Wrong Day, Wrong Town!

Trip Start Jul 16, 2012
Trip End Ongoing

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Sunday, May 19, 2013

Sometimes when you are travelling you arrive in a town and exchange that knowing glance of 'why have we come here again?' Da Nang was unfortunately one of those towns. We had possibly the quickest and easiest transfer from Hoi An to Da Nang, it was bang on 25 minutes door to door, out of one hotel and straight into the other.  After this much convenience things were bound to go downhill.  We set off into the town to book ourselves on a tour to the Ba Na Hill Cable Car and this is where it all went wrong.  Da Nang on a Sunday is pretty much a ghost town.  The cafes were empty or closed the shop shutters were down and there was not a sniff of an open travel agent in the whole town.  This was not looking good.  Thankfully we stumbled on a nice café and had some lunch but our wonderings after were fruitless.  After an afternoon of blogging and photo sorting we headed out to the river to see the bridges by night and whilst pretty it confirmed our initial theory that Da Nang was rubbish, especially on a Sunday.

Down but not beaten we set off on Monday morning in search of a way to get to the Ba Na Cable Car and found a few open travel agents who all had tours for Vietnamese people that set off at 8am, which was not a lot of use to us at 10am.  Eventually we found a travel agent ready and willing to help us book a car.   After much negotiating we managed to get a car for 700 thousand dong, possibly the most expensive tour we have booked in a while but we eventually agreed that to be on our own schedule in  an air-conditioned car having had a lie in was well worth £10 each.

Ba  Na Hill Resort Cable car was opened in 2009, it is the longest and highest non stop cable car in the world and has the Guinness certificates to prove it.  I had heard a few people mention Ba Na and the feature that appealed the most was the weather.  After months of sweating our way around Asia Ba Na was said to be around 18 degrees at the top.  Whilst in the UK this would be considered a red hot beach day, the Vietnamese are getting out their hats and scarves and gloves to protect themselves from the cold.  We finally stopped sweating profusely for the 2 hours we spent at the top, bliss.

The cable car ride was awesome, as we got higher over the forest you could see the city of Da Nang like a blot on the beautiful landscape and past this the white sand and blue waters of the South China Sea.  All in all the journey to the top took around 25 minutes.  At the top we were most surprised to find that the majority of the buildings were still being constructed but the Ba Na Hills theme park was largely up and running.  Fantasy Land was about the last thing that I expected to find at the top of such a stunning hill.  Much like a mini Disney, we were in a world of bright lights, slot machines and fairground rides.  We quickly sniffed out the free rides and after being swung round, dropped from the roof and having had a brief walk with some dinosaurs we were ready to make the descent.

The cable car and the fun fair madness definitely made up for the erroneous trip to Da Nang.

Time to pack again and on the train to Hue.

Having experienced the horror that was the Vietnamese hard sleeper trains we were  not worried about the short 3 hour sitting class tickets we had from Da Nang to Hue.  It seems that our luck was out here too, we stumbled through the packed train to find that our bags didn’t fit in the over head compartment and the air-conditioning only works when the train is moving.  The train did not move for 20 minutes so we sat in a 40 degree sweaty box with 78 Vietnamese faces looking at us like we are aliens.  This is going to be a long 3 hours!!              
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