Cover story

Son Tra, a gift from nature

Da Nang is endowed by nature with not only a blue sea, white sand and golden sun but also the charming and wild Son Tra peninsula. Located just 10 km from the center of Da Nang, Son Tra is the only peninsula in Vietnam that has a natural forest ecosystem associated with the sea. The Government has planned the peninsula to become a nature reserve and national tourist complex which is developed toward sustainability, maintaining defense and security and conserving biodiversity and the environment.
Generosity of nature

Nature has generously given Son Tra a beauty and richness which can rarely be found anywhere else.

Surrounded by the sea on three sides and bordering a dense urban area on the other side, Son Tra has formed and developed a perfect wild environment. The peninsula has stunned domestic and foreign scientists with a treasure of flora and fauna.

Son Tra occupies just 0.014% of the country’s area, but has 37.8% of the total species of flora, and nearly 9.4% of the species of fauna in Vietnam.

Its diversity of flora and fauna is no less than that of other world nature preserves such as El Impenetrable and Iguazú (Argentina), Patagonia (Chile), Sable (Canada) and Kimberley (Australia) even though the areas of these preserves are hundreds, or even thousands, of times larger than Son Tra.

Part of Son Tra peninsula . Photo: Thanh Hoa

Son Tra is the best place in the world to observe the red-shanked douc in its natural habitat. Photo: Thanh Hoa 

The peninsula is home to beautiful yellow butterflies. Photo: Thanh Hoa 

Son Tra is an ideal living environment for wild life, including many bird species. Photo: Thanh Hoa 

Son Tra forest boasts plentiful flora with nearly 1,000 species, including 22 rare ones. Photo: Thanh Hoa / VNP  

Son Tra is home to ancient trees. Photo: Thanh Hoa 

Chessboard Peak offers the best view of Son Tra. Photo: Thanh Hoa 

The peninsula is a favorite place of Da Nang photographers. Photo: Thanh Hoa 

Scientists see Son Tra as a miniature world of the wild life on earth with 287 species, 29 of which are rare. Son Tra is also considered the kingdom of the red-shanked douc - Indochina’s endemic primate which is almost extinct. Son Tra is now home to the world’s largest population of red-shanked douc, estimated at 400 by the Douc Langur Foundation of the US. This number is estimated much higher, at 1,300, by GreenViet, a Vietnamese biodiversity conservation organization. Son Tra is also the best and easiest place in the world to observe the red-shanked douc in its natural habitat.

Son Tra forest also boasts nearly 1,000 species of flora, of which 22 are precious and rare,143 are valuable for medical purposes and 140 are for decoration.

Given its unique natural and geographical features, abundant flora and fauna and long-standing cultural values, Son Tra is truly a gift generously granted by nature to Da Nang in particular and Vietnam in general.

A tourist spot that needs protection

Son Tra now has its name on most world tourist maps with its beautiful forests and red-shanked douc, wild clear beaches, ancient architectural structures and luxury resorts. Its legendary areas such as Ban Co (Chessboard) Peak, Nghe Cape, and Nam, Bac, But, Rang and Nom beaches, are major attractions for visitors to Da Nang.

Like world natural heritages Ha Long Bay in Quang Ninh and Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park in Quang Binh, Son Tra needs to be cared for to ensure its sustainable development. Son Tra has recently reported severe violations by those exploiting the beautiful peninsula, which have spoiled the natural landscape and seriously hurt the habitat of not only wild flora and fauna, but also the people.

Linh Ung pagoda on Son Tra peninsula has the tallest statue of Guan Yin in Vietnam.
The statue is 67m high, equivalent to a 30-story building.  Photo: Thanh Hoa 

InterContinental Danang Sun Peninsula Resort, an internationally acclaimed luxury resort on Son Tra.
Photo: Thanh Hoa 

Beautiful Green Lake, a natural lake on Son Tra peninsula. Photo: Thanh Hoa 

An international marathon on a road of the  
peninsula. Photo: Thanh Hoa

Le Duc Tho road connects the 
peninsula with the west bank of Han river. Photo: Thanh Hoa

The fish market in Tho Quang village opens every early morning. Photo: Thanh Hoa 

The poetic beauty of Son Tra near the Han river. Photo: Thanh Hoa 

The Government and Da Nang’s administration are taking great efforts to protect Son Tra from overexploitation and ensuring its sustainable development.   

Government planning on Son Tra:
- In 1997: Restricted forest was established on Son Tra peninsula.
- In 2011: Son Tra was planned as one of 47 potential places for development into national tourist sites (with a vision toward 2030).
- In 2013:  Son Tra was planned as a protected nature area with precious and rare flora and fauna (with a vision toward 2050).
- In 2014: Son Tra was planned as a nature reserve (with a vision toward 2030) 

By Thanh Hoa

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