cool bit is the cable car ride up to the 1290 metre(i think) point, it is supposedly the longest cable car in the world and it is pretty cool riding up into and then out of the clouds, the view of the forest and rivers was lovely.
From there you get a second cable car up another couple of hundred meters to this bizarre mass of construction, building a family fun park, Vietnamese style of course.
There was a walk up to a pagoda, but it was all too new and modern for my tastes, though I did like the goddess of mercy statue.
We had a walk around the fun park and then caught the 4d movie, which turned out to really only be 3d as bits of it were not working. After catching the cable car back to the top of the first car we stopped for ‘temporary lunch’ and then walked up to the big Buddha and to find the wine cave – the main mission.
Dan and Van had been here a year ago and had found a wine bar in an old cave that the French had used as a wine cellar, it was quite cool up here (lovely !), however it was all being renovated and was closed – which was a major disappointment…
There was a nice pagoda here with a very cool bonsai garden complete with miniature pagodas, bridges and people.
I think I may be eating too much chicken !
We did find this very cool air filled course, that was set up for a corporate team building event, so we asked the guys if we could have a few turns and raced each other over the course, much to a few peoples hilarity…
Van’s cheeky wee niece.
The cloud closed in making for a spooky ride back down the hill.
A quick stop at the hotel and I was back in the car with Luc heading off to watch his team play 7 a side football. When we got to the ground it turned out his team only had six players so I was very reluctantly roped in to play – in sandals…. it was not my finest sporting hour I will say but I had fun, though trying to kick a ball in loose sandals is not easy. I have no idea if we won or lost or what the score was, though it did seem rather irrelevant.
Unlike a game in NZ there was no swifty beer after the game, or even any hand shake, most of the guys silently left the pitch and walked to their car or motorbike and left, a wee bit odd !
Luc dropped me back at the hotel and i had a shower and a warm lager and then went down to the lobby to suss the plan for a feed for the night. There seemed to be a few options so I elected to go with Dan to meet his mate Matt for one beer and then off to the market for street food with some of the others followed by an early night as I was knackered.
As is the norm with the group we all left a bit later than planned and by the time Dan I settled in for a beer with Matt the market had closed. We had two beers and went back to the hotel on the bike (Dan was driving) and picked up a few of the others and met up with Van and one of her friends for an awesome chicken noodle dish and fresh fruit drink at one of the road side eateries in town – and I mean roadside !
After eating we went to find some other friends of Dans at the Bamboo Bar, they were not there but we stopped for one more beer and I got to watch some of the Arsenal v Man City game on TV. From there we went to another bar to watch a live band – Filipino cover band, and I watched the rest of the football (1-0 to Arsenal!) and the band. One of the backing singers had the shortest shorty shorts I have ever seen !!! We sunk a few whisky and cokes and then back on the motorbikes for a stupid (though short) ride back to the hotel, which was all locked up when we arrived just before 1.00 AM. So much for my one beer and an early night ! But a heck of a lot of fun – and no we were not that drunk for riding in Vietnam…