Going for a drive around Son Tra Peninsula is one of the coolest and most underrated activities to do while here in Da Nang. There’s so much to see, and it’s all stunningly beautiful, especially if the weather is nice. So find a free afternoon, fill up that gas tank and head along the beach road toward the giant Buddha statue up to Son Tra Peninsula.
Son Tra Peninsula
Lady Buddha Statue – Linh Ung Pagoda
The Linh Ung Pagoda is the first stop when coming up the Son Tra Peninsula from the beach side. It’s an active pagoda and also home to the hugely awesome Lady Buddha statue, which is meant to watch over the fishermen. People often note that since the statue was completed in 2010, the intensity and the number of storms in Da Nang has gone down dramatically. I can personally attest to this as well, so it must be working 🙂
Cây Đa Đại Thụ – Great Banyan Tree
Follow the main road around some more sweet curves until you get to the Intercontinental. You’ll see a sign to turn right for the Cây Đa. That’s the giant banyan tree. You’ll head downhill on a narrow road for maybe another 10 minutes before coming to the tree, where the road dead-ends. The Great Banyan is said to be over 800 years old. Though it looks like there are several trees, all those air roots are part of the same tree-hydra. It’s a great spot for a picnic, and and sunny weekends you’ll often find locals out here having lunch.
Đỉnh Bàn Cờ – Chess Board Peak
Head back toward the Intercontinental and you’ll see signs written in the road for the “đỉnh bàn cờ” or chess board peak. That’d be Chinese chess (the best kind, if you ask me). You’ll head up a steep hill for a while, till it flattens and and weaves through the jungle. Ride along for maybe 20 minutes or more. As you approach the peak, you’ll come to a 3-way intersection. Just keep following the signs and you can’t really get lost. Park in the designated area and walk up the hill to the top.
Tien Sa Port
Once you’ve finished taking some selfies with the chess-playing statue, hop back on the bike and continue past the parking area down the backside of the mountain. This part of the drive is always longer than I remember, but it’s also probably my favorite. As you come back around toward the Tien Sa Port, there are some great views across the bay toward the Hai Van Pass.
Continue heading downhill till you pass a military checkpoint. The Army uses this area to train soldiers, and you might see a few fresh young smiles as you drive by. Keep going till you hit the highway and make a left to head back toward Da Nang. Eventually you’ll hit the Han Bridge so you should be able to find your way back from there.