As the steep jungle path leads to the top of Son Tra peninsula, try to keep an eye out for monkeys and the occasional motorbike speeding around the next blind curve.
The stunning glances of the ocean and city below peak through breaks in the forest canopy. Reaching a clearing towards the top of the hill at a government radio tower, make a left turn and see a lookout pagoda high atop the hill.
When parked below it and visitors can take the short trail to the top on foot. Here is the reward—a stunning 360˚ view of the beaches and city, the shipyards and harbour, and the mouth of the Han River opening to the sea with the towering Hai Van mountain looming on the other side.
It’s a beautiful example of modern architecture mixed with ancient tradition and breath-taking natural landscape. A bronze statue of Confucius plays chess, a seemingly appropriate tribute to the man whose contributions to Eastern culture can be felt to this day.
A good motorbike (with good brakes) is essential for this expedition to control the pace along the steepest parts of the road. Upon reaching the five-star resort at the end of the main road, the trail parts in the other direction, down a wooded path leading down to the tip of the peninsula. It takes about ten minutes to reach the end of the trail where one giant banyan tree grows, estimated to be around 1000 years old. Its complex of roots has grown down to form secondary trunks supporting the massive structures mushrooming from the centre.
On the way back to Da Nang along the main road pathways lead down the edge of the cliff to beautiful beaches below. The city lights spread out and the giant spot-lit Linh Ung Temple and equally monolithic Lady Buddha statue stand with the world’s largest ferris wheel and sunset behind her. Da Nang being a seaport town, Lady Buddha is held dear amongst fishermen. She is known as the Goddess of the Eastern Sea bringing compassion and safe journeys.