The Golden Hands Bridge was unveiled at Sunworld’s Ba Na Hills amusement complex in June, 2018. Right afterwards incredible drone footage of the bridge was released, showcasing the floating bridge to the world. The video became a viral sensation which put Da Nang, Vietnam, on the map to a new generation of travelers.
We were planning a trip to Vietnam at the time the viral video started circulating. We started fielding questions asking if we were going to visit the new landmark, which I felt strong armed into doing. By my own pride.
I wasn’t necessarily interested in visiting Da Nang’s Golden Hands Bridge. I’m always put off by places that seem over touristy, which this one did. I do believe in checking out potentially influential places on my own, though, so, in the end, a trip was arranged.
What is it actually like at Da Nang’s Golden Hands Bridge?
Getting to the Golden Hands Bridge
The Golden Hands Bridge is the newest feature in the Ba Na Hills amusement complex outside of Da Nang, Vietnam. To get there we hired a private car to drive the hour from our temporary home in Hoi An.
Step two was buying entrance to Ba Na Hills. Tickets cost 700,000 VND / adult and 500,000 VND/ child. At $30 and $21.50 respectively, this was no small admission. Luckily the tickets include much more than the ego boost of seeing the bridge in person, so we chose to bite the bullet.
A cable car, named one of the 10 best cable car systems in the world by CNN, took 15 minutes to take us from the Ba Na Hills ticket center at the bottom of the foothill to the midway point of the complex. This is where the bridge rests.
Views of the bridge emerge while riding on the cable car. 1,400 meters above sea level, the bridge truly seems to float in space, caught from falling off the edge of a mountain by two giant hands.
Walking across the Golden Hands Bridge
Once we’d made our way to Ba Na Hills, bought tickets to enter, and waited for the cable car to bring us to the middle of a mountain we then had to fight our way through hordes of tourists to gain our place on the famed bridge.
That’s when I stopped being a journalist and became a tourist.
As soon as we saw the entrance to the bridge I was drawn to it like a moth to a really beautiful landmark. I joined the crowds of tourists taking pictures from the small view we had at the beginning, too eager for the immediate view to have the perspective to walk to the end.
Once I had my fill of the first angle I did try to make my way across.
That’s when the journalist in me took back control and I started to get frustrated (and a bit claustrophobic, if I’m being honest) by the fact that every person between me and the end of the bridge was either stopping to take a picture or was having their picture taken. Selfies, group shots, and dangerous poses were everywhere I turned. I even saw two professional photography crews taking bridal portraits!
Unfortunately, it tarnishes an experience when I’m stuck in one place by people so interested in their own Instagram activity to recognize the basic needs of others.
The throng of iPhone photographers mostly kept to the front half of the bridge, so I was able to elbow my way to some incredible views and deep breaths soon enough.
Nestled in Strong Hands
The apex of the curved bridge is between two giant, granite hands which emerge from the rocks and forest below to uphold the golden-lined bridge. The day we visited thick fog covered the landscape around the bridge, giving the illusion that a pair of strong hands had come out of nowhere to support us.
I woke up that day to news that a friend of mine had died the day before. I didn’t know him well, but deeply respected him for a lot of reasons. I’d even been on the phone with him 24 hours before his death; laughing and joking about the success he was on the verge of. He was only 22.
I wasn’t completely myself that day. I was hurt and confused by his death. How could this happen to someone so young, kind, patient, and brilliant?
Standing beside those uprising fingers, knowing my fate rested in the palms of this concrete giant in the clouds, helped me find a strength I desperately needed. As the light mountain breeze twirled my hair and I held on to a shiny, golden rod it felt like everything would be ok.
I came to the Golden Hands Bridge fully expecting to be let down. I wasn’t. I was lifted up, literally and figuratively, in the hands of a stronger being. An engineering and aesthetic marvel, I can fully back this incredible place.
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