Gypsy Blood Travels: Doin’ it for the ‘gram – The Golden Bridge

Doin’ it for the ‘gram. I love it. Not necessarily for the ideology behind it: doing something simply to impress others or create better content or grow a following on social media but simply because it has pushed me to ‘step outside’ my comfort zone. To wake up earlier. To grow a craft and get a better eye for taking photos and knowing what I WANT to capture in a image (sometimes under a time limit!), to communicate better with others. So this is one of the first images in a series that tells a story of how these photos got captured! Ask my mother… I’m not a morning person. So the idea that I would need to be up BEFORE dawn seem laughable. I was…. persuaded (?) to rise at the unfathomable hour of 4 am in the morning by a blog post I had read telling me to GET THERE EARLY! and the numerous gorgeous pictures of The Golden Bridge I had seen filling up my Instagram feed solidified that need. Now from where my home-stay which was in Da Nang, Ba Na Hills (where the bridge was) was a short 20 km cycle away…. And when I say cycle, I mean bicycle, NOT motorbike. As I was currently cycling my way through Vietnam I took it upon myself to cycle when I could, where I could. Arriving at Sun World Ba Na Hills around 6am in the morning to do a quick change out of my sweaty bike gear and into the only other clothes I had in the country with me. I popped on a touch of mascara and waited for the ticket desk to open. I was the first one there! YES! *fist pump* Once the ticket office opened I was advised that the cable car that was to take me to the bridge opens at 7am. No sooner. No later. She had apparently had others here trying to get in earlier before! I followed the signs towards the cable cars and waited AGAIN in line. About 10 minutes after I was joined by some other tourists who were eager to get their snaps with a few people as possible. And a bride. Yes. A bride. I actually had no idea that this was an extremely popular place for couples to get their photos taken. And here I thought I was being smug getting up at 4am! Who knows what time hair and makeup started at for that poor girl! 7am. I got through the gates ran up the escalator and into the first cable car! Everyone else behind hurried… but didn’t run so it was only myself and Simon (the boyfriend) in that first cabin! The mist from the sunrise was beautiful between the green hues of the hills and mountainside. The 30 minute ride was my favorite part of the whole experience to be honest. Beautiful and peaceful (when you’re the only ones in there!)
Once at the top, we raced again once more to grab a few extra moments on the bridge all by ourselves. Soon enough more people arrived and within 15 minutes there would be at least one person in your shot at any particular angle. If you’re clever with Photoshop that won’t be much of an issue for you. I am, however, not tech savvy. Once we got the sufficient evidence that we were number one on the bridge that day we took time to take in the view, the actual artistry the bridge is famous for and continued on to the rest of the park that our 700,000 VND ticket afforded us.
The rest of the park is gorgeous, and I would still advise coming right at open to enjoy the scenery as by around 8.30am the park started heaving with a steady flow of tourists. Le Jardin D’amour flower gardens  were a unique array of 9 different garden and architectural stylings which makes is a fun area to shoot if you can find a secluded spot! I didn’t feel the need to push past other tourists scrambling to get their shots in that matched their outfits, so we gave most of the gardens a miss for photos.
I personally liked the other ‘less photographed’ area’s of the park just as much as the bridge. There are lots of fun nooks and crannies to get in an interesting shot, if you’re not there just for the bridge! Plus there’s no harm in just enjoying the experience without documenting everything.
By the time we made our way around to the Fantasy Park, road some rides and got a side shot of the big Buddha. It was around 10am.
It was hot. It was crowded. We still had to cycle another 20 km to get back to the home-stay in the ALMOST heat of the day. We called it a day. Took one last walk on the Golden Bridge. Laughed at the insane amount of selfie sticks flailing about. Got onto the cable car in our own secluded cabin once again and made our way back down the mountain, laughing at the ridiculousness of it all.
Would I recommend? Sure. Why not. If you have the extra cash to spend on an outing to a bizarre Vietmanese tourist trap by all means. But it is INCREDIBLY busy with tours and self sufficient tourists (like ourselves) who are all wanting to see the sights and experience the park. I have never been to a french village, but the ‘village’ here was very fake. Very corny. If you like kitsch you’d have a laugh at it. Food is overpriced for Vietnam, even from tourist standards. So don’t go for the culture and pack your own snacks. As far as getting there or having a guide, I couldn’t say if a tour was worth it, because we did it all on our own (from our research before hand, I would venture more towards it would not be…. but I’m not you!). I personally had a blast simply because of the journey, the mad dash and the company I was with for the experience. You do you. xx C

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