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Unforgettable Day Trip to Son Tra Peninsula

Unforgettable Day Trip to Son Tra Peninsula

Looking to get out of city bustle and enjoy your time in beautiful nature? Once you’re done exploring the places Da Nang has to offer, you can head into stunning surrounding nature! Son Tra Peninsula sits just a few kilometers from the city center and it’s just a perfect getaway for people who’re looking for a relaxing day filled with activities and adventure!

No matter where you’re staying in Da Nang, the chances are you’ll always see a beautiful white Buddha statue overlooking the city from the peninsula. Although Son Tra Peninsula is a huge area with many hidden treasures, the majority of travelers just scratch a few stunning places around while not knowing about other hidden places.

Are you up for getting off the track and explore all the treasures this beautiful peninsula is hiding? If so, then this article is definitely for you!

We’re going to give you a complete overview of the things and places to explore around the peninsula. Have in mind that almost every place you can explore for free (just pay for the parking)!

Antonio is living in Da Nang for the past 7 months, and he had a chance to drive around and really explore hidden places around Son Tra or how tourists like to call it; Monkey Mountain.

If you have enough time, let’s say a full day, then driving around Son Tra, taking a break while trying some delicious local seafood and exploring stunning beaches and cliffs might be a perfect getaway for you!

Let’s head straight into it!

How to Get to Son Tra Peninsula

No matter where you’re staying in Da Nang, getting to Son Tra doesn’t require much effort. You just need to reach the main beach (My Khe) or any other beach on the eastern part of the city and from there it’s hard not to notice a huge Lady Buddha statue. Basically, you just have to follow the main beach road in the north direction (Vo Nguyen Giap that turns into Hoang Sa as you drive north).

Here’s the map view:

The best way to explore Son Tra is by driving your own motorbike. If you’re not feeling comfortable to drive in Vietnam, you can always book a motorbike tour with professional tour guides who will drive you around the peninsula. Anyway, by choosing to book a tour you’re losing quite a lot of freedom as the driver has to follow the schedule and by doing it, you’ll probably miss many off-the-beaten-track places. Just rent a motorbike near the beach, as the traffic isn’t chaotic there, and head to Son Tra. Also, there are many backpackers in the city who are exploring Son Tra, so you can connect with them in hostels or Facebook groups and figure out together the best solutions.

Renting a motorbike in Da Nang is very affordable and it will cost you around 100,000 VND for a scooter for a whole day. I suggest getting a manual or semi-automatic bike since some roads are very steep and you might experience a tough time to get your scooter up there, especially if you’re two on the bike!

Really, the best way to explore Vietnam is definitely by driving your own motorbike. There are many things you should look at when buying a motorbike in Vietnam, so if you don’t have any mechanic skills, be careful!

Man Thai Village

Man Thai Village

Just at the beginning of Son Tra, there is a tiny fishermen village called Man Thai. A few years back it was a real village, and now, due to the huge development of the city, it’s just connected to the city. If you follow the beach road Hoang Sa in the direction of Son Tra, you will soon start to see many tiny fishermen boats in a tiny bay. The best way to experience the lifestyle of locals there is by getting there around 6 AM. At that time, the village is so lively, people are selling the seafood and preparing the boats for the sea. Also, watching the sunrise from there is simply breathtaking with the sun glowing over the city.

Every time, it amazes me how active Vietnamese people are. On the way there, you will stumble upon many older and younger people running, doing a morning workout, stretching and dancing a funny dance called Duong Sinh.

There are few places that sell morning food like Banh Mi and a strong cup of Vietnamese coffee. Also, on the beach, you can sit in a beach chair while enjoying your morning snack and watching the sunrise. That’s my favorite way to start a trip around Monkey Mountain!

Here’s the map view:

Green Lake

Green lake at Son Tra Peninsula

From Man Thai village, many people just head straight to Linh Ung pagoda completely missing a stunning lake on the way – Green Lake. Once you’re on the road to Linh Ung pagoda and when the road slowly starts to ascend, one the left-hand-side, you’ll be greeted with the views of the stunning lake. Just park your motorbike there (few people will be there and you can securely leave the bike for 10,000 VND or just go to the lake with your bike) and you’re set for exploration.

During March – June, the water is crystal clear and the lake really looks green since the bottom has much grass which is a natural habitat for many fish species! There are few places where you can jump and swim, as well as a small campsite where you can raise a tent to finish off your adventure!

Did you know that almost every wedding photo session isn’t complete without a shot at Green Lake?

Don’t miss it! Especially not on a hot day where the lake will provide you with the best refreshment you can think of!

Here’s the map view:

Linh Ung Pagoda

Linh Ung Pagoda

Once you’re done with swimming and taking stunning photos at Green Lake, it’s time to visit famous Linh Ung pagoda! That place is by far the most popular site on Son Tra, so be very strategic when to go there. Go there just after the sunrise since there are not many tourists around and you can experience Buddhist prayers and rituals. The worst time is definitely around 11 am – 6 pm!

Avoid full-moon days and other holidays as locals combined with tourists flock there and it can be tough to even walk around without bumping into people!

The place is the complex of few pagodas and temples where people pray and do rituals. Also, Lady Buddha that is 67 meters tall stays in the middle of the complex protecting Da Nang from wind and storms.

Big temple in the Linh Ung complex

Just walking around the complex will provide you with some stunning views over the city.

An interesting fact is that Lady Buddha statue was built by local fishermen as they believed she is protecting them and giving them luck when they head to the sea.

As it’s a Buddhist temple, be sure that you have some level of respect by wearing long pants and sleeves. Vietnamese people aren’t very strict when it comes to clothing like other nations like Thailand or Myanmar, but don’t go in a bikini, please.

The entrance is free of charge and you can leave a donation on the parking zone.

Entrance to Linh Ung pagoda

Here’s the map view:

Secret Beach #1

Secret beach

Once you continue driving from Linh Ung pagoda further, you will reach the small hut with small improvised parking. There will be a friendly woman who asks 10,000 VND during the day and 35,000 VND during the night to take care of your bike. From the parking spot just follow the narrow path that will lead you all the way to the secluded beach.

Friendly locals who’re camping or drinking are usually spending their afternoons at the beach. During the day, the only people you’ll see there are few fishermen who’re catching the fish from the rocks around.

The water is so blue and there are few rocks where you can climb and jump from it.

If you’re planning to camp or make a barbeque, that’s the perfect place to do it! Just please don’t leave any traces behind you!

Here’s the map view:

Bai Nam Beach

Bai Nam Beach

Another secluded beach is just a few minutes drive from the first one. You just follow the main road (Hoang Sa) and there will be a small intersection where you turn right. Just park your bike in front of a small paved road (on your right) and walk for a minute until you reach the beach. The name of the beach is Bai Nam.

Here’s the map view:

Bai Da

Bai Da Beach

By this time, you might feel a bit hungry and in need to refill your energy. What would be the better way to do so than enjoying the local seafood on the beach in a small hut overlooking Da Nang?

Bai Da is the ideal spot for all of that! If you continue to drive further from Bai Nam beach you will reach a parking spot where you can park while enjoying local delicacies.

Another angle from Bai Da Beach

There is a small beach with rocks and a few man-made bridges connecting the rocks. It’s a perfect way to spend your afternoon before heading to the next location!

Here’s the map view:

Ghenh Bang

Ghenh Bang Beach

Once you refill your energy, it’s time to continue and get back to the main road. Once you’re on the main road, just continue heading east and you’ll be greeted by the most stunning views Son Tra peninsula has to offer!

There is a stunning pass overlooking the outer part of the peninsula while giving you breathtaking views on the open sea.

You can park your bike there, sit a bit and relax on the cliffs! The views are really spectacular.

If you continue a bit further you will stumble upon a small parking lot where taxi drivers park their cars. Go there and park your bike (no cost). From there you’ll get to a small hiking trail going down leading you all the way to the beach. You will need to pass through some trees, so be sure to have long sleeves and proper shoes as it gets slippery on some parts.

After 20 minutes, you’ll reach Ghenh Banh – a small and secluded beach with stunning rocks. You can swim there and snorkel! Also, you can just follow the beach and climb the rocks to get some stunning views!

Climbing up is relatively easy compared to going down and once you reach the parking lot, you can sit down and order a coffee or tea.

Here’s the map view:

Banyan Tree

Beautiful Banyan Tree

Once you’re done with your hike to Ghenh Banh and back on the road, after a minute you’ll reach the next crossroad. Take the right turn and just follow the rarely marked road. It’s a very narrow road that goes further up the mountain. The condition of the road isn’t the best and some people are driving around there, so be careful when driving as there were few accidents reported recently on that part of the way.

After a few minutes of following the road, there will be a small fork where you should go right. Just follow the road and you’ll reach a Banyan tree that is said to be around 1,000 years old. That area is the natural habitat of endangered monkey species called Red Shanked Duoc. This species lives around Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam, but most of them (around 200) lives in the forest of Son Tra Peninsula.

Although, you have to be very lucky to see that beautiful monkey around it. When we were exploring Monkey Mountain, we only heard them, but never saw them. So guess, we weren’t lucky as many people had a chance to see them!

Red Shanked Duoc

The diameter of the tree is around 20 meters and some branches connect to the ground as it serves as the root. It’s very amazing to just take a sit and experience this beautiful creation of Mother Earth.

The tree has a historical value as, during the Vietnam war (or how locals call it, an American war), Vietnamese soldiers used the tree as the shelter.

You can park the bike on the road next to the road free of any cost.

Here’s the map view:

Mui Nghe

Mui Nghe

Once you’re done wandering around a Banyan tree, you can just continue driving on the road until you reach a dead end. You park the motorbike there and from there you’ll see a small path through the jungle. Be prepared for about 30-minutes hike that will lead you to the end of Son Tra peninsula – Mui Nghe.

The literal translation, according to locals, is a ‘Horn of the Buffalo’. There is a very cool place where you can set a campsite and enjoy the sunrise and stunning sunset falling over Da Nang city. If you continue your hike you will eventually get all the way to the sea where you can swim and snorkel. The water made a small lake in the middle of cliffs where you can enjoy crystal clear water.

Be careful though as we saw many jellyfish in the ‘lake’!

Here’s the map view:

Tien Sa Lighthouse

Tien Sa Lighthouse

On the northeast part of Son Tra, there is a tiny Tien Sa lighthouse. The lighthouse is only 16 meters tall and it helps in operating boat traffic between Hue city to Da Nang port. Once you reach the lighthouse there will be a security guy who will request 20,000 VND to climb the lighthouse and get panorama view over the sea and mountains of Son Tra.

It’s relatively easy to reach the lighthouse if you follow the main Hoang Sa road. The way is the same as you’re going to the Banyan tree, but at the fork, you just continue driving instead of turning right (in a direction of Banyan tree).

Here’s the map view:

Bai Cat Vang Beach

Bai Cat Vang beach

Now when you have so many places and information on how to reach those places on the eastern part of Son Tra peninsula, it’s time to explore the western part – a more secluded part with off-the-beaten-track beaches.

Bai Cat Vang is the first off-the-beaten-path beach on the way. You have to park your motorbike at the beginning of a narrow path and walk for about 5 minutes until you reach a small beach hidden in a bay. The beach is sandy with few rocks where you can chill or even set up your tent.

While we were there we stumbled upon local fishermen who were coming from the sea. Also, you can enjoy snorkeling or swimming in a crystal clear water around the bay.

As tourism is booming in the city, it takes the effect on Son Tra too. Bai Cat Vang has a small resort that looks empty during offseason, but as locals say, it becomes very attractive during the season (April – September). We went there in March and we stumbled upon few local families with kids. During the summer, there are many activities you can take a part in like snorkeling, kayaking, scuba diving, building a campsite with a huge fire and much more.

Here’s the map view:

Bai Da Den 

Bai Da Den

When you’re done with exploring Bai Cat Vang beach, you should follow a tiny path towards your bike. When you pick the bike, just continue about 100 meters further and you will reach a small parking spot where you can leave the bike. From there you will see a tiny and narrow path going down to the Bai Da Den beach.

The beach is rocky and there are many cliffs which makes it ideal for snorkeling or kayaking. Also, there is a camping spot just on the cliffs that gives you beautiful views so far away from the bustle of the busy Da Nang city.

Whenever we visited the place, we always stumbled upon friendly locals who were camping. The biggest problem with camping there is that locals aren’t aware so much about the littering, so they leave every piece of trash behind them. Please don’t do it!

Here’s the map view:

Ban Co Peak

De Thich at Ban Co Peak

Situated in the middle of Son Tra Peninsula, Ban Co is the tallest peak of the peninsula where you’ll be greeted with stunning views over the jungle on one side and a whole city on the other side. The peak is 693 meters above sea level.

Once you reach the peak, you can park your motorbike on the parking lot that costs 5,000 VND/bike and from there you have to climb a bit to reach the top. Also, at the parking spot, you can get cold drinks like tea or coffee, but the best is to bring some fruits or drinks with you (some people enjoy a picnic there).

The views are breathtaking, but you should definitely time your trip since it’s a very touristic place which can kill the vibe if you miss the right time.

The best time to visit Ban Co is just after the sunrise since you will probably share the place with just a few people.

Stunning view over Da Nang city from Ban Co

As the peak is 693 meters above sea level, the clouds are cutting through it which gives you an incredible experience and feeling that you’re literally in the clouds.

At the top, there is a De Thich statue in front of the chess board. It’s interesting that De Thich is playing by himself. There is a legend that he was playing with another deity while he flew down to the beach as he was distracted by beautiful fairies. He lost the game and out of anger kicked the chessboard to the sea. People made the statue in credit of another deity who was waiting for his friend and thinking about the next move.

Here’s the map view:


Have you ever explore Son Tra Peninsula? Can you please share your experience and tell us about the most beautiful place you’ve visited there?

About The Author

Antonio Gabric

A passionate traveler who is interested in shortening the gap between rich and poor by helping in the field of education. Very passionate about the diversity of cultures around the world and meeting new people that inspire me on a daily basis to continue doing great things.

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