Located about 6km from the downtown of Da Nang City (Central Vietnam), Son Tra Nature Reserve with its primeval forests has been attracting more and more tourists with each passing year.
The Peninsula also acts as a huge wall that protects the city from surges from the East Sea during storm season.
At present, Son Tra Nature Reserve on Son Tra Peninsula abounds with an eco-system of coastal tropical forests protected under the national regulations for forbidden forests. About 60% of the forest land on the peninsula are primeval jungles, including endemic species of peninsula forests in Indochina, such as Parashorea stellata – Kury, Parashorea stellata – Kurz, Combretum quadrangulare Kurz, … and many fruit trees such as strawberry, persimmon, myrtus …
Another unique feature of the Son Tra Nature Reserve is the existence of about 12 herds of brown-legged (or five-coloured) langurs, scientifically known as pygathrix nemaeus. This is an extremely rare species with only 200 individuals living in Vietnam and in Son Tra forests.
In addition, there are other rare species such as the yellow monkey, red-faced monkey, muntjac, wild boar and musk-deer; 106 species of birds including the silver pheasant (scientific name as polyplectron germaini), 23 species of reptiles and countless species of insects.
Son Tra Peninsula consists of three mountains – Hon Nghe, Hon Mo Dieu and Hon Co Ngua – which link together to become a single mountain range, 13km long, stretching towards the northeast and southeast, protecting Da Nang City from storms. So, Son Tra is called “a wall on the East Sea’s coast off Da Nang City.
At a height of nearly 700m, Son Tra has coastal tropical forests, where the climate changes according to time of the day and seasons of the year. It is said that Son Tra has four seasons in one day: spring in the morning, summer at noon, autumn in the afternoon, and winter in the evening.
In the afternoon, clouds coming from Hai Van Quan fill on the mountain slopes, making Son Tra Peninsula seemingly float amidst clouds like a water-colour painting. Forests and the sea are seen through a hazy mist. When there is sunshine, the beautiful beaches around Son Tra are visible, such as Bai Nam, Bai Rang, Bai But, Bai Tien Sa, Bai Con and Bai Bac with golden sand and clear water, which are wonderful for convalescence, fishing and diving to enjoy seeing corals.
In spring, standing at the top of Son Tra, one will contemplate the marvellous beauty of nature with forest trees showing off their colours. In summer, red flamboyant flowers and violet tomentose rose myrtle flood the roads. Around lunar June, when the tomentose rose myrtle fruit are ripe, gangs of monkeys and flocks of birds are happy to dispose of the sweet fruits.
Koen Brouckert and Stefuan Coulier, a couple of tourists from Belgium commented: “The Son Tra Peninsula is very beautiful. The forests are similar to those in Adennes of Belgium, but here it is more interesting because there are many monkeys and birds.”
From the top of Ban Co, the highest mountain of the Son Tra range, visitors will see a vast, open sea and the entire city of Da Nang. The Han River looks like a silky ribbon running towards the sea. Bridges crossing the river linking the city’s east and west banks become symbols of the city’s potential and its citizens’ vitality. At night the city becomes more fascinating due to the sparkling colourful lights.
Every year in late March an international competition of fireworks is held near the banks of the Han River, attracting hundreds of thousands of visitors from around the country and abroad, many of whom tried to climb the Son Tra range to have a better vantage point for the show.
From Son Tra Peninsula, Hoang Sa and Truong Sa roads are connected together stretching nearly 30km long and creating a “5-star boulevard”, along which there are dozens of quality resorts and restaurants.
Phan Xuan Tiep, Deputy Director of Son Tra Peninsula Management Board, said: “Son Tra Peninsula welcomes nearly 500 visitors a day (excluding stormy days). Since the inauguration of Linh Ung Pagoda having a standing Buddha statue, the tallest of this type in Vietnam (67m), there are more and more visitors coming.”