Thu, Aug 02, 2018 - Page 5 News List

Vietnam firm’s audacious ‘Golden Bridge’ goes viral

AFP, DA NANG, Vietnam

Visitors walk along 150m-long Cau Vang (Golden Bridge) in the Ba Na Hills near Da Nang, Vietnam, on Tuesday.

Photo: AFP

Nestled in the forested hills of central Vietnam, two giant concrete hands emerge from the trees, holding up a glimmering golden bridge crowded with gleeful visitors taking selfies at the country’s latest eccentric tourist draw.

Designed to make visitors feel like they are taking a stroll on a shimmering thread stretching across the hands of gods, the “Golden Bridge” has attracted hordes of guests since it opened in the Ba Na Hills near Da Nang in June.

Images of the bridge have gone viral on social media, much to the surprise of the architect who had no idea it would attract so much attention.

“We’re proud that our product has been shared by people all over the world,” principal designer and TA Landscape Architecture founder Vu Viet Anh told reporters.

At 150m long, the bridge snakes through the forest high up in mountains first developed by French colonists as a hill station in 1919.

The area is now a major tourist attraction, boasting a cable car; a replica French medieval village, including a faux castle and cathedral; manicured gardens; and a wax museum featuring statues of Lady Gaga and Michael Jordan.

The only remnants of the original French occupants are the crumbling remains of their vacation homes that can still be spotted from the cable car.

However, visitors are mostly interested in newly built Cau Vang, which means “Golden Bridge” in Vietnamese.

“The bridge is beautiful, with an amazing architectural style, from here we can see Da Nang city, it’s so nice,” visitor Nguyen Trung Phuc told reporters.

“I have traveled quite a lot, but I’ve never seen any bridges as beautiful as this one,” said Nguyen Hien Trang, another visitor.

The Ba Na Hills project was built by Sun Group, which has divided opinion with audacious projects elsewhere in Vietnam.

In 2016 it opened a cable car on Vietnam’s tallest mountain, Fansipan, in the tourist hot spot of Sapa, prompting complaints from locals who felt it spoiled the landscape and took business away from trekking guides.

Vietnam is no stranger to off-the-wall attractions.

A “crystal cloud” installation of 58,000 shimmering Swarovski beads in the rice-terraced hills of northern Vietnam opened earlier this year, while the surreal “Crazy House” hotel in central Da Lat, designed to look like a trippy tree house, has long attracted legions of curious visitors.

The communist country has long sought to boost visitor numbers and position itself as a must-see destination in Southeast Asia.

It clocked 13 million foreign visitors last year, mostly from China — a far cry from the 35 million international visitors to Thailand last year.

Anh said he already has another project in the works: A silver bridge made to look like a god’s strand of hair that would connect to his existing structure in the Ba Na Hills.

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