Cruising through curtains of mist on Ba Na Mountain
2010-01-05 (GMT + 7)
When we arrived, Ba Na Mountain was sinking into the curtains of mist that was formed by the early winter rain. Although it was just afternoon, the mountain turned into a darker green landscape under the sky shrouded in dark clouds. To some extent, we were not lucky when making the trip there in rainy weather, but we had no choice for we could not guess what it would be tomorrow. Anyway, we decided to draw the curtains of mist to conquer the resort mountain which is very popular in the central city of Danang.
“Here comes the cable car. Get aboard please!” a serviceman said, urging our group of six into the cabins which were slowly turning around at the terminal at the foot of Ba Na Mountain, which is some 25 kilometers southwest of Danang City.
I do not like the height, to tell the truth. Hanging in the air on a steel cable in such weather made me worry. I set aside the fear to join the others to head for the mountain’s peak. No sooner did the cable cars leave the terminal to swing in the air than I understood why a young girl had decided to jump out of our cabin as it was closing its doors to start the journey-in-the-air.
“I will stay and wait for you all here, I have experienced the cable car service before,” she said waving her hand, trying to hide her fear behind a smile. A mixed feeling of fluttering filled my heart when our cable car slowly was sliding upward, passing through layers of mist covering the big trees. From time to time, the car swayed lightly in gusts of cold wind carrying raindrops that beat the outside of the car. Regardless of the mist, we sometimes could see a road appear and disappear under the leaf canopy, leading to the mountain top that used to be a resort town.
It is said that Ba Na Mountain was found in the 1900s by the French, who wanted to find a cool place to escape the heat in the central region. Standing some 1,500 meters above sea level, Ba Na is granted a cool climate. It is one reason the French chose the hilly region for a resort destination during colonial time. There were facilities here, including a hospital, post office, theater, market and hotels to name a few. The French built some 200 villas on these mountains for holiday makers. However, time and wars have left Ba Na a deserted jungle for many years.
It was not until recent years the mountains were refurbished into a tourist destination. Among the facilities, the cable car system shortens the distance from the foot to the peak of the mountain, instead of the road winding up and down the mountainside.
Finally, we reached the second terminal after 17 minutes to cover some 5,000 meters. For that distance, the Ba Na cable car system is recognized as one of the longest non-stop cable car systems in the world.
“So cold!” said a young man as he got out of the cabin and received stronger gusts of cold wind beating his face and piercing through his thin costume. Like him, I quickly unfolded a flimsy raincoat, which was given on the journey just in case of the rain, to put on as a sweater to keep warm rather than to keep dry.
“It is 14 degrees Celsius,” a serviceman said, showing us a long corridor leading to the second terminal to continue the journey to the top of the mountain.
The higher we reached, the thicker the mist we penetrated, and it seemed the temperature was a little bit lower. The distance from the second terminal to the end is shorter than the previous one. It takes around five minutes to reach the peak, where standing gleaming in the mist were modern hotels designed in French architecture.
Ba Na has two groups of hotels, Ba Na By Nigh – Le Nim, and Morin which province 164 rooms from standard to deluxe to serve visitors who want to experience a night in the mountainous region.
It is better to visit Ba Na in the summer when it offers a clear sky for travelers to see the imposing mountains and a panoramic view toward Danang City. If you have time, stay for a night to feel four seasons in a day with winter at night, spring in the morning, summer at noon and autumn in the afternoon, as it is often said about this destination.
For more information, contact Ba Na Hills Mountain Resort at An Son Hamlet, Hoa Ninh Commune, Hoa Vang District in Danang City, tel: 511 3791791.