After a 40-minute ride on a bumpy, rented motorbike (a.k.a. scooter) we arrived at what we thought would be a mountain pass up to the Golden Bridge.
That wasn’t the case. Read the full post to hear why the Golden Bridge outside Da Nang, Vietnam didn’t meet my expectations.
Just in case you’re short on time, here’s everything you need to know to see the bridge:
- Map your transportation to “Sun World Ba Na Hills“, an amusement park about 45-minutes outside of Da Nang (or 1 hour from Hoi An). Google Maps may tell you it will take 1.5-2 hours to get there, but that’s not accurate.
- You can get there on a rented motorbike. It’s the cheapest option, but it isn’t the most comfortable since you will be traveling at relatively high speeds for at 45-minutes. The route is not hilly or mountainous like you might assume from the
- Pay the 675,000 VND entrance fee. Check your currency’s exchange rate here. The bridge is within the Sun World Ba Na Hills amusement park, so there is no way around this. If you’re traveling on a budget, consider eating ahead of time and carrying a water bottle into the park to save money. Backpacks are allowed inside.
- Ride to the bridge via cable car, included in your entrance fee. Staff can help you find the most direct route.
- Get there early. The park opens at 7:00 a.m., so arrive there by then if you don’t want other tourists in the background of all your photos.
How to access the Golden Bridge
(and how not to do it)
I hadn’t done much research before arriving. I just plugged “Golden Bridge” into Google Maps and assumed things would work out.
After a 45-minute ride on a rented motorbike (Only $5 per day for a nicer one that could carry both my partner and I), we reached a massive parking lot where we could go no further. We felt confused and even a little tricked. We asked the workers around us how to get to the Golden Bridge and they pointed at a huge amusement park entrance.
We made our way to the ticket counter where we asked one more time if this was the only way we could access the Golden Bridge. She said yes. I thought about asking my partner Ethan if he wanted to leave, but we had already spent so much time driving there. I reluctantly got out my credit card.
Ticket cost for Sun World Ba Na Hills
We paid 675,000 VND (about $30 USD) each for entrance to Sun World. Check the current price here.
Losing $30 in the entrance fee is far from my worst foolish travel budget mistake, but I felt especially dumb for this. The whole time, I kicked myself for not doing my research.
Accessing Golden Bridge by cable car
Once you get into the park, you need to ride a cable car up to the bridge which is honestly a lot of fun. Sun World Ba Na Hills is known for its record-breaking cable car system, so you’ll arrive at bridge in no time if you show up early in the morning. We experienced no lines and we had the car to ourselves.
Avoiding crowds at Golden Bridge
Thankfully, a local guide told us to arrive very early so that the bridge would not be completely swamped with tourists. Unfortunately, I hadn’t learned it would be within an amusement park.
We arrived at the bridge at about 8:00 a.m. There were quite a few people then, but nothing compared to the crowds that would show up later. We were visiting in February between the low and high tourism seasons, so if you want to visit during high season, you should try to arrive even earlier.
The bridge really was phenomenal. It’s at least just as beautiful as it looks in the pictures. It was still covered in fog at that time, which honestly made it look better than if the skies had been clear.
Aggressive photographers at the Golden Bridge
The worst part about the experience, though, was that there were three different couples getting their wedding photos taken that morning. Ethan and I kept trying to take a few photos ourselves, but the photographers pushed us out of the way.
I understand that wedding photos are way more important than selfies, but, in my opinion, everyone had paid for their entry ticket and should have the same access to the bridge.
Of course, it’s also my fault for not doing my research. I naively expected a publicly accessible bridge spanning some road in the middle of nowhere outside Da Nang. It’s not Sun World’s fault that my assumptions didn’t match reality.
Instagram culture lesson at Golden Bridge
I think that the moral of this story is not to go out chasing those perfect, Instagramable spots. Compared to the photos, they are relatively underwhelming. In this case, the bridge was really short and didn’t serve much of a functional purpose.
When it comes to Instagram culture, I think many users are aware of the issues. The truth is, the person in those idealized photographs probably had to wait and wait to get the perfect shot or, worse, had to push other people out of the way to make it happen.
Chasing “likes” over experiences
This is an issue with people and the way they portray travel destinations on social media. Those stunning photos with thousands of likes, more often than not, are extremely misleading. And, as travel bloggers, when we share them, it can lead others to visit those same destinations and feel disappointed.
In my case, I saw a gorgeous bridge, learned it could be found in
Okay, so is the Golden Bridge outside Da Nang worth it?
If I could go back and relive that day, would I visit the Golden Bridge again? Honestly, my answer is no. I personally have no interest in amusement parks, so spending so much time and money to see one bridge didn’t feel meaningful to me. For those who actually would enjoy spending a full day at the amusement park after getting their bridge photo, I say go for it!
I don’t blame anyone for our less-than-positive experience. After all, no one tricked us. We tricked ourselves. We pursued a look we wanted to achieve instead of a real place. I just don’t care for that kind of travel. If that’s your style, though, I can respect that. I believe that you can make memories while you’re making the perfect photo, I just prefer not to spend my time that way.
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