From My Khe Beach or Han River promenades, you can see a part of the Son Tra peninsula. Although being near the city center, natural forests on its slopes have been preserved well, and it’s no surprise that it’s called “the Green Lung of Da Nang”. One of the most endangered mammals all over the planet inhabiting there, making it so special to conservationists. Visiting Vietnam’s tallest Goddess of mercy, cruising along breathtaking coast roads, riding across the untouched nature, seeing the city from summits or down the shore, staying in high-end accommodation, are what you like to do. Adventuring vibes fill the trips there.
An overview of Son Tra Peninsula
Located 10 km from the city center to the North East and is 693 m high above sea level, Son Tra is a special gift of the god to Da Nang. Son Tra Peninsula is considered the old Eco-Jungle within a young city. Upon visiting Son Tra Peninsula, you will be amazed at the diversifying fauna and flora of Son Tra. With more than 100 species, this peninsula is famous for the primate specie of langurs, which are a rare species and almost extinct all over the world. More than 300 langurs are found here. You can discover the animals mentioned in the Red Book in the forest of Son Tra Peninsula. Furthermore, other precious animals like golden macaque, python and long-tailed macaque are also available in Son Tra peninsula.
Some endemic species of the Indochinese peninsula just found in Son Tra peninsula are Combretum quadrangulare, Dipterocarpus alatus, Medusagyne oppositifolia, etc. In addition, this place is home to a lot of fruit trees like Melaleuca, Rhodomyrtus tomentosa, Baccaurea. Son Tra peninsula now is recognized as a Special Conservation Area and protected as Son Tra Nature Reserve.
History of Son Tra Peninsula
Fishers believe that gods live in Son Tra Mountain. On its coastal slope, there are around 20 small and large temples built where they come to pray before setting sail. The largest one is Linh Ung Pagoda, rebuilt in 2010 from a Buddha shrine by Bai But beach in the Southern coast. According to a local story, it’s established a few centuries ago after fisherman saw a Buddha statue washing ashore.
A folk verse of the fisherman says that if seeing the clouds covering the top of Son Tra mountain, it will be stormy soon. So, for them, the mountain is like a “weather forecast station”.
First French attack on Vietnam
Son Tra mountain plays an important role in national defense, from the feudal times up to date. In 19th and 20th century, emperors of the Nguyen dynasty built a series of fortresses ranging from the West coast to its peak. Together with defensive buildings in Hai Van Pass on the other side of the bay, Da Nang port was well protected. For the kings, its importance is larger than anywhere else, because it’s really near the capital city Hue. Foreigners were banned from visiting the mountain. No surprise, in 1858, French and Spanish troops came into the bay to start their ambition in colonizing Vietnam. However, they must leave in this first campaign against tenacious fighting of local people and soldiers under great leadership of Nguyen Tri Phuong general. Gia Dinh (today Ho Chi Minh City) was their next target city. Near the current port facility now, you can see remains of a colonist’s cemetery.
Names of Son Tra Peninsula
Son Tra Mountain
“Son Tra Mountain” is the earliest-used name of the mountain in northeast Da Nang. Locals explain that because there were many camellia flowers in the place formerly, people called it “the Camellia Mountain” from then until now. In 1997, it becomes the official name for an urban district under its foot, the Son Tra District. Because of lisp, many Northern-accent speakers say “Son Cha” instead, but that’s the name of an island near Da Nang bay’s entrance.
The Monkey Mountain
During the Vietnam war, Son Tra mountain was tagged “the Monkey Mountain” by Americans. Veterans said that they saw many monkeys in the area when they first came. Today, you can see the primates on the coast road leading to Linh Ung Pagoda. On the other hand, the mountain is also famous for the largest population of red-shanked douc in the world, 1,300 individuals.
Son Tra Peninsula
Son Tra was an island with three peaks on the sea before the 15th century. But later, thanks to delta formation of the Han River and coastal sedimentation, it connects with the mainland with a sandy isthmus. The north, east and west sides of the mountain are still edged by water. Geographers call the island (mountain) as “Son Tra Peninsula” for that reason.
Weather in Son Tra Peninsula
The dry season is from January to the end of July in the Son Tra peninsula. Average temperature is from 28 to 29oC, and the highest ones are between 34 and 36oC during June and July. Visitors love sunny days in this season that are ideal to tour around, visit sights and photograph. Down the coast, white sandy beaches by warm waters just await sunbathers and swimmers coming to enjoy. Don’t forget swimsuits. In higher elevations, the peaks are not shrouded by mist, allowing visitors to see “full panoramic views” from there. Routes are clear, making riders easier to navigate and keep safe. Should bring sun cream, sunglasses and lots of water (especially if hiking).
The rest of the year, from August to December, is the wet season for geographers. Because it features the lowest degrees, locals call this time “winter season”. Average temperature is from 21 to 22 oC, and during the coldest day, it may be 15oC (in January). Rains are common, making the atmosphere cooler and so, it’s really nice to go out and explore. Keep in mind to bring a raincoat or umbrella and waterproof shoes. From October to December, typhoons occur and cause heavy rains, wavy seas and gusty winds. Most attractions and outdoor activities are closed, to ensure visitor’s security. So, always remember to check the weather forecast in advance.
What to explore at Son Tra Peninsula
Son Tra looks like a mushroom of which cap is Son Tra Mountain and stalk is a beautiful sandy beach that affords an ideal area for bathing, playing sports, fishing and swimming.
Sights in Son Tra peninsula
Linh Ung Bai But Pagoda (Chùa Linh Ứng)
Linh Ung Bai But Pagoda (Chùa Linh Ứng Bãi Bụt) is the first destination to visit in Son Tra Peninsula. It is an ancient pagoda with a unique combination of spirituality and modernity. The highlight of this temple is the statue of Quan Yin (Tượng Phật Bà Quan Âm), which is the highest statue of Quan Yin in Vietnam (67m with 17 floors). When standing here, you will be able to contemplate the whole area of Son Tra Peninsula.
The thousand-year banyan Tree (Cây Đa Ngàn Năm)
It is called “village elders” of the forest. This heritage Son Tra Banyan Tree is 800-year old ficus on the peninsula’s southeastern end. The road to this tree is a narrow lane established from concrete slabs. Its crown reaches about 20 meters in all directions. From the branches’ roots, there are tree trunks which connect it to the ground.
According to legend, the banyan tree is where the fairies usually choose to play whenever they go down to the earth. As a result, it has a special beauty, and its site is considered one of the most attractive places in Son Tra Peninsula. This tree is a spiritual site and offers shelter to Vietnamese soldiers during the war fighting against America.
Ban Co Peak (Đỉnh Bàn Cờ)
Following the winding road to the south, you will have to climb the high slope to reach Ban Co Peak. But do not worry, the effort you spend is worth it. Standing on the peak, you can enjoy the cool air of the sea along with the extremely majestic natural scenery. Ban Co Peak is renowned for Confucius statue. This bronze statue illustrates a great philosopher who is playing chess. This philosopher is a tribute to the humans and greatly impacted the Eastern culture.
Tien Sa Port (Cảng Tiên Sa)
Another place that you should not ignore during exploring Son Tra Peninsula is Tien Sa port. Here, you can participate in exciting recreational activities in the Tien Sa eco-tourism area. Together with the Han River port, Tien Sa port is one of the two major seaports of Da Nang city. It plays an important role in regulating traffic and economic development of Central Vietnam in particular and the whole country in general.
Cape Nghe (Mũi Nghê)
Mui Nghe, where you can see the dawn very early, is located on the southeast of Son Tra Peninsula. Here, you can experience the exciting scuba diving service as there are more than 42 rare corals. This makes Mui Nghe one of the most attractive destinations of Son Tra Peninsula.
Black Stone (Bãi Đá Đen)
Da Den beach is on the north shore of Son Tra Peninsula. Despite being only about a one-hour-boat-ride away from Da Nang city, it is incredibly pristine. There are many large black rocks that are stacked together here, adding to the wild beauty of this beach.
Thanks to the shielding of these large rocks, the water here is clear all year round and the waves are also very gentle.
The beaches surrounding Son Tra like But Beach (Bãi Bụt), Xep Beach (Bãi Xép), Con Beach (Bãi Cồn), Tien Sa Beach (Bãi Tiên Sa) are generally blue, clear and safe, so you can comfortably swim in one of them. The best months to visit these beaches are from March to September (during dry season when the sea is calm).
You can also go fishing, catch sea snails, and catch shells with the people here. Interestingly, right?
This radar station is regarded as “Mat Than Dong Duong” – “Indochina’s Miraculous Eyes.” This radar station is used for civil aviation, the air force, and the navy. Standing in the radar observation room, you can take in the breathtaking view of the East Sea while also observing the Vietnamese army on duty.
You cannot go to the radar station because it is a military area and is still used for territorial sovereignty protection, but there are many places on the mountain roads where you can see it from.
Son Tra Lighthouse
This French-style lighthouse is at an elevation of 223 meters above sea level. It has been named one of the most beautiful lighthouses in Vietnam, and one of the eight oldest lighthouses in the country.
Because the road is also smooth, this place attracts a lot of young people who go to visit often. From this lighthouse, you can see the beautiful colors of Son Tra, such as the white of the clouds, the blue of the sky and sea, the green of the forest, and the pale yellow of the stretches of sand. This location is ideal for taking nostalgic and romantic photoshoots.
Activities in Son Tra Peninsula
Hiking Son Tra Mountain
Trails in Son Tra Mountain satisfy hikers by its scenic sceneries, unspoiled environments it goes across and close to the city. There are two main routes to enjoy the hike: the lower and the upper. The first is longer, allowing you to tour along the awe-inspiring coastline of the peninsula. But the second leads to the peaks where the most panoramic views with lots of photo opportunities are provided. To fully discover any of which, the length is 30 km on average to walk. Pristine forests, wild nature, freedom, no crowds, and more are other reasons to wear boots and escape from hustle. If lucky enough, the hiker may see red-shanked douc, one of 25 most endangered primates worldwide.
Read more: Beautiful Rare Birds on Son Tra Peninsula
Paragliding from top of Son Tra Mountain
Whether you are an adventure enthusiast or simply want to see the beauty of Da Nang, you should try paragliding at a height of 600 meters. This activity will promisingly bring you unforgettable moments, when everything you see on the ground is as big as ants. You may feel nervous and excited at the same time. But don’t worry, there are professional and experienced instructors accompanying you, so rest assured that you are in good hands.
Note that paragliding in Da Nang is not a service or part of the tour. This activity is hosted by Danang Paragliding Club. To secure a ticket, you should contact the club at least 2 weeks in advance, as there are always a large number of participants on the waiting list while the number of instructors is limited.
Under the waters near the coast of Son Tra Peninsula, the world is diverse and colorful. It harbors 179 species of coral, 162 fish species, and lots of other marine life. The largest, most abundant and most colorful area is the South Coast where the Lady Buddha stands aside. Visitors often come to Bai Rang to take a canoe ride and wear masks to snorkel. Then, enjoying seafood parties in the breezy seaside restaurant.
Seeing the “Queen of Primates” Red-shanked Douc
Visiting Son Tra Peninsula, you have the chance to see the Red-shanked Douc (Douc Langur), a species of mammal that The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) considers to be endangered. The peninsula is home to around 350 Red-shanked Douc Langurs, which is more than half the global population of this species.
Red-shanked Douc is a very shy monkey that dislikes human interaction. Hiding in the foliage, the monkeys will stop their movements and look around when they hear human voices. They will only continue playing and seeking food when they feel safe. Therefore, when coming here, remember to go quietly and keep your distance to let them know that you are not a threat. Bring binoculars If you want a clearer look at this animal.
Reviews Son Tra Peninsula on Tripadvisor
Tranquil nature spot with charming view.
A lot of monkeys near the white statue pagoda.
I came there by a motorbike in August, the sun was quite strong in the morning so I came back in the afternoon. Fresh air and sunset view from the pagoda were amazing!
Son Tra Mountain is the best for someone who want to explored natural place! But if you come here by scooter, you don’t have permission to go to the peak of this mountain because they told me that scooter is very danger to climb to the peak. So if you ride by motorbike, you will allowed to get it!
Collin Fiffer (United Kingdom)
You can ride motorbike to come there.It take arround 20 minutes from the center.You should prepare a good bike, because have many slope
Henis L (Mexico)
Read more: A Complete Guide to Son Tra Peninsula
Getting to Son Tra Peninsula
The best way to visit and explore Son Tra is by renting a motorbike in Da Nang or Hoi An, as some of the roads, like the one leading to the banyan tree, are hardly accessible for a car.
- From Da Nang international airport: 10 km away, go by motorbike or bicycle
- From Da Nang train station: 8 km away, go by motorbike or bicycle
- From Hoi An ancient town: 37 km away, taxi recommended
Driving a motorbike through this area is a wonderful experience. There is almost no traffic, the roads are in good condition, which makes it safe to drive, and there are beautiful wildflowers waiting for you along the roads. However, remember that your bike should have good brakes and are strong enough to ride up steep hills.
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