A Pedacito of Ba Na Hills, Vietnam
Updated: May 16, 2021
I was a nervous wreck as we headed up the mountain towards Ba Na Hills. Though I am extremely afraid of heights and the gondola up the mountain was at least a hundred feet off the ground, that wasn’t why I was nervous.
My girlfriend held my hand and tried to convince me that we weren’t about to plunge to our deaths. She could see that I wasn’t doing well. My face was a ghostly white, and my heart was beating fast. What she didn’t know was that my other hand was in my jacket pocket, tightly grasping the engagement ring for fear that it might get lost.
As we arrived at the entrance, I got a bad feeling. I was hoping for a nice romantic place away from the crazy traffic and throngs of people that are a part of everyday life in Vietnam. But as we reached the top of the mountain, the park felt a little more touristy than I was anticipating.
The park itself is designed to resemble an authentic European city, with cobblestone streets and stores, bars, and restaurants all made to look like sections of some large castle. This, of course, was unfamiliar and beautiful to the Vietnamese population. Many of whom, I suspect, had never actually traveled to western Europe and had never seen anything like it. For me, it felt fake and somewhat silly.
I was still nervous as we made our way to the famous Golden Bridge. The large stone hands jutted out from the mountain and held onto the bridge, which overlooked the beautiful green hills and valleys surrounding us. I had been contemplating if I was going to go through with asking her to marry me. I wanted everything to be perfect, and I wasn’t convinced that Ba Na Hills was the right place. The cost of the tickets to get to the park was only 75,000 Dong a piece, (roughly $35) and even the five-star hotel I had reserved wasn’t terribly expensive. It wouldn’t be a total kick in the teeth if I changed my mind and waited to ask her somewhere else.
Though as the sun began to set, the entire place started to feel different. Most of the tourists headed back down the mountain, and only those with hotel rooms were allowed to stay in the park. The lights were turned on throughout the park and reflected against the cobblestone streets and castles, bathing them in a warmth that started to make me feel like I was actually in a town in France or Italy.
We had a nice dinner and a bottle of wine and continued to walk around the streets. Maybe it was the wine, or maybe it was just the feeling of being with the woman that I loved, but I was quickly changing my mind about the place. The streets were almost completely empty by now, and it felt like we had an entire European city to ourselves.
As we came to a section of the park filled with sunflowers (my girlfriend’s favorite flower), I knew it was the right time. She sat on a bench and looked up at the stars while I quickly pulled one of the sunflowers out of the ground and handed it to her. Then I got down on one knee and asked the question that had kept me in panic mode all day. She said yes.
The next day, we spent the morning walking through the remainder of the park. Outside of the European section, there is a more traditional Asian section which is just as beautiful against the mountainous backdrop.
Ultimately, I was happy with my decision to take her there. If you are just looking for a cool place to take Instagram-worthy pictures, Ba Na Hills is great for that. There are plenty of interesting photo opportunities all over the place there. For me, Ba Na Hills will always be a special place for me for obvious reasons. This time, as we rode down the mountain in the gondola, I used both of my hands to hold hers. I used my fingers to touch the ring that was now placed on hers, and not once did I think of being afraid of heights.
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